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WANTED Tips of the Day: UPDATE
I'm sure most of you have seen our Tips of the Day. There are currently 9 categories, General, Safety, Buyer, Newbie, Anvil, Machinery, Welding, PLUS Shop Sayings and Metalworking Word of the Day. There is some some overlap between the categories with some tips duplicated. The tips are spread around on various pages and will be added to more over time. Metalworking Word of the Day is new and being written.

Currently we have 6 months of tips in the "General" category and have closed that one out other than swapping better tips for lesser tips or reducing duplication. The goal for the other lists is 73 tips (1/5 year) or more. The exeption will be Word of the Day which will have a full years worth of words in random order. A couple categories have less than a month's worth but but we are adding tips as they come in or I think of them.

We are looking for new tips to add particularly in Safety and Welding but are open to tips in any category.

We can add tips any time but it changes the display order resulting in tips repeating. . If you are interested in sending in some tips let me know. I can help with duplication problems.
- guru

If you really want to see bright skys try cruising at say 10,000 feet in a small airplane at night. Grew up doing that and boy were they bright. Cruising above the haze and dense oxygen layer also makes for intensely brilliant sunrises and sunsets. If cruising towards the sunset, it lasts longer as well. Want brilliant, almost arc welder bright sunlight, fly between cloud layers and the sun rises and reflects off both layers. One of the reasons those very dark aviator sunglasses were developed. I had shade 4 sunglasses and they sometimes needed to be shade 6 at least.
ptree - Thursday, 06/01/17 12:33:22 UTC

Well at the ALMA high site you can stand on the ground at 16000 feet and skip using a plane....Of course they are looking at the stars with a Radio Telescope.

Ptree did all that cruising cause your subsequent urges to throw yourself out of perfectly good airplanes in later years?
ThomasP - Saturday, 06/03/17 02:41:47 UTC

Indeed Thomas it may have contributed to that urge. I loved flying my body into formations in free fall, and doing diamond track demos had me doing 250mph on a 45 degree angle covering about 2 horizontal miles as well as 2 vertical miles in around 20 seconds or so. Nothing has ever been as exhilarating as that. face blowing back due to wind pressure, they fighter plane turns by a slight movement of the hand, great fun. And I often flew the jump planes when I was not jumping.
- ptree - Sunday, 06/04/17 23:21:16 UTC

Formal Blacksmith Training: is there anyone in South Africa that can provide a formal blacksmith apprenticeships?
- Janes le roux - Tuesday, 06/06/17 08:40:06 UTC

ZA Smithing:
There has been a lot of blacksmithing activity in ZA and attempts to organize but I do not think it has held up. There WAS a bladesmithing group and there have been shops setup for training in the townships trying to launch new businesses.

Look for local blacksmith shops and ask them. Note that blacksmiths are often listed as ironworks, steel erectors, under fencing and railings or sculpture studio. Local terminology applies.

- guru - Tuesday, 06/06/17 13:55:28 UTC

Paramotor Flying:
What a way to fly! I've been watching a few paramotor flying videos and boy is that COOL! Flying across fields at foot dragging level, then just clearing tree lines or climbing to several thousand feet all while open to the surrounding air. The closest thing to flying like a bird.

See Tucker Gott on Youtube.

A few years ago I had a couple weeks of dreams about flying an ultralight (a lawnchair with a wing). Nothing as interesting as the paramotor videos.

- guru - Thursday, 06/08/17 09:22:20 UTC

Hot New Thing:
There have been a lot of developments in small hydrofoils. Large and small sailboats that fly above the water are gaining in popularity.

Now comes the eFoil by Lift. This has to be the slickest new toy there is. Its a small "surfboard" with a hydrofoil AND an electric motor on the foil. Once it has a little speed it lifts the board and rider above the water. It is silent and almost wakeless.

The paramotor is much better, just don't land in the water. . .

- guru - Friday, 06/09/17 17:24:36 UTC

Paramotor Flying:
I just watched two reels of paramotor fails. Most were failed take offs and landings. With only a few exceptions the most sever injuries were a few scratches and bruises. The takeoff issues mostly appeared to be lack of experience and panic. The bad landings were mostly due to lack of situational awareness and bad selection of landing sites.

Watching tucker Gott he is always practicing touch and goes and cold start take offs as well as different types of landings. When flying cross country he is always looking for landing sites. Cleared fields are OF but those with crops NOT. Roadways are OK in an emergency if their are no wires. Farm roads are OK. Open grass looks good but can be deep enough to snag you into a hard landing and if you can't run through it you can't take off. . Mowed lawns, parks, airfields are all best.

Many of the fails were people trying to take off and then fight the wind. . . or were trying to avoid too much brush and trees.
- guru - Saturday, 06/10/17 00:52:25 UTC

New Transparent Solar Panels:
Solar panels that can replace glass such as on large buildings has been developed.

The cells covert the unwanted UV and IR by redirecting the rays to the edge of the glass due to its special crystal structure. The solar to electric conversion goes on at the edge of the glass thus only requiring very narrow strips of solar cell.

Besides large buildings any place that uses glass could be converted to solar cells. This includes any window, greenhouses, auto glass and so on. Instead of an electronic display needing a separate solar arry to power it, a clear solar panel can cover the entire display.

While the efficiency is less than dedicated solar cells you are still getting the advantage of daylight passing through or having visibility.

Company Ubiquitous Energy.
- guru - Saturday, 06/10/17 09:27:18 UTC

Seen in a boatyard:
On a bronze plaque:

"If God had intended us to build fiberglass boats he would have grown fiberglass trees."

For all other craftsfolk

If God had intended us to use fiberglass handles he would have grown fiberglass trees.
- guru - Saturday, 06/10/17 12:48:35 UTC

Solar Tech:
New Trump proposal suggests making the "wall" covered or capped with solar panels. This would make the wall the world's largest solar utility. It would also be in the right place where there are more cloudless days than anywhere in the US. Claims are that it would offset costs but this is doubtful in a government project.

Meanwhile, in an article about bad cost estimates for the wall an MIT article gave installed prices for concrete (3 x small lot delivered redimix) then added the labor back on top AGAIN.

You cannot get an honest estimate when both sides have a political agenda.
- guru - Tuesday, 06/13/17 10:35:00 UTC

tod test: testing server reset
- guru - Saturday, 06/17/17 03:06:29 EDT

Two things: Re trees are wonderful: did you know that trees are naturally pre-stressed just like a pre-stressed reinforced concrete beam, dam, or other structure. Trees being strong in tension and weak in compression grow the outside of the tree in tension and the inside in compression so that the wind can blow it and bend twice as far than if it were not. Source: "structures, or why things dont fall down " by Gordon.

Second thing: somewhat comical the trump admin would consider capping the wall with solar panels. Against the grain of the typical mindset. For instance when Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the roof of the white house and then Reagan came in and took them down because having mindfulness about conservation was against his good values.
- Tyler - Monday, 06/19/17 22:25:52 EDT

Trees are Wonderful:
I was watching one of those Greenie literal tree huger movies this evening (kids, mountain spirit vs. evil logging company) and thinking how I really support their position of not clear cutting every stand of larger trees . . . If you love the forest ALL logging is extremely destructive. But on the other hand I love working big beautiful knot free boards. . .and prefer real wood construction.

I suspect many wood workers feel the same.
- guru - Tuesday, 06/20/17 04:03:30 EDT

Trump and the Environment:
Trump is generally pro environment but not when its at the expense of jobs or the economy in general.

Dropping out of the Paris accords was a good thing. They highly penalized our economy while letting the next largest CO2 producers get away with murder for decades. . .

The fact is if you look into what scientists without a political predisposition to the "company line" of global warming have to say then the "facts" are not so clear. In the past 20 years or more if you did not declare that you believed in CO2 causing global warming you could not get hired by NASA, NOAH or any other government supported institution that researched climate or weather AND you could not get published for the same reasons. It is so bad that no scientist without a predisposition to human caused global warming will use ANY climate data processed by NASA or supplied by the US government. A sad state of affairs.

The honest scientists say that YES the climate is changing but NO you cannot prove man is at fault. Historically the climate has changed much much more NATURALLY than anything man could do. We are still in a period of ice ages.

Example, A study of silt layers in the Great Lakes indicates a long period with 250 year peaks where the ice advanced and retreated across the lakes many times. This would mean an area from North of Ottowa to South of Chicago would go from open ground to glacial cover in 250 years. That means almost every Canadian and almost everyone in the US that lives within 200 miles of Canada would be displaced and forced to move South in that time. Huge changes and disruptions would be seen in a single lifetime. And these huge changes would not just be going on in the US and Canada but throughout all of the Northern Hemisphere. And these were small changes compared to the results of axis shift.

What humanity needs to do is learn to deal with each other peacefully so that WHEN these large changes occur we can deal with the displacements and economic changes logically and with compassion.
- guru - Tuesday, 06/20/17 08:32:17 EDT

anvil ID help: i have acquired and anvil . with what looks like makers mark GRRISEZ with a large script N in middle of word the ENGLAND under it and weight of 0 3 12
understand it was in goldfiel blacksmith shop around 1920s here in Qld
- rob watt - Wednesday, 06/21/17 02:48:50 EDT

Old English Anvil:
Here in the US we have many types of English anvil. However, only a couple major dealers out of some 250 English anvil makers actively exported to the US (Mousehole, Peter Wright. . ). The others exported to the English colonies and possesions as well as Europe.

Only a dozen or so of those 250 are known at all and yours is not one we have heard of.

All I can tell you about it is the hundreds weight markings equal (3x28)+ 12 = 96 pounds. A typical small anvil in the "portability range".
- guru - Wednesday, 06/21/17 10:01:37 EDT

Look up Norrisez for info on that anvil
- ThomasP - Wednesday, 06/28/17 16:54:13 EDT

Coronado and habanero apricot jam: An e-acquaintance, Nugent Brasher, and I have been corresponding about iron artifacts found at suspected Coronado sites. Coronado's expedition into the now Southwest occurred in the 1540's. Nugent and others are attempting to find his route of travel by looking for ease of travel, sources of water, campsites, etc.
Recently, Nugent sent me a jar of habanero apricot jam. A note with the jam says, "We use this for everything, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, with eggs, toast, enchiladas, tacos, whatever!" The jam has a little "bite" to it from the habanero chile. Pretty good.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 07/05/17 12:39:00 EDT

Food with a little heat: A couple years ago Frank sent me some local food stuffs, Bueno Foods Premium Chili Powder, some blue cornmeal and some local corn. We made corn muffins from the blue cornmeal and the Chili Powder. I may have misread the amounts and put in a LOT of chili powder. They came out soft red and had just enough zing. Made GREAT muffins to go with beans.

Blue Chili Corn muffins might be a bit too zingy with habanero apricot jam. . . But you never know.

It took me a while to find the ingredients again. Bueno Foods finally put their chili powder on their on-line cart and I found blue cormeal at "Bob's Red Mill". I had also lost the recipe. . . It took a while to find an unsweetened Southern corn bread recipe. .

The Bueno Foods chili powder is a lot different than common "American" chili powder. The common stuff is a mixture of chilli powder, oregano and other spices. The Bueno Foods Premium Chili powder is pure ground dark red select chili.

When buying spices avoid the "patent name" stuff like "lemon pepper". Lemon Pepper is 95% salt with flavoring added. . . Same for many others.
- guru - Wednesday, 07/05/17 13:59:11 EDT

Artificial Intelligence :
AI Was the topic of discussion on NPR this AM. It was not a very intellegent discussion. Their guest expert kept saying that self aware AI was maybe 100 years away and that there was nothing to worry about. . On the other hand Elon Musk believes we need to take proactive action on controlling AI. In 2006 the South Koreans held that Asimov's three laws were too simplistic and should be expanded or rewritten to fit what we know about AI today.

The current state of AI is more accurately described as Expert Systems. Large data analysis, facial recognition, weather prediction and most of things called AI today are actually Expert Systems.

True AI will ask questions as well as answer them. The questions will not be picked from a list, they will be formulated by the AI. If the AI can go out and research its questions and answer them, that is where the trouble will start.

The AI that everyone is scared of is the "self aware" or sentient AI. Most experts think this is a hugely complicated problem but consider this, a fly or gnat is self aware. They have self preservation. They can find their way in the world finding food and mates. Similarly ants and bees can communicate with each other. All this in a microscopic brain.

While this is VERY low level sentience it is still more than the most sophisticated computer program today. But the day when an a computed asks "Who am I? Where am I? What am I? is coming soon. But even as simple as we think these questions are they are too complex of concepts for most living things. So sentience is less than what we think but still more than machines are currently capable of. Or should I say enabled of. They may already be capable.

There are two kinds of computer program. Hardwired or burned into the chips, and programs that live in memory only. The first are safe and immutable while the second are dangerous and open to change or corruption. The first type is what Issac Asimov envisioned in his robots with hard wired rules. The second type is what has been envisioned in movies like Terminator where the AIs go to war against mankind. The second type is also what primarily exists today. The dangerous type that can self program and makeup its own rules.

I personally believe that computer self awareness or sentience will be a relatively simple algorithm or set of rules. In the statement "I think therefore I am", Rene' Descartes summed up the general simplicity of the concept. In the 10 Commandments virtually all the necessary laws of human existence are summarized. So it is possible to reduce vastly complicated ideas into very basic statements.

The simple rules of a sentient machine will come about in one of several ways. 1) Hard work by humans 2) shear accident 3) created by an idiot savant or self taught programmer. I believe the last is most likely and its probability becomes greater and greater as computers proliferate world wide and populations increase.

The first problem is, all the three methods above are the unsafe mode, in memory where the sentient program can change itself, ask and answer its own questions.

The second problem is that IF the program is connected to the Internet AND it has a degree of curiosity it will find the many available expert systems and may make them part of itself. This combined with some self programming would be the uncontrolled situation foreseen in modern science fiction.

Who would have thought we would have self driving cars? This is one step toward a free roving robot. Walking machines now exist that can go almost anywhere - they are just short of a sufficient power supply. Hybrid wheeled/walking machines will be more efficient, faster, and go almost anywhere. Remember the single wheeled robots in "The Jetsons", they exist today, at least as a mobile platform. Mini-drones can do acrobatics only because of advanced software.

While many "experts" think we are a long way from having an AI revolution I think they underestimate the rapidity of change in the computer world.
- guru - Wednesday, 07/19/17 16:30:33 EDT

Gnats and ants are self aware. If computers are, then so what. No one can automatically say it will be disastrous. Humans are animals, but we are also different from animals. There are many layers a human is composed of that other animals don't have, and that a computer won't have. Intelligence is just one tiny slice of the pie.
- Tyler - Monday, 07/31/17 21:35:49 EDT

LIght Bulb Math:
I'm looking at a medium screw base LED bulb. It says in bold lettering on four sides of the box 18 YEAR LIFE! Then in smaller print on one side it says 20,000 hours.

A little simple math says this is 2.3 years continuous. 18 years is 7.8 times that. A little more math says that 3 hours a day comes to 18 years . . .

So, who only uses a bulb 3 hours a day? We have some that are on 24 hours a day, some that are 10 to 12 hours. Even the porch light is on about 4 hours. The only lights that are on for less are a couple closet lights that might see an hour a month. . .

Even if we average the lot it comes to more than double than 3 hours.

At other times in life and in other situations I've used a lot less lights but those I've used were for longer times (12 hours in an office) and no porch light (I do not mind walking in the dark having lived in the country many years. . .). So there are fewer short use bulbs and the average hours are higher.

A light bulb with a true life of 5 or 6 years is a fantastic thing. But lying about its life just gives the manufacturers a bad reputation.

Incandescent bulbs are the worse. Manufacturers adjusted their life to determine their sales and profits. It only takes a bulb with a fraction of a cent's more element to last 10 times as long. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 08/08/17 14:48:30 EDT

lightbulbs: While a fraction of a cent will get you way more life in an incandescent it will also draw more juice. Bigger filiment to reach incandescent heat means more resistance, so more amps at same voltage.

ptree - Tuesday, 08/08/17 17:41:44 EDT

I think the long-life bulbs (including the 130V ones) actually have longer filaments. Absent anything else, that means more resistance (which in turn means *fewer* amps at the same voltage). The greater resistance means the filament operates at lower heat, and the tungsten sublimes more slowly. But the lower heat also means comparatively more IR and less visible light, so the bulb is less efficient.

I've seen one 130V bulb that was rated for performance at both 130 and 120. It used 100W at 130V, and something like 85 at 120. But the lumens at 120V were about equivalent to an ordinary 70W bulb. If that were enough light, you could use a 75W bulb, and save 10W. 10W over a 750 hour life is 7.5 KWH, which might cost $0.75 to $1.00 -- probably more than the cost of the bulb.

Of course, if you have to rent a manlift to change the bulb, it's a different story entirely . . .
Mike BR - Tuesday, 08/08/17 19:58:09 EDT

lightbulbs: If you have to rent a manlift, or even if you don't, use LED bulbs. They're vastly more efficient, and last effectively forever. I've got some in the shop that I got used, and they've been running 24/7 for more than ten years.
- Jan - Wednesday, 08/09/17 10:18:50 EDT

Funny -- just as I was reading Jan's post, my wife called out to tell me that the LED on our basement stairs had turned into a strobe. That's the only failure I've had, though, apart from one that was DOA.
Mike BR - Wednesday, 08/09/17 18:55:42 EDT

Can't really call them "bulbs" anymore. The only advantage to my shop taking so long to finish is that LED strips are coming down in price. Hopefully this is not reflected in quality. . .

The problem with LEDs is the DC power supply. The LEDs last just about forever but the transformer/high frequency switching supply goes bad just like many other electronic devices.

Manlift. . . The house I lived in as a teenager had 12-1/2 foot ceilings. Some of the lights were chandeliers that hung down and were easy to maintain. But a number were on the ceiling and had heavy glass diffusers that were hard to handle much less from the top of a ladder. The big old house was built in the late 1800's when dual gas/electric fixtures were popular.

Originally the only electric in the house was the lighting which was distributed from a second floor panel. Over the years various outlets and appliance hookups were added. When we bought the place there was a section of wall in the basement covered with small fuse boxes and a tangle of wires - all put in by amateurs. When we bought the house we had electricians replace the mess with a nice big SquareD breaker panel. In the process they put 240 VAC on the lighting circuit. It flambe'd a small TV and many lights. We had JUST put new bulbs throughout the house and Dad insisted the electricians replace the ones they blew out. The contractor commented about how petty he was being THEN he counted the 100 bulbs he had to replace including those that took a man a half hour atop a ladder. . .

The electrician was not very good. . . A few years later we had a cord short out in a vacuum cleaner and it left a burn across several feet of floor and a large carpet before the cord burned in two. I investigated and found that all the first floor outlets had been taped into the 50A 240V feeder for the upstairs panel. I cut it loose and extended it to the main panel and hooked it to a new circuit breaker. Thus started my career rewiring and extending much of the power in the house. Since then I've done most of my own electrical work.
- guru - Wednesday, 08/09/17 19:34:57 EDT

Advise or comments on power hammer project: Nearly complete tire power hammer test run. I have not used a power hammer before and built this just off pictures of variations to the spencer, clontz, and X1 designs based on available materials. 62lbs ram weight, 800lbs anvil weight, 1200lbs total. at max motor rpm should run over 300 BPM but appears slower due to friction loss and motor size. Needs tuning and adjustments but those will have to wait until a proper safety shield is in place. Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated expecially as to tuning. It appears to me that I may have too much spring tension but I need to break in the ram guides (Lexan) to reduce some friction before I make that kind of adjustment.
Link to test run of hammer
- Cat Sailor - Friday, 08/18/17 14:02:47 EDT

Cat Sailor, You are getting fair motion from your springs and toggles but not enough. The springs seem to be too heavy. On this machine I would make the toggles about an inch longer and put some spacer under the springs. You also seem to have a LOT of friction. I suspect it is in the ram guides but it might be the brake.

My springs are .282" thick with a 110 pound ram. They are a little light for the ram. Your springs look heavier.
- guru - Friday, 08/18/17 23:00:35 EDT

More JYH tuning:
You need to try the "bounce test" as suggested by Dave Manzer. If the ram will not bounce on the springs then there is too much friction in the ram. On our original EC-JYH the back of the ram ran against a flat plate. If the oil/grease were cold and thick the ram would hardly move due to the large sticky surface area. This is why most non precision hammers use narrow wear strips on the ram corners.

Your video makes it hard to determine the open die space (distance between dies at rest). This should be about the same as the thickness of steel to be forged (1/2" to 1").

Your dies are much too large. If you reduce the area by half then the force per square unit doubles. On combo dies the drawing side is about half the flat forging side. For the hammer size that would be a little less than 1/4 your current depth.

Die edges should be well radiused, actually oval.
- guru - Saturday, 08/19/17 00:24:00 EDT

Thanks guru: There is a significant amount of friction in the guides. It has loosened up in the short run time it has had testing and can be adjusted. My primary concerns during the build were spring tension and toggle length which it appears I have missed the sweet spot in design.
Scott Loesch - Saturday, 08/19/17 00:25:48 EDT

AND One more thing:
The amount of stroke at the ram makes a huge difference in performance. Too much and the hammer is hard to control, too little and there is not enough power. That is why we built ours with adjustable stroke (2.5, 3.2, 3.8, 4.5"). However, for controlability a very short stroke can be beneficial.

Note "stroke" is double the offset from center (radius}.
- guru - Saturday, 08/19/17 00:47:51 EDT

Power Hammer Dies:
I just updated the dies section on our X1 hammer article. I've added elliptical edge dressing drawings and information.

