The Best of Theforge

Volume 1 of 3

Compiled and edited by: Ron Reil

Jump To Volume 2      Jump To Volume 3

Index of Topics

Note: Multiple articles within a topic are separated by " ******** " between each article. Also, the links to other related resources only link to the page, not to the numbered resource. You will need to scroll down to the listed resource entry. In some cases additional unlinked information may be included in the various "Misc. Information" topics.



3. WELDING (Also Vol. 2, #98  & Vol. 3, #122)

4. WELDING ROD (Also Vol. 2, #98 & Vol. 3, #122)

5. WELDING BOOKS (Also Vol. 2, #91 & Vol. 3, #125)

6. FORGE WELDING (Also Vol. 2, #93, 101 & Vol. 3, #124)


8. FOUNDRY CASTING (Also Vol. 3, #135)


10. WROUGHT IRON (Also Vol. 2,  #112)


12. SOURCE FOR BLACKSMITH COAL (Also Vol. 2,  #94)

13. LINING SMALL FORGE PANS (Also Vol. 2, #95 & Vol. 3, #115)

14. MISC. ADDERSSES (Also Vol. 2, #68 & Vol. 3, #114, 117, 127)




18. AIR HAMMER INFO (Also Vol. 2, #84 & Vol. 3, #129)






24. ITC-100 & REFRACTORIES (Also Vol. 2, #69)

25. STEEL, AND STEEL SOURCES (Also Vol. 2,  #74 & Vol. 3, #117)

26. RAILROAD SPIKES & SUPERQUENCH (Also Vol. 2, #97, 108 & Vol. 3, #121, 132)


28. FIREPLACE SCREEN (Also Vol. 3, #113)

29. REPOUSSE' (Also Vol. 2, #85)



32. HYDRAULIC PRESSES (Also Vol. 2, #76)

33. RUST, COATINGS, AND SCALE REMOVAL (Also Vol. 2, #71 & Vol. 3, #119)

34. 7018 V. 7014 WELDING ROD

35. METAL FINISHES AND PATINAS (Also Vol. 2, #99, 109 & Vol. 3, #128)

36. ANVILS (Also Vol. 2,  #79 & Vol. 3, #136)




40. WROUGHT IRON (Also Vol. 2, #112)


42. WELDING FLUX (Also Vol. 2, #93 & Vol. 3, #124)



45. STRIKERS (Also Vol. 2, #92)

46. BOOKS (Also Vol. 2, #91 & Vol. 3, #125)

47. WOOTZ STEEL & DAMASCUS (Also Vol. 2, #102 & Vol. 3, #133)


49. ROSES AND FLOWERS (Also Vol. 2, #90 & Vol. 3, #138)








57. CHEAP BANDSAWS (Also Vol. 2, #72)




61. TREADLE HAMMERS (Also Vol. 2, #75 & Vol. 3, #123)


63 HOODS AND SMOKESHELVES (Also Vol. 2, #80)


65. HAMMERS & HAMMER HANDLES (Also Vol. 2, #104)


Continued in Volume #2 & #3

ACME Thread Nuts:

Suggest you consider casting in babbit the nut you need directly around

your leadscrew. Coat the leadscrew with carbon from a candle to keep

it from sticking to the babbit, or you may use graphite.

Return To Index


This list currently covers the years 1900 - 1980

Traditionally, the magazines of this country have served as a forum in which problems of every type are dealt with and solutions offered. This is especially true in the area of metal craft. The following is a collection of magazine articles mostly related to solving metalworking problems. It's information that will serve as a good working reference source for you.

Finding the articles is simple and free! You just look them up in your local library. Every public library receives most of the magazines listed in this section, although for really old articles or for magazines that have gone out of business, you will have to go to an older library or find one that has a microfilm file that goes back far enough.

Usually you will have to fill out a "call" slip that states the name of the magazine you want and the date. I have listed the name of the article (as it appears in the magazine) first, the name of the magazine, the issue number, page number and the date. Library procedures vary, so check with the front desk if you have any question.

For example: -- Simple foot power compound grinder; Sci Am, 99: 264, O,17'08 (name of article)(Magazine)(issue#,page,date,year)

Even though some of the information in these articles may be out of date, the prices way off - and in the older ones you may have to use more caution with chemicals and procedures than indicated, I'm sure you will agree that this valuable information has been lying dormant too long in the library.


LIST OF MAGAZINES (& abbreviations):

-- Am Artist=American Artist

-- Am M Art=American Magazine of Art

-- Art World

-- Ceram Mo=Ceramics Monthly

-- Craft Horizon

-- Craftsman

-- Design

-- House B=House Beautiful

-- House & Gard=House and Garden

-- Ind A & V Ed=Industrial Arts and Vocational Education

-- Ind Arts M=Industrial Education Magazine

-- Ind Ed M=Industrial Education Magazine

-- Manual Training

-- Mech ILL=Mechanix Illustrated

-- Mother Earth News

-- Org Gard & Farm=Organic gardening and Farming

-- Popular Electronics

-- Pop Mech=Popular Mechanics

-- Pop Sci=Popular Science

-- Sch Arts=School Arts

-- Sch Arts M=School Arts Magazine

-- Sci Am=Scientific American

-- Sci Am S=Scientific American Supplement

-- Science (also Science n.s.)

-- Sci ILL=Science Illustrated

-- Scrib M=Scribner's Magazine

-- World

-- Workbench



--Buffing, Grinding, Polishing



--Etching & Engraving

--Forming, Bending, Forging



--Lathes, Mills, Filing

--Plating,Patinating, Coloring

--Presses, Punches, Stamping

--Sanding machines

--Saws, cutting Equip. & tools

--Tools: Making & Repairing

--Welding, soldering, brazing, torches

--General metalwork




--Simple foot power compound grinder; Sci Am, 99: 264, 0,17'08

--Refinishing brass & copper; Craftsman,21 : 445, Ja'12

--Polishing metal with clay;Sci Am S, 81 : 381, Je, 10'16

--Using concrete for making grindstones;World,31 : 428, M'19

--Homemade buffer & grinder;World,32 : 619,D'19

--Surface grinding in the lathe;Pop Mech, 44 : 172,Jl'25

--Surface grinding on a drill press; Pop Mech, 53 : 867, My'30

--Shaping form tools on a grinder; Pop Sci, 119 : 85, Ag'31 & 119:85,S'31

--Sturdy surface grinder to finish metals; Pop Mech, 59 : 317, F'33

--Metal finishing in the home shop;Pop Mech,64:626,O'35

--Heavy-duty grinder from old auto parts; Pop Mech,64:941, D'35

--Homemade spindle & buffs for metal polishing; Pop Sci, 130:94, Mr'37

--It's easy to learn how to sharpen twist drills; Pop Sci, 133:86, Jl'38

--To buff & polish; Pop Mech, 69:629, Ap'38

--Making metal smooth as glass; Pop Mech, 71:1, Ja'39

--Sharpening small drills; Pop Sci, 137:56, Je'40

--Tool grinding freehand; Pop Mech, 75:788,My'41

--Precision tool-post grinder for the small machine shop;Pop Sci, 139:170

Ag'41 & 139:186, S'41

--Welders drill & grinder from old auto starter; Pop Mech,76:155, Jl'41

--Built up polishing wheel made from cloth buffers; Pop Mech, 79:135,Jn'43

--Buffing in the home shop;Pop Mech,101:203, Ap'54

--Building a long-arm buffer; Pop Mech, 114:172, Jl'60

--How to mount grinding wheels with epoxy;Pop Mech, 132:184, Jl'69

--How to sharpen tiny drills; Pop Sci, 195:174, N'69

--How to make a scalloped polishing wheel;Pop Mech, 198:124,N'71

--Build this pedestal grinder for $40;Pop Mech, 136:144,N'71


--Worm-gear attachment for sensitive drill press; Pop Mech,42:325, Ag'24

--Sensitive drillpress for small work;Pop Mech, 56:1037,D'31

--Homemade ball-bearing drill press; Pop Mech,62:461, S'34

--Pump drill & bow drill;Ind A & V Ed, 28:298, S'39

--Precision drill press for the modelmaker;Pop Mech, 76:135,D'41

--High speed sensitive drill; Pop Sci, 146;180,Ap'45

--Hand powered drill press; Pop Sci,148:179, Ja'46

--Hand powered drill press; Pop Mech, 87:221,Ja'47

--Drill press made from pipe fittings;Pop Mech,89:216,Ja'48

--Constructing a small drill press in the school shop; Ind A & V Ed,38:381, N'49

--Drill Press made from auto parts;Pop Mech, 96:195, Ag'51

--You can make your own deep hole drill;Pop Mech, 124:166,Ag'65

--Drill speed Control; Pop Electronics,18:115, N'80


--How to enamel etched metal work; Ind A & V Ed, 25:206, Jl'36

--Enameling copper;Ind A & V Ed,39:358, N'50

--Metal enameling; Ind A & V Ed, 41:20, O'52

--Build an enamel kiln for $10; Design, 55:134, Ja'54

--Build an enameling kiln; Ind A & V Ed, 43:279, O'54

--Short course in enameling;Sch Arts,54:24, Ap'55

--Add enameling to your metal shop;Ind A & V Ed,46:289,N'57

--Firing glass enamels on aluminum; Design, 68:12, Mr'67

--Thread making for the enamelist;Ceram Mo, 17:70, O'69


--Engraving machine; Sci Am S, 52: 21426, Ag, 17'01

--Simple method of etching pictures; Sci am, 86:121, F,22'02

--Etching metals by electricity ;Sci Am, 105:172,Ag,19'11

--Making of etched metal plates; Sch Arts M, 22:311,Ja 23

--Dry point bookplates; homemade prints with simple equipment;Sch Arts M,24:10,S'24

--Etching steel; Sci Am,133:287,O'25

--Make your own engraving machine; Pop Mech, 47:833,My'27

--How to etch brass & copper; Pop Mech,48:691, O'27

--Make your own portraits in brass; Pop Mech, 48:663, O'27

--Making a zinc etching; Ind A & V Ed, 20:317, S'31

--Art silhouettes etched through thin metal;Pop Mech,59:718, My'33

--Lye etches designs on aluminum; Pop Sci,123:61,Jl'33

--Typewrite your name on tools; Pop Mech,61:143,Ja'34

--Fun & profit in electric pen etching;Pop Mech,61:456,Mr'34

--Etching solutions;Ind A & V Ed,23:297, S'34

--Cutting out thin sheet metal with acid;Pop Sci,128:59,Mr'36

--Tools & materials:etching, dry point, aquatint, soft ground, mezzotint; AmM

Art,29:178, Mr'36

--You can write on metal with this easily made vibrating electric pencil; Pop


--Electric engraving pen;Ind A & V Ed,26:385, N'37

--Electro-engraving with a bottle cork;Pop Mech, 69:621, Ap'38

--Etching glass & Metal; Pop Mech,70:459, S'38

--How to make dry points;PopSci,134:172,Mr'39.&134:186,Ap'39.&134:174, My'39

--Aluminum etchings & dry points; Ind A & V Ed,28:373,N'39

--Electric engraving tool;Pop Sci,139:176, Ag'41

--Etch;Pop Mech,86:207,O'46

--Satisfactory method of etching on steel; Pop Mech,86:185,O'46

--How to etch aluminum;Pop Sci,154:200,Ap'49

--Hand tool etching on aluminum; Sch Arts,49:213,F'50

--Engraving with phonograph needles; Pop Sci, 160:236, F'52

--Make an electric stencil to etch metal; Pop Sci,193:154,N'68

--Have fun doodling with this engraver; Pop Mech,145:174,Mr'76


--Jigs in bench metal work; Ind Arts M,6:357,S'17

--Practical course in sheet metal pattern drafting; Ind Arts M, 12:437,N'23

--Bending tubing; Ind Arts M, 17:285,Ag'28

--Reforging a cold-chisel;Ind Ed M,30:478,Je'29

--Sheet metal brake; Ind A & V Ed,19:308, Ag'30

--This homemade forge is portable; Pop Mech, 56:685,O'31

--Adjustable bending fork; Ind A & V, Ed, 20:456,D'31

--Small shop forge made from old cream separator;Pop Mech,61:303,F'34

--Bending or forming jig; Ind A & V Ed,24:223,Jl'35

--Bending jig;Ind A & V Ed, 25:220, Jl'36

--Homemade tool shapes metal tubing; Pop Sci,129:71,N'36

--Making edge bends in band iron; Ind A & V Ed,26:227,Jl'37

--Accurate spiral fluting with this homemade jig;Pop Mech, 69:139, Ja'38

--Adjustable bending jig;Ind A & V Ed, 27:37,Ja'38

--Fluting jig; Ind A & V Ed,28:297, S'38

--Scroll bending jig;Ind A & V Ed,27:358,O'38

--Small efficient bar folder; Ind A & V Ed, 27:353,O'38

--Light brake for bending sheet metal;Pop Sci,133;183,N'38

--Forge:Ind A & V Ed,28:303,S'39

--Shop forge has electric blower;Pop Mech,76:151,Jl'41

--Homemade brake makes accurate bends;Pop Sci,150:185,Ap'47

--Be your own blacksmith; Pop Sci,154:206,Ja'49

--Tin can bending brake;Pop Sci, 165:226,S'54

--Forge:construction & operation;Ind A & V Ed,44:28,Ja'55

--Using the stake as forming tool ; Sch Arts,56:17,D'56

--Shaping & engraving flat aluminum;Pop Sci,180:157,Ja'62

--Sheet metal former; Pop Mech,125:190,F'66

--How to make perfect bends in tubing;Pop Mech,135:169,Mr'71

--Sheet metal brake you make of wood; Pop Mech,139:170,Ja'73

--Metal brake you can make; Mech Ill, 75:68, Ja'79

--Give yourself a brake;Mother Earth News,56:144,Mr'79

FOUNDRY (Casting,furnaces,kilns):

--Making castings in Aluminum;Sci Am S,58:24225,D,24'04

--Metal foundry patterns;Sci Am S,60:24993,N,25'05

--Making foundry patterns;Sci Am S,62:25777,N,3'06

--Melting metals & alloys;Sci Am S,62:25850,D'06

--Making unusual castings;Sci Am S,63:2603,F,23'07

--Making low-priced machines;Sci Am S,65:100,F,15'08

--Making casts in gelatin molds;Sci Am,98:444,Je.20'08

--Making fine detail castings in sand;Sci Am S,,66:274,0,31'08

--Amateurs foundry;Sci Am S,63:26325,Je,29'09

--Small electric furnace;Sci Am,102:364,Ap,30'10

--Convenient & inexpensive furnace for very high temperatures;Sci Am S,


--Craftsman fireplace furnace;Craftsman,20:316,Je'11

--Simple electric furnace;Sci Am,105:103,Jl,29'11

--Art of making bronze statues from the raw clay to the finished figure; Sci


--Simple gas burner for small lab furnaces;Sci Am S,81:85,F,5'16

--Small casting furnace;Sci Am,116:279,Mr,17'17

--Melting copper in iron ladles;Sci Am,116:406,Ap,21'17

--Small castings from alloys & scrap metals;Sci Am S,85:171,Mr,16'18

--Hints on making molds for perfect castings in soft metals;World,32:446,N'19

--On the making of bronzes;Scrib M,71:251,F'22

--Molding sands;Science N.S.,55;367,Ap,7'22

--Do's & don't's for patternmakers;Ind Arts M,11:456,N'22

--Making castings without sand;Sci Am,131:101,Ag'24

--Course in pattern making;Ind Arts M,44:172,Jl'25

--Stove forms homemade furnace; Pop Mech,45:678,Ap'26

--How to make a simple electrc furnace;Ind Ed M,28:260,F'27

--Gas muffle furnace for small foundry work;Ind Ed M,29:413,My'28

--Metal for casting in the school shop;Ind Ed M,31:475,Je'30

--Gas-fired melting furnace for small shops;Pop Mech,55:1039,Je'31

--Casting bronzes in the home work shop;Pop Mech,57:867,My'32

--Casting small metal parts in the home workshop;Pop Sci,121:93,O'32

--Molding equipment for making small castings at home;Pop Sci,121:96,N'32

--How to set up a sand mold for casting metal at home;Pop Sci,121;102,D'32

--Inexpensive pyrometer for temperatures up to1000 C; Science, 77:172, F, 10'33

--Experimental arc furnace melts anything;Pop Sci,122:80,My'33

--First course in patternmaking;Ind A & V Ed,22:317,O'33

--Small portable arc furnace easily built of clay & bricks;Pop Sci,124:61,Ja'34

--Electric arc furnace to melt metals & make alloys;Pop Mech,61:601,Ap'34

--Arc furnace encased in two flower pots;Pop Sci,125:100,O'34

--Homemade furnace melts aluminum with ordinary illuminating gas;Pop Sci,


--Molding & casting name plates;Ind A & V Ed,24:270,S'35

--Electric furnace made for two dollars;Pop Sci,127:72,O'35

--Tempering & melting furnace for use with diesel torch;Pop Sci,129:86,Jl'36

--Measuring temperatures in a workshop furnace;How to make a pyrometer & hints

on tempering;Pop Sci,129:118,D'36

--Small gas furnace gives great heat for melting metals;PopSci,130:120,F'37

--Electric temperature indicators;How to make thermocouple pyrometers; Pop


--Electric furnace develops temperature of 1650¯C for enameling, annealing

heat-treating,etc.;Pop Mech,67:641,Je'37

--Simple foundry work;Ind A & V Ed,26:330,Jl'37

--Casting in the school shop:copper & it's alloys;Ind A & V Ed,26:328,O'37

--Low-cost crucibles for melting metals;Pop Sci,132:92,Ja'38

--Making unit castings in the home shop;Pop Mech,70:953,D'38

--Small foundry for casting the softer metals;Pop Sci,133:203,D'38

--Art of molding;Ind A & V Ed,27:284,S'38 & 28:415,D'39

--From pattern to castings;Pop Mech,70:146, 70:307; 70:467;Ja-Mr,'40

--Inexpensive gas furnace melts soft metals;Pop Sci,136:203,F'40

--Simple methods identify metal of broken castings;Pop Mech,74:477,S'40

--Making castings for medals;Ind A & V Ed,29:388,N'40

--Molding tools & equipment;Ind A & V Ed,29:370,N'40

--Novelty castings;Ind A & V Ed,29:380,N'40

--Efficient inexpensive foundry furnace;Ind A & V Ed,30:72,F'41

--Art metal foundry;Pop Sci,139:170,O'41

--Electric kiln;Ind A & V Ed,32:345,O'43

--Small electric resistance furnace has many shop uses;Pop Sci,143:554,N'43'