Years ago (maybe 30) I ran across an article on die edges for commercial forging hammers. It started at about 6" deep dies and went up. It was based on an industry study and extrapolation. Sadly I've not seen it since.

Many folks think these are worn edges but it is not. Its forging science. Dress dies correctly and they work much better.
X1-X2 Power hammer Dies
- guru - Saturday, 08/19/17 02:58:06 EDT

Scotts powerhammer: May I commend Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene, with a non-drying Teflon spray lube instead of the lexan. I use the UHMWPE with the Teflon spray and it works just as Clay Spencer says it will. Been using mine for years.
ptree - Sunday, 08/20/17 20:13:36 EDT

Guide Material:
We used oil filled nylon. Not particularly happy with it. When adjusted to minimal play the friction is too high. Replacements will be pricey machined bronze.

An interesting thing. . . we machined a small 3/16" relief in the corner of the guides. A small mud dauber loves the size. . . I will be so happy to get my shop closed in so these pests stop loading my equipment with mud and grit. . .
- guru - Sunday, 08/20/17 22:05:13 EDT

Guide Material: Jock we found that Nylatron, a moly-di filled nylon, was supposed to be self lubricating. It did indeed not gall up, BUT, dry, it generated too much heat which tightened things up. Ended up using it WITH lubrication, (mostly for cooling), and it worked out pretty well.
Lubrication NOT for lubricating but for cooling.
(Tie bar bushings used on injection molding machines.)

Just a thought.
- Tom H - Thursday, 08/31/17 21:09:03 EDT

Tom, We have been oiling it since the beginning.

I think part of the problem is that even though we have a lot of adjustment screws the (.40 thick) nylon needs metal backing plates to avoid local compression. I figure that by the time the guides are modified I can make bronze plates instead at the same cost. Well. . . same time.
- guru - Friday, 09/01/17 17:27:37 EDT

Guide Material: Didn't think to mention that we always used back-up steel plates.
If you can redesign, maybe in the future, you might try again at your 3/8-5/8 thickness WITH 1/4-3/8 back plate.
If the bearing surface is profiled in some way, the back plates make adjustments somewhat more convenient.
- Tom H - Monday, 09/04/17 16:50:24 EDT

Well. . . I was trying to keep things simple.
- guru - Tuesday, 09/05/17 21:49:50 EDT

hammer guides: The tire hammer as drawn by Clay Spencer shows a simple, easy to fabricate guide system. I used that design thought on my latest iteration of my hammer. I used the square tube within a square tube as the ram/guide. The inner tube has an added bottom heavy plate for die attachment, and the space between the inner tube and outer guide tube has Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene. I do have thin sheet metal on a couple of sides as spacer shims. Unlike the Spencer drawings, Mine has 1/4" thick UHMWPE and I ran countersunk flat head screws though from the inside of the guide, and have nylon inserted nuts to secure those. As noted by Spencer the guide work far better, with less wear when lubed with a non-drying Teflon spray. I use a generic from Sprayon, as it is half the cost of the name brands and works every bit as well. My hammer was been running for several years now with no guide changes and is a 70# ram.
ptree - Saturday, 09/09/17 07:29:50 EDT

Tip Shop Note Book: ".....for future reference to save time on repeat or similar jobs."

And to record changes, corrections, errors, etc.
Nothing like ordering the incorrect items TWICE!
- Tom H - Saturday, 09/09/17 10:23:24 EDT

Been there, done that. . . But mostly on things like clothes or shoes which you can no longer read the size and it has been years since the last order. . .
- guru - Saturday, 09/09/17 13:53:14 EDT

The move I've made a few times is being sure I have something but looking everywhere I can think of and not finding it. Finally giving up and ordering a new one. Then going to put the new one away and finding the old one right there . . .
Mike BR - Sunday, 09/10/17 15:30:48 EDT

Tom, I added you addition to the tips list.

Mike, I would have that trouble in the shop if I was that organized. . . The place I KNOW I've double ordered is I've got multiple copies of 4 rare lock / locksmithing books. I should probably sell them as a set. . .
- guru - Sunday, 09/10/17 23:07:00 EDT

Austrailia Day Lamb Ads: Can you imagine an Australia Day Lamb style ad for 4th of July Burgers {or Hot Dogs}? People would go crazy . . . Has America has lost its sense of humor? Perhaps in Trump's second term he can address "Making America Funny Again"? You heard it here first. (2017 Not PC)

- guru - Monday, 09/11/17 18:33:14 EDT

Trying to fix google link but FTP is acting weird.

Couldn't fix simple google link so removed. . .
- guru - Monday, 09/11/17 19:43:00 EDT

Politicians: are throwing money that they do not have at a problem that does not exist in order to finance solutions that make no difference.

-- Michael Hart on global warming
- guru - Monday, 09/18/17 16:28:30 EDT

Two is one and one is none:
A favorite saying of Pastor Joe Fox (youtube). As a prepper one of something may break, get lost, or used up so you have NONE. Two gives you a backup so you always have at least ONE.

Something to think about when something is important or critical and not immediately replaceable.
- guru - Friday, 09/22/17 10:32:35 EDT

Climate Change: I was listening to a Joe Rogan podcast with Randall Carlson (#501, it is on youtube). He had an interesting take on climate change. In a nutshell: Are humans causing climate change? 1. Yes, but it's not to the extent the mainstream believes. 2. There are myriad factors that contribute to the complexity of the Earth's climate.. 3. Research is focused on anthropogenic means and carbon dioxide.
- Big T - Sunday, 09/24/17 02:15:24 EDT

Global Warming Lies:
When science becomes politicized then it can no longer be trusted. A current statement used in both the global warming scam and the Russian influencing scam is "a consensus of scientists (or agencies) believe. . . ".

A consensus does not make a fact. A consensus is not truth. Neither needs evidence, only belief OR politics.

For the past couple decades or more the only money available for weather and climate research was if it supported global warming and/or CO2 being the cause.

Anyone that spoke against global warming was called labeled a "climate denier" by all the "believers" and the mainstream press. This is the equivalent of being called a heretic in religion. It holds as much water as Antifa calling everyone that is against them "White Supremacists and Racists". It is no more than schoolyard name calling.

Since Trump pulled out of the Paris accords a pole of over 35,000 scientists all agreed that their was no evidence to prove man has influenced global warming. While this is a type of consensus, it needs no facts to prove a scientific point. It is merely a statement that there is no evidence.

The untainted climatologists will tell you that water vapor has a much greater "greenhouse" affect than CO2 and atmospheric water vapor is controlled by ocean temperatures which are controlled by the Sun. So in the end it is the sun, far beyond our control that determines global temperatures.

One of the worst things to come of this was the corruption of our beloved NASA scientists. To fit their new global warming religion NASA "adjusted" the accepted temperature data from the 20th Century downward to make new data higher in comparison. This was just plain fraudulent data manipulation. That is what happens when science becomes a religion.

As blacksmiths were should be incensed by this perversion of science. Improvements in the science of metallurgy drive improvements in bladesmithing, tool smithing and the knowledge of the history of our craft. Yes, history, by the application modern science by Archeometallurgists. Imagine if our knowledge of metallurgy was frozen as a religion in the 1800's. Imagine if alloying was considered blasphemy? We would have no High Speed Steels, no heat resistant steels, no high strength steels at all and no stainless steel . . . Imagine if gross crystallization in steel was still believed to be due to vibration, not improper heat treating?

This is what happens when science becomes a religion OR a religion takes over science. It becomes codified and stagnant. There is no progress.

Lets hope the scientific community corrects itself and rededicates itself to finding the truth.
- guru - Tuesday, 09/26/17 18:14:00 EDT

Climate Change: My father-in-law was a meteorologist from the 30's through the 60's. He told us that we had enjoyed 50 or 60 years of the mildest weather ever. So mild, that with more disposable income, people were building on ocean fronts, lakefronts, in forests, etc. He said that soon weather would be returning to NORMAL. More floods, fires, hurricanes, blizzards, etc. He said to check tree rings and they will tell the story. Centuries ago man didn't have communications like we do now, so we are seeing the results in real time as opposed to stories relayed by word of mouth years later. I am sorry he didn't live long enough to see it happening.
- Loren T - Wednesday, 09/27/17 12:31:42 EDT

Climate Change:
Where I grew up we had snow every winter. Enough snow that for months our favorite activity was sled riding and a sled was often on the top of one's Christmas list. Temperatures often hovered around -10 to -20F for weeks. In the late 70's and early 80's we started having less and less snow until the point that snow was a rare thing and giving a kid a sled for Christmas would be a cruel joke. Temperatures have been generally warmer. . .

Today I live in a "modular" home as do millions in our area. IF the weather returned to that of the 50's and 60's this POS house would be impossible to heat. The pipes would freeze and the place become unlivable. This would apply to MILLIONS.

So what IS normal? Our weather? Our grandparent's weather? In this time can we detect a trend? Not on a geohistorical scale.

Beach front construction is another thing. Construction from the Florida Keys to the beaches in Maryland is supported by government subsidized flood insurance. This is a political problem. The fact is, if you want a house ON the beach where it is guaranteed to be destroyed by the next big hurricane then you should be able to afford to replace it out of pocket OR build like Trump did in the Caribbean OR my grandparents in Miami. You CAN build hurricane proof but it is VERY expensive. Its a game for the rich.

Cities have always been built on coasts and on rivers. This is for convenience for commerce and trade but it has disadvantages. Flooding is obvious. Besides floods from rain there is flooding from Tsunami and storm surge. While it is improbable for all three to happen at once combined floods DO happen and the more time that goes by the higher the probability.

Tornadoes in "tornado alley" have always been common. But 75 years ago they ravaged distant farm fields and only made the local farm news if at all. Today thousands of acres that were fields are now housing tracts and trailer parks where a tornado cannot miss peoples homes. Now it is big news without climate change.

And THIS is my point. As human populations increase the devastation by storms will be greater. Not because the storms are worse but because with higher population density more people are affected.

- guru - Wednesday, 09/27/17 17:07:49 EDT

Bump Fire Stocks:
Like many folks I had never paid much attention to Bump Fire or Slide Fire Stocks until after the Las Vegas massacre. These devices are so dead simple it is unbelievable and they work fairly well. However, they make the weapon a little clumsy to handle safely.

Then I looked up DIY Bump Stock. The cat is definitely out of the bag and making them illegal will only stop the commercial availability. Hand made ones have been made using nothing more than stock parts, a connector bar made of hardware store aluminium or steel, a hack saw and some JB weld. Better ones include a few screws and some folks have fabricated the entire slide stock from wood. And from what what I see there are probably digital files out there for 3D printers, which can also be home built using other 3D printers. At one time there was talk of licensing and controlling 3D printers. . . another cat out of the bag.

I also looked into what the commercial versions cost. Seems $150 to $180 is the norm and something over #200 when supplied with an improved high speed trigger assembly. However, there is NO STOCK anywhere since the Las Vegas shooting. Sold out instantly.

Restrictive gun laws will not stop mass murder events. The Paris truck attack killed and injured almost as many as in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas shooter had a personal aircraft. He could have loaded it up with fuel and flown it into the same crowd and had similar results. There have been mass murders by knife wielders in England that have been lightly reported because they were Islamic and its become politically incorrect to report that terrorists are of certain religions even when their acts are done in the name of that religion. . .

The fact is that if a mad man who doesn't care about his own life wants to they can do terrible things. Especially if they are smart and have the means. We can't ban trucks, kitchen knives or baseball bats. And there is no telling what devious methods mad men will come up with in the future.

Don't let knee jerk reactions to today's news take away our 2nd amendment rights.
- guru - Friday, 10/06/17 17:44:54 EDT

Some Things Dont Change: "The hammer marks on early iron are often eagerly looked for. But in the finest work those marks were often carefully avoided, so that they prove nothing except that a piece is hand wrought. They do not testify to age. Of late the market has been flooded with a great quantity of crude, spurious iron work."

Wallace Nutting
"Furniture of the Pilgrim Century; 1620-1720"
- Bruce Blackistone - Sunday, 10/08/17 17:52:55 EDT

Some Things Dont Change:
This is why I have little respect fro a couple of popular smiths. They bought power hammers solely for the purpose of putting hammer marks on their work. Not carefully controlled texture, just well spaced hammer marks. Only one step better than the old three ball peen divots from the 1950's.

The last job I was asked to quote on was a reproduction lintle bar for a museum in Virginia. In brick and stone fireplaces the old bars tapered to nearly nothing so that they fit into the masonry joints. Thus they were forged.

The problem was the museum curator wanted the lintel bar hammer textured all over. Originals were made from rolled bar to the closest needed dimension. The only forged parts were the ends.

In a good dry fireplace the bars held up fairly well. In a damp fireplace the bars developed heavy pitted corrosion. To the neophyte this MIGHT look like a heavy hammer texture but to any with experience in the field it is obvious corrosion (the sharp edged cratered type).

After a heated argument I told the curator he was an ignorant fool and I would never work for him. . .
- guru - Sunday, 10/08/17 21:21:02 EDT

True old work:
I have recently been consulting on some 15th and 16th century Chest locks. Most slide a long bar that hooks into 3 or 4 hasps on the lid that extend into the top front of the chest. While some of the forging is a bit primitive there are NO obvious hammer marks on the 5 to 6 foot foot long bolt. Lock plates also show no hammer marks and all rivets are flush and invisible.

I chalk up some of the primitive look to trial and error fitting, needing to reforge sections to adjust length to fit. There is also the matter of the bolt zig-zagging a bit so that all the locking tabs make a straight line.

When I have a chance I will draw up the lock(s).
- guru - Sunday, 10/08/17 21:29:37 EDT

Unattributed Quote:
When the Government lies the truth becomes a traitor.
- guru - Thursday, 10/12/17 13:06:29 EDT

Interesting tools: I once saw a short Phillips screw driver attached to a sewing thimble shape and sized driver with a little bearing in it. GREAT tool! Never saw another like it. Sometimes I covet others tools. . . . Should be a commandment about it. . . But then, we blacksmiths don't have "manhood" envy, we have anvil envy (mine is bigger than yours).

- guru - Monday, 10/16/17 20:05:04 EDT

I think that's covered in the "Thou shalt not covet anything of your neighbors..."

What I found interesting in the "case law" was that if someone pledges their tools you have to let them use them; otherwise they could not pay off their debt!
ThomasP - Tuesday, 10/17/17 22:48:26 EDT

That is why modern bankruptcy law says they cannot take ones tools of their trade.
- guru - Thursday, 10/19/17 09:16:28 EDT

The lies get bolder:
The telephone credit scammers have upped their game. Their into recording claiming to be "VISA" says you MUST accept their offer or they will cancel your credit card. The do not have the power to do this.

The lies start with their caller ID. It is bogus OR worse, today they used an actual bank number (Chase VISA).

The second lie is that they ARE your credit card company. They are not, they are scammers in a boiler room in India.

The third lie is that they can help reduce your card interest rate. That is THREE lies in seconds and you have not spoken to a person yet.

IF they have a do-not-call option it does no good, it just confirms that you picked up the phone. A fourth lie.

Depending on my mood I hang up OR I press the response key (1 or 9) and then I tell the guy on the other end of the line, "You are a lair and a thief". OR just, "Get an honest job!". You have to be quick because these low lifes know when you are starting to tell them off. I do not try to troll them as it does no good and it not worth my time.

PLEASE talk to your elderly relatives and children who may be fooled by these scammers. They are thieves that bill your card up to $900 for their "services". They are also phishing for personal information (SS number, bank account info, DOB...). They can ruin your life.

Today I got 2 of these calls on my land line and 3 on my cell phone. All these were using the NEW lie that they will cancel your card if you do not reply. I have to pick up these calls with no ID as my phones are used for business and many individuals and businesses do not have proper caller ID notification.

- guru - Thursday, 10/19/17 19:07:01 EDT

nomorobo works pretty well for me. I signed up for it free for my fiber landline. Unfortunately, it isn't free for mobiles, and isn't available for copper landlines.
Mike BR - Monday, 10/23/17 19:23:40 EDT

Nomorobo looks like a great service. A few years ago I read of a device which intercepted incoming calls and asked the caller to press a number to be put through. I wanted one.
Unfortunately Nomorobo does not appear to be available here in Australia.
- Phil H - Tuesday, 10/24/17 18:03:40 EDT

I don't know whether to be glad or sorry to learn that telemarketing calls aren't an exclusive perk of living in the USA (grin). I wonder if any generally free countries have found a way to stop them.
Mike BR - Wednesday, 10/25/17 18:56:10 EDT

Telescammer: is the proper term for most of these people. They are not trying to sell something, they are trying to steal.

The credit card rate scammers started in Florida but when things got too hot there they moved the operation to India where many boiler room operations are run. Occasionally they are raided but then they pop up again within days. They charge up to $900 on your card that they are supposed to help. . . then do nothing. They also sell personal information.

Security system scams are popularly run against the elderly. They start with "This is not a sales call." Then they offer a "free" security system (an electronic box worth about $10 in today's market). But the "system" is worthless without the monitoring which DOES cost something. Do it IS a sales call, a LIE. A Friend of our's Father in Law who had early memory issues had signed up for 3 of these, two from the same thieving company. Many of these are charged against your telephone bill and are easy to go unnoticed.

- guru - Thursday, 10/26/17 22:35:13 EDT

Fire Retardent Clothing:
Cotton welding aprons, sleaves, spats and caps can be made flame retardent by soaking in a borax solution and then letting air dry. If washed, repeat process. - DaveB

New safety tip.
- guru - Thursday, 10/26/17 22:36:45 EDT

These items should not be worn against bare skin.
- guru - Friday, 10/27/17 17:55:25 EDT

Telescammers: Maybe we can blame it on the Do Not Call list. (When telemarketing is outlawed . . .) But in actuality, I doubt cutting down on the legal calls made it any easier for the scammers.
Mike BR - Saturday, 10/28/17 14:46:17 EDT

Tip of the Day: "Feeling lucky newbie"?

A great tip Guru.
- Tom H - Monday, 10/30/17 10:08:33 EDT

Safety and Shop Tips:

I just added two new tips, one to safety and machinery and another to just machinery. The safety tip was drawn from the "Got Away With it Factor" article.

CHUCK KEYS: Never take your hand off it unless it is OUT/OFF the chuck. I don't care if it is for 2 seconds to check something or make an adjustment you JUST DON'T DO IT. Chuck keys small and large (lathe chuck keys are often more than a foot long) can fly like missiles, crash into ways, snag sleeves, or a combination of things. Practice keeping your hand ON THE KEY! This is one of the most commonly broken rules and one of the most dangerous hazards in the shop.

Jacobs® Chucks: Besides being THE standard drill chuck some models of Jacobs chucks can be rebuilt. Kits cost about half that of a new chuck. Replacement Jacobs keys are readily available from many sources AND Jacobs makes a handy 4 way key that is almost universal among most Jacobs chucks. You cannot go wrong by standardizing on Jacobs® Chucks in your shop. - guru

The next time I rebuild a Jacobs chuck I'll do a photo how-to. Once you know how they come apart it is easy but until then they are a bit of a mystery.

Why rebuild or replace? Any time a bit slips in the chuck it chews up the chuck jaws. Eventually the jaws develop too much tapered wear and do not grip tightly and often run out (this is normal) On the heavy duty Ball Bearing chucks the bearings are often damaged by over tightening. New bearings are supplied in the rebuild kit.

- guru - Monday, 10/30/17 14:10:24 EDT

Another Safety Tip and History:
TOO HEAVY TO HANDLE: Know your limitations. The most common debilitating injury in the shop and construction site is a bad back from lifting something too heavy or awkward. Male impatience and Machismo are primary factors in this. Keep it in your pants, wait for help OR the right lifting equipment. It can save you a lifetime of pain. - Roger A. Hayden (1953 - 1975).

Roger was my good friend and brother in law. He liked working construction and intended to do so for his entire life. But he had observed that many of the older workers had bad backs and self medicated (usually with alcohol - but sometimes stronger substances) and he did not want to end up this way.

Roger died much too young as a result of a fall while visiting Crabtree falls in Amherst Co. Virginia. He was saved from drowning by a young couple. He died days later due to a broken neck. The couple would become my friends three years later. However it would be 30 years before we discovered this connection between us. A lot of crying and hugging ensued in the middle of a rural road overlooking a waterfall as we remembered past events. This was the first time I had a good cry over Roger's death . . . and now I tear up every time I tell this story.
-guru - Sunday, 11/05/17 11:03:41 EST

We DO NOT give ANYONE permission to use our content. "Pinning" items onto Pinterst is STEALING. Due to people pining so much of our content to pinterest any search for an anvilfire image returns a Pinterest collection. This is THEFT of content, theft of MY work, and takes real money from MY pockets. Starting today we are reporting images DAILY and asking for strikes against the offenders.
- guru - Wednesday, 11/08/17 14:35:11 EST

Headlines should read "Good Guy With a Gun stops Church Mass Shooter". This is the truth.

What was reported was that the Shooter committed suicide. In fact a neighbor Stephen Willeford, and a good Samaritan with a truck Johnnie Langendorff, chased and shot the Shooter (2 or 3 times on a running gunfight).

The reason the FAKE news did not report the REAL story is that a hero with an AR-15 does not fit the main stream news bias against guns and the 2nd amendment.

In fact, honest folks with guns stop a LOT of crime and it is almost never reported in the news. There are hundreds of examples on Youtube. AND how many times does just letting the bad guy know you have a gun end the confrontation right there and its not reported to the police or the news (and thus there are no statistics)?
- guru - Wednesday, 11/08/17 18:37:28 EST

I just reported ONE Pinterst user for using dozens of our images from anvilfire and two of our other sites. He had every image from my post vice article, images from my plans page and from numerous iForge articles.