--Sensitive high temperature thermostat will control an electric tempering

furnace;Pop Sci,144:182, My'44

--2,000¯(F) furnace for the shop;Pop Sci,146:182,Mr'45

--Building & operating a small aluminum melting furnace;Ind A & V Ed, 34:360,O'45

--Homemade pottery kiln,Ind A & V Ed,36:263,Je'47

--Good castings from scrap aluminum;Ind A & V Ed,37:20,My'48

--Furnace for melting nonferrous metals;Ind A & V Ed,37:289,S'48

--Precision casting by the lost-wax process;Pop Mech,92:213,Ag'49

--Melting furnace for the foundry area;Ind A & V Ed,39:279,S'50

--Patternmaking & foundrywork in the general shop;Ind A & V Ed,39:310, 348,N'50

--Small foundry flask;Ind A & V Ed,40:165,Ap'51

--Inexpensive gas kiln;Ind A & V Ed,40:202,My'51

--Firing ovens;Design,54:165,Ap'53

--How to make a kiln for $20;Am Home,50:126,S'53

--Press casting-a simple jewelry technique;Sch Arts,57:9,Ja'58

--$8 crucible furnace;Ind A & V Ed,49:24,F'60

--New steam casting techniques for jewelry;Sch Arts,61:19,Mr'62

--A kiln is built;Craft Horizon,25:38,Jn'65

--Sand mold casting with styrofoam;Sch Arts,65:36,Je'66

--Make your own metal castings;Pop Mech,128:162,Ag'67

--Charcoal casting;Sch Arts,67:26,N'67

--Make your own heat-treating furnace:Electric Kiln;Pop Mech,129:178,F'68

--Exploration in pewter casting; Sch Arts,69:16,Ja'70

--Kilnbuilding with space age materials;Craft Horiz,30:46,Ag'70

--Cast jewelry;pewter pendants;Sch Arts,70:16,Ja'71

--Pewter the humble giant;Sch Arts,70:20,Mr'71

--We built our kiln;Sch Arts,73:42,F'74

--Firing with diesel fuel;Ceram Mo,23:34,F'75

--Low pressure propane firing;Ceram Mo,24:34,O'76

--Cold casting with epoxy & metal powders;Am Artist,41:56,Ap'77


--Development of the hammer;Ind Arts M, 13:389,O'24

--Drop-hammer;Ind Ed M,31:73,Ag'29

--Rebuilding hammer edges with oxyacetlene torch;Ind A & V Ed,25:123,Ap'36

--Embossing hammer;Ind A & V Ed,26:135,Ap'37

--Art metal hammers;Ind A & V Ed,29:388,N'40

--Trip hammer has many uses in small shop;Pop Mech,86:219,O'46

--Re-handling a hammer;Pop Sci,158:112,My'51

--Turn yourself a hammer;Pop Mech,96:214,O'51

--Repairing a hammer;Pop Sci,176:183,Ja'60

--Two soft hammers you can make;Pop Sci,190:159,Mr'67


--Small lathe made of a sewing machine;Sci Am,103:301,O,15'10

--Homemade speed lathe;World,32:993,F'20

--How to make & use hollow mills & counterbores;World,34:897,Ja'21

--Inexpensive bench lathe;World,34:897,Ja'21

--Bench lathe of simple design;Pop Mech,41:477,Mr'24

--Milling tools for the home machinists' lathe;Pop Sci,120:104,My'32

--Homemade fixtures for holding work to be milled in a small lathe; Pop Sci,121:89,Jl'32

--Coaxing old milling cutters to do the work of new;Pop Sci,121:83,Jl'32

--Pewter spinning;Ind Ed M,34:103,N'32

--Homemade chasing dial for lathe;Pop Sci,122:71,Ja'33

--Metal turning on a woodworking lathe;Pop Mech,59:32,F'33

--There's no mystery about metal spinning;Pop Sci,122:64,Mr'33

--How to spin a hollow metal sphere;Pop Sci,122:69,My'33

--Spinning metal with sectional chucks;Pop Sci,122:76,Je'33

--Hints on difficult metal spinning;Pop Sci,123:83,Jl'33

--Tool-post for lathe;Ind Ed M,34:85,O'33

--Gear cutting in the lathe; Pop Sci,124:62,F'34

--Metal spinning;Pop Mech,62:952,O'34

--Spinning a pewter bowl;Ind A & V Ed,24:234,Ag'35

--Metal turning tool equipment;Pop Mech,64:301,Ag'35

--Metal turning tool slide fits your wood lathe;Pop Mech,65:463,Mr'36

--Geared cross feed for small lathes;Pop Sci,130:86,F'37

--Drill-vise milling unit on small lathe;Pop Mech,71:621,Ap'39

--Chipping and filing;Ind A & V Ed,28:214,My'39

--Set of lathe drill pads easily made;Pop Mech,71:281,My'39

--Draw in chucks & spring collets;Pop Sci,137:148,S'40

--Make your own milling cutters & accessories;Pop Mech,75:147,Ja'41

--Homemade filing machine saves time in the shop;Pop Mech,75:301,F'41

--Milling attachment;Sci Am,164:207,Ap'41

--Inexpensive milling attachment for your lathe;Pop Mech,80:137,S'43

--Lathe attachment to cut your own small gears;Pop Mech,83:133,Mr'45

--Mill it in the lathe;Pop Mech,83:130,My'45

--Make your own steady rest;Pop Mech,85:127,F'46

--Shop made milling attachment fits any lathe;Pop Mech,86:201,Jl'46 --Drill

as lathe;Sci Am,177:36,Jl'47

--Modernize that old lathe;Pop Mech,88:202,Jl'47

--Spinning silver;Sci Illus,2:94,Ag'47

--How to make rotary files;Pop Sci,151:191,S'47

--How I built a milling machine;Pop Sci,152:209,Ap'48

--How to turn metals with hand tools;Sci Illus,3:82,My'48

--Build your own tool-post turret;Pop Mech,91:221,F'49

--Making draw-in collets;Pop Sci,155:200,Ag'49

--Filing rest does small milling jobs;Pop Sci,155:209,S'49

--Metal spinning with aluminum;Ind A & V Ed,39:330,O'50

--Spun candlesticks;Ind A & V Ed,39:402,D'50

--Milling in your drill press;Pop Sci,160:218,Ja'52

--Collet attachment for metal lathe;Pop Mech,98:193,S'52

--Metal turning freehand;Pop Mech,100:198,S'53

--Milling arm for drill press;Pop Mech,102:191,Jl'54

--Filing machine fits your lathe;Pop Mech,107:205,Mr'57

--Hand milling attachment;Pop Mech,108:210,N'57

--Roller rest for precision filing;Pop Sci,184:140,Ap'64

--Tricks for milling on a lathe;Pop Sci,188:144,Ja'66

--Basic course in metal turning;Mech Illus,64:96,Ap'68

--How to mill on a drill press;Pop Mech,131:180,Ja'69

--Plumbing fittings make milling attachment;Pop Sci,197:133,S'70

--Make this faceplate lathe from odds & ends;Pop Mech,134:194,N'72

--Lathe milling machine table for about $10;Pop Mech,138:172,Jl'72

--Fly cutter holder you can make for your lathe;Pop Mech,140:172,Jl'73

--Steady rest for lathe milling attachment;Pop Mech,140:156,Ag'73

--Jaw stretchers give your lathe chuck a bigger bite;Pop Mech,140:180,N'73

--Make this boring-bar set for your lathe;Pop Mech,149:72,F'78

--Lathe attachment for sharpening milling cutters;Pop Mech,151:125,M'79


--Coloring, gilding, silvering & oxydizing;Sci Am S,56:23369,D,12'03

--Plating spoons & forks at home;Sci Am,101:395,N,27'09

--Coloring copper;Sci Am S,83:346,Je,2'17

--Metal coloring;Sci Am S,85:35,Ja,19'18

--Plating iron with copper automatically;Sci Am,120:661,Je,21'19

--Hues of rainbow rivaled in copper;Pop Mech,41:501,Ap'24

--Finishes for handwrought metalwork;Ind Ed M,31:351,Mr'30

--Decorative finishes on metals;Ind A & V Ed,19:430,N'30

--Manipulation of gold leaf;Pop Mech,55:174,Ja'31

--Attractive metal finishes;Ind A & V Ed,20:412,N'31

--Electroplating with gold & silver;Pop Mech,58:513,S'32

--Antique verdigris finish for brass & copper;Pop Mech,60:268,Ag'33

--Electroplating in your own laboratory;Pop Sci,124:48,F'34

--Protective coatings for metalwork;Arch Rec,77:70,Ja'35

--Preventing silver tarnish;Sci Am,153:34,Jl'35

--Coloring & finishing copper & brass;Ind A & V Ed,25:252,Ag'36

--Current for electroplating;Pop Sci,129:62,N'36

--Copper & nickel plating without cyanides;Pop Mech,67:630,Ap'37

--Protect brass with transparent lacquer;Pop Sci,131:100,S'37

--Working with gold leaf;Pop Mech,69:779,My'38

--Chemical coloring of iron, copper, aluminum & alloys;Pop Mech,69:947, Je'38

--Finishing copper;Ind A & V Ed,27:263,Je'38

--Cleaning & coloring of metals;Ind A & V Ed,29:77,F'40

--How to copperplate wood;Pop Sci,137:162,Jl'40

--Coloring metal;Ind A & V Ed,29:430,O'40

--Coloring metal;Ind A & V Ed,30:sup 18,My'41

--Decorative plating by dipping process;Pop Mech,75:781,My'41

--Electroplating in a flowerpot;Pop Sci,200:116,F'72

--Electroforming in your workshop;Sci Illus,2:102,Jl'47

--How to apply gold leaf;House B,99:128,F'57

--Now electroplating in your own shop;Pop Sci,181:124,N'62

--Patination of bronzes;Craft Horiz,25:26,N'65

--How to turn everything into gold;House & Gard,132:224,O'67

--Electroplating aluminum & zinc-alloy die castings;Pop Mech,75:149,Je'41

--Forming & etching as a plating process;Sch Arts,77:30,D'77

--Gilding picture frames;Workbench,34:52,Je'78


--Punch press as a shop problem;Ind Arts M,9:5,Ja'20

--Punch & die press;Ind Ed M,28:23,Jl'26

--Bench Punch;Ind A & V Ed,23:301,S'34

--Patterns & tools for stamping metal;Sch Arts M,36:621,Je'37

--Marking metal;Pop Mech,74:153,Jl'40

--Miniature punch press does difficult jobs;Pop Sci,145:190,D'44

--Light punch press from a bicycle fork;Pop Sci,143:182,Je'46

--Making hollow punches to order;Pop Sci,153:186,Ag'48

--Make your own automatic punch;Pop Mech,100:197,S'53

--Punches for sheet metal & cardboard;Pop Mech,100:183,D'53

--Punch press;working drawings;Ind A & V Ed,45:278,O'56

--Arbor press for a small shop;Pop Mech,107:211,Ap'57

--Making a bench punch;Pop Mech,111:189,Je'59

--Self hammering layout punch;Pop Sci,184:152,My'64

--Special-shaped punches you can make;Pop Mech,128:172,D'67

--How to make an arbor press;Pop Sci,192:146,F'68

--Hand-operated arbor press;Pop Mech,138:154,S'72


--Emery-coated tools;Sci Am,85:263,O,26'01

--Belt sander;Pop Mech,90:197,Ag'48

--Make your own belt sander;Pop Sci,195:232,D'49

--Belt sander mounts on lathe;Pop Mech,118:186,N'62

--Spindle sander in an evening;Pop Mech,118:168,O'62


--Art of cutting metals;Sci Am S,63:25929,Ja,5'09

--Scroll-saw;Sci Am,100:267,Ap'09

--How to make a scroll saw or filing machine;World,33:339,Ap'20

--Constructing a cut off saw;Ind Arts M,13:427,N'24

--Jigsaw for a dollar;Pop Mech,43:51,Ja'25

--Power hacksaw for small shops;Pop Mech,51:157,Ja'29

--Homemade bandsaw for your workshop;Pop Mech,59:637,Ap'33

--Using your hacksaw;Pop Mech,62:631,O'34

--Homemade bandsaw from pipe fittings & auto parts;Pop Mech,63:951,Je'35

--Hand-power scroll saw;Ind A & V Ed,24:346,N'35

--Sturdy power hack saw built at low cost;Pop Sci,128:62,Mr'36

--Drive your hacksaw electrically;Pop Mech,67;141,Ja'37

--Nibbling machine;Ind A & V Ed,27:165,Ap'38

--Reclaiming hacksaw blades;Pop Sci,142:530,F'43

--Homemade jigsaw;Pop Sci,145:190,Mr'44

--You can build this sturdy scrollsaw;Pop Mech,84:121,Ag'45

--From sewing machine to jigsaw;Pop Mech,86:177,Ag'46

--Cutting heavy metal with your jigsaw;Pop Mech,87:217,My'47

--Metal rod cutter;Sci Am,177:82,Ag'47

--Tin snips converted to bench tool;Pop Sci,152:213,Ap'48

--Homemade cut-off wheel slices steel;Pop Sci,153:188,Ag'48

--Your electric drill can cut sheet metal;Pop Sci,156:184,Ja'50

--How to make a power hacksaw;Pop Mech,96:197,Jl'51

--Metal-cutting bandsaw made from old lawn mower;Pop Sci,163:223,O'53

--Jigsaw from small engine block;Pop Mech,101:219,Ja'54

--Rod & bolt cutter for your shop;Pop Mech,112:226,O'59

--Lathe doubles as metal shear;Pop Mech,114:234,O'60

--Sewing to sawing;conversion of old sewing machine;Pop Mech,117:192,Ja'62

--Bike saw;Pop Mech,121:186,F'64

--Homemade power hacksaw for less than $20;Pop Sci,184:162,F'64

--How to cut metal with woodworking power tools;Pop Sci,186:128,Je'65

--Speed reducer for metal cutting;Pop Mech,124:152,D'65

--Here's an easy way to make an abrasive cutoff machine;Pop Mech,128:184,N'67

--Build this power hacksaw from a washing machine;Pop Mech,132:188,N'69

--Abrasive cutoff machine you can make for $15;Pop Mech,136:166,S'71

--Metal cutoff machine;a mighty handy shop tool;Pop Mech,147:148,D'74

--Deburring jig makes saw cuts smoother;Pop Mech,144:76,Ag'75

--Easy to make sheet-metal cutter;Pop Mech,145:170,Ap'76

--Low-cost cutoff saws you can make;Pop Mech,145:109,F'76


--Brazing a bandsaw;Ind Ed M,28:261,F'27

--Brazing the bandsaw;Ind A & V Ed,20:109,Mr'31

--Brazing bandsaw blades;Pop Mech,70:139,Jl'38

--Brazing a bandsaw;Ind A & V Ed ,27:296,S'38

--Silver soldering bandsaw blades;Pop Mech,104:219,D'55


--Foot-power hammer;Sci Am,82:52,Ja,27'1900

--Making chisels & other tools from files;Sci Am S,50:20899,D,29'00

--Toolmaking;Manual training,21:340,Je'20

--Vaccum gauge;Ind Arts M,18:199,My'29

--Handy depth gauge;Ind Arts M,18:389,O'29

--Preventing tools from rusting;Ind A & V Ed,19:277,Jl'30

--Hardening & tempering small tools;Pop Mech,55:687,Ap'31

--Hints on salvaging high-speed tools;Pop Sci,118:98,My'31

--Tips on tempering tools;Pop Sci,119:91,Jl'31

--Rewinding motors;Ind A & V Ed,21:311,O'32

--Right way to true up worn drill chucks & other useful info;Pop Sci, 122:22,My'33

--Toolmakers clamp or vise;Ind A & V Ed,22:235,Jl'33

--Surface-gauge;Ind Ed M,35:32,Ag'33

--Useful anvil;Ind A & V Ed,23:190,My'34

--Rewinding motors;Pop Mech,62:794,N'34

--Tools you can make from drill rod;Pop Mech,65:311,F'36

--Welder's bench made from scrap materials;Pop Sci,129:71,S'36

--Toolroom tray for metal files;Ind A & V Ed,25:387,D'36

--Metal tooling;Pop Sci,130:79,Ja'37

--Model-maker's vise has universal action;Pop Mech,68:781,N'37

--Make your own hand chucks & pin vises;Pop Mech,74:301,Ag'40

--Handy vise;Ind A & V Ed,29:367,N'40

--New tools from old;Ind A & V Ed,32:325,O'43

--Jeweler's vise;Ind A & V Ed,32:436,D'43

--How to clean a blowtorch;Pop Sci,144:190,Mr'44

--Make your own surface gauge;Pop Mech,81:121,Je'44

--Building a drill-press vise;Pop Sci,145:180,O'44

--Vacuum gauge;Ind A & V Ed,34:34,Ja'45

--New life for those worn pliars;Pop Sci,146:182,F'45

--Flexible-shaft tool uses speedometer cable;Pop Sci,150:172,Ja'47

--Details & assembly of machinist hand vise;Ind A & V Ed,36:126,Mr'47

--Pantograph;Ind A & V Ed,39:199,My'50

--Homemade tools from old auto valves;Pop Sci,158:193,F'51

--How to judge used power tools;Pop Sci,159:201,O'51.& 159:232,N'51

--Small bench vise;Ind A & V Ed,42:227,S'53

--How to build a good workbench;Pop Sci,167:116,S'55

--Turn a can into a tray;Workbench,13:25,My'57

--New tools from old files;Pop Sci,177:186,D'60

--Seven tools you can make from lathe bits;Pop Sci,185:123,N'64

--Don't bypass the hobby shop;hard to find tools & materials;Pop Electr, 35:50,O'71

--Make your own workbench & tool cabinet;Workbench,13:38,Jl'57

--Shop pantograph copies anything;Pop Mech,119:164,Je'63

--Make this two way machine-vise clamp;Pop Mech,130:168,N'68

--Make a pantograph for your router;Pop Sci,197:104,O'70

--How to repair your electric drill;Pop Mech,151:102,Ja'79

--Give new life to abandoned tools;Mother Earth News,55:160,Ja'79


--Hard-soldering for enameling purposes;Sci Am S,59:24287,Ja,21'05

--How to solder aluminum;Sci Am,100:121,F,6'09

--Homemade electric welder;Pop Mech,42:831,N'24

--Building a two-kilowatt spot welding set;Pop Mech,44:867,N'25

--Making soldering fluxes;Pop Mech,45:867,My'26

--Blowtorch made from gasoline lamp;Pop Mech,46:685,O'26

--Powerful gasoline torch;Pop Mech,47:517,Mr'27

--Brazing cast iron & other metals;Sci Am S,66:283,O'31

--Pistol-grip blowpipe simplifies silver soldering;Pop Sci,120:96,My'32

--Gasoline cutting torch;Sci Am,147:46,Jl'32

--Secret of soldering aluminum;Pop Sci,121:78,S'32

--Brazing & silver soldering;Pop Mech,58:682,O'32

--Homemade soldering equipment for the general shop;Ind A & V Ed,23:216,Je'34

--Soldering spouts on pewter creamers;Ind A & V Ed,23:260,Ag'34

--Soldering with an electric arc;Pop Mech,62:621,O'34

--Shopmade air-diesel torch gives intense heat;Pop Sci,128:84,Je'36

--Soldering aluinum;Pop Mech,66:461,S'36

--Simple lab-made blast lamp;Science,84:296,S,25'36

--Electric arc torch;Pop Mech,67:781,My'37

--Arc welder built for fifteen dollars;Pop Sci,130:69,Je'37

--Forge welding;Sci Am,146:283,My'37

--Spot welder;Pop Sci,131:98,S'37

--Vaccum-cleaner soldering torch;Ind A & V Ed,27:74,F'38

--Stainless steel soldered, brazed & welded;Pop Mech,69:788,My'38

--Tin-can soldering furnace;Ind A & V Ed,27:302,S'38

--Welding sheet iron;Pop Sci,133:70,S'38

--Welding aluminum with the oxyacetylene torch;Pop Sci,137:164,Ag'40

--Inexpensive blowtorch;Ind A & V Ed,29:391,N'40

--Gas torch works without compressed air;Pop Mech,76:143,Jl'41

--Acetylene brazing torch requires no oxygen;Pop Sci,140:38,Je'42

--Gas blowtorch;Ind A & V Ed,31:353,O'42

--Battery carbons for welding & cutting;Ind A & V Ed,31:295,S'42

--When & how of silver soldering & brazing;Pop Sci,148:178,Ap'46

--Gas torch from brass tubing;Pop Sci,149:115,N'46

--Welding with an alcohol torch;Sci Illus,2:102,S'47

--Spot welding on your drill press;Pop Sci,156:157,S,3'49

--Shop-made torch solders or welds;Pop Sci,157:203,S'50

--Welded all-steel soldering bench;Ind A & V Ed,43:26,Je'54

--Soldering jig;Ind A & V Ed,49:40,O'60

--Make your own arc welder;Pop Sci,187:142,N'65

--Build this handy arc-welding gun;Pop Sci,190:149,F'67

--Build yourself this carbon arc welder for $5;Pop Mech,128:174,S'67

--Simple jig holds small parts for soldering;Pop Sci,196:105,Je'70

--How to weld with your lathe;Pop Sci,196:67,Je'70

--Torch stand & lead ladle;Pop Mech,135:174,Ja'71

--Pinpoint propane torch;Mech Illus,67:92,Ja'71


--Overcoming difficulties in hammering copper;Craftsman,19:99,O'10

--Spoon-making;Manual training,15:123,D'13

--Developments in American siversmithing;Art World,2:192,Mr'17

--Making of the spoon;Art World,2:559,S'17

--Art metal work;a course in manual training;Ind Arts M,7:86,Mr'18 --Hand

forged spoons;Ind Arts M,12:276,Jl'23

--You can do hammered-copper work;Pop Mech,46:873,N'26

--Equipping a shop for bench metalwork;Ind Ed M,28:334,Ap'27

--Making a pewter bowl;Ind Ed M,31:146,O'29

--Pewter in the art-metal shop;Ind Arts M,19:170,My'30

--Estimating the blank required for holloware;InInd A & V Ed,20:222,Je'31

--Inlaid art-metal work;Ind A & V Ed,20:450,D'31

--How to ornament plain metal tubing with spirals;Pop Sci,124:74,Je'34

--Pewter tea set;Ind A & V Ed,24:126,Ap'35

--Flame sculpture by means of the oxyacetylene process;Sci Am,155:284,N'36

--Modern pewtercraft;Ind A & V Ed,25:344,N'36

--Simplified brass tapping;Pop Mech,66:903,D'36

--Easy way to inlay metal with metal;Pop Sci,130:124,F'37

--Modern candleholders turned from homemade pewter casting;Pop Sci,131:95, N'37

--Hand-hammered textures;Ind A & V Ed,27:39,Ja'38

--Copper modeling;Sch Arts,37:191,F'38

--Sugar bowls & creamers;Ind A & V Ed,,27:336,O-N'38

--Metalworking kinks;Ind A & V Ed,27:398,N'38

--Welded metal sculpture;Sci Am,160:160,Mr'39

--Wrought-iron work;Pop Sci,134:194,Ap'39

--Steps in making sterling silver jewelry;Pop Sci,131:102,N'39

--Modeling in sheet metal;Pop Mech,73:897,Je'40

--Finishing hammered iron;Ind A & V Ed,30:(sup)84,Mr'41

--Art metalwork;Ind A & V Ed,30:253,Je'41

--Pewter art metalwork;Ind A & V Ed,30:291,S'41

--Shortcuts in diemaking;Pop Mech,79:146,F'43

--Cutting an art metal die;Ind A & V Ed,44:194,Je'44

--Raising aluminum cups;Ind A & V Ed,35:28,Ja'46

--Indian silversmithing;Ind A & V Ed,Ja,F,A-N'48.& Ja--Ap'49

--You can make brass handles for furniture;Pop Sci,155:211,D'49

--Metalsmithing U.S.A.;Craft Horiz,35:22,F'75

--Gleaming pewter tableware you can make;Pop Mech,152:92,Ag' 79


--Generators (acetylene);Sci Am S,53:21969,Ap,12'02

--Fillings for delicate hollow sheet-metal work;Sci Am S,61:25404,My,19'06

--Grinding wheel sparks:how they indicate the characteristics of steel; Sci

Am S,75:297,My,10'13

--Casehardening bronze for dyes;Sci Am S,83:61,Ja,27'17

--Simple gas generator for lab use;Science n.s.,56:287,S,8'22

--Britannia metal;Ind Arts M,12:338, 12:387, 12:464, 13:5, 13:56, 13:141,

13:178, 13:411, S--O,D'23. & F,Ap'My,N'24

--How gold leaf is made;Sci Am,130:244,Ap'24

--Sword making as a peacetime art;Pop Mech,43:51,Ja'25

--Repairing broken pewter;Pop Mech,49:859,My'28

--Getting rid of the smoke;Ind Ed M,31:324,F'30

--Resilvering mirrors at home;Pop Sci,118:98,Mr'31

--How to silver mirrors;Pop Mech,60:770,N'33

--How to use bronze powders;Pop Mech,83:96,Je'45

--How to run many tools with one motor;Pop Sci,164:166,Ap'54

--Arts & crafts supplies,sourcs and books;Am Artist,33:22,F'69

--Resource materials:books,filmstrips,film,slides,loops;Sch Arts,69:32,Ja'70

--Treadle power in the workshop;Org Gard & Farm,24Z:83,Je'77

--How to scrounge;Design,79:26,Ja'78

Rev. 02/17/96


Bill Wyant wrote:

...6011 is rather "violent" especially when used on cuts deep and

as it is a fast-freezing rod, the bead is rough....the pinhole problem is

usually caused by the release of trapped gasses, from the flux, however.

6013 presents a smoother more eye-appealing bead and so far as

appearance is concerned, 7014 is the best. 7014 has iron powder in the

flux which melts into the puddle as well as the filler rod, it does not

leave much opportunity to produce is also 70K psi tensile

strength (the first two digits indicate the tensile strength). Keep your

welding "in position" (flat) as much as possible. watch your puddle,

don't let the rod undercut the metal too much. You may want to go to

3/32" if you use 7014 as the iron powder makes a rather large pile of

weldment as compared to 6011..Go to your Welding Supply shop and get a

few pounds of each, 6013, 7014 1/8, and 7014 3/32 and experiment before

you make your sure and ask the salesperson about the

technique for each rod as regards uphand, downhand, vertical and

overhead, it is not the same as 6011; they may have a pamphlet or two

covering this,,if not, e-mail me...glad to help.

Return To Index

Welding Rod:

From Frosty:

AC and E60- series rod is known for sometimes excessive penetration and

high tolerance for dirty base metal. E60- series powdered iron rods are

fast freeze, making them good for gap, vertical welds and field repairs.

However, there is a tendency to over-amp. It's not too critical with 70-

series rods and makes for pretty beads, that is of course if you're not

doing inspected or structural welds. With E60- series rods on the other

hand over-amping causes excessive penetration and undercutting and as

it's fast freeze inclussions and pin holes. Pinholes are usually the

result of outgassing from included slag or gasses injected into the

melted metal that are trapped when it freezes.

It's a natural inclination, when running into problems arc welding, to

turn it up. Unfortunately this is usually the wrong thing to do,

especially with E60- series rods. In this case it blows holes through

and slag into the work, causing the little pinholes you're finding.

The solution is to turn it down and practice. Lower amp settings make

rods sticky and frustrating when striking an arc. Practice brushing the

rod across the work rather than tapping or touching, a good technique is

to move the tip of the rod in little circles where the bottom of the

circle touches the base metal. Another trick you might try is to incline

the work a few degrees 10-15 and work uphand. Also remember to drag the

rod, meaning to point the rod away from the direction of travel.

Dragging the rod allows the plasma jet from the flux coating and wire to

clean the scarf and puddle and also pushes the deposited metal into a

uniform bead, with the slag forced to the top.

A simpler solution might be to try various 70- series rods. They're not

fast freeze, allowing slag and gasses to escape before it freezes

(solidus). I've never tried 7014 and can't speak for it, however I'd

give it a try as the general characteristics of 70- series rods are more

civilized to run and leave cleaner beads.

One last thing and I have to add a disclaimer here as it's been a

loooong time since I cracked a book, so don't quote me on this. As I

recall, rods with odd number designators, eg; 6011, 6013, etc, are AC

and even number designators, eg 6012, 6014, 7018, etc are DC. Some are

AC/DC but the even/odd indicates the preferred current.

AC welders or "buzzboxes" were the first welders to become commercially

available at a price the general public could afford, particularly with

the introduction of the Forney welder/battery charger that was promoted

to the farmer in the middle '50's...before that time the welder was a

major investment and found only in welding shops and garages. The

Lincoln that your wife was so kind and and caring to provide for you is

legendary; I can't remember when there wasn't one. I have used the

Lincoln 225, I have "test driven" a Lincoln 225AC/125DC machine, I have

owned a Miller 225AC for about 27 years...For most shop work, DC is not

necessary unless you get into the more exotic rods such as hardfacing and

such; even then electrodes are available for use with AC, though they are

usually marked AC/DC and run better with DC. For most purposes, the AC

rods E-6011,6013 and 7014 will do just about anything you need to do in

the matter of joining steel using AC. The AC machines do not run 7018

rod well, even though the rod is classified as AC/DC; the flux runs down

and covers the end of the electrode then cools during the period when

there is no electricity flow and stops the arc, so I was told by the guys

at the welding supply store. If I may make a suggestion, invest in a

50lb carton of 6011 in 5/32" diameter (it's about half the price of

lesser quantities) and a 50lb carton of 6013 in 1/8" welding

shop *runs* on these two types of rod...A small package of 7014 is nice

to have, use it to fill the holes you burn with the

6011..{snrk}...'course, if you have arc welded before, you *know* about

6011. Keep your rod dry, an old refrigerator with the compressor

disconnected and the switch in the door defeated (so the light stays on

all the time is an excellent "hotbox"...As far as the quality of your

Lincoln you have any mechanically-minded grandchildren?

...Yes, it will last that long....

Return To Index

Welding Books:

From Chris Ray:

<< ago

about Lincoln's excellent, and inexpensive books were very useful. There is

excellent attention to us home shop types here on Artmetal. But literally

no info for hobby welders from the AWS. Their mag and books are so

technical, I only got maybe, 1% useful knowledge from them. >>

Weep no more Dave. Here is a book I picked up at a discount seller's once,

and though I have a passing familiarity with welding, it never hurts to look

at something else in print. I'm sure you can get this from the publisher or

elewhere and this book is one of the clearest I've seen and is actually

helpful. I found out something new or two from it myself.

"The Complete Book Of Home Welding" (don't be put off by the title) by John

Todd, published by TAB Bookis, Inc. Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17214 ISBN

0-8306-2717-0. Try it, you'll like it. I actually think it's more useful

than any of the technical books I've seen. If they changed the title to

something more technical sounding, it would be a best seller in the welding

trades, I'm sure. Well, maybe not, but it's great for folks like us.

The Norfolk-Southern Railroad uses McKay TI-55 hardfacing rod to build up

frogs and switch-points; it seems to withstand both shock and abrasion

very well, and can be applied with an AC costs about $8 lb

in a 10-lb tube. the recommendations are to pad the surface with a

shock-resisting underlay, which may or may *not* be a good idea in this

case, I don't think I would do this as the anvil base itself provides

shock resistance. Preheat the anvil, of course, and as you weld, be sure

to chip and brush away *all* the slag from *each* bead before applying

the next one, this is extremely important! You might do well to peen each

bead as you would if you were welding cast iron, it makes the bond

tighter....a blunt punch in a muffler chisel (air hammer) makes short

work of this, if you have compressed air. McKay recommends not less than

2 layers. Figure on spending more time grinding than you did welding...

...Good luck, how *ever* you try to do it...


Another possible rod is Missle or 'super missle' rod from Arco, 400 degree pre-heat

(use heat sink on face of anvil), alot of grinding.

Return To Index


I was reviewing my video and notes from Robb Gunter's demonstration at the

Fall Conference of the Guild of Metalsmiths in MN. Several people were

interested in knowing what Robb Gunter used for flux in the gas forge. Did

he prefer plain ole borax, or E-Z Weld, or what? He replied that he used a

blend of fluxes and gave his personal preference as follows:

1/3 Borax

1/3 E-Z Weld

1/3 Sure Weld

Blend well and use. There is nothing really special about this

formulation, it's just that that's what he found to work best for him. I

don't have it on video, but my notes indicate that he said (or implied, or

I just thought he said) that Jack Andrews also uses this blend.

Next time someone is at a conference where Robb is demonstrating, you could

ask more specific questions.

Or, does anyone on the list have any thoughts on this?

Dave Brown


Bill Fiorini, who also uses a gas forge in his shop, demonstrated last month

at SOFA Quad State. His flux recipe is 4 parts borax, 1 part boric acid, by


Dale Dreyfuss


David, This is extraordinary, I figure theforge dumped me for flirting

with alt.crafts.blacksmithing, must've gotten caught in a hiccup of the

listproc system that's been going on lately. Anyway...

The best flux for gas forge welding that I've found is from

David and Suzanne Willis

Valley Forge and Tool,

21383 J South Yeoman Rd.

Beavercreek, OR 97004

503-632-4366 voice

503-632-4623 fax

The product is called Sure Weld and can be use in coal or gas forges but

is expensive, so I just use it in the propane forge as I can do ok in coal

with borax. Also this caveat; I don't always get a good weld, but these

observations come from those that do and the times that I have.

For sure, weld on a warm anvil or heated plate. I have a 1/2x3x6 inch

plate that I use for a door on my gas forge or hang on some tabs above it

to heat up, then place the plate on the anvil just prior to welding. Gas

welding is a bit different from coal welding in a couple of respects. 1)

Hammer fairly lightly to start. Giving a good whack to start seems to

pancake the material and keep it from sticking. I think the Sure Weld has

iron filings in it that become integral to the weld. 2) Don't wait for the

piece to get white hot, bring it out when the flux starts to flow. If

you wait to get a coal type heat in a gas forge you get too much scale.

Scarf as usual and make sure the mating surfaces are scale free. I find

that fluxing at a lower temp (red or so) keeps the scale down and allows

the flux to run and protect the iron from oxygen. Set the forge flame to

reducing, i.e. a bit of flame coming out the door or a slight excess of


I did get to see Tom Joyce weld a piece of 1/2" round to pipe out of a gas

forge using Borax for flux. But I feel good getting a simple lap weld on a

bar shoe.

I have no connection with Dave Willis except a debt of gratitude as I

overheard him comment that my gas forge copy of his excellent product was

one of the only working copies he'd seen. He had a whole horse stall full

of failed attempts when the guys came in to cough up the $ for his product.

I still use it in my shop, and figure it was more of a testament to

persistence than genius ;-).

Hope this is of some help. And don't forget to hold your mouth right!