Several of this users pages had what looked like affilate links to blacksmithing books so he was using stolen images for commercial purposes.

I reported several pages yesterday that had a dozen images from our X1 Hammer article and JYH Design articles.

IF you have our images on your Pinterest page we are going to report them. Since these pages are anonymous I do not know who you are and I do not really care. You have stolen from me. If you do not clean up ALL your pages you may get reported over and over. . .
- guru - Friday, 11/10/17 20:10:00 EST

Pinterest: I don't use Pinterest, snapchat, etc,etc,etc. I may be 72 and retired, but I don't want to spend hours looking at things vicariously when I can do things myself. I refuse to join Facebook and other sites after an episode several years ago when my grandson went to Myspace on my computer and it cost me $90 to rid it of malware. If i want to learn something, i may check the web for info, but always deny a site permission to change or access my computer. That being said, I just checked on Pinterest and apparently there are several million pins that lead you to info about any given subject. If you want more info, it leads you to a website. If I understand you, the images you object to lead users to other websites, not to Anvilfire. Is this correct, or am I missing something?
- Loren Tollefson - Saturday, 11/11/17 11:01:50 EST

Pinterest Leads:
Pinterest relies on "members" building collections. The rules state that they are NOT to use copyrighted material. However, they make it much more difficult for a copyright holder to make a complaint than the "members" who only need to make a click. . . It takes me hours to file a complaint.

Pinterest collections are often 100% illegally used copyrighted information. It is a devious lowlife business model.

IF Pinterest collections had only ONE of our images and a link directly to the subject mater it would not be so egregious. But greedy Pinterest members will copy EVERY image from an article as did the ones that used very image from our Blacksmith Vise article plus several from our Vise Gallery and most of the images from our X1-Hammer article. Many copy multiple images from multiple pages.

Pinterest collections become entities on their own by shear mass. All by theft.

Due to the proliferation of Pinterest pages a search for something specifically on anvilfire will bring up dozens of Pinterst pages instead of the content on anvilfire. Going to those links does not guarantee that the searcher will end up on anvilfire. There is ALWAYS a link to a second page and MORE thumbnails from other sites. Pinterest links often lead to pages that also stole our images. The longer our property is on these pages the more this occurs.

All this reduces the certainty that people will find us and reduces the value of our content. This is called dillution. It dilutes the value of our content.

Much of the content that is being stolen (and it IS theft) are images and drawings that I may have hundreds of hours invested. They were created by me for use on anvilfire and nowhere else (unless I write a book or publish a CD).

Anvilfire will be 20 years old next spring. With the exception of a couple years I've worked anvilfire 7 days a week and relied on anvilfire for my living all those years.

Stealing our content is no different than someone coming into your shop or home and stealing your tools or belongings. In most places you would have the right to shoot the thief in your house. Well, this is MY house, albiet a rather public one. The downside being that when you deal with the public there will always be a few that don't respect your property.

I've given the public free access to all the content on anvilfire and our other sites. But that does NOT mean the public has the right to walk off with our content OR for Pinterest to make a business off OUR work.
- guru - Saturday, 11/11/17 14:08:33 EST

Boston Knife Makers: Last year I scored this Colonial Period anvil at an auction in upstate VT. Upon cleaning it I found these marks. I believe the chiseled marking of Boston is original since all subsequent marks are over 'BOSTON'as opposed to being under it.

Also there is another name above it that I cannot make out but for a few letters. Anyone know the name of Colonial knife makers in Boston?
Overall a really cool anvil in pretty good original shape. IOt shal never leave my possession.
- Joe Polaski - Monday, 11/13/17 15:55:47 EST

"It shall never leave my possession."

Better plan on it being your head stone. :)
- guru - Monday, 11/13/17 23:51:07 EST

Pinterest removed several dozen pages with our images.

They did not like my submitting THEIR index to pins from our pages so I resubmitted going through the index selecting specific images or images from articles. From this amounted to over 100 image links without getting to the gallery.
- guru - Monday, 11/13/17 23:59:00 EST

COST of Images I:
We rarely pay for images but we paid a significant license fee for one of the images on This license was for use on that site ONLY. If I want to publish it in print then I will have to negotiate and PAY another license. Legally I HAVE to track down infringers.

For a couple years we licensed cartoons from 5th Wave. The two cartoons we licensed "laptop anvil" and "Satyr needs blacksmith" cost several hundred dollars to run 5 days each.

We also had professional cartoonists submit cartoons specifically for anvilfire in exchange for advertising. At our rates we paid a LOT for "Trump Apprentice Blacksmith" and "Smith fixing nose ring".

We have also paid and traded for other comics. Nippulini was paid in ITC-100 and Kaowool. This may not sound like much but his drawings were rough sketches that I spent many hours making clean line work from then coloring. I probably have 20 times the hours in them than he had. But I wish I could get him to do more and have offered to pay. . .

I also paid for the Old Welder collection. He sent a few a month and I paid as much as I could. It took several years for him to find all his old metalwork and general purpose cartoons and much time for me to digitize them. While they were professional art our scans all had to be made cleaner and bolder. We also added color to those we thought appropriate. I probably have as much time invested in each as Frank did originally. I have thousands of dollars (cash money) invested in this collection.

Old Welder Collection
- guru - Tuesday, 11/14/17 00:46:20 EST

COST of Images II: There is not a single image on anvilfire that I have not tweeked or put up to a day's work into.


The above are mostly images that were donated to us but that I could not publish AS-IS. The results in some cases are fully digital paintings. In other cases such as "Josh's Hands" the results are an outstanding work of art.

Then there are images like "Dave Testing the X1-b". In the original photo the background is as well lit as the foreground and equally in focus. It was hard to look at. The reworked image has the background lightened, the contrast reduced and put out of focus. This in done in four zones at different depths. The foreground, Dave and the Hammer, were made brighter, the contrast increased and shadow added to improve the edges. This does not include the time taking multiple photos trying to catch the hammer at the bottom of the stroke so the ram is in focus. Nor does it include the time designing an attractive machine and painting it so that it would photograph well.

I used to do EVERY image in the NEWS this way. . . that is largely why I had to quit the news. . .

Dave Testing the X1-b middle page
- guru - Tuesday, 11/14/17 01:49:42 EST

Server Time Test
- guru - Tuesday, 11/14/17 09:25:29 EST

Tommy 1951 - 2017: My cousin Tommy died yesterday. We were not close and it has been 20 years since I've seen him. We were the same age and this made us close in that way.

Tommy was special. He had Downs syndrome. When he was born his parents were told to abandon him, give him to the State and they would "care" for him until the end of a very short life. . . They refused, found experts, form support groups, created schools. . . and Tommy thrived. He functioned at a higher level than he should due to the love of his parents.

For many years Tommy spent time with my Grandparents, helping around the house and keeping them company. Later he helped take care of his sister's daughters and helped keep house. In recent years he had developed Alzheimer's and was finally put into a convalescent home. He developed pneumonia and died. He had outlived both his parents.

We were close but not close.
- guru - Thursday, 11/16/17 18:56:39 EST

Tommy: Sorry for your loss Jock.
As I understand Scripture, God has unique mercy for the 'innocent'.
- Tom H - Sunday, 11/19/17 00:30:35 EST

If there are Angels then they are Downs children when they walk among us.

- guru - Sunday, 11/19/17 03:13:41 EST

Time confusion:
The other day I noticed the date on my PC was incorrect so I reset it. Then I couldn't login to one of my server applications. I spent a couple days researching it to no avail. So I reset the date incorrectly. . . that worked.

Meanwhile, most applications rely on your local PC's date/time. When I scheduled pickups by UPS and the Post Office the calendars were all amiss and I ended up scheduling pickups a day late, Same with a bank payment. . . I was surprised at the critical services that relied on a customer's time setting.

For the rest of the week I was confused about the date. . . So I checked it AGAIN and went to reset it. . . Then I noticed that AM-PM was incorrect. So the date was changing mid-day! After resetting that the day was correct and I could login to the application. The confusion was over. . .

Anyway, all is well now. It was sort like the answer Daniel Boone gave about never being lost. ". . . but I was a might bewildered for some time."

Several months ago I had a similar thing happen with our server when someone thought it should have the time set to Universal Daylight Time (UDT) after having been set to Eastern Time since the beginning. I noticed our Tips of the Day were displaying two different tips a day and that one of out Holiday announcements were off a day. That one also took a few days to figure out. . .
- guru - Sunday, 11/19/17 04:05:37 EST

Bad Robot: slaughterbots

Only IF the world was as simple as Asimov wrote it and ALL robots had the 3 laws. Starting with #1, A robot will NOT hurt a human or let harm come to a human. But in Asimov's world there was only ONE maker of robots and they were committed to the Three Laws. Today, like in the film above it is the worst sort making the greatest progress in this field and the LAST thing they want is the Three Laws.

Unlike nuclear weapons the platform for this weapon is cheap and already readily available. The only thing missing is a few specialized chips to keep the total package weight at a minimum. Like the Neutron bomb which was heavily debated in the 1970's. this weapon does not destroy infrastructure, just people. AND it is even more selective than the Neutron bomb and does not kill cattle and wildlife.

IF you think the above is far fetched. . they already make a flying drone camera system that will follow you . Yes, it follows a sending unit. But what is different about your cell phone? Chipped cards. . .
- guru - Sunday, 11/19/17 22:56:59 EST

Sympathy: I'll be taking Amanda to her bi-weekly "Pizza and Movie Night" tomorrow. She's now "31 going on 7" and living in a very good group home. At church she serves as acolyte (Fully successful- Does not set Episcopal Priest on fire!); and Thursday we'll have Thanksgiving at her sister's-in-law. We were quite fortunate that attitudes and ideas had changed so much in the proceeding 10 or 20 years. Your aunt and uncle did the right thing.

"You don't need a 150 I.Q. to spin, weave and tend the sheep." (UAVTBoW)
Bruce Blackistone Atli - Monday, 11/20/17 22:21:01 EST

TIP walk through: Another good one guru.
Notice that even Peter Ross on the relatively straightforward operations we see on the Woodwright Shop seems to be a few steps ahead in his thinking as he mentally 'walks through' before doing the task.
- TomH - Wednesday, 11/22/17 10:23:11 EST

The Hot Iron Dance:
Remember "The Neutron Dance"? Big favorite when I was doing Nuclear work. . .

I find that walk troughs help with efficiency in blacksmithing. I started calling it a dance when I found I was doing a lot of shop "pirouettes" in my small work space.

In metal casting it is more of a safety exercise than anything else. I found in my early casting work that you needed preplanned laydown areas hot items like crucibles, lids, furnace parts. Laying a crucible in sand results in melted sand/glass on the bottom of the crucible which is difficult to remove and will stick to other things later. . . like welding the crucible to the crucible block in your furnace. .

If you work with others in a close space practicing the Hot Iron Dance is even more important.

After watching the Pointer Sisters do Neutron Dance I think I'm going to watch Beverly Hills Cop. . . Nice relaxing Thanksgiving afternoon. . .
- guru - Thursday, 11/23/17 12:58:22 EST

In skydiving we did a "dirt dive" prior to the jump when we were making freefall formations. Everybody walked through the jump and we would change formation and practice until everybody was sure of where and who they were grabbing. In bigger formations of 15 or 40 or so we would do them in our jumpsuits and rigs hanging on our backs as the colors helped focus on what to grab as you often could not see others faces.Bigger formations were made usually from 12,500 feet above the ground yeilding about 60 seconds freefall, so one had to be quick and sure, just like a complicated move in blacksmithing. When we are doing a big split cross we often have 3 porter bar guys and when the cross arrives at either the forge or the anvil we often have a group pivot. We have chosen to call a "Dosi-do" and always do a right turn so it is automatic.
- ptree - Thursday, 11/23/17 19:06:02 EST

You just gave me an idea for a comic. . . Group of smiths working on a big item, Master Smith with Cow-boy hat and microphone calling the action. . . Allemand left, grab your sledge and face your partner, strike his punch and. . .

Now who do I put all the puffy dresses on ?
- guru - Friday, 11/24/17 09:13:41 EST

One of the BFH group who will go unnamed is always called on the do the final sledge peened finish on the flared ends of our 3" square split crosses as he is very meticulous. This smith was observed to be stepping slowely in a back and forth manner as he used the straight peen to do the texture as the rest of us were striking with cross peens. Being The BFH, we started calling "Happy feet" when we notice and we all step in formation with him as we are striking :) Not yet captured on video, but we are doing a big Cross tomorrow at my shop for The Smoked Turkey Hammer-in and maybe video will capture this.
ptree - Friday, 11/24/17 20:25:33 EST

2, 3, cha cha cha, 2, 3, cha cha cha. .


1, 2, tap tap tap, 3, 4, tap tap tap. . .

- guru - Saturday, 11/25/17 09:29:51 EST

Not to be confused with the infamous Hollywood "tap tap tink, tap tap tink".
- guru - Sunday, 11/26/17 08:48:26 EST

Jock I think you need a nap.
- TomH - Sunday, 11/26/17 15:12:18 EST

Now you have me thinking of a hot iron tango!
- ThomasP - Monday, 11/27/17 23:27:42 EST

THAT is what you need those Iron Roses for! A bit hard on the teeth though.
- guru - Tuesday, 11/28/17 12:06:50 EST

A couple weeks ago I submitted complaints about collections built using some of our images from anvilfire and I was about to resubmit but just received notice that these batches had been processed and are in the process of removal.

If you have been warned about one or more of our images it would be to your advantage to remove ALL as we are continuing to report images until ALL have been reported.

The resources on anvilfire are FREE to the public to read and even copy. But it is not available to be republished elsewhere on the web or in print. THAT is theft.
- guru - Wednesday, 11/29/17 19:17:04 EST

Free Resource: Hence, numerous links to Anvilfire in my missives to beginning blacksmiths and reenactors. :^)
Bruce Blackistone Atli - Thursday, 11/30/17 22:12:23 EST

Stable Links:
The other thing we do is keep our links the same OR if an article is replaced the old link rolls over to the new. This was a decision I made 20 years ago and continue to maintain those links. IF you linked to one of our articles in 1998 it should still work.

I stopped linking to other pages years ago due to the fact that they were always disappearing. . . .
- guru - Friday, 12/01/17 11:24:15 EST

2018 anvilfires 20th Aniversary:
20 Years and over 27 Million visits!
- guru - Friday, 12/01/17 13:05:53 EST

Light wet snow today. . .
- guru - Friday, 12/08/17 13:09:28 EST

Snow got wetter - stuck to everything.
Light snow again. . . Expecting freezing rain.
Oh to be in Costa Rica. . .
- guru - Saturday, 12/09/17 09:16:50 EST

Snowed Thursday Morning---as I was walking across the southern border of the USA. Luckily it stopped before work was over. Looks like the furnace in my rental is broken, again. Luckily we had a lot of sun today and it's warming up next week.
ThomasP - Saturday, 12/09/17 23:16:25 EST

haybudden anvil: I have a 131lb. with the serial # A12600 or A13600 visible and I would like to find out when it was made.
sandlapper - Sunday, 12/10/17 21:01:21 EST

Dee guru's den
- guru - Monday, 12/11/17 22:50:19 EST

acquisititus: Noun?
- TomH - Wednesday, 12/13/17 09:39:55 EST

Green Tanning

- guru - Saturday, 12/16/17 09:41:01 EST

Hey, Jock, is the Guru's den still working? I just typed in a long post on files (the short version is NOS Nicholsons) and when I clicked "post" I got the "Don't Panic" screen, but it never showed up.
Alan-L - Monday, 12/18/17 13:53:21 EST

Forging Furnace: I have a forging furnace that I am looking for information on. I've attached some pictures of it. The brand is The Kidder Co, Canton Oh, Patent Jan 13, 1927.
CaGuy - Monday, 12/18/17 18:14:42 EST

Alan, Your post showed up fine.
- guru - Tuesday, 12/19/17 02:07:00 EST

Kidder Forge:
CaGuy, What you have is an ancient natural gas forge.

From the number and size of the burners I'd say it would run you out of business trying to feed it UNLESS you were using it to feed a large drop hammer in high production (moving billets as big as a man could move about every 30 seconds.).
- guru - Tuesday, 12/19/17 02:16:30 EST

6 Beaudry: I am working on a friends #6 Beaudry power hammer & I was wondering what the distance between the dies should be when the hammer is at rest at the bottom of the stroke.
Also wondering what the normal stroke length is set at.

Dave Huffman
- Dave Huffman - Tuesday, 12/19/17 16:33:54 EST

I've found that when I post from Chrome (as I usually do), the the post often does not show up for some time, even when I refresh. A couple of times I've checked and been able to see the post in Explorer well before it shows up in Chrome. Of course, that may have more to do with different settings in the two browsers than the browsers themselves.
Mike BR - Tuesday, 12/19/17 18:56:03 EST

Beaudry: The adjustment rules for all mechanical power hammers are roughly the same.

Die clearance is based on the work being done. Generally this is set at about the work starting size.

Stroke is also based on work size. The heavier the work or greater the size change the longer the stroke. In general, the shorter the stroke the better the control. So this is a matter of balance and the smiths needs. Stroke should not be increased by loosening the springs.

Hammers with spring adjustments are generally adjusted so that the toggles are level OR so that there is not too much slop in the motion. Late Beaudrys are not adjustable this way. They need to have the internal rollers checked for roundness and that they are well lubricated. Sloppy motion can also be a sign of weak or incorrect springs/snubbers. It is the sign of a sick hammer.

Changing the stroke will change the die height so that normally needs to be readjusted.

The smith who knows how to adjust his hammer on the fly is a much more effective and efficient smith.
- guru - Tuesday, 12/19/17 20:08:45 EST

The early versions of Netscape required setting "Check for new page" to ALWAYS or forum pages would not refresh for 24 hours. . . I think this is automatic on FireFox. The early versions of Explorer had to be forced to reload.

I gave up on the browse wars years ago. If it works in Firefox its good enough for me.
- guru - Tuesday, 12/19/17 20:25:43 EST

Browsers: Thanks, Mike, that would be it.
posting with Chrome on a tablet and it didn't show up for 24 hours. Explorer worked instantly. Go figure, huh? And I do have it (Chrome) set to check for new page every time. These are both work computers and we're not allowed to use Firefox.
- Alan-L - Wednesday, 12/20/17 14:39:43 EST

There is generally a forced reload key combination, [CTR]+ something. . . that will do it. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 12/20/17 18:09:44 EST

Do you remember the invention of the LASER?

Don't feel bad, it was in 1960 and only big news in scientific publications of the time. I knew about it because I read my father's Science News Letter which was all cutting edge hard science at the time. Yeah I was a Nerd wannabe. . .

LASER is an acronym for "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation". For decades it was written in all caps because it was an acronym but today it is just "laser" due to common usage.

At the time it was considered a great scientific break through but mostly in the field of high energy physics. Practical uses would take decades to develop. Early uses were scientific applications such a lighting up a patch of the moon.

For a long time LASERS were heard of mostly in science fiction (Ian Flemmings, Goldfinger - Movie 1964).

It was not until the computer revolution that LASERS really took off. The high speed digital manipulation made them useful in everything from LASER cutting to portable LASER disks. The LASER printer is a fantastic work horse invention. I had one of the first "personal" desk top printers made, the HP LaserJet IIp (1989). My new LASER printer is an HP color machine with built in scanner.

Now days the LASER is so common that kids play with low cost LASER pointers (a bad idea).

Today many Blacksmiths have plasma cutting tables in their shops. But many also purchase blanks cut on similar LASER tables. As the cost goes down or there are more used machines available I will expect LASER cutting tables in professional Blacksmith shops of the 21st Century.
- guru - Saturday, 12/23/17 19:31:49 EST

Merry Christmas:
Us old folks are just having a quiet day at home.
- guru - Monday, 12/25/17 08:44:08 EST

Merry Christmas!: Ditto the Quiet Day. Once all 4 kids left home and started raising their own families, things tapered off at our house. Now we visit one of them later in the day. Soon we will have great-grandchildren. Do I look old enough to be a great-grandfather?
Loren Tollefson - Monday, 12/25/17 11:21:22 EST

We all live just far enough apart to make it inconvenient to travel - and I cannot travel with Sheri at all.

I'm a minimum of a decade away from great-grandchildren. It only takes a few years per generation to make the difference in seeing great grandchildren.
- guru - Monday, 12/25/17 19:55:23 EST

Here in NM you can be a Great Grand Parent and still not qualify for a senior discount. I turned 61 earlier in December but with a mixed family, my wife is 10 years older than me I could be a Great Grandparent soon, My oldest Grandchild is 17...

Wonderful Christmas. I took the whole week off and we didn't plan to do *anything*! My shop is cleaner than it's been in years; I went to the scrapyard twice (bought a using condition 50# Vulcan for US$20 and was given a pair of tongs. Worked several hours a day at the forge most days. No Christmas tree; only Christmas presents were the ones I forged for my kids and grandkids, marshmallow toasting forks, a small froe, a flying V guitar bottle opener. Taught a 20 year old some forging. Best vacation in *years*!
ThomasP - Tuesday, 01/02/18 20:32:59 EST

I've had a nearly week long Internet and Phone holiday thanks to a CenturyLink employee who unplugged the power wire to our lines at the local relay station. . . That was last Friday evening with a three day holiday following. . . They said someone would fix it Tuesday! Tuesday came and went. So I called repair again. . . "uh someone cancelled the ticket." More likely a buggy year end purge. New repair ticket. . . Wednesday came and went. . . "Tech said he could not access location." - this was an out and out big lie, he didn't try. ANOTHER repair ticket. . . the third!