Kevin Donahoe


Steve Barnes wrote:

>I merely mentioned that my forge is capable of reaching melting temps so

>that the question of not having enough heat would not arise. I do use borax

>as flux and apply it when the steel is cherry red in color then put the

>steel back in the fire immediatly and bring it to what I "assume" is

>welding temp(a few sparks begin to fly from the steel). I then remove it

>from the fire to my anvil(not really an anvil, but a 5" thick, 6" X 8" cast

>steel block) which is preheated to a few hundred degrees. When I strike the

>steel with the hammer, it just doesn't want to weld. I'm using leaf

>spring(5160) as the working material. What am I doin' wrong?


Sounds to me like you're zeroing in on success. Is your fire good and

deep? You need a good 5" or so of good coke fire under your iron and 2

or 3" above. Slide the iron into the fire horizontal, don't point it

down any, oxidation will prevent your weld. Try this with some 1/2"

square stock. Scarf and then heat and flux as you have been doing.

Heat scarf side up first and then turn scarfs down as you near welding

heat. When you reach welding heat if you touch the pieces in the fire

they should stick together, sometimes you have to really twist them to

get them apart. "If they won't stick in the fire they won't stick on

the anvil." Bring them out and try a drop the tongs weld. The first

blows should be light to tack things together. This is a tip I got

from David Norrie that greatly increased my successs in forge welding.

"When the weld is tacked it will SOUND different." After what your

tapping on becomes (and sounds) more solid you can start wailing away

on it. If your fire and everything is right you might just be hitting

too hard those first few blows.

Steve White


Steve, if you're attempting what I think you are, folding flat

stock over on itself to make either tools or blades, I had the same

problem. Poured through all kinds of books trying to figure out what I was

doing wrong.

I finally found it by trial and error. I was getting a thin scale

coating on the steel from the fire, and it was preventing it from sticking.

Here's my "fix" for fold welds... make the bend but leave a gap

between the pieces. Dunk the whole end in flux (I use borax too), then

bring it up *past* welding heat. Let the flux start running off. NOW

hammer weld it.

I've gotten much better at it by following the great teacher, Mr.

Experience.<G> Barely need to flux anymore, and I've gotten much better at

judging just where welding temp is on stock.

Roy Wilson


> I'd like to try welding some chain (timing chain) into

> a knife blank. Any ideas on getting started (how

> to keep the stuff in one place)? Do you arc weld it

> onto a rod or what?

> Thanks

> - Matt

Funny that you should mention that, I just welded a large billet

yesterday. The piece I did was large truck timing chain, about 2"

wide. First step is to heat a section of it above critical temp and

quench. Take a file and see if the file slips real good on the

hardened section. If it does, you in business. I first cut the

chain to the length desired, then folded it over a bar of 1084 same

lenght as folded chain and about 3/16 thick. This I placed in the

forge until red, then fluxed with borax and forge the folded end to

conform to the bar. I did not do any arc welding on this, but you

could. Take welding heat and weld the unfolded end first, then take

another heat and weld the other end. once you have it welded, draw,

cut about 3/4 through, fold, and insert another bar of 1084. Repeat

as many times as desired. I added the high carbon steel because the

chain is probably relative low carbon, and I wanted to prevent

problems if I burned out some of the carbon in the welding. I think

that I ended up folding about 3 or 4 bars in the billet. Will forge

out a knife tomorrow and etch to see how it looks.

Forge On !!!!!

Return To Index

Judging Welding Temperature:

Christian Laferriere wrote:


> >Hello Chris

> >To judge the correct welding temp is very easy. Just take a light heat, wire

> >brushoff any hot scale, and then sprinkle a small amount of borax onto the

> >billet. Place back into the forge and when the borax starts to bubble you have a good welding heat.

> Could you explain what a "light heat, wire" is exactly?

> I guess that I made a few mistakes the first time around. I perhaps didn't completely grind off the scale from the side of my

> tack welded billet (damascus ), I may have put too much borax and hit the piece a little too hard. I did get the initial weld on the first piece, however, my m

> I guess I'll have to practice practice practice...

> >You mentioned that the metal does not sparkle in the gas forge. this usually

> >means either of two things a. the forge has too much thermal mass for the

> >burner size (meaning that it simply cant get hot enough to burn or make the

> >steel sparkle) or b. Like me it takes a long while to teach oneself to drive the

> >darn thing

> Perhaps I was too hasty in removing the piece. It's just that I have to be careful not to burn the carbon out of the O1 by overheating it.

> >Finally regarding power hammer v treadle hammer If all factors are equal,

> >meaning that at your shop noise, electricity supply and cost is not a problem

> >then go for the power hammer every time. I mean who wants a huge left or

> >right leg .

> Good point! Can you recommend a good used equipment broker either in upper new york state, Ontario, Quebec, Maine etc

Return To Index


>I am attempting to cast three small gears, about 4" in diameter. They

>are gears out of my hand cranked forge blower. I used a surplus bomb

>shelter blower when I built my forge, and the gears are plastic. I want

>to replace them with more substantial metal gears. Replacing the blower

>itself would be a poor option. I don't believe the shrinkage will be

>enough to cause a problem as the shrinkage would only be across the

>radius of two inches.


>I have a fairly complete foundry, although my experience is very limited

>in it. I mostly spend my time at the forge instead. I have tried to mold

>the gears in "Petrobond" sand, but the gear teeth will not hold up when

>I pull the plastic pattern out of the sand. I have considered lost wax,

>but I would have to create the pattern out of wax and not use the gears

>themselves. I want to make use of the existing gears for patterns. Part

>of the problem is that the sides of the gear are vertical, and the sand

>sticks to the plastic, even when using parting compound.


>I would appreciate any suggestions you might have as to the methods to

>use, and the best metal, to produce these gears. Two of them have to be

>cast on to their steel shafts also.


>Thank you for any help you can offer.


> Ron Reil


Nice to have you here. I am pretty new at the casting business (4 years)

doing mostly art stuff. As to your gears, on great way to get a wax for

lost wax casting is to make a rubber mold of the gear and then take wax

castings from the mold. Yes it is another step, but it would allow you

near exact copies (the near comes from teh bit of shrinkage of the wax as

well as the metal). Don't know what metal I would use, ask your metals

supplier??? If you have a problem with the rubbermold part, I do mold work

and for that size, I think about $25.00.

I haven't tried it yet but resin bonded sand could be a way to go. Watched

a class in it this summer (while my classes were on break) and it looked

very interesting. Also, if the plastic can take the heat, there is heat

setting resined sand available that would probably work. I just got 80 lbs

of it to play with and I think it cost $12.00.

Good luck with it what ever way you go.


Return To Index

Lost Wax:

To All,

To make a lost wax pattern, use silicone rubber to make a mold from the

original part. The silicone comes with release agents so it won't stick. The

mold is reusable.


Return To Index


The worlds only source of new made wrought iron is the blomery at

the Blists hill site of the Iorn Bridge gorge Site in Shropshire.

they sell it as 'Merchant Bar' either through the gift shop to the general

public... of to other Non profit Living history sites direct (at I suspect

a discount from the gift shop price) contact them for futher info re

exports and supply... the Bloomery ran last year in June July and Aug on

Mon Wed and Fri the foundry also has set days for pouring... call to be

sure they are runing if you plan a vist to see the works in operation... (I

think only one day a week do both run)

Ironbridge Gorge Museum,





Tel: 01952 433522;

Fax: 01952 432204

Tourist Information Centre. Tel: 01952 432166

Talking Pages: free on 0800 600 900

IGMT Charitable Trust registered no 503717-R

Randolph Lee

Windshadow Engineering

Return To Index

Parting Compound:

>anywhere outside a casting supplies catalog, and you've gotta buy a ninety

>ton drum. Someone in this group said that "diatomaceous earth", which is

>available at any swimming pool supply store makes a great parting

>compound. I plagued every swimming pool place in the county (where the

If you need to replenish your stock, you can also get diatomaceous earth

from gardening supply houses that cater to the "organic gardening"

trade. It's used as a dust against certain insects. Some of the larger

mail order businesses sell it in big bag quantities that would be appropriate

for your needs.

Return To Index

Blacksmith Coal:

> Subject: Northwest blacksmiths -- coal

> OK folks that live up here in the great rust bowl, where can I find decent

> coal. Suposed to be a dealer in Chehalis (on some of the supplier lists

> I've seen) have any of you used their coal?

> Just plain ol "Bill"

Just don't know where you are exactly so..

Fall Creek Farrier Supplies

3733 Main St.

Springfield, OR 97478


Blacksmith coal

Farrier Supplies

26729 Highway 99 West

Monroe, OR 97456


Blacksmith coal.

Valley Farrier Supply

Valley Forge and Tool

21383 S. Yeoman Road

Beaver Creek, OR 97004


503-632-4623 fax

Blacksmith coal.

Fire Mountain Forge

Rt 2 Box 292C

Eatonville, WA 98328


Blacksmith coal

Harry's Leather Shop

2712 Hewitt Avenue

Everett, WA 98201


Coal supplier.

Lenny's Fuel CO Inc

9010 Delridge Way SW

Seattle, WA


Variable quality blacksmithing coal. Ask for Cumberland Elkhorn Coal which

they have from time to time.

Morris Coal Sales

26458 Black Diamond Road SE

Maple Valley, WA 98953


Coal suppliers.

Central Fuel

1945 S. Market Blvd.

Chehalis, WA 98532


Blacksmith coal. Bring your own containers.

If any of these are in error, please let me know. These suppliers get sent to

me and I keep them around. Just keep me informed about what you find and where.




P.O. Box 7701

South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158


Source of excellent blacksmithing coal. High BTU value, low ash &

sulphur. Cokes well


Mike/ Margret wrote:


> Does anyone know a source of coal for blacksmithing near Longview,

> Washington? The nearest major city is Portland, Oregon? Pleas email.

> Thanks, am working on a forging project for the boy scouts.


Coal and Coke Suppliers

There are 25 suppliers listed here, but none anywhere near you. I like

these folks coal:

Cumberland Elkhorn Coal & Coke

950 Swan Street

Louisville, KY 40204


Source of excellent blacksmithing coal in bulk or by the bag.

The coal is washed, is low in ash, produces little clinker, and

they will ship by truck.

Return To Index

Lining Small Forge Pans:

Hi Jim: Welcome aboard.

The method I use and have had the best success with is as follows.

I prefer fire clay, it has good ramming properties, binds at a low

percentage of moisture, remains relatively pourous and isn't inclined to

spall or explode during the first couple heats. However, most clays,

commercial or mined from a river bank or hardpan will work as well.

I dampen the clay only enough to bind into a clump when squeezed HARD in

my hand. I spread the dry clay in a thinish layer, 2" thick or so and

use a spray can to dampen the surface. I don't wet the surface, just

dampen it. Then I rake, cut or riddle(sift through a screen) thouroughly

and test by squeezing. If it doesn't clump, I repeat the process and

test again, till it does clump. Between wettings and mixings, work out

any clumps by simply breaking them up in your fingers and mixing them

back in.

Fire clay starts to clump around 10-12% moisture by weight, at least the

fire clay I use does. For 10 lbs of fire clay, start with a bit less

than 1 lb of water, about a short pint and work up from there.

Once it passes the clump test, you're ready to ram it into the pan. This

is literally what it sounds like, I hammer it in till the hammer

bounces. Ram it to a depth of about 1" and a bit thicker around the

grate, around 1 1/2".

Once you have it rammed to thickness, burnish it with a block of wood

till it's shiny smooth and let it dry for a day or so.

Drying can be a tough call, depending on how wet or dry your climate is,

needless to say, if the humidity is hoovering around 100% it's not going

to dry at all but if you live in the Mojave desert, it'll be ready in a

few hours. If you live in a humid climate, you can warm it with a small

fire, NO BLAST. Use half a dozen sheets of newspaper spread evenly and

light it.

After it's dry, it's ready for the first firing. This should be a layer

of charcoal briquettes two or three deep, or the equivalent, once again,

NO BLAST. Just light it and let it burn till it goes out.

It's ready for use, still if you live in a humid climate, make your

first few working fires small and gentle.

The benefit of using this method rather than wet claying, is the reduced

risk of shrink checking and spalling during firing.

There's another method of dampening the clay that yeilds a "light" more

insulating liner, though for this application, it isn't necessary to

insulate the pan as much as make sure the heat is distributed evenly.

This method is to mix wet sawdust with the clay and let it temper in an

air tight container over night. Test and ram as above.

This method likes a hotter firing so the sawdust burns out but it's not

necessary. This is how light fire brick is made.



Why not use nature's own inexpensive refractory? Just get a shovel and

dig up some dirt. Mix a little water with it and mould it to shape. If

you are particular about things like cracks, mix mud with straw (or lawn

clippings from when the wife FINALLY gets you to mow the lawn) for bulk

and mix about 2/3 sand to 1/3 mud for lining next to the fire. Fill the

brake drum just enough to make the fire the right depth. I'd include a

slight slant from edge to center, and a deeper smaller depression in the

center for a smaller welding fire. For a grate, if you don't want to

have a clinker breaker, just set lengths of 3/8" sqare about 1/4" apart

to cover the tuyere.

Of course, with this compound, the brake drum becomes unecessary -- my

forge is a wood box with mud lining. Has worked fine for about 5 years

now. I've changed the shape a couple of times, but it's evolved to

something that works fine for me. I usually only get about 6 hours max

on it, but the days I've had multiple folks working, (over 16 hrs

continuous) there has been no problem with overheating the wood. 3" of

mud seems to do the trick.

Morgan Hall

Wilsonville, OR


I have a small "rivet" forge I use infrequently. A year ago I

re-"mudded" the bowl with a mix of sand, fire-clay, and portland


Return To Index

Addresses for Forge and Foundry Equipment and Supplies:

Grant Sarver runs OFF-CENTER FORGE at 1318 South 83rd St., Tacoma, WA 98408,

800 99FORGING. He has the Kick-Ass Hammer and the sweetest lightweight

tongs going. Styles are V-bit, Box Jaw, Rivet, and Pickup in various sizes.

$30/each and worth it. He also has cool punch sets and specialty spring

swages (acorns, balls, rope, etc.) Grant's a cool dude and very helpful


OFF-CENTER does have catalogs. Just call 800 99FORGING. Grant Sarver is our

resident Mad Scientist here in the Northwest Blacksmith Association and I'm

going to give him some of his own Kick-Ass if he doesn't get on-line soon


> Does anyone know if Little Giant has a web address? If not, how about

> a phone number?

> Michael

Automotive Inc./Little Giant

Sid Suedmeier

420 4th Corso

Nebraska City, NE 68410


402-873-4372 home

Parts for 25, 50 & 100 pound Little Giant power hammers.

These people bought the Little Giant company. Sells rebuilt hammers.



> Subject: Square Copper Tubing

> Can anyone recommend a mail-order source for square copper tubing, say

> 3/4 or 1-inch size? Thanks.

> David C. Hufford

> Richmond KY USA


Try one of the following:

Julius Blum & Company, Inc.

P.O. Box 816

Carlstadt, NJ 07072-0816


Lewis Brass & Copper Co. Inc.

69-61 78th Street

Box 67

Middle Village, NY 11379

718-894-1442 or 800-221-5579

McMurray Metals Co.

3000 Elm St.

Dallas, TX 75226



131 Eichwurzel

Houston, TX 77009



Metal Supermarkets

Chicago location:

1675 Tonne Road

Elk Grove, IL 60007


Atlanta location:

184 Selig Drive

Atlanta, GA 30336


Nationwide Architectural Metals



908-832-9116 FAX

Let me know where you find what you need.

I hope this helps you.



Unplated square head machine bolts are available many places such as

fastenal, M.S.C. and Mcmasrter Carr. Square head lags are another story, after about 40 long

distance phone calls and extensive relentless searching I believe I found the one and

the only supplier of square head lags in the U.S. of A.. it is:

E & A Products

4129 85yh Ave North

Brooklyn Park Minn. 55443

tel: (612) 493 3222

Talk with Mark Sr., and you will have to buy in 1/4 keg of any one

size. If anyone else knows of a source for square head Lags, (not

machine bolts) I'd sure like to hear about it.

Roger Olsen


Pexto stakes and other sheet metal forming tools are available from Roper

Whitney of Rockford, Inc. Ask for Catalog M and Catalog M/P/H

Roper Whitney of Rockford, Inc.

2833 Huffman Blvd

Rockford, IL 61101

815-962-3011 Fax 815-962-2227

Laurel Machine and Foundry Co.

PO Box 1049 / 810 Front St.

Laurel, MS 601-428-0541

Blacksmith's Journal

P.O. Box 193

Washington, MO 63090


A comprehensive source of blacksmiths' information. An extremely useful


Blacksmith's Gazette

950 South Falcon Road

Camano Island, WA 98292 email web site

Monthly publication in newspaper form of useful information and

announcements of interest to blacksmiths. Fred and Arlene Holder are

the publishers

Carolina Glove Company

P.O.Box 820

Newton, NC 28658


Kevlar gloves are available in pairs or as lefts only.

Brownells Inc.

Route 2 Box 1

200 South Front Street

Montezuma, IA 50171-9989


Gunsmithing supplies. Catalog available.

Burgon Tool Steel Co.

Tide Mill Road

Box 1510

Hampton, NH 03842

(603) 926-4994)

800-582-7223 (in NH)

800-258-7106 (elsewhere)

603-926-5704 fax

Contact Art Putnam

A good source for small quantities of tool steel. They usually

have the material and size you need in stock. Unusual orders are

normally processed within 10 days.

The sales people are quite knowledgeable about all the metals they

handle. They have metallurgists that can be consulted in

difficult problems. Burgon has produced a nice little book entitled

"Burgon Tool and Die Manual" (FREE). It's probably one of the best

for selecting tool steels and heat treating them.

Centaur Forge Ltd.

117 N. Spring Street

P.O.Box 340

Burlington, WI 53105


Anvils, forges, vises, blacksmith & farrier tools, books and


Catalog available

Champ Spring Company

2107-2119 Chouteau Avenue

St. Louis, MO 63103


P.O. Box 7103

St. Louis, MO 63177


Leaf spring specialists since 1882. Source of Clay Spencer treadle

hammer springs

Farrier Supplies

26729 Highway 99 W

Monroe, OR 97456


Blacksmith and farrier tools and supplies, including coal.

Iron Age Antiques

Bill Gichner

Ocean View, DE


Anvils, forges, and all types of blacksmithing tools and equipment. If

you really need a tool or piece of equipment, Bill will either have it or get

it for you.

Jere Kirkpatrick's Valley Forge and Welding

30-C E. San Francisco Street

Willits, CA 95490



Manufactures treadle hammer kits and other blacksmith tools and


Catalog available

Laurel Machine & Foundry Co.

P.O.Box 1049

810 Front Street

Laurel, MS 39440


Makes anvils, swage blocks, large & small cones, fire pots, and

clinker breakers.

Machinery Information Systems, Inc.

Locator Subscription Fullfillment Dept.

1110 Spring St.

Silver Spring MD 20910-4028


301-585-9460 fax

Publisher of The Locator - a consolidation of used equipment available

across the country. The equipment is sorted by type, described clearly

with a few photos.

Mankel Blacksmith Shop

7836 Cannonsburg Road

Cannonsburg, MI 49317


Anvils, gas forges, tools, and other blacksmithing supplies.

Catalog available.

McEnglevan Industrial Furnace Mfg.

700 Griggs St.

Danville, IL 61832


800-367-6006, Ext. 12

217-446-0943 fax

Manufacturers of furnaces for school and industry. Featured are both

gas and electric metal melting and heat treating furnaces, sand mullers,

foundry tools, metal handling equipment and safety clothing. Catalog

available. They are nice people to work with and are good for service

on their older furnaces

Milwaukee Tool & Equipment Co.

P.O.Box 2039

Milwaukee, WI 53201




Manufactures blacksmith tools. Has 10 sizes of anvils 30 to 500


Modern Casting's Buyer's Reference Issue

American Foundryman's Society

505 State Street

Des Plaines, IL 60016-4237

847 824 0181

Great source of detailed information on suppliers for casting metals.

John J. Moroney & Co.

6817 South Harlem Ave

Bedford Park, IL. 60501


708-496-1763 fax


They deal in every kind of refractory you can imagine.

David Oliver

Paddle Creek Forge

P.O.Box 3452

Bristol, TN 37625


Supplier of used blacksmith tools including anvils & swage blocks

The Surplus Record

20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 2500

Chicago, IL 60606



312-372-6537 fax website

Source of new and used industrial equipment and machinery.

Tick Creek Forge

Richard Sheppard

P O Box 146

Bruceton Mills WV 26525

(304) 379-7450

Builds compact, well-made treadle hammers of a unique design.

The patent is pending.

Valley Farrier Supply

21383 S. Yoeman Road

Beaver Creek, OR 97004


Anvils, forges, hand tools, coal, and other blacksmith supplies.

Return To Index

Retempering Petrobond Sand:

To retemper oil-bonded sand without a "real" muller, you need some sort of

combined mixing and grinding action ... old cement mixer with some iron

window weights or a mortar mixer.

Amount of oil on retemper depends on how quick you open up the flasks

after a pour. If you let them cool completely, I usually use about an

ounce of 30W oil per 3 gallons of sand (in a Simpson muller). Don't add

too much oil or you'll ruin the whole sand pile.


Winston W. Harness

Return To Index

Damascus Supplies:

Texas Knifemaker's Supply catalog $3 10649 Haddington #180, Huston TX

zipcode 77043 phone 713-461-8632

Koval Knives (the one I use) cat $4 P.O.Box 492, New Albany, OH 43054

Admiral Steel L.P. free catalog! 800-323-7055

Jantz Supply cat $5 P.O.Box 584 Davis OK 73030

Knife & Gun Finishing Supplies cat $3 P.O.Box 980 Lakeside AZ 85929

Sheffield Knifemakers Supply Inc. cat $5 P.O.Box 741107

Orange City Florida 32774-1107, (they list D2 3/16" x 1.5" x36"

for $30.75)

The catalog is:

Knife & Gun Finishing Supplies

1972 Forest Avenue

P.O.Box 458

Lakeside, AZ 85929-0458


Fax: 520-537-8066

Order only: 800-972-1192

Return To Index

Railroad Rails:

To All,

Rail grade steel is the finest mass produced product that come out of the

mill. Just look at what it is asked to do in service and the really bad

things that happen when rails fail. It is usually the wheels or a bed failure

rather than the rails in a wreck. It is almost the perfect eutectoid

composition. At the end of rail manufacture it is 100% fine pearlite. Now

for some of the more modern main line rails, the heads are induction hardened

to give a bainite structure, but the composition yields no free carbide or

free ferrite. Free carbide or ferrite adversley effect the fatigue resistance

of the material. The base composition is .8% (80 points) carbon with not much

else added. If it is main line rail, it probably has a little bit of boron in

it to increase the hardenability to make it more responsive to induction

hardening. 80 point carbon steel make really great tools: hammers, chisels,

swages, etc. It can be hardened in water to about 65/66 Rc. It makes great

blades. Easy to work, easy to heat treat easy to sharpen and easy to keep

sharp. Commercial HC blades are probably 1-1.2% carbon, but they can take

free carbide


Return To Index

Air Hammers:

If you were to buy or build an air hammer, which design or maker would you

choose and why?

What's good and bad about your choice?

Why do I (you)want one so badly?


Mark Parmenter >>


Short and sweet, BUY. Sure you can build an air hammer if your time isn't

worth that much to you. My opion of good is a Chambersburg General Utility

Hammer. There are a lot of these hammers around and you can't build anything

to compare to it. There easy to set up because of their one piece design.

Also, they can be had cheaper then expected.

If you have to ask yourself why you need an air hammer so badly, maybe you

don't need one. Go out and get yourself a good quality mechanical hammer. I

would much rather have a good mechanical hammer then one of the "new" type air

hammers. I have worked on other air hammers and I prefer my 100Lb. Bradley

Compact over them. Both air and mechanical hammers have there place. I use

the Bradley for 90% to 95% or the general work. The Chambersburg is for the

other 10% to 5% the Bradley won't do. There are other mechanical hammers then

Little Giant that are much better, and have greater control. They require

less maintenance, less adjusting and are all around much easier to use. I use

my 100Lb. Bradley to draw out 1/4" stock. It has great control if control is

the issue for an air hammer.

Bruce R. Wallace


>what is a good stroke for an air cylinder for an air hammer......

>my theory here is to get the cylinder first and then work from there......

>(i already have a compressor to run it......)

> thanks again....

> jon



Ron Kinyon used a 2"x10" cylinder in his

plans. This seems to be about the biggest

cylinder one can run with an average small

shop size air compressor (5hp). You might

like to read this.


Return To Index

Belt Sanders & Grinding:

I personally go through many wheels working with stainless steel in large

scale sculptural applications. If you are buying your wheels locally you are

probably paying too much. Call 1 800 645 7270 to get MSC Industrial's super

catalog. If you are doing alot of grinding it is well worth the while to buy

wheels 10 or more at a time. They will sell them individually for a little

more moneybut thier selection is amazing and will have an abrasive for every

application. I order before 10 am and have them next day at no extra charge.

They have warehouses all over the US.

The main thing about abraisives is to remember that the harder thre metal, the

faster you want the resin to break down to expose fresh sharp abraisive. Also

high quality abraisives such as alumina zirconia are a much better investment

than alumininum oxide. I have been using Norton's Charger wheel and ZEC''s

spiral aluminum oxide discs on a 8500 rpm Bosch and they get all the heavy

grinding done in short order on stainless. Spend more money on abraisives and less time

grinding, Your hands and your time are well worth it.


Stan Parsons,1500 East Miller Rd., Midland, Mi 48640. Phone # 517-631-5744.

This unit is quite heavy 80 to 100 Pounds, so shippment may be a problem. He

said he shipped one down south and the freight was $150 or so. He was getting

$350.00 for the unit and $50.00 for the wheel to hollow grind on.

Parsons Manufacturing

Stan and Georgia Parsons

1500 Miller Rd. Midland

MI 48460


Return To Index


Hello Matt,

Poz tongs are made from 1/4 by 1" flat material, edge bent to form the

boss and jaws. There are plans for them on the Alabama Forge Coucil

page. They are light and grip very hard.



But, when you try those nice drawings at the 'bham' site, make certain

you make the necessary EC to the 3/8" deep, 1/2" fuller. Daniel Piotte

saved me from an interesting mistake when he pointed out that the tongs,

as drawn, will be rather hard to handle. (And how did Daniel come upon

this information, we may ask?)

Put the 3/8" deep fuller on the other side of the piece.

Paul Windt

D.P. Byam's Sled, Sleigh, and Wagon Repository

> In a message dated 10/23/1998 01:40:43 PM US Eastern Standard Time,

> writes:

> << Phil Rosche >>

> Phil

> Try this:

> Hope this is what you were looking for.

> Tim

> Attica, IN

Return To Index


Yes I forge a lot with 304 grade . You have to forge hot in the low

yellows and be careful of bends have plenty of heat and sst. has a

tendancy to tear on the outside of the bend , it dose not like to

strech, so heat more inside to allow it to compress. After forging you

must clean the surfaces of all oxides and contaminants left from

working. either acid etch , muriotic is good or sand blast with glass

beads or granit dust, do not use black beauty as it is a slag product

and will impinge into the surface iron oxides as well as other

contaminants. you can use a stainless steel wire wheel to clean. be

cautious of carrying steel contamiants with a grinder, hammer, chisle,

file, sand paper that has been used on iron etc. If you are cautious

about cleaning well after you work it the natural finish protection of

sst will form again and the piece will last forever. Just remember any

grinding drilling, working, and welding will change the surface

charactoistics of the material. If all that is done you can forge sst

as well as any steel. I do it all the time with no problems. It works

alittle harder and will work harden if to cool. Quench in CLEAN iron

free water and it will help the corrosion ability . i USE A COAL FORGE

BUT IT IS RECOMMENDED TO USE GAS OOPPS Ihave no problem swith the

coal i quess it is not as clean as gas. good luck!!!! bob jordan


Try some 316. I have worked it into fine smaller shapes with no other

problems than it is a lot harder to work and your hammering window is less

per heat. 316 does have a higher nickel content, so finishes up nice when

your forge work is done.

Good luck.

Harry Foster

Return To Index

What's it made of?

Grader Blades:

There are two basic types of steel used for grader blades as far as I

know. 1045 and an abrasion resistant tungsten alloy. Look at the worn

edge, if it has a burr it's the 1045. I don't know if or how they're

heat treated but they're tough enough to stop a 60.000lb grader going 30

mph dead in it's tracks without breaking.

They're not the easiest thing to weld, you need to preheat to about

400-450f and cool slowly. I have good luck with 7018 but it took a few

tries to get good welds. I collected several hundred lbs last winter

with the intention of welding up an anvil if I wasn't able to find one.

I don't know anything about the tungsten alloy edges, I've only heard of



Sucker Rod:

Sucker rods may be made from several materials

I am providing the "low-end" specs for the rods we use.

most rods you find will already be 16/22 rc in hardness. this is for

corrosion resistance to hydrogen-sulfide stress failure.

The most common is aisi c-1536 Hot Rolled Steel.

Chemical properties %

Carbon .32/.39

Manganese 1.15/1.45

Phosphorus .04 Mx

Sulphur .04 Mx

Silicon .20/.30

Vanadium .02/.03

Of course the balance is Iron.

Mechanical Properties

Tensile Strength, psi 100/110,000

Yield Strength, psi 70/80,000

Elongation, 8", % 18/23

Reduction of Area, % 50/65

Brinell Hardness 190/205

by: jerry boudreaux


Dave Mudge / Magic Hammer Forge

My name is Paul and I work for a machine shop that does a lot of work with

sucker rods, generally it is made from 4140 heat treated steel, which is the

primary material we use to manufacture most of the parts we make. However it

can be made from other types of iron. 4140 is a good general purpose steel

and comes heat treated when you buy it. It is very strong and easy to machine

and weld. If you need to harden or temper it, you can do so as you need to.

Our shop sends off material to a local vendor to get heat treated or whatever

needs to be done as per what the customer wants. I am not exactly sure the

procedure that is done to do the actual hardening and tempering but it is

usually left to the companies who specialize in this. I do know however it

has something to do with heating up the material and quenching it in oil, but

I am not sure. Hope this will help you, If you have any other questions

please feel free to email me.


Return To Index

Original Use for Sucker Rod:

Sucker rods are used in oil and gas wells to connect a pump jack to the

pump cups that are down in the bottom of the well. The sucker rod is a

steel rod with threaded connectors on each end. They are connected end

to end and may go down the well a half a mile or more.

When a well becomes uneconomical to maintain, the sucker rods and tubing

is pulled and usually scrapped. In oil and gas country its amazing what

you'll see made out of old sucker rod, well tubing, casing or drill


Jay Hayes

Return To Index


> Hm..Were I to build a propane forge, I would have a use for the tangled-up

>> ball of SS MIG wire I have, with exception of the rough texture. Failing

>> finde the real thing, is this a possible source for others?

>> (Recycling creatively, as usual)


>I don't see why not.

>Leave it up to a devoted junk collector (er I mean re-cycler ) to

>come up with an alternative.

There are probably alot of different high heat castables out there but why

not keep it simple. A.P. Green's refactory called MIZZOU is rated at 3000

degrees, I used it to line my forge with no additives of any kind, my forge

runs between 8 and 12 hours at least 5 days a week and has been with this

refactory for over 8 months with no problems with chipping or pulling away.

I know of 4 other smiths using the same system with no problems. Why make

a simple solution complex?

Roger Olsen



Go to Seattle Pottery Supply

35 South Hanford st.

50lb bag of Kaolite castable refractory for about 50 bucks. There's two

types: 2500 and 3000 degree.

We're using the 2500 degree stuff and it's holding up fine.

Steve Howell


> -----Original Message-----

> From: L.S. []

> Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 1998 3:15 PM

> To:

> Subject: Substitute for Kaowool???

> Hello all:

> Because of the possible carcinogenic risk associated

> with ceramic

> fiber type insulations I would like to avoid them if I can. So does

> anyone out there know of a castable isulation that comes close to the

> Kaowool standard?

> Sincerely,

> L.S.


If you only need to replace a few bricks, just buy the bricks. You

should be able to pick them up locally. If the bricks are just cracked

you can coat them with ITC-100 to give them a new lease on life. Small

gaps can be chinked with ceramic fiber and then coated.

In some cases the bricks in older units are completely replaced with

ceramic fiber refractory such as kaowool. We have seen a vast

improvement in efficiency in most cases. A layer of fiber can also be

added on top of old brick to improve efficiency. The ITC-100 is used to

adhere the the fiber to the brick. Then the fiber is coated to seal it.

We have ITC-100 in pints for $23.00, plus shipping. I can also supply

you with small quantities of ceramic fiber for patching.

Jay Hayes

C.J. Products Inc.

100 Christmas Place

Weston, WV 26452 wrote:

> >Besides building my personal gas forge and several others, we have a lot

> >of experience with large industrial kilns, ovens, and furnaces. We also

> >stock almost everything else needed to build a gas forge.


> Hey, maybe you can help me. I have a Speedy-Melt model MP-36 I just got

> from Ron. Several of the bricks could use replacing, but the re-lining kit

> from Mifco is $651! Got anything cheaper?

> Todd


Hi Walt,

My company is a distributor of International Technical Ceramics' ITC-100

coating. We also sell it to members of theforge at a discount. (Actually

cheaper than buying it direct.) I'd be glad to answer any questions that

you may have.

The coating greatly improves the efficiency of a gas forge. It also

protects the ceramic fiber (kaowool) and extends its life many times

over. Because the fiber is coated in a hard shell of ITC-100, the fibers

can not become airborne and inhaled. ITC-100 will also improve the

efficiency of conventional firebrick and castable refractory. It can be

used to repair damaged refractory and as an adhesive to hold fiber and

other refractory in place.

Besides building my personal gas forge and several others, we have a lot

of experience with large industrial kilns, ovens, and furnaces. We also

stock almost everything else needed to build a gas forge.

Jay Hayes

C.J. Products Inc. (304) 269-6111

100 Christmas Place

Weston, WV 26452

Return To Index


> I have a small blacksmithing and foundry operation. I have need to

> expand into doing a limited amount of engraving. What would the best

> steel be to make my graving tools (strictly hand held), and do you

> supply such steel in the small quantities I would want? I presently have

> a good supply of O-1, but do not want to expend the effort in making the

> tools if it will not do the work. I will be engraving both brass and

> steel surfaces.

> Thank you very much.

> Ronald Reil


> O1 will engrave the brass with no problem. As for the steels, one has to

be careful of the hardness of the grade of steel being engraved. Surely

O1 would at 58-60Rc be able to engrave 1035 steel 011 down to 1008. I

would not recommend using O1 to engrave the higher carbon or alloy

steels. For these applications you would probably need something like M4

high speed.

John Pirman



H-13 is a commonly available tool steel. All of the major makers have an H-13

material. Some places to acquire tool steel are:

Admiral Steel L.P.

4152 W. 123rd street

Chicago(Alsip), IL 60658-1869

708-388-9317 fax

800-323-7055 email web site

Arizona Specialty Metals

4020 E. Washington

Phoenix, AZ 85032


New and surplus ferrous and non-ferrous metals including tool steels

of many kinds. Ask for Jim or Allison.

A.T.S. Steels Inc.

1901 13th Street N.E.

Arden Hills, MN 55112



612-636-6794 fax


4802 South 33rd Street

Phoenix, AZ 85040



602-268-1179 fax

Suppliers of steel from mild steel, both hot and cold rolled, to tool

steels, to a variety of alloy steels. Services available include:

sawing, flame cutting, milling, and blanchard and surface grinding.

This company prides itself on fast, quality service and has the

inventory to back it up. Brochure available. In Minnesota, ask

for Norm Botoshe.

Burgon Tool Steel Co.