The repairman asked if this was a new account? No. . . The only time he had seen power supplies left off was on unfinished new installs. . . I said nope, same account for 12 years. I suspect the same slovenly worker who claimed he could access our property. . (UPS, FedEx, the PO AND our garbage service had no trouble on a clear dry day. . .). The guy who fixed it was from a different territory. . .

Happy New year all! And hope you avoid utility troubles. . .
- guru - Thursday, 01/04/18 14:21:58 EST

Its funny, I spend as much or more on gifts for my grandchildren as I did on my children. . . Soon they will be old enough that the gifts will be tools, and more tools. I think I am going to start with hand made tool chests. . .

Years ago I was deep into genealogy. When I started I only knew half my grandparents and a couple great grandparents (we all have 8). It took some research to fill in the next generation. Some had been provided by another family genealogist, others were found by asking questions. My grandmother on my mother's side kept in touch with everyone in her family. . . At the great great (2G) grandparent generation you have 16 grandparents. In royalty you need to know these to meet "The rule of 16". Its harder to do than you think. And just having their names and fates does not mean much. You really need the NEXT generation (3G) to give these folks a "home". That is the generation with 32 grandparents in it. Starting with your parents that is a total of 62 ancestors. Add another generation and its 126. The doubling at each generation is important to remember.

The average generation is 25 years. When you are 25 your great grandparents were born about 100 years earlier. Your 2G grandparents 125 years and the 3G 150 years.

In most genealogies there are lines that go back many generations and others that the information is not available. The long lines are the minority in most large genealogies. 10 to 15 generations is typical but some go many more.

In our family we have several of these 10 to 15 generation lines. On my wife's side there was a laughably researched genealogy that went back 26 generations. . . This takes you to about 1000 AD. Numerically the critical number is the 32,554,432 ancestors (assuming no "close" relations). The estimated population of Europe at that time was 38.5 million. SO, if you are of European decent we really are ALL cousins. . .
- guru - Friday, 01/05/18 05:01:24 EST

Trimming the tree - family - not Christmas:
You don't have to think about the mathematics of the family tree (ancestors doubling every generation as you go back) to realize the theoretical breaks down fairly fast from an historical standpoint.

If at 1000 years or 25 generations the theoretical equals the population of Europe then what happens when you add a generation? The 77 million is way over the available population and if you add another generation or two the 154 to 308 million is approaching the world population of the time and will rapidly exceed it.

The only answer to this mathematical conundrum is "close" relationships including incestuous relationships that are all illegal in most places of the world. While we consider these immoral as well as illegal we would not be here without them. For every close relation we trim a branch off the tree. Over the past 20 thousand years there had to be enough "trimming" of the tree to reduce billions with theoretical trees of trillions to just a few hundred or just two ancestors for the entire world population.

This distasteful state if affairs to modern more's is illustrated in the bible story of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve, the first people, have two sons. Then the two sons suddenly have wives. . . Where did these wives magically appear from? The bible leaves this unanswered but nature says these were probably the daughters of Adam and Eve. The grandchildren are the first generation that immediate incest is not necessary. But cousins marrying cousins becomes the new norm for many generations. Without these
"close" relations you cannot have population growth.

In "The Real Eve" geneticists trace the history of all Indo-Europeans from one woman that comes out of Africa with a small family group which then populates all the world outside of Africa. But that is another story.
- guru - Sunday, 01/07/18 21:34:27 EST

Dream Inverntions:
Once in a while I dream some really odd things. Last night it was the "Musical Kindling Chopping Stand".

This was a light weight steel table with a series of stretched wires underneath in a harp sequence. You set your small wood on the table and split it with an axe. This resulted in random musical tones.

I didn't say it was a good or useful invention! Just an invention.
- guru - Thursday, 01/11/18 09:22:28 EST

I bet it's useful enough to get a patent (if it isn't anticipated). Good luck licensing it, though.
Mike BR - Thursday, 01/11/18 19:13:31 EST

I'm sure it is original. . .

The patent office is filled with worthless ideas that inventors thought would make them rich simple because it was "new". These are pretty much vanity patents like vanity press books. . .

The patent office is also filled with patents that don't work or serve no purpose. Back when we were working on stepless transmissions we found a class I call "motion or energy wasters". These are open ended gearing with so much reduction they provide resistance (like the fan in a music box). As the speed is changed the wasted motion (and wasted energy) go to changing the speed of the geared down free end.

There are patents for these starting in the 1800's all the way up to the 1970's. Some sort of work but any engineer worth his salt would see that it is just an energy waster.
- guru - Friday, 01/12/18 13:00:27 EST

Membership : Hi, I'm interested in becoming a member and was curious just what I need to do to get it done. Any help here would be much appreciated. Thank you
Adam Webb - Saturday, 01/13/18 01:16:26 EST

New membership: Hi, I'm interested in becoming a member and was curious just how to go about getting this done. Any help here would be much appreciated. Thank you
Adam Webb - Saturday, 01/13/18 01:21:55 EST

Adam, We no longer have a members system. All of anvilfire is free to access to the public. However, we still maintain our old login system so previous members can show their colors and so that I can login as sysop or superuser.

You also do not need to post messages in more than one of our forums.
- guru - Saturday, 01/13/18 07:24:25 EST

You might be a Redneck:
IF your house siding has words all over it (House Wrap).
- guru - Wednesday, 01/17/18 14:04:51 EST

redneck: in New Brunswick you might be a redneck if you live in the basement for years before you build the house. :)
we@nb - Sunday, 01/21/18 16:30:41 EST

Redneck: In Oklahoma, You might be a Redneck if your favorite restaurant has a gas pump in front of it. (Attributed to Jeff Foxworthy). I heard that years ago, but after moving to rural OK, it really is TRUE.
- Loren Tollefson - Monday, 01/22/18 10:42:32 EST

House Wrap: The wif and I used to refer to those as "Tyvek houses." At the end of the great building bubble, some of the local construction stayed like that for years.
Bruce Blackistone Atli - Monday, 01/29/18 12:21:25 EST

When I was a kid we used polyethylene sheeting for camp tarps and building forts (lean-to structures). When building forts it was usually covered with dirt brush and leaves. However, it was (IS) very UV sensitive and breaks down anywhere exposed to sunlight for a length of time. It was also easy to poke holes in and tear it.

If we had used Tyvek I suspect some of our architectural wonders would still be around 50 years later!
- guru - Wednesday, 01/31/18 06:33:49 EST

In Memorium - Sherron Louise Dempsey: December 8, 1940 - January 30, 2018.

Sheri, my loving wife, is survived by 4 children from her first marriage to Jim PawPaw Wilson, 12 grandchildren and a growing number of great grandchildren. Sheri passed away from Alzheimer's like dementia after a decade of sliding down hill.

Sheri was born in Circle Hot Springs the Territory of Alaska. Besides being a housewife and mother Sheri was a dog groomer, seamstress specializing in prom and wedding dresses, a teacher training non-Catholics how to be Catholic, an embroiderer and Hospice volunteer.

One of Sheri's favorite stories from the Hot Springs was sitting on the lap of a high ranking Russian dignitary who was meeting in secret with US dignitaries. The Hot Springs hotel is gone now and so is Sheri.
- guru - Wednesday, 01/31/18 16:28:23 EST

RIP Sheri: You have my sympathy.
- Jan - Wednesday, 01/31/18 17:14:01 EST

Sheri: You have my deepest sympathy in you time of grief.
- Loren Tollefson - Wednesday, 01/31/18 22:59:47 EST

Sheri: Jock I am so sorry to hear of this.
You have been a blessing to Sheri and you can take comfort in that.
I may have met Sheri when you and Jim set up at the Museum of Appalachia festival near Norris years ago. Everyone was so full of life.
I will pray for you and her family.
- TomH - Thursday, 02/01/18 08:24:42 EST

Museum of Appalachia: Yes, That was Sheri. Much better days. Seems like an eternity ago.

I did two demos with Jim at Museum of Appalachia. At the first I was "jet-lagged" due to travel on short notice. I napped on the ground near the trailer and it made things worse.
- guru - Thursday, 02/01/18 12:55:58 EST

Memorial Details for Sheri: A memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM, Mon., Feb. 5, 2018 at Holy Family Catholic Church, 4820 Kinnamon Road, Winston-Salem (Clemmons), NC 27103.

Memorials (in lieu of flowers) may be made to Hospice and Palliative CareCenter 101 Hospice Ln., Winston-Salem, NC 27103.
- guru - Friday, 02/02/18 10:51:26 EST

Sheri: Sorry to hear it, Jock. I remember her the way she was before Alzheimers, and I prefer to keep it that way. I know you do too. Sorry I can't make it over for the memorial.
- Alan-L - Friday, 02/02/18 12:27:44 EST

I will ring my anvil for her this weekend. I am glad her burden is now lifted and am sorrowful for the people she leaves behind.

I had planned to meet PawPaw for the first time at the Quad-State where I ended up giving his Passing Toast.

ThomasP - Friday, 02/02/18 12:29:59 EST

Jock I am so sorry for your loss. Take comfort in memories of her before the decline, and know that you did the very best for her.
- ptree - Friday, 02/02/18 15:47:59 EST

Sorry for your loss... Peace for you and all family....
- Dave Hammer - Monday, 02/05/18 08:14:02 EST

Thank you all. Now I need to plan for a different yet unknown future. First thing is to address my health issues.
- guru - Wednesday, 02/07/18 08:46:35 EST

Trenton Anvil: Hello all,
I just had a family anvil repaired and was hoping to see if anyone with an AIA could tell me its history.

Trenton, 153lb, serial number 106172

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
- Brad S. - Wednesday, 02/07/18 20:12:11 EST

condolences: Dear Jock, So sorry to hear that you have lost Sheri.I have been following anvilfire from the early days and in consequence had developed a high regard for yourself and for PawPaw and Sheri.I wish you all the best. Chris
- Chris E - Saturday, 02/10/18 14:19:58 EST

And this was Spoken From Zophar: When the beast is about to fill his belly God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him. And shall rain it upon him while he is eating. He shall flee from the Iron Weapon and for this must the annointed Kel~Son use this weapon to strike him through.
- Chrystal Slack - Sunday, 02/11/18 23:42:40 EST

Far out man
- TomH - Wednesday, 02/14/18 16:08:38 EST

Things OUR Government Does. . . :
On the 2nd or 3rd of the month Sheri would receive her Social Security check. Within a week or two it would be spent on groceries. This month the government pulled last months payment from Sheri's account because she died on the 31st of that month. . .

Does the logic of this process make any sense? In most months we would have spent the money and the account would have been empty.
- guru - Saturday, 02/17/18 22:19:54 EST

The Moral to the above:
One, die on the first of the month not the last.

Two, keep the account your SS goes into empty. . .
- guru - Sunday, 02/18/18 09:34:54 EST

OT Vinegar/BakingSoda: Jock, sorry to get off topic but you generally know everything about everything.
I see all kinds of 'hacks' about cleaning, de-rusting, etc., that call for some combination of something like vinegar and baking soda, or other similar blends.
Won't an acid and a salt tend to neutralize each other?
What would be the point?
What am I missing?
- TomH - Sunday, 02/18/18 14:33:55 EST

Tom, are you thinking about the silver detarnishing trick of putting a saturated solution of hot water and baking soda in an aluminum pan? That works well.

Vinegar and baking soda are how you make a science fair volcano. Lots of foam as the soduim bicarbonate neutralizes the acetic acid.
- Alan-L - Tuesday, 02/20/18 12:17:12 EST

Rust removal: rust is removed from ferric products by soaking in a strong black tea solution.
- tjstrobe - Tuesday, 02/20/18 13:25:09 EST

vinegar hacks: I'm just wondering what would be the advantage of combining an acid and a salt for anything (other than salad dressing).
I see a lot of cleaning hacks on the internet and I know you can't put anything on those interwebs if its not true.
Are these people just 'making it up'?
- TomH - Tuesday, 02/20/18 20:22:15 EST

*Salt* (table salt) won't neutralize the vinegar, and it might make some difference in cleaning. When I was little, I made a paste of salt and vinegar and put it on the brass hardware on some windows. Corroded the snot out of them. If nothing else, the fact that it was a paste held the vinegar against the brass.

Mixing salt and *baking soda* just creates a lot of bubbles and sodium acetate. From what I could find, sodium acetate is great for flavoring potato chips, but not for cleaning.
Mike BR - Tuesday, 02/20/18 20:40:42 EST

Rust Removal:
There are all kinds of rust removal and the method used depends on the object and how rusty. The tea method is used for lightly rusted smooth surfaced (precision) items - combined with scrubbing.

Yes, I've seen the soda and vinegar recipes. . . IDIOTS! These item neutralize each other leaving mostly salts. Vinegar and salt is used as a scrubbing solution.

The most efficient rust removal is in an electrolytic bath. A low voltage DC power source (12 or 5V - fast/slow)). Old computer power supplies work well - so do battery chargers.

KOH (Arm and Hammer Washing Soda - I think) is used in water as an electrolyte. You will need a plastic tank and steel plates for electrodes (the positive side). The part will lay or hang in the tank connected to the negative side of the circuit.

Electrolysis should be done outdoors due to the gases given off. If use on delicate parts DO NOT leave over night. Keep an eye on the process.

You can use phosphoric acid (Ospho) to convert rust to black oxide as a paint pre-prep.
- guru - Tuesday, 02/20/18 20:48:28 EST

Washing soda is sodium carbonate, KOH(potassium hydroxide)is lye. Ordinary salt works for the electrolyte as well.

I used to do electrolysis on small artifacts in the archaeology lab at the university I attended long ago. Small artifact = small tank, often a coffee mug or a 16 oz. plastic cup. Over the course of the process the water tends to get a sort of scum on top, which in turn makes the gases Jock mentioned form large-ish bubbles.

These gases are oxygen and hydrogen. You'd be amazed how quickly you get the attention of an entire lab by touching a lit match to a golf-ball-sized bubble of pure hydrogen... not that I ever did that, of course, that would be juvenile and irresponsible. Harrumph.
Alan-L - Wednesday, 02/21/18 10:57:41 EST

KOH: KOH is potassium hydroxide (akin to lye, which is sodium hydroxide). Washing soda is hydrated sodium carbonate; soda ash is the same compound minus the water. Both are much less corrosive than the hydroxide.
- Jan - Wednesday, 02/21/18 11:06:09 EST

Electrolisis Gases:
When using salt you can get chlorine gas. You only need one snootful of that to never want to again! I was about 12 years old when I made chlorine in my basement workshop. . .

I experimented with both AC and DC electrolysis.
- guru - Thursday, 02/22/18 04:03:40 EST

Derusting and Drill Bits:
Years ago we had an alkaline product in our shop called Oakite. It eats rust (and paint) and some base metal.

I made the mistake of putting my life long collection of misc drill bits in the solution and leaving them overnight. . . A few minutes might have been OK. But the heavy black coating on drill bits is an oxide. What remained in the morning was skeletal remains of my drill bits. . .

The only good thing that came of this is that I was forced to purchase a new, full index of drill bits. This was a Sears fractional set in 1/16ths to 1/2".
It was the first of several, the next being a number size index and the last being a letter size. Beyond that I've collected bits over 1/2" as needed.

Then, while purchasing a drill press I picked up a windfall collection of bits ranging from 1-1/8" to 2". Others at the auction had sneered at the dirty collection and discounted it as having no value. It was in fact worth much more than the drill press sold for. When I went to clean the bits a year later I found that the dirt was merely shop dust and gradue that collected on the well oiled bits. There was also various Morse adapter sleeves and rough chucks.

All this starting from a mistake leaving my drill bits in Oakite overnight. . .
- guru - Thursday, 02/22/18 13:39:01 EST

More Rust Reemoval:
Saw this one on youTube. Molassas 10:1 with water. This is a very slow rust remover, 2 to 4 weeks in the bath. Then, rinse, scrub clean and then neutralize with baking soda (another rinse). Oil or paint ASAP.
- guru - Friday, 02/23/18 19:19:55 EST

You wouldn't expect molasses to be fast . . .
Mike BR - Friday, 02/23/18 19:31:12 EST

Sticking piston in Rivet Hammer: I have a Chicago Pneumatic 6A Aero Riveter. Th piston has started sticking in the “out”/power position. I can knock it back, but that’s a pain. I’m guessing I need to take it apart to fix it, although wondered if soaking with liquid wrench and then re oiling might do the trick
- Jim Smith - Friday, 02/23/18 22:45:19 EST

Slow Molasses:
Ha ha ha ha. . .

Jim You do not need to post on more than one of our forums. Answered on the gurus den.
- guru - Saturday, 02/24/18 05:18:32 EST

Human Diet:
"You don't need to sneak up on a Strawberry", Attributed to Richard Leakey (on humans not naturally being carnivores).
- guru - Wednesday, 02/28/18 00:32:19 EST

Strawberries on your soylent green? How Nouvelle cuisine!
ThomasP - Saturday, 03/03/18 23:11:02 EST

Pax Vobiscum: I have been running far behind due to limited data access. My deepest sympathy on the loss of Sheri.
Bruce Blackistone Atli - Sunday, 03/04/18 16:01:40 EST

Movies - The Greatest Showman:
Generally I am not crazy about modern musicals. But "The Greatest Showman", a fictionalized (and romanticized) version of P.T. Barnum's story is a great bit of entertainment. It is one of those movies I will probably watch more than once.

If you can see it in a theater on the "big screen" it will be worth it.
- guru - Sunday, 03/04/18 21:39:54 EST

Greatest Showman: Both I, and my handicapped daughter, Amanda, enjoyed it. We have bi-weekly "pizza and movie" nights, and it's a treat when we enjoy the same movies. I get to see her animation favorites, and she likes my (not-too-violent) adventure movies.

We recently caught Peter Rabbit- to her it was a fuzzy bunny movie with a light romantic comedy attached, and to me it was a light romantic comedy with fuzzy bunnies attached. The CGI has gotten to the state where if a rabbit in a blue coat came up to me in the street, I would hardly be surprised.
Bruce Blackistone Atli - Thursday, 03/08/18 13:51:22 EST

Got a new vice wife groans: Got a new post vice. 6" jaws, complete and in great shape, probably American made (lighter than the equivalent English vice when compared on the Peter Wright vice weight chart), it is stamped "1903" and "80" [lbs] on the movable jaw. It has the same overall shape as my mounted post vice, which is stamped "1901" and "55". No other markings. Same maker? They made them by the ton and cut them off by the pound.

Any idea on the maker, beside "who knows?" Real nice lines on both, look like my old Peter Wright post vice. Thanx

A man can never have too many vices (wife groans again and rolls her eyes)

David Hughes, pouring rain in CA
- David Hughes - Tuesday, 03/13/18 12:58:21 EDT

I have a bunch of the reference material Richard Postman used for his book and have gone through most of it and leg vise ads were rare and many treated them as they do in catalogs - as a commodity with no parentage.

Every shop needs many work benches and every bench needs a vise.

Like anvils, they don't make them that way anymore. Currently leg vise are selling under value. Folks finally realized the value of old bench vises and the prices have skyrocketed.
- guru - Wednesday, 03/14/18 10:44:12 EDT

Ornamental Iron Worker: Today's cartoon reminded me of how I got into this trade. June 1969 I had just finished my second year of Junior college and was headed for Arizona State University. I was going to work for the summer at the college as a groundskeeper. I showed up on Monday morning at 8:00 as requested, but the first 6 guys got the jobs, as they had shown up early. The rest of us were out of luck. That night I talked to my Father-in-law and he had just had a call from a former student of his who now owned a small ornamental iron business and was looking for someone to learn the trade. I had a friends father give me a 2 hour lesson on how to run a bead and some practice. I started the next Monday, and worked there for 3 years. All we had were Lincoln buzz box AC welders and 6011 1/8" rod to weld 16ga.
tubing. I got very proficient doing that. During my tenure, we got a job forging pointed pickets for fence panels, and bending scrolls using a Hossfeld #2. I eventually quit school and wound up in the structural and miscellaneous business, culminating in a partnership where we were doing $5,000,000 a year, and I was drinking my lunch. In 1989 I stumbled upon a building in the mountains of Arizona that was for rent and the owner was looking for a blacksmith to rent it. I made lists of what equipment I would need, possible products, etc. After a month I went back, struck a deal and as Caesar said, "Alia Iacta Est". I walked awayfrom the steel business, giving it to my partner, told the Kids, 18,20, and 21 they needed to find a new place to live, and sold the house in 3 days. I never looked back. About the 3d week I was open A guy dropped in to see what it was all about, and he was building a cabin in town . He was a blacksmith who worked full time for General Motors Proving Grounds. His name---Ron Kinyon. And they say, the rest is history.
- Loren Tollefson - Tuesday, 03/20/18 10:19:42 EDT

I have reprints of the 1897, 1905 and 1908 Sears Roebuck catalogs and in the 1905 one they sold screw/screwboxes for postvises! Note the screw/screw box for a 4" vise was around US$2.90 while the vise was $3.29

I'm always amused when folks say their vise must be made by XYZ because the screw/screwbox is marked. Shoot I've replaced bad ones with different good ones myself!
- ThomasP - Wednesday, 03/21/18 23:03:19 EDT

Do the catalogs show shipping costs? Maybe that made the screw/box a better deal than it looks like from the straight prices.

Of course most modern blacksmith shops I've seen don't really have room for a an extra vise body, no matter how cheap. But come to think of it, that wouldn't stop many of the blacksmiths I know. . .
Mike BR - Thursday, 03/22/18 19:25:20 EDT

I have a 1950 hardware catalog that lists screws and boxes for $8 for small vises and $23 for large leg vises. Vises were 4 to 6 times as much as the box and screws.