Tide Mill Road

Box 1510

Hampton, NH 03842

800-582-7223 (in NH)

800-258-7106 (elsewhere)

603-926-5704 fax


A good source for small quantities of tool steel. They usually have

the material and size you need in stock. Unusual orders are

normally processed within 10 days.Contact Art Putnam

The sales people are quite knowledgeable about all the metals they

handle. They have metallurgists that can be consulted in difficult

problems. Burgon has produced a nice little book entitled "Burgon

Tool and Die Manual" (FREE). It's probably one of the best practical

guides for selecting tool steels and heat treating them.

Carpenter Steel Division or Carpenter Technology Corporation

P.O. Box 14662

101 West Bern Street

Reading, PA 19612-4662



610-208-2633 fax


Snapfinger Woods Industrial Park

5355 Morse Drive

Decatur, GA 30035-3810

Complete listing of tool and die steels.

Central Steel & Wire Company


P.O.Box 5100

Chicago, IL 60680-5100


800-232-9279 fax email web site

Detroit - 800-462-1950, 800-292-3878 fax

Cincinnati - 800-541-7190, 800-292-2466 fax

Milwaukee - 800-521-8031, 800-292-6459 fax

Greensboro(NC) - 800-621-8510, 888-284-4578

Suppliers of aluminum, brass, copper, alloy & carbon steel, tool steel,

and stainless steel in plate, sheet, coil, tubing, pipe, and wire.


5639 West Genesse Street

P.O.Box 991

Camillus, NY 13031-0991


315-487-4028 fax

315-487-0800 outside North America email

Complete listing tool steels. Service centers located worldwide.

Latrobe Steel Company

(a division of Timken)

Latrobe, PA 15650


Make a variety of tool steels. Especially of interest to

smiths is their type MGR (AISI A8) shock resisting die steel.

The hardness vs. temperature tempering curve is dead flat at 57Rc

from 600F through 900F, and is above 55Rc at 1000F. It is a very

nice hot working steel.

MBM Sales



Tool steels at good prices. They will ship UPS. Ask for Dale Steger.

Pacific Machinery & Tool Steel

3445 NW Luzon St.

Portland, OR 97210


Suppliers of all manner of tool steels including A, O, S, and plow &

spring steels.

Teledyne Allvac

P.O.Box 5030

Monroe, NC 22810


Complete listing tool steels.

Most of the larger concerns have service centers nationwide. Let me know where

you finally get your H-13 especially if it's somewhere other than what I've



Snow Hill, MD


>The following description is taken from my discussions with Nahum, not from

>seeing him actually do it. Steve had direct experience with making a hammer

>under Nahum's instruction, so if there are any errors in my description

>below I hope he will correct them. Thanks Steve.

Sounds like a very accurate description to me (me having done it once!).

If you haven't done this before, I don't think it is obvious why you mark

the cut line cold (with a cold chisel). The reason is that there are

generally no shadows on hot steel. The steel is glowing uniformly with

its own light, and the room lights are usually not bright when forging.

You need to tell where to put the chisel by feel, not by looking at it hot.

While I really like the philosophy behind using junkyard steel, I often

buy new. Hot work tools like splitting chisels are one example. I am

continually amazed at how much heat and punishment a tool made from S7 or

A10 will take. Both run $3-5 per pound, but are well worth the price. If

you live near a molding shop, you might be able to get S7 or H13 mold

alignment pins from them for free. H13 is also supposed to work pretty

well. MSC is a convenient (not necessarily the cheapest, but convenient)

source of S7.

Steve Smith

Loveland, CO


H-13 can be purchased from Southern Tool Steel 423-870-7888 (they have an 800

number, but I can't seem to find it). You may be able to find at a local

steel supplier or they may be able to get you a "sample".

Richard Furrer

Return To Index


Hey Don,

I forged out 3 HC spike knives last month, normalized the blades 3x and then

on the heat treatment quenched #1 in oil, #2 in plain water and #3 in Rob

Gunther quench. When I tested the edges with a file #3 was a lot harder. I

stress relieved it at 1 hr at 350 F and it seems to hold a decent edge for

such a low carbon steel.


Another neat project for RR spikes is candle holders. Flatten the head out and

spread it into a spatula shape about 5-6" from stem to top and maybe 3-4" wide.

Roll the spatula into a cone shape. This will be the candle holer. Holding the

cone, draw out the opposite end to the desired diameter, shape as the urge

strikes and finish. If you draw to about a 1/4" dia you can extend the length

of the whole thing to about 32"-40" long.

The overall shape is similar to a calalily. I do recommend using a power hammer

for the drawing and keep below a yellow heat.

Doug Heritage


Ross Holden wrote:

> > I need to mix up some of Gunter's Superquench for a demo tomorrow

> >and I now find out that the local stores have stopped carrying Dawn dish

> >washing products. Does any know which other brands would be a good

> >sustitute for it.


> No, but I'd like the mix. I'm pretty sure I can get Dawn products

> up here.

> Roy Wilson <> <ICQ 8094267>


5 pounds salt, 32oz blue Dawn dishwashing liquid, 8oz Shaklee Basic

I wetting agent, add water to make 5 gallons of solution.

Stir it up to get it moving before you quench. Don't quench anything

with more than 45- 50 points of carbon.




You can also use Simple Green as a replacement for the Shaklee

product. You can get this at Wal-Mart.


On Fri, 17 Apr 1998 07:59:24 -0500 (CDT), Dave B. wrote:

>5 gal water

>5lb Salt

>32oz Dawn (blue) dishwashing liquid

>8oz Shaklee Basic H (or other surfactant of appropriate quantity for 5 gal mix)

>Will harden mild steel to Rockwell 42-45 (in spite of common wisdom that

>says you can't harden mild steel).

That's an old formula.

Dawn is now a "concentrate". Use the 28oz bottle.

Jet-Dry "liquid rinse agent" can be substituted with terrific

results (and it's a lot easier to find) for the Shaklee product(s). Use

the UNSCENTED 7oz bottle.

The Jet-Dry (or whatever you use for a rinse agent) does something

chemically to the surface of the steel. It allows the salt in the mix to

start attacking it as soon as it hits the air - make sure you have a LOT of

clear water to rinse in ready at hand.

Quench a chunk of low-carbon scrap stock in it, and just set it

aside. You can *watch* the salt eat into it.

Roy Wilson


Jet Dry, Calgon, and other surfacants are wetting agents. They break

down the surface tension of water allowing it to make contact with a

meterial. We've all dipped a cold piece of metal in water and seen a

bubble-like "skin" form with dry metal under it. This is surface tension

trapping a layer of air, it makes a fair heat shield.

In a quench, steam will form a similar surface "skin" and prevent full

contact with the water, insulating the steel from a proper chill.

Wetting agents prevent the "skin" from forming.

Detergents do a somewhat similar job, they're emulsifiers allowing oils

and water to mix. This prevents any oily residues from the fire from

forming a "heat shield" surface layer.

The salt in the water raises the boiling point and causes a faster,

harder chill in the steel. In effect but not exactly, it raises the

specific heat of the water and draws the heat from the steel faster.



Railroad Spike Info:

I had a section of High Carbon RR spike sent in for analysis to U.S. Steel, as

there had been several people inquire ( as well as satisfying my own curiosity ).

Here are the results:

Carbon - .296 %

Manganese - .68 %

Phosphorous - .016 %

Sulfur - .038 %

Silicon - .244 %

Copper - .287 %

Nickel - .09 %

Chrome - .13 %

Tin - .001 %

Aluminum - .005 %

Vanadium - .022 %

Cobalt - .008 %

High carbon spikes were made exclusively starting in or around 1974 to replace the

low carbon spikes currently out there, and were generally just iron and carbon

(with a couple trace elements thrown in for special areas).


Steve Rabuck

Beloit, WI


For High-Carbon Steel Track Spikes:

Process: Steel shall be made by one or more of the following processes:

open-hearth, acid-bessemer, electric-furnace, basic-oxygen.

Chemical Composition:

Acid-Bessmer Other Process Carbon, min. percent 0.20- 0.30

Copper, when specified:


Tensile Properties:

Tensile Strength, min. psi. ............................70,000

Yield Point, min. psi. ....................0.5 tensile strength

Elongation in 2 in., min percent.......................... 25


Machinery's Handbook


Manufacturer brand and the letters "HC" indicating high-carbon, and when copper is

specified the letters "CU" will be added.

Railroad Spike Info


>On a slightly different, but related subject. I was surprised at how hard

>the spike got. What are your thoughts on making Repossae hammers out of

>them? For many of the hammers the cross section is just about right. I could

>get one nice hammer out of each spike. I probably have enough spikes to make

>500-600 hammers....grin. Would they be hard enough if tempered full hard on

>the hammer face?

Ron, there seems to have been a wide difference of opinion here on

theforge about the carbon content in HC spikes. The letters I've saved

argue anywhere from 0.3% to 1% carbon, although medium carbon sounds

likely from the application. I would do some careful experimenting to be

sure leaving the hammer full hard won't make it shatter in use. Maybe you

could say that if it doesn't shatter on impact when superquenched, it

should be ok with a water quench/full hard?

Nahum uses 1080-1095 for hammers. He water quenches by putting the

business end of the hammer in 3/4" of water in a can (leaving the center

of the hammer soft). He tempers to brown with purple spots.

I use two different approaches:

1. Rob Gunter method

Use 1040 type steel (i.e. axel steel), quench in Superquench (see below).

Do not temper.

2. My approach

Use 1080-1095 water hardening steel. Quench in kitchen vegetable oil. Do

not temper.

I tried vegetable oil after finding that "water hardening" steel often

cracks in water. Vegetable oil, however, didn't bring the steel to full

hardness--a file will cut the surface pretty well. Untempered, this

approach seems to work pretty well for hammers. What can I say, I'm lazy.

Now, for those who haven't heard of Superquench:

Roy Wilson's letter put it best this spring:

>5 gal water

>5lb Salt

>32oz Dawn (blue) dishwashing liquid

>8oz Shaklee Basic I (or other surfactant of appropriate quantity for 5 gal



>Will harden mild steel to Rockwell 42-45 (in spite of common wisdom that

>says you can't harden mild steel).

That's an old formula.

Dawn is now a "concentrate". Use the 28oz bottle.

Jet-Dry "liquid rinse agent" can be substituted with terrific

results (and it's a lot easier to find) for the Shaklee product(s). Use

the UNSCENTED 7oz bottle.

The Jet-Dry (or whatever you use for a rinse agent) does something

chemically to the surface of the steel. It allows the salt in the mix to

start attacking it as soon as it hits the air - make sure you have a LOT

of clear water to rinse in ready at hand.

Quench a chunk of low-carbon scrap stock in it, and just set it

aside. You can *watch* the salt eat into it.

Roy Wilson

Steve Smith

Loveland, CO


On Wed, 12 Aug 1998 18:30:42 EDT, wrote:

>You've gotta make it .One clean 5 gal pail with lid holds it just fine.

>The recipe for the soap quench is as follows

>5 gals water

>5lbs table salt

>32 oz dawn dishwashing liquid (blue)

>8oz Shaklee Basic "I" Wetting Agent}

Minor changes to the last two items -

Dawn is now a concentrate. The bottle for a 5g mix is something

like 28.5oz.

You can replace the Shaklee products (hard to find in a lot of

areas) with the small (6oz?) bottle of Jet_Dry, which is available in most


Don't forget that it's color coded - when you've exhausted the

usefulness of the quench, it'll shift color from blue to green.

Nifty stuff.<G>

Roy Wilson

Return To Index


SKF General catalogue does not give an exact answer -- but does say that

the ball and / or rollers are a carbon chromium steel with a hardness of 60

to 66 HRC. Base on this, I would say that they are very likely 52100.

52100 has an as quenched hardness of 66 HRC, which drops to about 60 HRC

when tempered at 500 F. Races of their bearings are likely to be the same


In very large bearings -- 40 inch bore, I think SKF makes both through

hardened and case hardened bearings dependent on the application.

Dave Smucker, Green Frog Forge, Louisville, Tennessee


I work with Timken engineers on a very regular base and can say for sure

that the bearings are 1.) case hardened -- with a very deep case and 2.)

That they are not 8620. 8620 is a very good and quite common case hardening steel but is not

what Timken uses for their bearings. They use a steel which effectively is a

4320. Key to the bearing performance is that the steel is very very


Dave Smucker, Green Frog Forge, Louisville Tennessee


Ron, I did not want to imply that because the material in the Timken

bearing races was case hardened steel that it would not work for want you

are doing. It may well work very well. The 4317 (about the same as 4320)

has about 0.5 Chrome, 1.8 Nickel, and 0.25 Moly. This is one tough steel.

The issue is where does the carbon content end up after you have forged

the tool. I will ask that question this week when I am up at Timken in

Canton on Thursday. I am sure that you will have properties that are above

those of 4340, more like a 4360 or 4380 steel. That is why I am interested

in your results -- i.e. how does it work in practice for the blacksmith.

(Used bearings, are not that hard to find and can be had for scrap


Timken has a very good web sight with a great deal of information on

bearings and steel. They are a major producer of specialty steel products

especially seamless tubing. To get to things like their Metallurgical

Handbook you have to register -- but that should not be an issue for most

of us.

The Timken URL is

If buying new material, I would go for a H13. It will go for about $ 3.00

to 4.00 per pound. It is a steel "designed" for hot work.

Dave Smucker, Green Frog Forge, Louisville Tennessee


>Where do you get the H-13 Richard?



If you don't find a local source, try Centaur Forge. They carry 8", 12"

and 14" pieces in 1/2" and 5/8" rounds. To give an idea of price, h-13,

10"x1/2" rnd is $3.25. It's a bit more than carbon tool steel, but once

you use it and see how it holds up, you won't want to use anything else.

They also carry S-5 and S-7.

If you want, I can scan and forward off-list, the page with this

information on it.

Dave Brown

Heritage 'Smithing


To All,

Bearing balls for most applications are 52100. I think that the races are the

same alloy. 52100 is 1.5% Chromium and 1% Carbon. It is tough but not



Return To Index


> could someone please advise of a resource for screening/mesh

Here are two:

FP Smith Wire Cloth Co.

10110 Pacific Ave.

Franklin Park IL 60131


Cleveland Wire Cloth Mfg Inc.

3575 E. 75th Street

Cleveland OH 44105-1596





Firescreen is available from the following places, and I haven't

refinished it. There is a variety including stainless as I recall.

FP Smith Wire Cloth Co.

10110 Pacific Ave.

Franklin Park IL 60131


Cleveland Wire Cloth Mfg, Inc

3575 E. 75th St.

Cleveland OH 44105-1596



Alexandria VA



I have used McNICHOLS. In Baltimore,Annapolis Junction, Md.


In New Brunswick, NJ 732-846-8333

They have exactly what you need!!! Great fol ks.

All others 1-800-237-3820


Dan T.'s Inferno, Georgia

ABANA,SOFA, AFC,AAC,OBG, Alex Bealer,S.C.b/sa.

On Tue, 29 Sep 1998 23:03:53 -0700 Paul Matthaei <>


>Does anyone know where in the Baltimore/Washington area I can

>find screen appropriate for a fire place screen. My search eng.

>will only tell me where to buy it buy the truck load.

>Please save me from driving all around explaining to clerks

>what fire screen is! ie. Home Depot et al



Return To Index



One of the few gentlemen I've seen offering instruction is Mr. Nahum G.

Hersom of Golden Pheasant Studios in Bosie, Idaho.

I've seen samplings of his repousse work in our chapter newsletter that

are quite outstanding.

According to the education page at the ABANA homesite he offers,'for a

donation' , a six-day class of said principals.

Mr. Nahum G. Hersom

3011 Innis St. Boise, ID 83703

There's also the International College of French Wrought Iron that has

yet to return my correspondence as well as the Venice European Centre

for the Trades and Professions of the Conservation of Architectural

Heritage. That's the real deal. If life is truly fair, you'll find me

there, eventually!

Good luck,

Steve Howell


Sure, Ernie.

I had to fetch my volumes of notes.

Techniques were one thing, but I'll first try to give a quick synopsis

of some of his tooling that stuck in my mind.

For hammer eye splitters use bearing race steel. Long and thin in the

profile and use AS forged. High chrome keeps hardness at heat.

Home-made hammer handles from pallet wood are made quite thin in the

neck to give spring. I have some 12-16 oz. handles at home I compared to

that were too long and beefy when compared to 'Grandpas'.

A Beverly type shear is central to the shop, as is a machinist vise. The

majority of his work could be reached within a 4 foot radius.

ALL hand tools are square shanked; punches, stamps, etc. to help the

eyeball alignment factor when freehanding.

Split Point drill bits are a MUST for sheetmetal. They do not tear out

the edges as in a 'regular' twist drill pattern.

For straightening out coil springs: take a round bar or pipe, slip a

sleeve over that. Bend out a tab on the spring, insert into vise and

slide the hot spring over the sleeve. Grab both ends of the bar and pull

like Hell towards you. Some sleeve 'handles' with a large fender washer

keep the spring from burnin your num nums.

Large ball and Taper bearings make good bowl stakes. Put a gooseneck on


Hammers could have a separate chapter but most importantly: Each hammer

gets a complimentary head. This isn't what the president gets, It

basically means that for thin lining (veining) hammers of 1/16" radius,

then the other side has 3/32". On up till you get to the 3 1/2 lb copper

smiths' hammer for raising kettle drums and the like. There are four

face profiles: Flat, Flat Oval, Oval and Full Ball. Also of note was

the radius of curvature of Grandpa's hammers. Most, if not all hammer

faces are made to drop in a straight line. This goes for the Peddinghaus

'specialty' hammers as well as other silver and copper smithing hammers

I've seen in catalogs. By being arced a little (approx. 1/2" in 3"), the

short strokes of the repousse' hammer connects at the 'right' angle. You

don't need more than a 4" stroke for alot of the operations. For sinking

a big form into a bowl or something, sure, but not for the detail work.

Wood stakes are as crucial as the metal ones. Vee's, Y's U's, ball

shaped, square, dished, etc. All are used to protect delicate work and

impart life to leaves with folds, etc. Same for lead blocks. Hardwood

stumps (something of a rarity out here) waist high, are equipped with

the usual gammut of round and oval dishing shapes. The depth may differ,

ie: same shape dish but steeper sides, etc.