I put together a vise with parts from 4 different sources. Sadly, the screw was bad. . It would tighten at the closing point but slips at 1/2" to 1" opening (the common working range).

Its a very old ~30 lb. vise I picked up for $5 stripped. The screw came out of another cheap mangled vise. The drop forged bench bracket (much later than the vise) was in a bunch of junk at an Iron Monger's. And I made the spring. Eventually I will repair the screw as I have almost nothing in the vise.
- guru - Thursday, 03/22/18 22:26:55 EDT

The catalogs have page after page on shipping cost info dealing with mail, freight, express, COD, etc.
Based on weight generally with a minimum allowable charge based on type. Includes charges broken down by state and Indian Territory (Oklahoma wasn't a state yet...)
- ThomasP - Saturday, 03/24/18 16:43:21 EDT

Many catalogs are not only a list of items and prices but great engineering references. They often have formulas and tables for applying the items in the catalog.

This used to be the "standard" for engineering parts catalogs but modern makers have largely dropped much of this information. But others such as Omega have expanded on proving applications information. So for many products old catalogs are often the best as references.

This information is often distilled down into engineering references such as MACHINERYS' HANDBOOK, Mark's Mechanical Engineer's Handbook, and Tool Engineers Handbook. However, the advantage of the original source material is that it is often more complete including drawings, diagrams and a more verbose applications articles.

- guru - Tuesday, 04/03/18 22:55:12 EDT

NEED AN APPRENTICE? : Hello there my name is Paul Main im 20 years old . I was taught by frank turley and am now seeking a master blacksmith that needs an apprentice i will work for whatever works for you i just want out of kansast if you in usa give me a call if you’re interested at (620)-282-8358
- Paul H Main - Monday, 05/07/18 22:47:34 EDT

Blacksmiths Are Coming:
Blacksmiths are coming to Meadow Event Park from Wednesday June 27 though Saturday June 30. This is the biannual gathering of the national group, Artist Blacksmith Association of North America. The conference is a visual delight with men and women heating iron from red hot to nearly 3,000 degrees and hammering sculpture, furniture, knives and other items of delight. Large powerful hammers and presses that shape the metal will be on site for a spectacular show.

A total of 12 tents will be set up with more tools than you can imagine. Demonstrators include some of the finest smiths in America and Europe. One area is dedicated to knife making, another to farriers and a third is teaching tents where beginners and novices can try a hand at forging under the supervision of experienced teachers.

In conjunction with the conference, there will be a month-long exhibit of fine ironwork held at Flux Gallery in Ashland, MD At the end of the conference, on Saturday night, there will be an auction to benefit the education of carrying on this ancient tradition. All work produced at the conference and many works of art created by smiths coming from around the world will be sold to the highest bidder. In the past conference, folk have walked away with wonderful works of art at reasonable prices.

For those of the public who have been inspired by perhaps the TV show Forged In Fire, or a visit to the Williamsburg smithy; they can register both online or in person at the fairgrounds for either the whole week or by the day!event-register/2018/6/27/2018-abana-conference

If you are curious about this old American form of art, you can attend a tour of the conference and stay for the auction to bring something wonderful home. The Saturday afternoon tour and evening auction are free to the public.

Artist Blacksmith Association of North America (ABANA)
Meadow Event Park from June 27 though June 30.
CONTACT Craig Kaviar ABANA Vice President 502-938-6762
- guru - Saturday, 05/26/18 10:39:38 EDT

Travel Warning for the ABANA conference:
This is NOT a bucolic area such as you might be from. Treat it like you are in the worst inner city area you can think of.

While the conference location is just as beautiful as the rest of my beloved Virginia it is also one of the worst places to spend time. The I95 corridor between Washington DC and Richmond is one of the busiest roads in the US. It is also poorly served by rest stops and other services. It is very touristy at the conference and Kings Dominion exit AND is a very high crime area.

LOCK your cars, don't leave any valuables visible.
Button your pockets and keep your wallet tight. Beware where you use your credit cards and be sure to check their activity when you get home. Mine have been hijacked twice in this area.

You should be safe and be able to relax on the conference site but beware elsewhere. Don't let an unfortunate incident mar your great time at the conference.

MOTELS: One of the local motels, La Quinta was fully booked yesterday and the other only had 3 rooms remaining. If your plans included staying in a nearby motel it may be too late.
- guru - Monday, 05/28/18 15:56:07 EDT

Incongruity of Nature:
A pairing that seems completely out of place is the volcanic inferno in Hawaii and the sound of tree frogs or spring peepers in the background. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 05/29/18 19:04:29 EDT

Incongruity of Nature:
Now, those poor little Hawaiian frogs have freezing rain to deal with. . . Freezing rain in Hawaii due to volcanoes
- guru - Saturday, 06/09/18 17:54:31 EDT

Anti Gun Laws:
IF you think the anti-gun anti 2nd ammendment people do not affect you consider these. . .

In California they tried to pass a law against flame throwers (yeah, apparently they have a high flame thrower crime rate in California). The law was written such that it would BAN common welding torches. . . A little close to home eh'? Next thing you know you will have to get a permit to own a cutting torch.

In England they have high knife crime (if you can't get a gun, use a knife). One judge suggested filing down knives so they wouldn't be so dangerous. I guess he has someone chew his steak for him. . . SO, as blacksmiths will be still be allowed to forge a point?

Think about it. Do gooders trying to stop violence with stupid laws that may inadvertently hurt your blacksmithing business.
- guru - Saturday, 06/09/18 18:36:11 EDT

Black Anvil: I just aquired a well used anvil. It has the word "BLACK" stamped on the side. I can also make out a "P" but nothing else. It's 27" long and 11" high.
I was hoping someone here might know who manufactured it and about how old it is. TIA.
Here are some pics.
Ron Laughlin - Tuesday, 06/12/18 19:53:35 EDT

Whats the serial number located on the front of the foot below the horn? A trademark of the Shapleigh Hardware Company of St Louis MO; Columbus Forge and Iron Company, Columbus OH made over 300 of these anvils in the 1920's and 1930's. (Info from "Anvils in America" Richard Postman.

I don't know if Shapleigh used other companies to make them at other dates a common practice back then.

As less than 100 years old they would be considered pretty "young" for an anvil---we generally consider an anvil to be "old" after 200 years.
- ThomasP - Sunday, 06/24/18 21:33:37 EDT

That anvil was identified as a Black Prince made by Columbus Forge. Logo was really botched up.
- guru - Monday, 06/25/18 11:35:32 EDT

Weight Loss: Before Sheri got sick I was on a health and weight loss kick. Sheri helped a lot fixing tasty low salt vegetarian meals and preparing our own no-salt salsa. I lost a lot of weight from eating right and walking every day. But after she got sick she could not remember how to cook or keep her mind on things like a hot oven. I stopped walking and did not even travel due to issues with Sheri wandering off. Sheri need high calorie meals and I ate the same as she did. My weight ballooned at a rate of over 20/lbs year to a max of 450 pounds in January.

After Sheri passed away I took stock of things and realized it was time to care for myself. I started eating a casserole bowl of broccoli with peas or other green vegetable topped with vegetarian pasta sauce.

I lost a pound a day for a couple months then hit a plateau. That is what they call it but I had actually just added a little too much to my meals. I was eating fruit and a glass of orange or other sweet fruit juice. I was breaking my "one meal a day" fast. It was just enough to maintain my weight rather than losing.

SO. . a few weeks ago I decided I needed to be more strict with myself. So I am back to a meal a day (mostly) and drinking water instead of juice. I've lost 20 pounds in two weeks and that included going out to eat high calorie meals twice (Bojangles chicken and Wendy's cheesy potatoes+). But after one of those meals I did not eat at all the next day.

The big difference between losing and NOT losing is a small amount of food and a little will power to ask yourself "Are you really hungry OR just want to eat?" Then picking up a bottled water instead of a snack.

It sounds easy but it is not. At over 400 pounds I could hardly walk and did not fit behind the steering wheel of the car. The advice to eat less and move more doesn't work when you can't hardly move. Not eating that LITTLE bit extra is also tough. But with the right diet YOU CAN lose weight without strenuous exercise.

Currently I eat two meals alternating from day to day. I have my "broccoli plus" meal topped with chunky salsa every other day and a large bowl of steel cut oatmeal with blue berries and gogi berries soaked in almond milk overnight on the other days. Every once in a while I'll have a second meal of tuna salad. I also take some vitamins and supplements geared for vegetarians. My exercise is still limited to walking out to the shop a couple times a day and doing some light housework.

But I AM getting there. If I can keep it up I COULD be down to 200 pounds or less by the end of the year. I haven't been that weight in 30 years. . .

After that? The difference between maintaining and gaining is that one beer or glass of wine a night or that one pizza a week. . . Being able to get more exercise will help but I suspect I will need to stay on a low carb diet until the end of my life. I love bread, pizza, anything wrapped in a bun. . . but its my Kryptonite.

Look up: Intermittent Fasting OR OMD (One Meal a Day).
- guru - Monday, 06/25/18 12:32:32 EDT

Diet: I am including a link to a Blog from my favorite author, JA Jance. She is 74, my age, and author of 4 different series of mysteries. Through a fluke I met her, and have visited with her many times, In Sun City, AZ, Scottsdale, AZ, Everett,WA and at her home in Bellingham, WA. This Blog entry is right in line with your weight loss story today.
- Loren T - Monday, 06/25/18 14:01:28 EDT

JA Janice and nutrition:
Nice piece. But she repeated a huge nutritional lie promoted by the US Government and the Beef and Dairy industry. Eggs, Beef, Fish. . are not the only protein sources. Dark green vegetables, kale, spinach, broccoli. . . are loaded with protein AND calcium (you don't need dairy, the worst source of calcium).

These are lies that have been promoted by the FDA since its inception. And since it was the Beef and Dairy that supported them there was a label that declared them "protein" and nothing else qualified. This is what several generations of Americans learned and even some so called nutritionists still believe the lie.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman has a list of foods rated from 1000 to 1 based on nutrition per calorie. Kale and a couple other vegatables score a 1000. Sugar and sodas rank 1 or 0. Tofu scores a 37 and eggs a 27. Beef is down at 20 and cheese a 10 right above vanilla ice cream at 9 points.

To eat as a "nutritarian" You want to eat as high on this list as possible (100 points and up). But then there are things in the middle column (100 to 37 points) that are needed and good for nutrition, beans, most fruit, grains, fish, shrimp and avocado. You can eat these but in limited quantities and according to your diet plan.

Almost anything in the last column and you might as well enjoy yourself and have a nice steak. An omelet with cheese 27/10 is about the same as a steak at 18 to 20 points. A pepperoni pizza is also equivalent to a steak. With a steak you will at least be served a side salad. . .

When Sheri and I were making our beans we used a lot of sweet peppers and onions, tomato AND blended kale which disappeared into the mix but added a lot of nutrition as well as raising the score of the beans to about 200.

We used the beans with salads and to make other things. They were great with some salsa to make stuffed peppers. I also blended them with a little almond milk to make "bean gravy". The peppery spiciness of the beans compared very well with home made chicken or turkey gravy. A great vegetarian option to go with mashed potatoes (only on holidays).

There is tons of erroneous information about nutrition and there are still millions of old school doctors and nutritionists that believe that bad information. Things like you cannot live on vegetables alone. . or that beans and rice are "balanced nutrition" or the recent one about the Mediterranean diet and olive oil. Both of the last two are based on diets that were very high in green vegetables and low in meat. Its not the rice, its not the olive oil, its the green vegetables that made these diets better than others.

I TRY to eat vegetarian but I'll take a steak if you force it on me. . .;)
- guru - Monday, 06/25/18 17:19:41 EDT

Nasty Insects:
Its summer time and the bugs are busy. . .

Several days ago we noticed wasps coming in and out of the rear view mirror on our car. Its one of those big hollow and motorized things. Paper wasps had built a nest in it.

So a couple nights ago I went out with some wasp and hornet spray and sprayed all around the edges of the mirror where there is about a 1/4" gap. Then today I went to drive the car and noticed a wasp crawling out of the edge of the mirror. So I swatted it with the mail I was carrying. . . big mistake. About a dozen angry wasps came out and one stung me. The wasp and hornet spray had not worked.

SO, this time I went after them with a fogger so it would gas them in the mirror and hopefully poison the nest. Seems to have worked this time.

The last time I got stung was years ago in the shop. I sat down on a small chair and had worked a while doing a layout on a part. Then when I got up a bunch of little wasps went for my leg.

This is typical in the South. I bomb the shop about twice a summer. The shop is too open and the wasps love it. In Virginia all we had were paper wasps, mud daubers (which don't sting) and carpenter bees (the ones that make big holes in wood). Here in North Carolina we have those plus several kinds of hornets and those little wasps that nailed me. .

While mud daubers aren't colonial and thus don't swarm after you and as far as I know they don't sting they make a mess. In a couple years they can completely block holes in a platen table. They also build their mud nests in narrow gaps in machinery which then becomes sandy grit on ways and slides. . .I have also had them clog air and welding hoses.

Wasps also like to build nests in my truck as it does not get used very often. Any time you open the hood you need to flip it up and run. Just in case. Doors are the same. THEN you need to carefully LOOK for any that did not get excited by the hood or doors moving.

For some reason the favorite place for paper wasps in the shop is the back of the wheel on my power hammer. I've removed several nests from there. If they don't sting you its a little comical to watch them swarm around trying to get back to the rapidly rotating nest.

The carpenter bees (some folks call them bumble bees) are actually a type of wasp. The worst problem with them is that they bore hole nearly 1/2" in diameter in wood. They particularly like fresh pine construction like my shelf framing. Besides their big holes they generate a LOT of saw dust boring those holes.

It you need to get rid of a bunch of these critters the best time is at night when they come home to their nests. I pick a still windless night and then set off a bunch of foggers. It takes about six to do my shop.

When we need to fog the house I try to do it when we are going away for several days or a week.

I'm looking forward to the day when we get the shop tightly closed in and these varmints aren't such a big nuisance.
- guru - Thursday, 06/28/18 18:54:16 EDT

Another Bug Story:
There is relatively rare insect called a velvet ant. In fact it is a wingless wasp that lives in the ground. The look like a giant ant between an inch and an inch and a half long. They have brilliant red coverings that look like velvet.

I have only seen these twice in my lifetime. The first was in 1957 when we moved to Virginia and the second time was in 2005 in North Carolina. Both times they were traveling over open ground at a rapid rate. Both times I followed them until they disappeared in the brush.

Not long after we moved to Virginia and I'd seen the Velvet Ant my youngest brother who was just starting to walk stepped on something and had to be rushed to the doctor's. They treated him for snake bite the old fashioned way (cutting and sucking) and sent him home. My parents were very scared. But in a few days he was just fine and toddling around again. We believed it might be that he had stepped on a Velvet Ant as I had seen the one near the house.

People worry about spiders but there are other insects that are worse.
- guru - Friday, 06/29/18 23:28:10 EDT

Velvet ants, I seen several in my life. I'm in Georgia, if that's relevant. Probably, has some bearing. Always avoided them. The result of many "wives tales". Was bitten by a,"brown recluse ", about 25 years ago. I wouldn't recommend doing that twice.
- Donnie - Saturday, 06/30/18 00:23:14 EDT

Bug problems: Another name for velvet ants is "Cow Killers", they are common in the Sandhills and Piedmont of NC. They like mulched banks and terraces made from RR ties or concrete blocks.
I have had more problems from hairy or spiny caterpillars from gardening and tree work than anything else in the past, but now we have fire ants. They are just about indestructable, and take over an area, until there are no other ants.
- John McPherson - Saturday, 06/30/18 22:06:19 EDT

In recent years the two biggest problems we have had are brown Asian ladybugs and the Chinese Brown marmorated stink bug.

We had a wave of stink bugs a few years ago and would find them in any place they could hide and keep warm. The ladybugs were imported to control Pine Nematode (bark beatles) but their populations exploded and they have become a seasonal household nuisance suddenly appearing inside the house.
- guru - Sunday, 07/01/18 17:16:44 EDT

One more Bug Story - The Horror of Tick Island:
It was a nice Autumn day many years ago. My wife and I and another couple went on a picnic using a small rental boat on a local lake. It was a small motorized row boat or bass boat. We pulled up on a small island with low trees on it that made nice sheltered spaces.

We had unloaded all the picnic supplies and spread blankets when one of us noticed they had a bunch of small ticks on them. Then we ALL noticed we were covered from head to toe with thousands of ticks. The ground was swarming with them.

Moments later we were throwing all the picnic supplies , blankets and US in the boat and getting away. As soon as we got away from the island we were stripping off our clothes and picking ticks off each other. Imagine four people in a loaded row boat all trying to get thousands of bugs off each other. Luckily it was a cool day and there were no other boats on the normally busy lake! We were still checking each other for ticks and shaking out the blankets and some of our clothes when we got to shore. We tied many of our outer clothes, jackets and sweaters to the outside of the car hoping the wind would blow away some of the ticks. All we wanted to do is get home where we could get completely naked and check everywhere for ticks!

It sounds comical now but it wasn't to us at the time.

We hung the blankets on a line outside and left them for a week or more before bringing them in to wash then hang them out again! We were itching and feeling like we had the creepy crawlies on us for days afterward! It was also the last picnic in the woods for us for a very long time.
- guru - Sunday, 07/01/18 18:21:50 EDT

Stupid Blacksmith Bug Story:
One day I was brazing a bunch of candle cups using a very small oxyacetylene torch. Semi picky work that requires concentration. Meanwhile a fly kept landing on my left arm that was holding the brazing rod. I'd brush it off and then it would come back over and over.

So, I'm finally pi*** at this insect so I swipe the torch across my arm. Now, this was a very small torch with a small, maybe 3/4" long flame. . . I managed to burn a four inch long streak down my arm in that millisecond.

And the d**m fly got away!


One day I was out in the sun arc welding on something. It was one of those bright days when you could see the sky reflected in your welding shield if you focused on it.

I started feeling something tapping me on the back of my head so I looked behind me in the welding shield reflection. What I saw made the hair on my neck stand up. A swarm of carpenter bees swirling around behind my head. These insects are loners and you never see a swarm of them.

There was something about the electric arc and the shadow of my head that the bees were trying to get to. And so the tap, tap, tap on the back of my head as the bees were trying to get to whatever they saw with their multifaceted eyes.

After I stopped welding the bees dispersed. I moved my project a few feet into the shade of the shop and none of the carpenter bees came back.

- guru - Sunday, 07/01/18 21:48:19 EDT

VICopper...: I haven't been on here in years..

I was just seeing if VICopper was still around?

Matt Hunter - Monday, 07/09/18 03:08:59 EDT

VICopper...: I was just checking to see if VICopper was still around here?

I haven't been on AVF in years..

Matt Hunter - Monday, 07/09/18 03:12:13 EDT

Matt, I am sorry to say VICopper passed on some years ago.
- Alan-L - Monday, 07/09/18 12:53:25 EDT

Rich Waugh: Rich passed away on Friday August 15th 2014 from throat cancer.
- guru - Tuesday, 07/10/18 22:33:09 EDT

Didnt mean to post twice: That's too bad.

I had seen him on here way back in '03. I wanted to ask him about St. Thomas.

Thanks for the heads up.
Matt Hunter - Wednesday, 07/11/18 03:15:36 EDT

On a popular maker TV show the host insists on using the incorrect term for machining on a lathe. He calls it "lathe ing" or "lathing". Lathing is the wood or metal that plaster walls are built on. The correct word for machining on a lathe is "turning". Parts made on a lathe are "turned" and generally called "turnings". Occasionally the chips made on a lathe are called turnings but I find this a confusing use of the term.

Specific tasks on a lathe other than turning are, facing (the flat cut on the end of a work piece), drilling, boring, knurling and threading. Cylindrical grinding can also be done on a lathe.
- guru - Saturday, 07/14/18 14:10:45 EDT

A Plumbing Story:
For years I have complained about our low flow toilet that would not flush correctly. It would flush slow, need double and triple flushes and often clogged. . . I was sure the problem was the low flow OR undersized pipes.

This was not a cheap bottom of the line toilet, it is a full size American Standard. It was not the original that came in our house, it was moved from a previous home that was being demolished. And this was part of the problem.

After replacing all the works and adjusting everything to as high a fill and highest flow the toilet acted as it always had. . . and clogged the next day.

SO, research time. After wading through dozens of articles about replacing various parts of the works or the entire works I FINALLY found a fellow that knew how to FIX a poorly flushing toilet.

It turns out that the swirl in the toilet is accentuated by the jets at the top of the bowl (under the rim) as well as the jet in the throat of the toilet. These jets or ports can become clogged, primarily by lime build up. We do not have a lime problem. BUT, the location where the toilet was moved from DID!

It was suggested to clean the toilet with lime-away or acidic cleaner and running a wire through all the critical places. An option found elsewhere to using lime-away was white vinegar. SO. . . I put a gallon of white table vinegar I had bought to clean parts with into the tank, stand pipe and bowl of the toilet and let it sit for several hours. Then I scraped and poked at all the lime build up and scrubbed it all with the vinegar and water. Then flushed and cleaned again with bleach bathroom cleaner.

Since the vinegar cleaning the toilet has worked perfectly. It had not worked this well in 13 years.

I was ready to spend what could have amounted to thousands of dollars to fix this problem and it ended up just taking a couple dollar bottle of vinegar and less than an hour labor.

Note that stronger white vinegar is available for cleaning purposes and is recommended. I used what I had on hand and it worked but I would suggest the stronger type. If you have lime issues it would be a good idea to do a vinegar cleaning once a year or so.
- - guru - Wednesday, 07/18/18 13:22:07 EDT

Another plumbing story:
While the handyman was fixing various issues including a leaking kitchen sink and putting new works in the toilet (see above story) he suggested we drain the water heater due to a grit problem we had.

Now. . we live in a "modular home" or "double wide" and they do strange things building these. The hot water heater was closed into a closet with a screwed in panel hiding it. Trim and over a dozen screws were removed to get access to the heater. Some was screwed into strips of sheet rock that had been used to shim the opening! Real lowlife workmanship.

When we opened the closet we found that the 13 year old heater was leaking (not surprising). But this would have gone unnoticed for a very long time with the resulting water damage if we had not serendipithly been inspecting it. SO, it was time to replace the hot water heater.

Now. . . like most everything in modular homes this was an odd size/shape unit that was not easily available. So we bought the closest thing. It was only 1/2" in diameter larger but required cutting out parts of the enclosure, moving a pipe AND building up underneath it so that the connecting pipes would reach. A real PITA shoehorn fit.

SO, if you haven't looked at your hot water heater in over ten years I would suggest you do so - especially if its hard to access. It just one of many of our modern conveniences that we never think about until it goes bad. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 07/18/18 13:42:38 EDT

WATER HEATER: i live in Québec, Canada. my home insurance company ask me to replace my electrical water heater after 10 years . if i don't, any damages caused by the heater will not be coverded. the company keeps records of my heater serial number, installation date and fabrication date. when the he
ater come close to 10 years, i receive a letter asking me to replace the heater and to give info on the new heater.
the insurance company assume the risks caused by a faulty heater, but they reduce that risk quite a lot whith that 10 years period.
- donald - Tuesday, 07/24/18 09:06:18 EDT

vinegar in the toilet: Jock, you just solved an issue that had been bugging me for 16 years, since I moved into this house! Three gallons of vinegar and a bit of work with a small bottle brush and the old toilet dating to when the house was on hard well water seems to be mostly fixed. Thank you, sir!
Alan-L - Tuesday, 07/24/18 18:00:13 EDT

Glad I helped someone! The plumber that demonstrated the fix used a wire and worked it into every hole. I did not go that far but I did scrap out the large jet in the trap and some build up in the throat of the toilet. Its a pain but cheaper than a new (good quality) toilet.

Hot water heaters. . . We had a cabinet (under counter) type water heater in our old place and it lasted 20 years before it started leaking. I suspect it was the very neutral spring water with no additives. As smiths we use bleach to rapid rust steel. . . imagine what chlorine added to public water does to pipes. .
- guru - Tuesday, 07/24/18 21:31:03 EDT

Old Hot Water Heaters: In our families old Victorian era home (built in 1890) there was a coal fired hot water heater in the basement. It was galvanized steel and riveted construction. Big conical rivets. I inspected it in the 1970's and it was still plumbed to the water system and under pressure. . . 80 years and it was still leak tight! You could have built a fire in the firebox and had hot water. It was rather small and had been replaced with a gas hot water heater in a different part of the house.
- guru - Wednesday, 07/25/18 21:52:58 EDT

Researching your Family History: There are a lot of books on genealogy you should start there.

But the the easy place to start is simple. If your parents are alive ask about their history and about THEIR parents. Then seek out your Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Great Aunts and Uncles. . . talk to all of them. Write to them if you can. Take clear notes. Contact all your relatives as their might already be someone who has done a lot of the work.

Note that to apply for a Passport you need your Grandparents birth dates and places of birth. So this is a good place to start.

Ask for copies of documents if you can get them. Birth certificates and marriage licenses are great proof. Death certificates and obituaries are also good. These are the gold standard of genealogy.

You might also collect copies of diplomas for the history.

At some point the direct information dries up then you go to census records and courthouse research (the serious work).

TIME is not on the side of the genealogist. Folks die, memories fade. . Start NOW rather than later.

I was lucky. One side of the family had done a lot of the hard research and my Mother's mother was a great resource. She had kept up with all the relatives writing to many of them as well as sending Christmas cards every year. She also had a huge collection of family photos which I setup and photographed. Then we went through and she identified them all. She had a sharp mind right up until she passed away at age 94.

Distribute the information you uncover. The more copies that are out there the better.
- guru - Thursday, 07/26/18 15:33:46 EDT

Metric vs. English: Many of you know I am generally anti-metric but also point out that we all need to be able to work in both systems. However, supposed metric country manufacturers do not help.

I recently bought a smallish vibratory finisher. It had some usability issues so I am modifying it (right out of the box). I'm removing a hinged lid that cannot be left opened while the machine runs so you can fish out parts. The replacement cover will be a sheet of rubber conveyor material. The bracket for it is being bolted to the hinge anchor locations and a row of holes along the edge of the tank.

The fun part. . . determining the threads of the holes. The hinge bolts were easy enough to measure, they are #10-32 (English). However, I have a thread gauge that many do not. The holes in the edge of the tank were harder. A 1/4-20 ALMOST fit and a 1/4-24 fit a little better but would only just start about half a turn. The closest metric size is 6mm but is the thread 1mm or .75mm (one of those nasty little FRACTIONAL sizes that metric hardware is full of)? A thread gauge won't fit in a 1/4" hole and it could not be clearly viewed if it fit. . .

SO, I had to order both M6-1 and M6-.75 bolts to test the holes. It turned out that the M6-1 fit.

But the point of all this IS, this machine was made overseas in an officially metric country and all the fasteners should have been metric. . . But on ONE part within inches of each other are metric AND English taped holes.

There is no practical reason for it. The hinges and latches had large enough holes for more M6-1 fasteners OR a metric equivalent to the 3/16" (#10) fasteners.

This is not new to me. Many automobiles had imported metric engines and transmissions fit into American built chassis with all English fasteners. And a classic is the imported copies of the Bridgeport Mill. All the basic Bridgeport parts that were copied such as lead screws and spindle parts as well as T-slots and overall dimensions were all English as the originals BUT all the small fasteners are metric.

But a wholly designed and built machine from a metric country using locally sourced components should be all metric. . .

Perhaps it is because the vast majority of English dimension fasteners used in the US have been made overseas for decades. Which completely negates the theory that by not converting to metric we would not be competitive in the world market. If this was so we would not be buying English fasteners from metric countries. . .
- guru - Saturday, 07/28/18 22:35:29 EDT

Mixed Manufacture: Back in the '70s I worked as the shop welder for a roofing supply company. We sold a line of small forklifts that were manufactured in Texas. The manufacturer would buy a couple dozen Ford rear ends and modify them to work in the forklifts. Then they would get a deal on 40 International rear ends, followed by a dozen Chrysler, Etc. If you wanted parts for one you had bought, you needed model number, serial number, and date of manufacture to be sure of correct fit. I asked one of the semi drivers who picked them u how big a facility they had and he said it wasn't much bigger than a 3 bay mechanics shop.
- Loren T - Sunday, 07/29/18 07:48:57 EDT

Small Manufacturers:
We were one of those small manufacturers that built big things. . . Our Nuclear repair equipment was built in a 60 x 60 garage with a 10x10 foot gantry crane. We had to put in an 8 foot deep pit under the crane to build the larger equipment. The first orders for two sets were built simultaneously requiring most of the 50 tons of huge parts to be stacked on the floor outside of the area covered by the crane. We played hopscotch with the parts for a year with them on 1" pipe rollers!

The parts were made by sub-contractors most of whom were much larger than we were. But we also made a lot of the smaller parts in-house. Our machinery and tool room took about one third of that 60x60 space!

In Taiwan the small machine industry there is largely a cottage industry. That little 4x6 cutoff saw you have in your shop was probably made in one of these single car sized shops. . . A local foundry made the castings and then these small shops bought them and machined them on small (locally made) Bridgeport type Mills. Gears were made in another specialty shop and the whole put together in the dozens of small shops in this trade. These folks have no fork lifts, no cranes. . .

If you have ever visited Big BLU you would find it very interesting. Most of their shop is dedicated to blacksmithing and a small part to making hammers. They make most of the hammer parts in house with the exception of some of the picky machining such as the dies and holders. They use more space storing the dozen or so hammers they keep in inventory than for the making of them. . .

When it is said that small businesses are the majority of the production in the US we are no different than Taiwan. The government definition of a "small business" having less than 200 employees is WAY off. These small businesses most often have less than a dozen employees and turn out literally millions of tons of product.

Those small 4x6 saws were once Made in the USA. I have one, sold by Ridgid Tools. While it looks no different it is infinitely better than the imports. The guide bearing are over 1" in diameter and run on studs that are bigger than the cheap little cam rollers used on the imports!

Yes, we cannot make these tools as cheap as the Imports. But we do not expect our neighbors, brothers and sisters to live in huts with dirt floors, walk miles to work. work 7 days a week, and then die with no kind of pension. Buying American (when you can) is not only patriotic, it is the humane thing to do for our friends and neighbors.
MEC at Oconee
- guru - Sunday, 07/29/18 13:28:35 EDT

I check in from time to time and am always glad to see new content. Thanks for posting, Jock and keeping this place running.
- Tyler - Wednesday, 08/01/18 03:14:45 EDT

PROJECTS - PLANS: I've got more anvil and vise info to post but have been working on a couple in-house design projects and the above vibratory finisher.

We are preparing to build several 2 x 72 belt grinders PLUS cabinets to mount them on. The cabinets will be setup to put the motors in the nice clean ventilated cabinet. Belt guards will enclose the V-belt drive and make a very clean job of it. The machines will have a number of options so we are building 3 machines to demonstrate all the differences.

There have been several hard to detail attachments that have really slowed things down at the end. . . Among the attachments, a tilting table that rotates at the edge next to the platen using one adjustment, a deep reach small wheel attachment with rubber tired wheels, platen heat sink, a bar end radiusing attachment (invented by Jeremy Schmidt - see link), and of course contact wheels (6" to 14").

I'm close to finishing all the drawings (roughly 40) and will correct them as we build. Then the plans will be made available with photos of the finished product.
Schmidt Radius Attachemnt
- guru - Wednesday, 08/01/18 11:25:15 EDT

Grinder Attachments: My version of the Schmidt Radius Attachment is simplified but should be just as functional. For a shop building machinery like ours this is a very handy attachment. As a "knife makers' grinder" I doubt ours will see many knives but it will see a lot of machine parts, tool handles, hammers and so on.
- guru - Wednesday, 08/01/18 20:30:44 EDT

Schmidt Video: Watching the video of making the radius attachment I am reminded of the difference between a Blacksmith and a machinist. A blacksmith says,"It's within a quarter inch." A machinist says,"My God! It's 250 thousandths off!"
- Loren T - Friday, 08/03/18 08:41:06 EDT

And they both say: "It's to the tolerance the customer is willing to pay for."
- ThomasP - Friday, 08/03/18 17:34:52 EDT

Shop Tolerance Reality:
In most small shops we work to much tighter tolerances than the specs often call for. Why? Its easier. In the machine shop most parts can be easily measured and made to +/- 0.001" (.025mm). If you miss, then the specs may give you some room.

When I setup my 4x6 saw with stops for short pieces and the blade is sharp I easily get repeat cuts that are +/- 0.002" and perfectly square. If the parts are to be machined this is great as I can reduce the amount to be machined to clean up. If they are for forging then cool. . . perfect blanks.

When forging on a power hammer and you setup kiss blocks the thickness of the material will be very uniform. However, if its a production job the kiss blocks can be swaged down while forging OR wear if they are hardened steel. This is where production tolerances come into play. Tools and dies wear and the resulting parts change.

In the modern shop almost every milling machine has a Digital Readout. These make it easy to maintain +/- 0.0002", or more realistically +/- 0.0005" (half a thousandths). Lathes can also have DRO's but are less common than on mills.

Most modern metal working shops including some blacksmith shops have CNC plasma tables which will cut out nearly perfect work (as long a kerf allowances are applied). You can also contract work to be cut on flame cutting machines, water jet AND LASER. This is a great boon to weldors and fabricators. You can buy heavy plate cut to +/- 0.005" tolerances. While the finished weldment may only need +/- 1/8" it is much easier to achieve when the components are almost perfect. The more accurate parts make it easier to make assembly jigs and as a result make more accurate product no matter what the required tolerances.

When doing wood framing I will cut to one side, the other OR the middle of a pencil line as needed. Cabinet makers typically work to a knife mark. Modern wood workers don't talk about tolerances but they work to near perfection using table saws, planers and other modern machinery as well as hand tools.
- guru - Sunday, 08/12/18 22:51:41 EDT

NEW TOOLS - Pneumatic File: I've been working on a production project and purchased some tools to speed things along and do a better job.

I had some parts LASER cut and several places had acute edges at 45 and 30 degrees. The plan was to put them into a vibratory finisher to round these edges. But a problem came up with the parts hitting each other and dinging the sharp edges. So I was going to need to hand flatten these edges. A couple were in a narrow notch. . . So I bought a Chicago Pneumatic 3/8" (10mm) belt sander or "Pneumatic File".

This is a SLICK tool! You would think the little belts would be delicate but they hold up for a good day's worth of work the only problem is the edges wearing and the belt getting too narrow to reach into the sharp corners I need to get into. This tool can be fairly aggressive but it is also great for delicate work. I've been putting little .010 to .015" flats on those sharp corners as well as doing some general clean up. While this was not a cheap tool I would have already gone through several files by now and not done as good a job AND taken much longer.

My only complaint was that the instructions tell you NOTHING other than "connect to air" and the size "1/4". . . Which means little (should have said 1/4-NPT. Of course the worthless info (nothing about tracking or changing belts) was in 20 languages. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 08/15/18 18:28:12 EDT

NEW TOOLS - Vibratory Finisher.:

The vibratory finisher does a good job but has been a pain to setup. Its the smallest polyurethane lined steel tub type made (Shop-Tuff 1.25 cuft / 150 lb. made in China).

The day the machine arrived we installed the extra springs provided for heavy loading. The manual simply said "install springs". After a false start it ended up taking two men to hold the works up while a third installed the springs. . . .

The machine also did not come with a water/lube circulating system. This is an absolute necessity in a production operation. So I bought that through another dealer (Accu-Brass) that was recommended by Mr. Deburr (a US maker of similar larger machines). This kit did not even include a single slip of paper of instructions. . . The seller pointed me to the Mr. Deburr web site. They had instructions and recommended connection to a GFI (Ground Fault Interrupter). This made a lot of sense since you have to reach into the wet media while the machine is running to retrieve parts.

We also had a bunch of exchanges about the pump and its use with grit on the water. . This is still a question.

Since there are no GFI's in the shop I made up an extension cord with a duplex GFI and a Double Pole switch to turn off both the finisher and the pump. The steel utility box, cover, GFI, switch, cord and strain relief totaled up to $70!. They don't make a cover plate with rectangular GFI opening and standard toggle switch. SO. . I had to take a common steel toggle cover plate, flatten it, fit to the box, punch holes for the large hole mounting screws and assemble the whole. A couple hour's work. . . on top of the cost. It ended up a neat job and the dual outlets are very convenient since both the vibratory finisher and the pump had short cords.

As mentioned above, to retrieve work you have to reach into the vibrating media. When stationary it would be like trying to push your hand into a gravel pile. When running the heavy load acts like a thick liquid. To reach into the running machine requires opening the
lid. . . and this is the problem. The lid on this machine is mounted on relatively flimsy hinges and it has been reported that they fail after a short time. The fact is the lid was not designed to be open while the machine runs. . .

SO, a major modification. Many of this type machine have a flexible lid made of conveyor belting or similar material. I designed an angle iron bracket to support the flexible cover. It would bolt to the hinge locations and the rim of the tank. The fun part is that the hinges attach with #10-32 bolts and the rim of the tub has 8-1 metric threaded holes. I just love it when things have mixed English and metric fasteners. I had to purchase several size/threads of metric bolt to figure out the metric holes. . .

Making the angle iron bracket with lightening holes is a story on its own. . .

On top of all the other costs the 100 pounds of ceramic media to fill the vibratory finisher cost a third as much as the machine.

Such is shop life. . . Back to loading the finisher. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 08/15/18 19:48:06 EDT

Most of us have multiple air tools in our shops and most of those are equipped with quick disconnects. Over the years my collection of tools and hoses had all kinds of mismatched non-interchangeable connectors. So I bought a bunch of pretty brass quick disconnects and thought I was done. But in a short time the locking balls were falling out and the connectors often popped loose when dropped on the floor. Then I inherited a bunch of air tools and hoses with yet another kind of connector.

NOTE: There is no such thing as a "universal" quick disconnect.

SO, I went shopping for some new quick disconnects at McMaster Carr. I quickly noticed they had long stem Lincoln connectors. I was familiar with these from my service station days some 40 years ago. I remember them having come with the service station equipment some decade or more before I took it over and all still in good condition and working. I even still had some of the ends in my tool box.

One of the nice features of the Lincoln connectors is that they are long and are VERY obliviously different. I'm sure you have had quick connectors that looked the same, but were frustrated that they were not interchangeable. Even a blind many can identify the Lincoln.

So I bought a hand full of new Lincoln quick disconnects. I was happy to find that they were the same as my 50 year old service station connectors. Now all my tools fit all my hoses and I am happy. Hopefully the new Lincoln connectors are as good as the old ones.

If you have friends that bring their air tools into your shop. Convince them to convert to the same connectors you use.
- guru - Wednesday, 08/15/18 23:05:07 EDT

AIR HOSE STINGERS: Quick disconnects (especially the Lincoln mentioned above) are bulky and add weight to your air tools. To make your tools easier to use but a "stinger" on them. This is a short (3 to 5 feet) long piece of air hose that stays with your tool. This separates your quick disconnect from the tool making the tool lighter and more flexible to handle.

I make my stingers from hose a size down from the main hose. Usually this is 1/4". This is light and flexible.

Not every tool needs or benefits from a stinger. I do not use them on my die grinder or air chisel. But a stinger is great on my spray gun and new pneumatic file.
- guru - Wednesday, 08/15/18 23:37:06 EDT

Quick connects: These are a nightmare in a factory. Everybody abuses them and the new cheaper ones that purchasing managers adore are garbage. Buy HF quick connects and you get what you deserve. Balls that fall out check valves that dont, and nipples that were so bad they don't seal.Buy name brand. use stingers as Jock says, they help greatly, but if you want full function of the tool do not under-size that starves air on items like impacts and grinders.
ptree - Thursday, 08/16/18 18:47:33 EDT

All the oil company supplied equipment in my Phillips 66 station was first class. There were hose reels at the pumps, those Lincoln QD's as noted, an air compressor that ran perfectly all day even though it was 10 years old. . .

The piece of equipment I miss the most. . . the lift.
- guru - Thursday, 08/16/18 19:27:08 EDT

A little understood item:
Over a period of decades I've replaces many 3 prong outlets that crack or broke due to cord loads in shops. When I was building my shop in Virginia I was also building machinery and was in the electrical supply warehouse almost daily. There I learned about the different grades of electric outlet. The "common" grade is a brittle plastic like Bakelite. But there are also nylon outlets and the BEST ate "hospital" grade. These are designed to take the abuse seen during a patient crash situation where equipment cords are literally ripped out of the outlets in order to move the patient and equipment to a surgery or intensive care ward. In the shop (and home) you get a similar situation when a cord is tripped over. The result is usually a broken outlet. But if you use hospital grade components they will last a lifetime.

The place I had the biggest problem in our family shop was on specialized extension cords I made for welders and the high HP machinery we were building. The ends were a 4" utility box with a heavy duty strain relief on the large cord. Drop one of these ONE TIME on its face and the brittle plastic would shatter and put the expensive custom cord out of service. . . I found that I could get nylon receptacles that were impossible to break. Problem solved.

Your shop outlets are something rarely thought about. . . until they break. Using high quality parts reduces one item of frustration that can be avoided.
- guru - Thursday, 08/16/18 20:54:41 EDT

I prefer twist lock cord ends for those high Hp ends not in a box but cord end.
ptree - Friday, 08/17/18 15:44:01 EDT

Riveting Sheet Metal:
You can learn something new every day.

I happened on two youtube craftsmen demos, an Irish tinsmith and an Australian cooper who both used the same riveting technique.

Starting with a hole in one part, they set a rivet shank up on the anvil then held the parts to be riveted, one with a hole, the other not, then aligned the parts blind and punched the hole in the bottom part using the rivet as the punch and the hole in the top part as the die.

It takes a couple blows around the hole to punch the second hole with the rivet then the riveting can begin. In some situations the plates are tightened with a rivet set or a bolster.

Fast an easy but it takes some skill to align the parts over the rivet.

- guru - Saturday, 08/18/18 16:19:13 EDT

Measuring a circle:
The cooper used a simple technique to measure the ID of his barrel so that it could be transferred to the head.

Using dividers he went around the circle until the dividers were adjusted to fit six divisions of the circle. The dividers are now the radius of the circle so you can draw a matching circle.

At first I thought that can't work. . . but if you remember that you layout a hexagon using the radius of the circle. This is just the opposite, finding six divisions of the circle to find the radius (and diameter). I've been using a compass and dividers for a lifetime and missed this little trick!

That's two things I learned today.

Traditional Cooper - George Smithwick
- guru - Saturday, 08/18/18 16:31:27 EDT

Black Beauty Burners:
Our burners are finally ready to sell!

These are simple, high quality forge and small foundry burners designed to be the ultimate "budget" burner.