The wood blocks were central to acanthus development, along with and

army of supporting stakes, hammers, etc.

The metal stakes may take another episode. For starters, every hammer

head must have a complimetary shape to match underneath. Whether or not

you need to use this combination every time doesn't mean that you won't

ever. 'Table' stakes are flat squares, ovals, teardrops and the like

with varying radii to get into and behind leaves after you've veined

them. Planishing operations are performed with the rib of the vein on

top of, adjacent to or even in the middle of the stake edge to smooth

out the mis-strokes. 'Cows tongue' or puckered lip stakes are handy for

foming the outside compound curve on water leaves.

Also of note were Nahum's Comfort "Gunning" model and Modern power

hammers. I've only seen these in Freund's book and were something to

behold. Sure made drawing out hammer heads a joy.

Steve Howell


One last word(?) on the subject.

For those interested in Repousse'

call Jannelle at ABANA HQ and order the 10th anniversary Anvil's Ring at

once. 314-390-2133

It's a reprint from Yellin's personal library that has some incredible

gothic, renaissance and roccoco leaf and rosette patterns.

Steve Howell

Return To Index



R & B Wagner, Inc.

P.O.Box 423

Butler, WI 53007-0423

414-461-2111 or 800-786-2111

Ornamental hollow balls and hemispheres. Decorative balls from

1.5 inches up to 12 inches diameter.

If they don't have it go to

there are several such companies listed under "Ornamental Components".

> Subject: weather vane

> I am doing a repair job on an old weather vane. One of the copper

> spheres was crushed badly. Does anyone know of a source for the copper

> spheres? The sphere is 3 inches in diameter with a rolled seam around the circumference.

> Mike Lubich


Michael Lubich wrote:

> I am doing a repair job on an old weather vane. One of the copper

> spheres was crushed badly. Does anyone know of a source for the copper

> spheres? The sphere is 3 inches in diameter with a rolled seam around

> the circumference.

> Mike Lubich

Try W.F. Norman 214 North Cedar, PO Box 323, Nevada, MO 64772-0323;

1-800-641-4038. In copper or brass, price is $12 for the 3 inchers. Just

happen to have a catalog--we are doing a story on this company for the

Rural Missouri. Their specialty is pressed tin ceilings. They also list

roosters, and letters and numbers.

Jim McCarty


Brian Edginton wrote:

> All,

> Anyone have any plans/drawings or a good descriptioin of how the

> pivot for a weathervane was made in the past? I have come up with

> a good design using available bearings and races but I got to

> wondering about how it was done in the olden times.

> edge

> Brian Edginton |

> Edginton and Associates |

> Systems Consulting | 801.567.0740

> | Opinions expressed are...


I have made quite a few weathervanes that use sleeve bearings (e.g.,

bronze Oilite-type) for lateral support of the main shaft; the bottom end

of the shaft is pointed, with the point polished and resting in a dimple

on a brass plug at the bottom of the support tube. The shaft material of

choice is stainless. No problems after many years; one might pull the shaft

out of the tube and put a drop of oil on the bronze bearings every 10

years or so. Water and dust intrusion must be minimized by the design, of course.

Return To Index


You can use an epoxy primer, like Carboline's Rustbond. It is a two part epoxy

with something like 99.9% solids. It sticks to everything, and you can paint

over it with anything. It's a little pricey, but it is an industrial coating

product and is used by oil refineries, chemical plants, and even here at GE. WE

painted a large industrial pipe complex with Rustbond and then a LATEX cover

coat, 5 years ago and there isn't the first sign of peeling, chipping or rust.

Ray Miller

Return To Index


Ralph, If your looking for a basic rule to follow in design it

is 1hp electric motor = 1gal/min. @ 1500 psi and you should be able to

figure what you want or need from there.

Ralph - Bear Hill Blacksmith


Be sure and visit Don Fogg's web site:

I concur with Ralph's advice--get a copy of Batson's plans. They have a

lot of information in them that will help out. I built a press from those

plans last winter, and it is a wonderful tool. I have done very little

welding before, certainly no Damascus. After seeing the ABANA conference,

I had to try some Damascus. It turns out to be incredibly trivial with a

hydraulic press. Clean pieces to bare metal, stack, put some weld streaks

on side of stack to keep it together, weld to a handle. Put flux on as

soon as it sticks (dull orange), heat to yellow. Squish in press a couple

of inches (length) at a time, only squishing about 1/4", proceeding the

length of the billet in one heat. Now the stack is welded. I took a

second pass squishing 1/4" at a time, then started squishing from the

sides. No delaminations. Works great! I did have some problems when I

folded the stack (getting the last inch or so of the billet to weld), but

I think I just wasn't cleaning the metal enough.

The press I built stands about 7 1/2' tall. The work opening is "C"

shaped. The height comes from having the cylinder above the work, and

making it floor standing. The "C" opening makes the I beam an 18" wide

flange one with 1" plate reinforcement. At the ABANA conference, Batson

had a couple of small presses. They were both "H" style frames, which

means you can use considerably smaller material for the frame. One had

the cylinder above the work, used on a table top. The second had the

cylinder below the work, driving a framework which allowed the bottom

anvil to be stationary, and the squish to come down from above. Lets see

if I can describe this better--the bottom anvil was mounted about waist

height, rigidly to the frame. The cylinder was rigidly mounted to the

bottom anvil (below). The cylinder pushed on a rectangular (HEAVY)

framework which was half below the bottom anvil and half above. The top

part of this framework was the top anvil. The cylinder extending below

forced the top anvil down onto the bottom anvil. If this isn't clear,

write and I'll try again.

Anyway, the point is that a hydraulic press can be large and floor

standing, or be made to sit on a bench. You need to think carefully about

what you want to do with it and decide which works for you. Especially

decide if you want C or H frame.

I first thought that speed was the way to go, and sized my pump to drive

the ram at 2" per second (no load speed). This required spinning the pump

at 3600 rpm, which made the pump just scream. I have since changed to 1"

per second. This is really plenty fast, and running the pump at 1800 rpm

is much quieter. Also requires half the HP. The type of pump to use is a

logsplitter pump because of the high/low speed arrangement. Up to about

600 psi (no load), the ram moves something like 4x as fast.

I made my bottom dieholder considerably larger than the top one. (10x18

as compared to 10x6"). You want the top one not too wide so you can see

around it. I used the side areas of the bottom one to drill and tap a

bunch of holes for bolting down guides, etc.

I paid a local steel shop to shear me a bunch of 1/4" plates to the right

size for my dieholders. Now when I want a new set of dies, I just weld

the right shapes to a piece of plate and I'm in business.

Steve Smith

Return To Index


Regarding rust-

No matter how much you try to clean off rusty metal, "seeds" of rust will

always stay under your paint to fester. A number of products on the market

address this. One name that comes to mind is "Extend" but there are others.

You just remove the flaky, loose rust and grease, dirt etc. and spray it

on. It chemically changes the rust to an inert, black coating that can be

painted over and won't rust thru.

Carl S.


>Anyway, when you need that one odd piece that is easily forged from an off

>the shelf galvy item, (like, a square headed 1/2" bolt, for instance) what

>do you do?



I put the pieces in a bath of hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid). Do this

outdoors, and stand upwind, and don't have any exposed iron downwind (it

will get a light rust coating quicker than you can say . . . )

But, it removes the zinc post haste.

Dave Brown


>I use vinegar. Soak the piece for an hour or so and try wirebrushing

>it. The scale should be terribly easy to brush off. I suspect the

>vinegar will eat into the iron if you leave a piece overnight. It

>turns the vinegar funny colors--you'd better get your own bottle for

>the shop!

Get it by the gallon, and hide it out in the shop or it'll end up

as salad dressing just when you need it most.<G>


I'm done. Test results: Incredible. MUCH better than the race to

clean the derusted part of salt before it is eaten to nothing.

Solution: Baking soda in water. The sheet says 1 tablespoon per

gallon, but I just dumped a full box into a 30 gallon PLASTIC garbage pail

and put about 20g of water in it.

Anode: (+ side of the charger) Stainless steel plate. Any other

steel works well too, but the stainless is easier to scrape the grunge off

of, and lasts a LOT longer than a chunk of cold rolled.

Cathode: (- side of the charger) Your rusted lump of iron that

needs cleaning.

Power: DC, 1-40v, 1/2-100a. Trickle charger will work, but takes

a while. I'm using a burst charger, a 6/12v, set for 6v jump start (12a,

cycles 40a for a few seconds out of every minute).

Damn, I can't find the URL. Here's the full text from the article,

formatting may be ugly...

Cleaning Rusty Tools

[Image]Electrolysis Made Easy


Editor's Note:

Rust removal and antique tool cleaning is a very controversial subject

among old tool collectors and users. Antique tool collectors tend to buy

the finer examples of their tool of preference and most will not attempt

to clean, fix or restore it in any way. Old tool users on the other hand

tend to avoid the high priced "spiffy" tools in favor of tools that show

their age. These tools are often found in gram pa's basement or at estate

sales and they may have either been heavily used or long forgotten and

allowed to deteriorate with age. These tools need some form of

restoration to return them to working condition.

Electrolysis is the least destructive and most thorough method available

to remove oxidation. Electrolysis removes no base metal and does not

require grinders, wire wheels, scrappers, acids or sandpaper, and when

done properly can remove rust and oxidation yet leave the appearance of

"patina" so valued by the collectors. Electrolysis comes as close as

possible to a compromise to the ideals of both categories of old tool



How To Get Started

How It Works "Electrochemistry"



This is a fantastic way to remove rust and oxidation from steel and iron

tools. It is not recommended for brass, aluminum, copper or exotic metals

and alloys.

Electrolysis is a method of removing iron oxide by passing a small

electrical charge from a battery or battery charger through the rusty metal

to stimulate an exchange of ions while the tool is submerged in an

electrolyte solution.

Don't let that description worry you because the actual process is quite

easy to accomplish. Let's get to the stuff that makes it work.

This system is so simple, easy to make and to use that anyone that collects

or accumulates old tools for use or preservation should keep a small

electrolysis system available in their shop.

There are many variations of the setup but this is the simple, down and

dirty method that requires a minimum of time, resources and understanding.

After you have a system cookin' you can bone up on the whys and wherefores.

You will gain the experience and understanding to begin creating a custom

system based on your own needs and understanding.

I'm no guru. I've tried it, I liked it, so I learned it. My background

is/was industrial electronics so the theory wasn't new to me but the

application was. I find it fascinating that something so simple can

accomplish something so significant.

The credit for the first post on this subject should go to Ted Kinsey.

Larry Holland contributed a technical description of the electrochemistry

at work. Many thanks to Ted, Larry and to Scott Grandstaff for their

editorial reviews of this text and help in making it as accurate and to the

point as possible. At the end of this document I've included a couple of

url's on the subject.

What I'll try and do here is cut to the meat of the subject and get you

started so you can answer most of these questions on your own without

having to ask "what if?" I'll also be glad to help anyone with questions by

private mail at anytime. For those of you that like the technical side of

things Larry Holland's description of the electrochemistry at work is

included at the end of this page.

List of Supplies

1. A two to five gallon plastic (non metallic) container.

2. A two amp or larger automotive battery charger with an ammeter.

3. A moderately flat piece of iron, steel or preferably stainless steel.

4. A box of Arm and Hammer "Washing Soda" or "Baking Soda".

5. A tablespoon measure.

6. One to five gallons of water.

7. A pair of kitchen type rubber gloves.

8. A kitchen or similar sink full of warm sudsy water.

9. A non metallic 3M type Scotch Bright Finishing Pad product #10144NA.

10. A small tooth brush size stainless steel wire brush.

11. Paste or liquid, non-silicone, car wax.

Supply Discussion

1. The container can be any shape, size or configuration that is large

enough to hold your tool completely submerged. Kmart, Walmart and many

other department stores sell small, 6-7 inch deep, flat, clear plastic

storage bins for $3 to $5. Restaurants and fast food chains often throw out

five gallon buckets with lids that will work well. Small to medium trash

cans are a possibility The key element here is non-conductive (plastic)


2. Any power supply that provides a steady 6-24 volt dc current at 2 amps

or larger should work well. Remember "this ain't rocket science." An

inexpensive 10 amp battery charger with an ammeter can be bought for under

$30 and is the best suited device for the job. The charger with an ammeter

is almost essential. With heavily rusted metal getting good contact to the

tool is not easy, and the ammeter is the simplest way to tell if you have

got it. Avoid using the little overnight trickle chargers.

3. You need an anode for the (red) positive side of the battery charger.

Best? A stainless steel kitchen pan lid because it is small, has lots of

surface area and is usually cheap. (if your wife doesn't catch you) The

anode is sacrificed and will eventually erode away to nothing. Stainless

steel is best because it deteriorates the slowest. However, most any steel

or piece of iron will work. Its size in bulk is not as important as its

size in surface area. Look for something about 5 inches square or what will

fit your container and still not come into direct contact with your rusty

tool. You can bend it, fold it, cut it. Again, "this ain't rocket science."

Many kitchen tools are stainless steel. The larger the surface area the

more efficient your system will be.

4. You need to obtain one of two chemicals to add to the water. No

complications here. Get yourself a box of Arm and Hammer "Washing Soda" or

"Baking Soda." Both are readily available at your local food store.

(TIP) "Washing Soda" is found with the clothes washing detergents. It is a

yellow box with the familiar Arm and Hammer logo and is usually grouped

with the fabric softeners and detergent enhancers.

"Baking Soda" is also an Arm and Hammer product and can be found near the

flour and baking supplies at your local food store. Chemically these

products are different, but similar and both will work. If you have a

choice between the two use the "Washing Soda." If you can't find it don't

hesitate a second about using the "Baking Soda." Ask your wife about them.

She probably has one or both in the house already. Repeat after me... "This

ain't rocket science"

5. Using either "Washing Soda" or "Baking Soda" add about 1 tablespoon per

gallon of water to your container. You now have an electrolyte solution.

Although the solution becomes a nasty color and is filled with the residue

of old rust you can continue to use it time and again, provided you keep

your anode clean.

6. Add the appropriate amount of water to your container. The water should

be deep enough to cover the tools you will clean but not so high that it

will overflow when the tool is placed in the water. You now have a "vat."

(TIP) The first time you fill your "vat" add water one gallon at a time.

After pouring each gallon into the vat make a mark on the outside of the

container with a bold black marker and label it 1, 2, 3, etc. for each

gallon you add. In the future you no longer have to measure your water.

Just use a garden hose and fill to the appropriate line.

7. After adding water and Soda powder the water is hard on your hands. Wear

the rubber gloves while working in and with the electrolyte. This is a

general precaution. The electrolyte is not an acid nor is it seriously bad

to contact your skin but precautions are always best.

8. After removing everything that is not steel or iron from the tool, clean

it in warm sudsy water using dish washing detergent. Remove any dirt, oil

and grease that might retard the electrolysis.

9. You're looking for the 3M brand "non-metallic" gray finishing pad part

No. 10144NA sold in the paint departments of hardware stores. Trust me and

stick with this one. Cut each pad in half for use.

(TIP) The 3M Scotch Brite pad is a pretty important piece to the process.

It is used to remove the black ionized oxidation residue left by the

electrolysis. You don't want scuff pads. 3M finishing pads are very sharp

but on cast iron they break down quickly. These are advantages because it

gets the heaviest concentrations of ionized oxide off quickly and by the

time you get to the base metal it has worn down significantly and does not

leave any marks behind on the metal. The metal does not look sanded,

scuffed or abraded.

If you use scuff pads of any make or model you will work at least twice as

hard to accomplish half as much cleaning. Trust me. I've tried them all and

you especially want to avoid kitchen scour pads. They're worthless.

I found that once I tried the 3M finishing pad that it literally took all

the work out of the final wash up and they were well worth the few cents

extra I paid. You'll get two sometimes three planes to the pad and I cut

them in half before use so double that.

These are 3M "FINISHING PADS" gray in color, packed two to a wrapper and

bear the part No. 10144NA. Cut them in 1/2 for use. They do have "grit" and

they breakdown quickly thus they cut well but don't leave abrasions on the

tools. It is used lightly and it wears out quickly. No metal is removed and

the base metal is not scratched or abraded. In fact you can clean down to

what ever level of patina you desire be left on the tool. This is a

subjective call on your part. How clean do you want it?

10. This small tooth brush sized stainless steel wire brush can be found at

most hard ware stores for $2. It's used to get into the areas that your

fingers and Scotch Bright pad won't fit. A light circular motion to the

hard to reach area and the residue just falls off.

11. The final supply item is a product to seal and protect against future

rust. This is a very subjective area so I'll make some points, a suggestion

and leave it to you to develop a preference.

A. Make certain the product does not contain any silicone. It plays havoc

on your projects when you apply the finish.

B. Avoid any product that contains an abrasive, like compounds and

polishes. Most (but not all) of these are in paste form.

C. Use a product that is readily available and easy to apply so you don't

put off protecting your tools.

D. The common practice of using WD-40 may be counter productive. Based on

the experience of other collectors I'm told that WD-40 has a high lacquer

thinner content and may damage paint and japanning.

My preferences are liquid "Kit" brand car wax (yellow bottle) and Tri-Flo

penetrating oil. Both are common products nationally.

Let's Make It Work

1. Put on your rubber gloves and wash your tool in warm soapy water and

make sure to remove any grease or oil. These areas will not be de-rusted

effectively if not thoroughly cleaned.

2. Fill your vat with the appropriate amount of water and add 1 tablespoon

of your "Washing or Baking Soda" per gallon of water.

3. Clip the "positive" red lead of your battery charger to the object

you've chosen for an anode and place to the side or at one end of your vat.

It is not necessary that the anode be fully covered by the water but the

more surface area that is available for the electrolysis to faster the

process proceeds. Try to keep the red clip from your battery charger out of

the solution to avoid it being eroded away with the anode.