Black Beauty Burners
- guru - Tuesday, 08/21/18 21:38:14 EDT

The LASER in modern technology:
The LASER is in many of the forms of technology we use every day. CD's read and write with a LASER.

LASER printers are obviously LASER powered and I use mine for everything but purchased it to make water proof labels for our Forge Ease containers. It is also used to make the special dilute container labels and our special Green Non-Hazardous labels. And now with the new burners is make the aluminized labels for the burners, the labels for the boxes and the color instruction sheet. It is also used to print the drawings taken to sub-contractors and shipping labels for customers. We also use architectural services to LASER print large scale drawings ("blue" prints) on a LASER plotter.

Some machines such as metal breaks use LASER guide lines to aid in their use and alignment.

We have several shops that do LASER metal cutting for us. Our belt grinder project has about half the parts cut on a LASER table. Hundreds of pounds of parts for several grinders. AND of course, our burner tubes with sharp 45 degree angle cuts.

LASERS are used to measure and layout lots, buildings, machine locations as well as leveling the same.

LASERS are used in hand held LASER spectrometers to identify materials down to specific metal alloys.

3D LASER scanning devices capture 3D shapes into CAD systems and those same CAD files can be used to create solid models via the LASER curing liquid resin into a 3D shape. The complete process becoming a 3D solid copier.

Small LASER cutting tables are now available for the shop that can cut wood, paper, plastic and even thin metal. The next step will be small bed LASERS that can cut steel plate. Like CNC plasma tables today the new LASER tables will be found in machine, welding and even blacksmith shops in the next few decades.

LASERS are used for engraving, part inspection and machine vision (robot vision such as on self driving cars). They are used for pointers that even young children have access to and gun sighting systems which can be used to harass an enemy even if they are too far away to shoot them. . .

I'm sure I missed some applications but I've listed enough to show how many parts of technological life depends on the LASER (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) which will always be the exotic acronym I learned as a young science geek in the 1960's

- guru - Sunday, 08/26/18 19:21:41 EDT

You are probably reading data that spends part of it's time on a fiber optic cable powered by a laser.
ThomasP - Monday, 08/27/18 20:55:15 EDT

I'm not on a fiber optic line but ALL major distribution networks are fiber optic. So once my signal is "in town" it is switched to fiber optic as most of the Internet is today.

AND I believe all the new transoceanic cables are now fiber optic. SO, if you are on the other side of either big pond and reading this, thank a LASER.
- guru - Wednesday, 08/29/18 04:01:30 EDT

Commercial airplanes and ships use laser ring gyros in their nav systems.
Mike BR - Wednesday, 08/29/18 19:05:15 EDT

Lasers: In 1997 My wife and I took a trip around the country on Amtrak. We were gone for 21 days of which we spent 8 days on the train. Everywhere fiber optics were being laid in the railway right of way. Right next to it were thousands of telephone poles with millions of insulators mostly without wires on them.Interesting contrast of technologies.
- Loren Tollefson - Thursday, 08/30/18 08:03:40 EDT

LASERs: I'm sure our submarines have LASER navigation devices.

There are medical LASER skin treatments, tatoo removal and LASIC eye surgery.

AND there is the new LASER rust removal gun which is about as science fictiony as you can get.

In his Foundation Series Issac Asimov mentioned an "Atomic Punch", a self contained hand held LASER punch that would make huge holes in thick steel plate. . . The only thing missing in many of Asimov's future technologies (self aware AI robots, LASER knives, energy weapons. . .) is the power supply. At the time physicists were predicting egg size nuclear power supplies that would produce tremendous power and outlast the machines they were put into. For many reasons these did not come to fruition. And without them many of the things we see in science fiction will never exist.

I know, never say never.
- guru - Thursday, 08/30/18 10:51:06 EDT

Lithium batteries are nowhere near reactors, but I still find them amazing. (They seem to have the risk of meltdown nailed pretty well, too . . .)
Mike BR - Thursday, 08/30/18 19:19:25 EDT

Batteries: In the mid 90's I met a guy who was building a cabin on the golf course in Alpine, AZ. He had a Makita 13 volt drill/screw gun. He was putting down the second floor decking of 2 1/8" t&g with deck screws. He said the battery only lasted for about 50 screws and then had to recharge it. I asked why he didn't get an extra battery. He said, "Are you nuts? I can get in 9 holes while it's charging!" It's all about perspective.
- Loren Tollefson - Saturday, 09/01/18 09:38:39 EDT

Batteries: When I was young, battery powered Christmas toys were a complete disaster. Big D cells only lasted a few minutes and it was impossible to obtain enough of them during the holiday season. I always asked for tools but my many younger brothers and sisters wanted toy robots, walkie-talkies (lasted 10 minutes) and many other battery powered toys. The lack of battery life and low efficiency motors resulted in Christmas being a very upsetting day rather than the joyous day it should have been. . .

In the 70's and 80's I tried to keep a big heavy duty 6 volt cell mount flashlight in my truck. I finally gave up as every time I needed it the bulb was broken from vibration or the battery was dead OR both. . .

Now I have an LED flashlight in my travel bag that was given to me about 20 years ago. . . It still works like new. In my van glove box there is a hand crank LED light that is brighter than any heavy duty flashlight from the 1980's. And of course we have portable phones and cell phones that last many hours on microscopic rechargeable batteries. After almost 20 years those in our house phones finally got to the point that they wouldn't hold a charge. . . Longer life replacement batteries for the 3 phones cost less than $20. Twenty dollars for twenty years. . . now THAT is wonderful technology.

The absolutely amazing use of the new high powered batteries is the little drones that carry a camera and transmit what they are seeing. OF course this is a combination of advanced technologies. Ultra efficient high powered motors, microcircuits, digital radio, high tech digital cameras and some tricky programming.
- guru - Saturday, 09/01/18 10:54:24 EDT

Most Common LASER: We missed the everyday bar-code scanner used in every grocery store, mini-market and other retail locations in the US. They are also used in factories and warehouses to track inventory and even keep up with medications in hospitals and pharmacies.
- guru - Sunday, 09/02/18 22:00:09 EDT

Another LASER: I THINK one of my computer mice uses a laser to read the motion across a surface. I LOOKS like the red scanning light on bar-code readers . .

My trackball uses LED's and Photodector Diode to sense the spotted ball's motion. No LASER. And its working after 20 years of use. . .
- guru - Sunday, 09/02/18 22:06:28 EDT

Muppets - Happy Time Murders:
We made a huge mistake going to the new Muppet movie without watching the reviews or the trailers. . . . and knowing that it was R-rated muppet porn.

On top of it not being what we expected. . . it was a really terrible movie. . . You couldn't pay me to watch this movie again.

Just a heads up.
- guru - Monday, 09/03/18 09:22:31 EDT

Additions to the Vise Pages:
I've added a couple more vises AND a page of catalog page spanning over 200 years
Catalog of Vise Catalogue Pages
- guru - Tuesday, 09/04/18 20:25:43 EDT

I googled a little on laser mice when I they gave me one at work. The couple of articles I read only talked about IR lasers (which is what I have). But it makes sense that someone would have made a visible light one, as well.

A few years ago I was daydreaming about a laser bug zapper that would shoot down mosquitoes. Turns out there's already a working prototype, called the "photonic fence."
Mike BR - Tuesday, 09/04/18 22:01:23 EDT

Computer Mice and LASERs: I absolutely abhor a computer mouse. They make me feel like I am a horse pawing the ground in an animal act counting 1, 2, 3. . . I've used trackballs for 99.9% of all my computing and have an ergonomic Trackman red ball, AND I recently bought a New Old Stock replacement. . . which turned out I did not need immediately. Back to mice. .

My first new laptop had one of those little joysticks in the middle of the keyboard. It was a pain and did not work very well. I was glad when that laptop wore out. . . My replacement laptop has one of those little touch pads. . . which MIGHT have been OK but it had "hot" zones that did special things like pressing ENTER. . and was downright dangerous. I disabled it and use that LASER mouse that I was given. My Logitech trackballs are a little too large to haul in the laptop bag. . .

It is definitely a visible red LASER and will hurt your eyes to look at it even from across the room. I has never failed to work on ANY surface including plain white paper. Being non-contact is great in that it will practically never wear out. The switches MIGHT go bad but that was the problem in my Trackball and was easily fixed with a little cleaning.

NOW. . . the last time I had to use my laptop for a significant time I hauled a large screen monitor AND my trackball. . . I use the mouse for short term portability. And will probably be using the LASER mouse the rest of my life. . . and hopefully my trusty Trackman. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 09/05/18 17:26:54 EDT

Yet More LASERS:
I saw a YouTube video where a young may (teens-twenties) built several laser rifles using commonly available lasers and a home brew focusing system. He was popping ballons and setting off explosions at 200 feet. The limitation of the low power LASERS was the optics and his PVC plumbing focusing system.

While this is not a "deadly weapon" it is fairly amazing considering the age and budget of the maker. His was a low tech system with a continuous power supply. A comment had been left that the power could be significantly increased using a capacitive discharge system (like photo floods or flash).
- guru - Thursday, 09/06/18 10:41:23 EDT

Hurricane Florence:
After two days of the most eerie calm before the storm we have some light rain. It will come in brief waves throughout the day today. Just warming up for the "big event" which may miss this area as we are on the fringe.

The calm has been deathly quiet. No breeze, just the sound of crickets and a few small birds tweeting sadly (they must know what is coming).
- guru - Saturday, 09/15/18 09:57:02 EDT

Hurricane Florence:
We were very lucky and the storm bypassed us. Folks in the Charlotte area were also lucky as much of the area is low lying and the amount of rain predicted would have been a huge disaster.

Others in the Carolinas have not been so lucky and many rivers are still reaching their crest a week after the storm passed through.
- guru - Sunday, 09/23/18 21:05:26 EDT

TIME CHECK: Testing server time errors. . .
- guru - Monday, 09/24/18 21:17:38 EDT

Florence the hurricane: Hiya Jock!!!! Long time I no post; hope all is well with everybody. Florence has been kind enough to stay out of Ohio and SE Michigan, too. My best regards to everybody. Be safe. 3dogs
Paul Wilson 3dogs - Tuesday, 09/25/18 23:33:11 EDT

Well, after a week of nice weather we are in a flash flood watch again. . . Luckily I am on top of a hill unlike when I was in Virginia and lived IN the creek. . .

Good to hear from you.
- guru - Wednesday, 09/26/18 18:54:56 EDT

Am looking for ANYONE willing to help senior beginner via phone.
I am new to blacksmithibg and am just building forge. Need someone to train me. No other blacksniths around area to learn from. USA ONLY
Thank you
D J - Friday, 09/28/18 10:47:59 EDT

Help needed: New blacksmith trainee lookibg for someone to help train me. Am senior living on low income. Trying to build first forge. Live rural farm and could save by learning. Old but very feisty! If you can train me via phone, email, youtube, let me know.
Thank you
D J - Friday, 09/28/18 10:54:42 EDT

DJs question:
You don't have to post on all our forums. . . I answered on the guru's den.

WHERE ARE YOU? The USA is a big place. . . You don't have to give your street address but state and county or nearest town on the map.
- guru - Friday, 09/28/18 18:58:14 EDT

DJ; I remember a young fellow hunting for remote instruction because there was nobody near him---till he coughed up a general address and he found out that the president of the local ABANA affiliate lived on the same rural road as he did.

Have you checked the ABANA affiliate page? Often attending a meeting and asking if there is anyone close to you works well. You may be able to email the club president and ask too. I get an email about every month or so from the Affiliate president about 300 miles north of me for folks hunting a teacher in my area.
- ThomasP - Friday, 09/28/18 23:08:46 EDT

TOOLS Tools tools: We just launched a NEW page. The Ted Mays Blacksmith Tool Collection and Sale. Everything listed is for sale. After the sale the image collection will remain on anvilfire as a blacksmith and antique tool tour.

The page is opening with 66 items and there are many many more to come.

Ted Mays Collection and Sale
- guru - Tuesday, 10/02/18 20:19:18 EDT

Tools: With all due respect, may I ask for the reason for the prices, on the anvils, for example. The 233 lb Peter Wright is listed at $8500, which is at least twice if not three times the price of a new anvil in that weight range. I am not trying to get you to lower the price, but I just wasn't aware that anvils were selling for that high
- Anthony Weaver - Wednesday, 10/03/18 15:52:12 EDT

Tools- : I blame it all on "Flogged in Fire." Now everybody who comes to me (except the old friends and folks needed hinges repaired for their barn) wants to make a knife. Some tool prices have gone out of sight.

Bruce Blackistone Atli - Wednesday, 10/03/18 17:36:05 EDT

Tool Prices:
A lot of old classic anvils are selling for over $10 to $15/lb. . . but we may have slipped a digit on that PW. I'll talk to Ted in the morning.

The thing about anvils is that many made from the 1850's to the 1930's are as good as it gets and better than most new anvils. The old anvils were all warranted for a lifetime and new anvils are generally not warranted at all. . . On the other hand, modern buyers are often silly nits. . . one used a hardness tester on a Centaur Kohlsmwa on a 1/2" grid covering the entire surface. . . then complained that it was not uniformly hard (anvils never are due to the changes in cross section and difficulty quenching). In the process he left tester dings every 1/2" on the anvil and wanted to return it. . . The seller was livid.

Old time buyers knew if they chipped or dinged an anvil it was their own darn fault and probably wouldn't file a warranty claim unless a big hunk of face came unwelded or the horn fell off. . . it happens. . .
- guru - Thursday, 10/04/18 01:42:42 EDT

More Toilet Talk:
The flush lever on a friends old toilet was falling off due to the nylon nut inside having come unscrewed. She tried to put it back on and I tried on two separate occasions. . . Today we went and bought a new Kohler lever assembly to install. . .

When I went to put the new part in I couldn't get the nut off the new part. . . THEN I tried to turn it BACKWARDS. . . The troublesome #@&! parts had LEFT HAND threads! So I put the OLD one back together (easily now that I knew it was a left hand thread) and the new part will be returned.

You learn something every day. . .
- guru - Thursday, 10/04/18 01:50:51 EDT

Flush lever: You were just using the wrong hand!
- Loren Tollefson - Thursday, 10/04/18 06:24:09 EDT

Years ago, I was visiting my in-laws in Taiwan. Many of the toilets there flushed by pulling up a knob in the middle of the tank cover.

Soon after we checked into a certain hotel room, I pulled up on the knob, which came off in my hand. I went to get my wife for help, and she broke out laughing. "You idiot -- it says 'push' right on the top." In Chinese, of course. When I looked closer, I realized that what I'd though was a knob was actually a stepped collar around a push button.
Mike BR - Thursday, 10/04/18 19:49:04 EDT

Looking for apptenticeship : I have been trying to figure out where I can go be blacksmith apprentice. It’s been a long time dream of mine and I’m either not looking hard enough or it really is just that hard to find an apprenticeship for blacksmithing. If anyone has any ideas in regards to where I can go to learn blacksmithing or be an apprentice please let me know.
- Michael N. - Thursday, 10/11/18 12:34:18 EDT

Please see our getting started article, and the links to articles such as those on apprenticeships.

AND this is an international forum. WHERE ARE YOU? Madagascar? Sweden? NYC, LA?
- guru - Thursday, 10/11/18 12:59:29 EDT

Cheep? Like to Travel?
World travel the low cost way. . . . One of my favorite YouTube channels, Kombi Life, Hasta Alaska
The longest Road in the World Part 2
-guru - Thursday, 11/15/18 14:23:29 EST

looking for forge: looking for gas or coal forge under 100 dollars. email me if you have one to sell
- Patrick Gilmore - Tuesday, 11/27/18 11:23:07 EST

Patrick; are you willing to pay for international shipping? This is an international forum you know. You can build solid fuel forges for pretty much nothing and propane forges for a reasonable amount of money. Wayne Coe sells refractories for them in reasonably sized amounts and has plans for building one on his website. I believe he will ship to North America so if you are in Australia it won't help much---save for the design.
- ThomasP - Wednesday, 11/28/18 22:56:03 EST

Cheap Forge:
In the US you will have to scrounge materials and build your own to get into a forge for $100 or less. For a little more we sell refractory, coating and burners for a gas forge. Shipping is reasonable in the US but even to Canada it is high and outside of North America shipping rates get crazy.

A coal forge can be built for the cost of your bellows or blower. But if you want portability the steel will cost you more. Coal forges can be built for $0 but working on the ground can be rough on older folks (I can't do it any more).
- guru - Friday, 11/30/18 09:42:08 EST

What the Left is up to in the US: H.R. 7115: Ban Everything & Silence the Masses!


1. Firearm receiver blanks.
(This could be ANY piece of metal [aluminium, steel, brass. . .] large enough to make a firearm "receiver" - Like the thousands of pounds of heavy bar and plate I have in my shop. . .).

2. "Assault Weapons Parts"
a. detachable magazine
b. no threaded barrels for flash suppressors OR silencers
c. barrel shroud
d. forward grip
e. semi-automatic version of an automatic weapon.

3. Machine gun parts kits (already regulated and banned since 1986).

The law requires registering a weapon that you PLAN to make.

THEN the law also bans speech about how to build firearms.

The above law infringes on BOTH the First and Second amendment to the constitution of the United States.

Think about it. In Britain they are banning certain types of knives because the murder rate there is higher than in the US, the gun-less Brits using knives). Would they follow the lead of the above bill and ban talking about making knives???? Would they ban US knife forums in the UK? Ban knife "blanks"? Better not pick up that piece of flint. . .

This is the kind of gun control law the left considers "common sense". While currently a receiver blank is a partially machined part where does it stop? A "blank" in ANY machine shop (OR blacksmith shop) is ANY piece of metal big enough to make a given part. It could be rectangular, round, hexagonal OR full of holes in the right places - simply have enough mass to make a given part.

If you cannot ban blanks then what? Ban the tools used to convert metal into weapons? Forges. drill presses, lathes? On YouTube there have been videos of individuals making guns using no more than an arc welder, a grinder and parts bought at a hardware store. . . OR will we have to be registered as metalworkers because we ALL have the capacity to make a firearm? What about just having the KNOWLEDGE to be a metalworker?

You think I am being ridiculous? LOOK at the gun control laws proposed AND passed in the state of California and a few other states. THINK about the kind of mind that thinks they can ban pieces of metal (or plastic - AR-15 receivers have been made using hobby solid modeling machines. . . ). THINK about the kind of mind that thinks they can ban discussions about making weapons. What about the possibly millions of copies of detailed dimensioned drawings of firearms in circulation in private hands (including detail AR-15 receiver drawings). Are they going to raid your home and search your files for information about "forbidden" technology? After the firearms plans are they going to confiscate your copy of "How to run a Lathe" or "Metalwork, Technology and Practice"?

Use your first amendment rights (while you still have them)to speak to your representatives and let them know how wrong this is and how slippery a slope they are going down.

- guru - Sunday, 12/02/18 03:37:36 EST

Boonville NC:
At 9:45am Sunday the 9th we have a foot or more of snow and its still coming down. Temperature is below freezing.

Its supposed to be in the 40's on Monday and Tuesday - we will see.
- guru - Sunday, 12/09/18 09:54:08 EST

Snow in Maryland: Started about 1:00 as I was dropping Amanda off at the group home after church. I went over to the forge when I got home and laid out the tarps on the workbench and equipment. Here the snow is heavy and dense, so it's not blowing through the well-ventilated eaves and roof ridge vent; but an ounce of prevention... Now about 3:30 and maybe an inch or two. As the wif used to say: "Enough to be pretty, but not enough to be a problem." We'll see how much more we get tonight. Y'all be careful out there.
Bruce Blackistone Atli - Sunday, 12/09/18 15:29:40 EST

Snow in Boonville, NC:
We now have 8" of thick wet snow, the result of a very slow melt of 16-18" of light snow. . . I moved the car a few feet but won't be getting out today, Maybe tomorrow.
- guru - Wednesday, 12/12/18 17:09:45 EST

Booneville Snow: Hope you're not getting a refreeze each night. That gets really unpleasant. Ours is almost melted and/or sublimated; just a few patches on the north side of the houses and barns or back in the woodlands.
Bruce Blackistone Atli - Wednesday, 12/12/18 17:41:58 EST

Its refreezing every night. . . Finally got out today and made lots of tracks in the driveway. Hopefully we will get enough sun and or rain to finish off most of the drive.

If this gets to be a regular thing (like it was in the 50's and 60's) I'll need to look into a 4WD vehicle.
- guru - Thursday, 12/13/18 19:09:07 EST

I plan to sweep the dust off the front stoop today; won't need a jacket if I do it when the sun is out...
- ThomasP - Friday, 12/14/18 12:50:06 EST

Yeah. . . I still think about moving to Costa Rica. . . where it is 70F year round and you get so spoiled that you complain that it is hot at 72 and cold at 69. . . Almost every kind of fruit and vegetable is "in season" all year round. Just need to learn more Spanish. . .
- guru - Friday, 12/14/18 22:27:59 EST

Longest Night of the Year: ...and as I was coming back from the forge it looked like a full moon, too. (Close enough for me, anyway.)
Bruce Blackistone Atli - Friday, 12/21/18 18:28:03 EST

Handle Repair Day:
I have not needed a handle repair day for a long time due to non-usage of many of my tools. But this year is different.

On the return from a trip where we took shovels, axes, picks and rakes my helpers unloaded the lot in the bushes next to the truck and there they lay for several years. . . When they were found recently all the handles were rotted and bug eaten.

So this year my handle repair day will be different. I will need to be replacing shovel handles which is something I have never done. The other handles are not that much different than hammers other than their shape. But shovel handles need to be steamed (I think) to fit into the curved sockets.

I just looked at the cost of handles vs. new shovels. . . New HD fiberglass handled shovels cost less than what handles cost.
- guru - Tuesday, 01/01/19 22:56:58 EST

The President:
I just saw a movie with Bo Derek and Anthony Quinn titled "Ghosts Can't Do It", made in 1989. It includes a young Donald Trump as a ruthless businessman. In 1989 he didn't play ruthless very well. . .
- guru - Thursday, 01/10/19 11:27:50 EST

Lessons learned and obsevations:
We went on a trip this past weekend to look at some art and sculpture. First stop was the Whirly Gig Park in Wilson NC. This is a collection of work created by a retiree that has been put into a beautiful city park.

Everything looked well maintained. But there was ONE problem. None of the animated movements worked. I'm not sure why but I suspect rust and worn pivots where there should be bearings. You cannot really blame the artist. He was building for his own pleasure not for decades beyond his lifetime. To get things working will require a lot of retrofitting sealed bearings.

In a place called Swan Quarter down on the coast we saw a very nice steel gate/sculpture. It was VERY appropriately hot dip galvanized. From the color of the zinc it looked like it had been outside in the salt air environment for about a decade. NO RUST. I do not know if they plan on painting it but it is time. The zinc has sufficiently aged.
- guru - Thursday, 01/17/19 00:15:42 EST

Welder Bee: I love the cartoon of the welder bee and his stinger. It reminds me of the late '60s when I first went to work in an ornamental iron shop. On the way to an installation we went by a gas station that had burned to the ground. They did trailer hitch and muffler work. The worker was under a car and he had a rod in the stinger. He set it down and it rolled over with the rod up, puncturing the gas tank and setting it on fire. He died and the place burned in short order. That was about 1968 and I have never handled a stinger that I haven't thought about that.
Along those same lines, I have probably repaired 25 or 30 gas tanks with holes or cracks in them. Shortly after opening my Shop in Pine, AZ, I had a fellow come in and ask me if I could fix a crack in a saddle tank on his semi. I told him to remove it, empty it, and take all extraneous items off. The next day he brought it in, There was a 1 1/2 long crack right next to the mounting bracket. I put duct tape over all opening but one, stuck my CO2 hose in and filled it up. I struck an arc with 6013, chipped and wire brushed it, and was done. When he asked me what He owed me, I said $20. He complained that was awful expensive for 2 minutes welding. I carefully explained that it was $1 for the welding, $1 for knowing what to do, and $18 for taking a chance I would blow myself up! "That I'll pay!" he said. He became one of my best customers.
- Loren Tollefson - Thursday, 01/17/19 08:56:47 EST

Welder Bee: I wish I could get Nippulinni to do more comics for us. . . We still have a backlog of gags that need art.
- guru - Thursday, 01/17/19 12:18:19 EST

Service Station Welding:
Back when I had a service station I was doing some work on my own car on the lift. I was welding a bracket to the frame. I tried to strike an arc and had the typical no joy. . . but then I smelled gasoline. I flipped up my hood and saw a fine line of gasoline peeing on me from the fuel line I had accidentally struck an arc on. . . I am lucky to be here.

After that I was much more careful to check for fuel and brake lines before doing any welding. . .

Another thing that one needs to be VERY careful about when welding on trucks, automobiles or machinery is the ground path. IF the path from the arc to the ground goes through anything with bearings they will be arc burned and fail very shortly afterward. This includes wheel bearings, transmission bearings, drive shaft universal joints and many other parts. It is not unusual for motors on machinery to be damaged by arc burned bearings. On electric motors this includes the motor power to ground as well as welding and is one reason motor frames are supposed to be grounded.
- guru - Thursday, 01/17/19 12:35:26 EST

black beauty: has anyone used the black beauty burner if yes how does it work?
- brent - Friday, 01/18/19 16:34:40 EST

Black Beauty: Since Jock invented it you know it works well, but here's a link to someone using a pair of them to weld up mosaic damascus:
- Alan-L - Saturday, 01/26/19 14:46:52 EST

Black Beauty Burners: Alan, THANKS for the link!

I designed these burners to be simple and CHEEP. The goal was to simplify simplify so they could be made economically. They were also made to fit all the common pipe burner forge plans bouncng around. I myself have made many pipe fitting burners and spent at LEAST as much money on them as we sell these high quality production burners.

If you like our burners you will REALLY like our forges that I hope to get into production soon.
- guru - Wednesday, 01/30/19 23:58:49 EST

Selling Shop: Selling turn key blacksmith shop. Located in Asheville NC. 40 years of tools and equipment including (2) power hammers, 25lb little giant / 100 lb. Molach Mayer. plasma cutter, power rolling mill, 4 anvils, gas forges, leg vices, a lot of steel and hand tools, 3 swedge blocks, layout tables. all in a 1200 sq. ft. commercial building. Need to be out by Sept 2019. Call Steve Joslyn @ 282-676-1322. Check out web site at
- steve joslyn - Tuesday, 02/05/19 12:55:28 EST

Server Errors and Posting Issues:
In mid January our server was physically moved from one location to another and IP addresses had to be changed. This should have been a simple change but all sorts of problems popped up during the move and sometimes attempts to fix things made problems worse. They are finally fixed.

If you are a google Chrome user then there are other problems. Google unilaterally decided that most of the Security Certificate industry was not doing their job and wrote Chrome to issue security warnings on perfectly legitimate sites (such as our store). Our store has a perfectly good security certificate issued by a reputable issuer and tested routinely by a security audit company as required by credit card companies and the US Government. But not Google, the new Evil Empire (having replaced Microsoft for that honor).

Many web sites run into the types of problems we have had over the past few months and they simply disappeared because the technical issues were too great to recover from. We are here for the long run and should be here for the next 20 years or when I die, whichever comes first. . .
- guru - Thursday, 02/21/19 11:33:11 EST

I've been visiting daily on Chrome and experienced one day when the site wouldn't load, but no other issues. Except for a few typos in the tips, of course (grin).
Mike BR - Friday, 02/22/19 18:17:18 EST

Mike, The issue is with our SSL cert on the store. New versions of Chrome alert on it with a big red notice that it is not secure. . . This is based on google's claim that most of the major secure cert issuers have security issue, THIS being based on a few scammer sites that were issued security certs.

I found this problem with Thwate certs some 20 years ago when they had a monopoly on cert issuance. Thwate (a South African Company) certs were issued based on a credit check and references which they charged a high annual fee ($300/year) and rechecked annually (a big pain). If the scammer had good credit, they got a cert. . .

Over time the cert business changed as competition was allowed (by the US government). Some issuers issued a low level cert based on the ownership of a web domain and its legal registration. TODAY google wants EVERY web site to be operated as "secure" with an encrypted link and this has resulted in every server automatically issuing self issued certs to domains on the server. Google trusts these but NOT those issued by registered certification companies. . .

I'm trying to get my 3 year store cert reissued and installed. . .JUST to make google happy. I've tested the self issued cert on anvilfire and it works, sort of. Our forums do not work under SSL. . . . something else to figure out.
- guru - Friday, 02/22/19 23:25:58 EST

It just occurred to me that it might be fun to assemble a list of "some assembly required" shop tips -- ones that make sense after a little thought. For example: Never open both tubes of epoxy at the same time.
Mike BR - Monday, 02/25/19 19:21:59 EST

hmmmmmm. . . don't quite get it.

The "Some Assembly Required" sounds like a good title for a series of comics (or related gags). But I cannot quite get my head around it at the moment.
- guru - Tuesday, 02/26/19 14:54:49 EST

SSL Cert: Our google chrome issue is cleared up. After dozens of hours of work by me, our cert merchant, cert provider and server techs. . . We now have a cert from the SAME original company that does exactly the same thing and is verified by the same method (simple ownership and control of the domain) and is absolutely no better . . . all to satisfy some idiots at google (the "Because WE say so" Company").
- guru - Tuesday, 02/26/19 15:01:06 EST

If you only open one tube at a time, you won't put the caps back on the wrong tubes.
Mike BR - Tuesday, 02/26/19 17:38:20 EST

Got it :) Seen it done but never myself.

I've probably been using resins longer than almost anyone having started in the early 1960's building soap box racers. Also had access to superglue soon after it was developed and only used in industry.

Used epoxy and polyester resins with fiberglass, bondo, Devcon casting resins and more. . . I prefer the original liquid hardener as it produces harder cleaner finished resin.
- guru - Wednesday, 02/27/19 13:40:00 EST

I've only heard about it being done, but that may be because I only open one tube at a time. . .
Mike BR - Wednesday, 02/27/19 18:48:11 EST

epoxy: Or use the epoxy that comes in twin syringes with a cap that only fits on one way.
- Jan - Thursday, 02/28/19 22:20:44 EST

Epoxy: I have an industrial dispenser built like a heavy duty caulking gun for a pair of tubes that also use a special mixing tube with a spiral insert. Used to anchor bolts in concrete or rock it works great. No measuring, no mixing, just pump it in the hole.

The only problem I had with it was giving it to some employees to anchor 8 bolts for a bridge column. . . They filled all the 2" holes first (in the summer) then tried to put the bolts in. . . It had hardened by the time they started to put the bolts in! I was sure I had said something about doing one at a time. . . We had to drill out all that nice new epoxy.
- guru - Friday, 03/01/19 11:11:40 EST

I guess I should try the twin syringes again. I did years ago, and felt like there was too much room for the plungers to cock, making the metering for small batches too inaccurate. But maybe they're built tighter now.

The product I really hate is 5 minute epoxy. It's weaker than the normal kind -- indeed there was a ceiling collapse in a tunnel in Boston that was caused by using the 5 minute stuff when it wasn't spec'd. But it seems to have driven the slow-set kind off the hardware shelves.

I think people buy it thinking they'll be done in 5 minutes. Of course, it's a 5-minute working time, and you still need to leave it overnight to get any real strength -- and by then the slow-set stuff has almost caught up.

It does have its place, but there have been only a handful of times I've had reason to use it.
Mike BR - Friday, 03/01/19 18:21:11 EST

Epoxy: The way the equal part types work is to add a LOT of filler to the hardener. My experience is that this makes a very weak mix compared to the old pure stuff.
- guru - Saturday, 03/02/19 01:48:30 EST

brand newbe: Hey nice site thank you for that.
I have been doing a lot of reading and u-tubing but now I am ready to get started
doing instead of watching. I need a few more things.
I built a forge out of a hub and brake drum with a nice fan I had. I had some issues controlling the blower, so I built a air handler box and It worked surprisingly well! as you can see from that I am on a bit of a budget. I am looking for a nice used swedge block, so if anyone knows where to get one please let me know.
I live in winterville Ga.
thank you
- Richard Patenaude - Tuesday, 04/09/19 09:11:54 EDT

Swage Block:
Richard, no such thing as a budget block. . .

Currently I am helping make a bunch of flowers and leaves. I started using my blocks (I have a bunch) but for the past few days I've been using an oak slab (end grain). Started with it flat then carved so hemispheres into it. Works as good as or better than ductile iron on plate up to 16 ga (.070")

We also have a DIY swage making project. See the Anvil Making Link on the FAQs page.

- guru - Wednesday, 04/10/19 10:37:52 EDT

WANTED Repousse Hammers:
I am looking for old fashioned (Niagara and Pexto) repousse' hammers. These are the hammers with a square center body, a mushroom shape large end and a cylindrical end with a domed end. I have two large ones (4 and 6 pound) but would like some smaller ones to finish out a set.
- guru - Thursday, 04/11/19 10:18:53 EDT

Wood Block with Swage depressions:

Swage Block Stump on wheels

Oak stump slice about 20" diameter and 10" thick mounted on old office chair base. Depressions hand carved. This setup put together by my girlfriend is surprisingly steady and the portability is nice. Setup is designed to work sitting. After a while the lovely lichin covered bark will fall off.

Old Style Repousse Hammers

Two old style repousse hammers, 6 pound and 4 pound. Looking to buy other and smaller sizes of same.

- guru - Thursday, 04/11/19 16:35:32 EDT

Hammers: Thomas Powers showed us hammers like the ones pictured at a meeting at his place a few years back. He said its a boilermakers hammer. He also had an english version that has the whole body squared. works very well for repousse.
Alex Ivey - Monday, 04/15/19 20:11:45 EDT

I bought an English boiler makers hammer from Thomas but they do not look like this. The peen is like a classic ball peen and the other end is a long octagon with a flat face (like a dog face hammer).

Yes, the long end would be handy for repousse' but this is a bit of a collector's item. I would hate to modify it. But then, the repoussee' hammers above are also collector's items. However, lightly dressing them is just maintenance.

I've been calling these "repousse hammers" but the manufacturer called them "Raising Hammers" in 1905.

I'll take a comparison photo.
- guru - Tuesday, 04/16/19 21:13:51 EDT

Those hammers look like they'd be a lot more useful for sinking than for raising. But I don't know how consistently those terms have been used over time.
Mike BR - Thursday, 04/18/19 18:26:21 EDT

Sinking vs. Raising: Sinking is primarily what we have been using them for. They work great in my swage blocks and on that stump with depressions carved in it. We have also been using many of my ball peen hammers that I've cleaned up. But the short peens result in a lot of dinging of the handles (thus the tape).

I also have a 2" mushroom stake that is getting a lot of use. But really need several more similar sized in 1/4" increments.
- guru - Thursday, 04/18/19 20:14:19 EDT

Shall I measure some mill balls for you this weekend? I also have a spare dock weight at 99 pounds. If I could just slab it it could go flat rate...

What's spooky is that they make mill balls a couple miles up the road from here---where I get on I10; Vinton steel 1/2" to 4"
ThomasP - Monday, 04/22/19 23:02:59 EDT

Cleveland Columbian leg vise: Hello, i have an old leg vise i am cleaning up... under the securing plate it has a X and a 2 cast in it. the top of the plate has Cleveland Colombian Hardware. Can anyone tell me what the X 2 stands for... thought a date but wasn't sure? thanks
- zenbone - Tuesday, 04/23/19 07:58:57 EDT

Columbian leg vise: Not a marking of value. Its just a pattern or die number.
- guru - Tuesday, 04/23/19 16:04:38 EDT

Mill balls and odd shapes:
Besides my three art/smith swage blocks (my two and a Josh Greenwood) I have a fair collection of mill balls up to a 6". When I get time I will forge a bunch of shanks to weld them onto. I've standardized on a taper that most of my existing sheet metal tools fit. Will publish more about that later.

Besides the above I have some interesting mill machine counterweights and a fairly useless Saltfork block that needs to be the subject of a conditioning to usefullness article.
- guru - Thursday, 04/25/19 17:18:05 EDT

Talking Blacksmithing: I have learnt to sneak in the subject of blacksmithing at every opportunity, and it has paid off. One of my customers has given me a " round blower thing from a forge", He bought a farm and in one of the barns he found it. All I have to do is go get it. In my spare time LOL. As Jock says ask everybody about Forges, anvils Etc, you never who has them.
Dave B - Friday, 04/26/19 13:01:07 EDT

Dave, get it now before the tsunami/asteroid impact/ zombie outbreak/... makes it disappear!
- ThomasP - Friday, 04/26/19 14:11:36 EDT

Sheet Metal Shaping:
In liew of special anvils or stakes I have found the jaws of a small post vise very handy. After using it a while I noticed some old dings so I ground the corners slightly rounder and smooth. Works nice. And I've been using it to clamp and bend as well. An old vise tip has been that the handle ball is handy for use like a ball stake.

I am just using a light auto body pecking hammer on 20ga steel so there no chance of hurting the vise AND its a handy height for sit down work.
- guru - Friday, 04/26/19 20:28:32 EDT

Zenbone; not to mention that there is no guarantee that the mounting bracket is original to the vice. I've seen dozens of "marriages" and even done a few myself!
- ThomasP - Sunday, 05/05/19 23:00:19 EDT

Mismatched Vise Parts:
My first two leg vises both needed springs. I made very accurate copies of the fish tail type (I had the broken pieces of one). Neither had mounting brackets and both were tennon mount types. I made a bracket for one integral to my Portable Shop vise table and the second was mounted on a stump and has a special tennon with a decorative back. This second vise also has a custom stump mount bracket welded to the leg which had been cut off short. This vise also has a screw lever that I made for it. The Portable Shop vise had a stack of large washers for a thrust bearing.

I had a third little leg vise made from parts found over a period of two decades. . . It would have been a nice little vise except the screw slipped at the half inch (most common) clamping distance. I will repair it one day. . . or give it to someone that needs a vise and doesn't mind the work fixing it.

I have a large (over 150 pounds) old English leg vise that someone did a poor job replacing the spring. . . I will make a nice fish tail type for it when I set it up. I want to make a classy "art" stand for it.

The best condition leg vise in my collection is the 50 pound vise shown on the red stand with round base on the Leg Vise page. When I bought it for $75, three other fellows were looking at it trying to dicker on the price. Almost everything about it was S shaped. . . I stepped in, gave the seller his asking price and walked away with it leaving the others with their jaws hanging. . . It took me less than 5 minutes to straighten the vise (cold). It was so virgin that every corner still had the manufacturing burrs on them. It took me more time with a file to clean up the dangerous corners than it took to straighten the vise. The only problem with this vise is that it is made of the softest wrought iron I have ever seen and the handle bends without excessive force. . .

I also have several large machinists' bench vises that have all had minor (invisible) repairs.

You can never tell about tools and machines in a blacksmith shop, especially vises with all their hand made parts.
- guru - Monday, 05/06/19 02:07:02 EDT

We are updating and testing anvilfire to operate as a secure (https) site. This has required editing a half dozen scripts and moving them then repointing the forms that use them. Then testing and debugging. . . then testing again to be sure the changes worked under both https and http. Lots of hours. . .

We have also updated lots of pages removing dead links and redundant ads.

Our store has operated under HTTPS with a secure cert for 20 years. Over the years google has pushed for ridiculous requirements for certs and most recently decided unilaterally that perfectly good certs (that banks accepted) issued by reputable companies were not "trusted". . . We had to get a renewed cert and have it installed even though it was identical to the original. .. This was on top of google deciding that ALL sites even if they did not do e-commerce needed to operate under https. It used to be common practice to ONLY use https for critical transactions even on e-commerce sites because https slows connections and increases bandwidth.

THEN google started derating sites in search due to lack of having https even when it was not needed. . . our traffic and sales plummeted. We had survived 20 years of changes in search algorithms but this has been a site killer.

Yes, I have much better things to do. . . Work in the shop, articles to write. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 06/05/19 13:02:50 EDT

Updates: Frequently the process gets in the way of the product! Hang in there.
Bruce Blackistone Atli - Thursday, 06/06/19 18:29:26 EDT

SITE UPDATES: Thanks! Its been a long frustrating day. . . I had tested all the main pages one at a time manually typing in https:// . Everything worked. But when I redirected the entire site to https the Country Flag system blew up. . .

I spent all day trying to setup a copy of the system on another URL and could not get it to work with or without https even though the base script called by the system works in other instances.

SOoooo. . . I've killed the flag system replacing it with a World or Planet Earth flag so I can test more and try to find a fix for the flag system.

Days and weeks can go by on this kind of thing. . .
Flag of Planet Earth
- guru - Thursday, 06/06/19 22:50:38 EDT

Well. . . It is (was) 3:20 AM Sunday and the Flag system is fixed. It shouldn't work but it does. . . There is some very confused code somewhere. I hate mysteries on a server.

Now that we've got a Planet Earth flag I'll find a place for it using the total of all flag hits. . .

Have you clicked on the flag and checked out our flag page.
- guru - Monday, 06/10/19 10:07:08 EDT

SITE UPDATES - Maintaining a server:
I started to clean up broken links and bad sites on our web-rings and ended up doing some major maintenance. A "spam bot" or worm has been hitting our web-ring signup forms and had generated millions (really MILLIONS) of phony site applications. This clogged the ring databases and file structure PLUS it dumped the same number of emails in the ring mailbox AND since ALL the phony apps used phony email addresses their was an equal number of bounced mail notices in the "default" or junk mail box. . . It has taken me two days and a LONG night to clean up all this mess. . . its all part of maintaining a server.

The sad thing about this trollish behavior is that NONE of the spam was seen by anyone other than myself and most of it was just plain gibberish.

I fixed some issues on the web-ring system but could work on it full time for a couple weeks. . . I still need to manually check sites - another slow job.

For those of you who are interested I am also building a new web-ring navigation bar that uses an image map so it doesn't blow up on pages with global style sheets.

While debugging the secure server conversion I turned on 404 error reporting and had a constant stream of error emails. . . too many to address so I turned of notices for a while. .

The problem with 404 errors is that while some are legitimate page errors that a webmaster wants to know about and fix, the VAST majority are poorly designed search engine crawlers that assume some pages and many extensions (html vs. htm and sht vs. shtml) AND hacker bots looking for any kind of system login (such as word press).

Hacker bots are looking for ways to compromise a server so it can install mal-ware to use for probing other servers, to send spam OR orchestrate a DoS attack (Denial of Service by overloading a target server with millions of broken accesses). The spam is often the type that tries to install more mal-ware on personal computers.

While some of this comes from local systems the majority comes from China and some from Russia. The Chinese hack attempts are largely from Chinese government and military IPs. Yes, WE and most of the rest of the world are under cyber attack by the Chinese government. Remember this when you hear Trump say China is NOT our friend. You might THINK this is a minor annoyance but the probes are the thousands per day. . . And this goes on with MILLIONS of servers. Its a huge amount of Internet band width that we all pay for in our phone and server bills. And its all criminal activity or possible acts of war.

Lots things you don't want to know. . .
- -guru - Thursday, 06/13/19 14:48:53 EDT

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