4. For your first trial use an old junk tool or piece of metal. Clip the

"negative" black lead of your battery charger to your iron tool to be

cleaned and place it in the vat. Be certain that you have a nice tight grip

on the tool with the black "negative" clip. Make sure the tool is fully

covered by the water. So far I've not experienced a problem with allowing

the black clip to be immersed in the solution. My clip remains intact and


(TIP) The tool should have a clear "line of sight" path to your anode. If

the tool is large you may have to turn the tool occasionally to de-rust it

evenly and completely. If your anode is a cookie sheet or something similar

you can bend it into a shape that will conform to the shape of the tool

being cleaned or the contour of your vat for faster operation. The tool

should be fully submerged at all times.

5. Check that the tool and the anode are not touching and have about 2

inches or more separation between them. If placed too close together the

current on your charger will be higher than expected.

6. Set the battery charger to its highest setting. Plug in your battery

charger and note the amount of current indicated on the ammeter. There is

no right or wrong amperage except that you must not exceed the rating of

your battery charger. Once you have applied power don't put your hands in

the vat. Always turn off the power before attempting to check your tool or

make adjustments to your system.

7. You will begin to see bubbles form on the tool and rise to the top.

Congratulations, you're in business.

(TIP) A note about the gasses released during the process. Small amounts of

hydrogen are released as a result of the electrolysis. You will notice

while using your system just how small this amount of gas is. However to

avoid a concentration of hydrogen, never cover the vat while in use.

Although minute this hydrogen is flammable and I would not operate the vat

next to your water heater, stove or other open flame.

8. Once the rust has turned to a dark gray or black it's time to remove the

tool and wash it in warm soapy water using the Scotch Brite pad to remove

the residue. If the tool comes completely clean you're done. If not, place

it back in the vat for another session. Dry your tool thoroughly and

proceed to the next step.

9. A freshly electro-cleaned tool will immediately began to rust again so

it is important that you immediately treat your tool with your choice of

wax or oils.

Trouble Shooting and Things to Watch For

If a brown or green "crud" begins to form and float to the top around the

anode this perfectly normal. For as long as the anode lasts you will need

to occasionally remove it and clean off the crud that forms on it. A putty

knife works well for this.

If your tool is painted or japanned do not leave it in the electrolysis vat

any longer than necessary to achieve your goal. If the japanning is in poor

condition it can start to turn loose if left for say, overnight. Unless

heavily rusted most tools clean up in about two hours.

If your tool has loose or moving parts to it you need to be sure they are

securely attached "electrically" so they will cleanup with the rest of the


For an example just because the blade adjusting fork on your plane is

pinned to the casting don't assume that it has a good electrical

connection. There are several tricks to assuring a good electrical contact

of moving parts.

1. Wrap a rubber band around the tool and the moving part to make a tighter


2. Wedge a paper clip or other small object into the joint or hinge of a

moving part to tighten the physical and thus the electrical connection.

3. Attach a clip lead ($2.99 from Radio Shack) or similar wire to the tool

and the moving part to make a good electrical connection between them.

4. Use your imagination.

If the current is too high and taxes your battery charger, here are a few

things you can try.

1. Increase the distance between the anode and your tool being cleaned.

2. Reduce the amount of anode in the vat. Lift it out slightly.

3. Reduce the operating voltage or increase the current range of the

battery charger setting.

If you don't see an immediate reaction beginning in the vat when you plug

in the battery charger, check all of your connections carefully. It can be

difficult to get a good electrical connection on a heavily rusted tool.

This is where the ammeter on your battery charger comes in handy. You can

tell at a glance if you have a good connection to the tool. The bubbling

action should start immediately after power is applied.

If the tool in your vat appears to be eroding instead of de-rusting verify

that you have the battery charger polarity correct. The tool must always be

connected to the "negative" black terminal. On your first attempt I urge

you to use a piece of scrap iron or other insignificant item to get the

feel of how the system works.

If you have a lot of cleaning to do and want to rev up your vat, try using

a larger vat, place anodes on all sides of the vat and connect them all

together to the positive (red) lead of your battery charger. Be sure your

tool never comes into direct contact with the anodes while power is applied

or you run the risk of damaging your battery charger.

There are other specialty applications for tools with non removable wood

parts or other obstacles. I'll write more on that if someone needs help.

For anode material I shop the flea markets and second hand stores. I buy up

all of their loose stainless steel pan lids for about 25 cents apiece or

less. These can be flattened, cut, bent or mangled for any configuration.

Avoid the aluminum lids, they're trouble with a capital "T". If stainless

steel is not available an old baking sheet or similar iron or steel object

will work well. It simply deteriorates faster.

As for the disposal of the nasty water after use, you can save it and

continue using it by replenishing the water as it evaporates. Or, you can

pour in on your lawn. I have dumped mine on the lawn all winter here in

South Texas and the grass loves the iron rich water and does not seem to

suffer from the other contents.

Have fun with this and remember "this ain't rocket science."

Nathan Lindsey

Copyright © 1998 all rights reserved


You can get more information on this subject at these addresses:


Return To Top of Page

For those that are want to understand how electrolysis works. Here is Larry

Holland's explanation.



The Electrochemistry of Rust Removal By Electrolysis

Purely in the interest of safety, I'd like to explore electrolysis in a

little more detail...for the benefit of those who may not be aware of what

really happens when they turn on the power.

Pure water is a very poor electrolyte, having only 1 hydrogen ion (H+) for

every 556 million molecules of water...the same applies for the hydroxide

ion (OH-). Let's see what happens when sodium carbonate is used as the

electrolytic salt.

Sodium carbonate dissolves easily in water, into sodium ions (Na+) and

carbonate ions (CO3^2-). There are 2 sodium ions for every carbonate ion.

Let's say you decide to use a piece of iron (steel) as the anode (positive

terminal), and the rusted tool at the negative terminal...and be certain

that one doesn't touch the other...otherwise...the low resistance will

allow a tremendous amount of current to flow through the circuit and burn

up your power supply...blow a fuse or breaker...etc.

When the power is turned on...electrons begin moving from the anode

(iron/steel)...through the external circuit (power supply) and toward the

cathode (rusted tool). This leaves the anode electron poor...and the

cathode electron rich. The anode is then, left with a net positive (+)

charge, and the cathode with a net negative (-) charge.

Think of electrical (+/-) charges as you would the north/south poles of a

magnet. Unlike poles attract...therefore the positively charged anode

attracts the negatively charged carbonate ions...while the cathode attracts

positively charged sodium ions. There begins therefore, a slow migration of

each ion species towards it's oppositely charged terminal.

When the carbonate ions (CO3^2-) reach the of at least two

things are possible. Either the iron(steel) will accept 2 electrons from

the carbonate ion and form iron carbonate...or the hydroxide ions (OH-)

from discharged water molecules will donate which case iron

hydroxide (ferric hydroxide) will be formed. Because it is easier for the

hydroxide ions to donate electrons and experience a greater reduction in

energy than the carbonate ions...ferric hydroxide is formed. Ferric

hydroxide Fe(OH)3 decomposes rapidly into ferric oxide (Fe2O3) and water.

The ferric oxide is the reddish precipitate you see forming on the surface

of your electrolytic solution.

Don't be fooled into thinking that precipitate came directly from your

rusted tool. It came from the chemical reaction that occurred when water

molecules discharged and the resulting hydroxide ions reacted with the iron

ions in the anode. The unchanged carbonate ions simply remain in solution.

What happens at the cathode...? Remember, the cathode is negatively

charged...and therefore attracts both sodium ions (Na+) and hydrogen ions

(H+). It is easier for the hydrogen ion to accept an electron than it is

for the sodium ion. Therefore...the hydrogen ions are "reduced" to hydrogen

atoms...which immediately combine with other hydrogen atoms to form

hydrogen molecules (H2) and bubble to the surface. A secondary reaction has

the positively charged sodium ions reacting with the negatively charged

oxygen ions in the rusted tool, to produce sodium oxide. This is actually

where the "rust removal" takes place.

**Caution** Hydrogen gas reacts explosively with oxygen (in the presence of

heat) to produce water vapor. Take Michael Sullivan's advise seriously

about shutting down the power before adjusting/removing the electrodes.

If you are using electrolysis to remove rust...and have a considerable

broth of very cautious. That broth is not the place to discard

a glowing cigarette ember, lit match...or any other spark. Be warned...!!

What if you're using sodium chloride as the electrolytic salt.

Nothing much changes at the cathode...but at the anode, chlorine is

oxidized...that is, each chlorine ion donates an electron to the

iron...thereby becoming a chlorine atom. Chlorine atoms combine to form

chlorine gas (Cl2).

**Caution** Chlorine addition to being poisonous...facilitates

combustion...just like oxygen. If you must use sodium chloride...use

precautions. Make certain you have plenty of air circulation in a large

environment. Don't take's far better to be safe...than sorry.

Larry Holland

Roy Wilson

Return To Index

7018 V. 7014 WELDING ROD:

>There is nothing wrong with using 7014.

>The slag just pops off a nice slick deep penetration bead.

>Ray Miller


>> All,

>> I have been reading all the ideas on using

>> 7018 and wondering...why use it? I have tried

>> 7018 and with my AC machine it sticks like

>> crazy. I switched to 7014 which makes me

>> look like a expert

>> Bob Schade


That's been my experience too. If some of the guys using 7018 would write a

few words on why I would be interested. I think that 7014 is recommended

for clean new material...maybe that's why some use 7018.

Bob Schade


7014 is a high deposition, iron powdered rod. It's used in the flat

position for laying in a heavy weld. Although it's true the ultimate

tensile strength of 7014 & 7018 are the same, 7018 is generally chosen by

engineers for two main reasons. First, it's shield isn't a gaseous cloud

that formed by the decompostion of the flux coating, it's shielded by the

liquid slag and as such is generally thought to be immune to field welding

conditions such as high winds or any winds at all for that matter. The

second and more important reason is that many HSLA (high strength low

alloy) steels are prone to hydrogen embrittlement. 7018 is formulated to

reduce this effect which will occur with any rod that is not "low

hydrogen". 7014 and 7024 are generally used in production work on plain

mild steels, A36. These rods were more common before MIG's became popular.

We used to call 7014 "beautyweld". In recent years, more and more HSLA

steels are being used. Nearly all heavy equipment and alot of structural

steel is now HSLA steel.

Ray Maiara


I have always used 7014 for all my general purpose welding. It burns

thru paint, rust and crud and strikes an arc easily. I even use it on

vertical and overhead. I only switch to 7018 when welding high carbon

steel such as cutting edges

Carl S


7014 in my opinion (which ain't worth much) is primarily aimed at a sheet

metal rod used downhand. You can also put beautiful flat welds on and it is

an easy rod for newcomers to learn to use. BUT -- any time someone else's,

or my own life is on the line from the quality of the weld and it's holding

ability, its 7018, and 7018 only for me. Any position, this is the rod I

(and many others) use day in and day out for most of our work.

Wherever you go, there you are.

Just plain ol "Bill"


Why use 7018?

First the instructions to build my Clay treadle hammer specifically

states to use 7018 on the critical stress points,

Second I got a 40# box of it for $15 at a swap meet,

Third I had no idea that it would be so hard to use. When I took welding

in school I was using a DC welder and didn't realize that some rods were

designed for DC use. I had never had a problem with my buzz box but I had

used mostly 6011 and 6013. It is good to know that 7014 will weld AC, and

when I run out of 7018 I'll get some.

Bob Ehrenberger


> The shop up the road has nothing but 6013. Should I buy something

>else to learn to weld with?

Yes; learn to weld with 6011.

Now, you can take my word for it and stop reading here, or read on and learn why I said this....:)

I have my own rating system for welding rod.

6013 is a good general purpose rod, easy to run, even for the novice. It is useful for poor fit-up situations and makes a good cover pass. It's my choice for thin material. It does not penetrate well; it makes excellent downhand welds but I don't like it much for overhead as it will sag before it freezes. It's good for single pass work and most general welding.

7014 is a good cover rod; I use it to fill holes and as a final pass on a big weld. Because the iron powder in the flux will run ahead of the puddle in a downhand weld or pile up in an uphand weld I do not consider it an all-position rod. I definitely don't like it for overhead, it drips everywhere. It makes a pretty bead but if it isn't run a little hotter than one would with 6013 you don't get enough penetration to hold the two pieces together, it all lays on top. A very good single-pass rod, IMO.

6011 is a deep penetrating, fast-freezing rod; it's truly all position and especially good for rusty or dirty material as the aggressive action of the arc will cut right through the junk and get to the metal. It doesn't work well on thin material though. However, 6011 is not for the novice as one must hold a gap between the metal and the rod or it will stick; more control is needed than for 6013 or 7014. I use McKay (a division of Hobart, I believe) 6011 and like it especially for the "vertical down" capabilities. It's the least messy of all for overhead welds as the puddle freezes so fast; it also leaves the roughest bead of the three under the best of circumstances but this is a trade-off for deep penetration and fast-freezing. It's difficult to chip. 1/8" dia rod is good for most situations though I use a lot of 5/32" in single-pass applications.

I don't have enough experience with 7018 to give a fair analysis.

My suggestion would be to learn to run 6013 and learn it well then get a 50 lb. box of 6011 and learn to run it as well as you do the 6013. Why a 50 lb. box? It's the cheapest way to buy it and since you will have invested about $55-60 dollars you won't quit until you have learned because you will be driven to get your money's worth. When you do learn to run it, you will use more of it than any other. FWIW, the 1" square tubing frames on my shop doors were welded with 6013, they are pretty; my shop crane, boom pole for the tractor, the trailers I've built and anything else that involves safety are welded with 6011; I would fit up the pieces, weld a 1/8" stringer bead and on each side and a 5/32" cover pass. the second stringer (opposite the first one would bite through to the first stringer and make a total, all-the-way-through joint by burning through with the rod rather than grinding a fillet. It's a time-saver that way. ALL of my out-of-position welds are done with 601!

I use 7014 to fill holes and cover my mistakes.

Jack Yates

Return To Index


At 10:58 PM 12/12/1997 -0400, you wrote:

>Anyone out there have a favorite way to get a rusty finish? Something that

>"looks a hundred years old"? This is for door hardware- latches and hinges,

>etc. I guess it would be nice if it looked nice and old, but wasn't so

>rusty that it rubbed off on things.

I do a lot of rusting of metal sculptures and need to do it fast. After

much experimenting with various acids, salts, etc. and with suggestions

from others on this list and else where I have settled on an extremely

fast, environmental harmless rust formula. This will start a rust in

minutes and in damp weather will leave a great rust within 3 or 4 hours,

especially if the piece is hot when applied.

The iron should be clean. I sandblast, then spray on the solution which

consists of the following.

Pint of drugstore hydrogen peroxide.

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 or 3 tablespoons of salt.

The vinegar and salt are estimates. I don't measure so obviously amounts

are not critical.

After a couple of minutes the piece should already have a light tan rust

forming. On dry days spray water on it from time to time. On wet days it

will continue to darken with rust throughout the day. By the next day it

will be well rusted but may rub off a little. Left out it will cont inure

to darken and after a couple of days with some rain or occasional spraying

it gets pretty deep and stops rubbing off.

When necessary I can have a piece thoroughly rusted for sale a couple of

hours after starting by heating the piece before spraying. Looks like it

had been at it for weeks.

Clyde Wynia


T. Whitney Hanschka wrote:

> Anyone out there have a favorite way to get a rusty finish? Something that

> "looks a hundred years old"? This is for door hardware- latches and hinges,

> etc. I guess it would be nice if it looked nice and old, but wasn't so

> rusty that it rubbed off on things.

> Thanks, Whit

By exposing the piece to the fumes from muratic acid a coat of rust will

form that is light and uniform in a day or two (depending on temperature

and humidity. Other acids or agents such as Ferric Chloride (PC board

etchant) painted on the piece will also work. The piece is then "carded"

by removing the loose rust with a soft wire brush or steel wool and the

process repeated until the desired degree of rusting is obtained. This

carding of the rust allows for a smooth even finish without pitting.

If you want the piece to be a darker, almost black finish - drop it in

boiling water after each carding.

A faster method is to dip it in heated household bleach (Clorox). This

needs to be done outside as the fumes are dangerous.This method causes

various degrees of pitting, dependant on temperature, length of exposure

time, ect. You need to experiment with it on a scrap piece first.

Another slow but effective method is done by people who fake antiques.

Bury the piece in a fresh cow pie for a while. Again experimentation is

necessary as far as exposure time versus temperature and desired degree

of apparrant age.

Hope this helps a little.

Donnie Fulwood


I've heard of using muriatic and hydrogen peroxide. From 6 drops to full

dropper muriatic with 1 pint hp. This is for hot patina, heat metal until

sprayed solution vaporizes but doesn't boil. A little heat sure helps on

some rust patina combinations. Cold rolled stock is easier, hot rolled

should be sandblasted or soaked in muriatic, rinsed with baking soda. I

like household items most. Miracle Grow also creates interesting patina to

steel. Can take a few days.

Good idea to include safety precautions when doing these types of patinas.

For items like muriatic, safety glasses and gloves required!

At 9:55 PM -0600 12/12/97, clyde wrote:

>Pint of drugstore hydrogen peroxide.

>1/4 cup cider vinegar

>2 or 3 tablespoons of salt.

The ingredients above are what I use for a "rainbow" patina on copper. I

mix the hp and vinegar, brush it on clean copper (no grease!). In some

areas, sprinkle on a pinch of salt to taste. Let it sit for a minute or so.

Then rinse with cold water. Beautiful combinations of colors occur. The

whole gamut.

The hp and vinegar must be mixed separate from the salt to do this.

Otherwise it will be yucky green. And cold water rinse seems to be a

requirement. You should not spray with lacquer, it destroys the variety of

colors. But I have a non-lacquered piece that's 8 months old and still has

vibrant colors.

David W.


The traditional recipe I have for the wax finish is as follows:

1 lb can Johnson paste wax

1/4 cup boiled linseed oil

1 cup turpentine

1 Tb Japan Drier

Brush on very warm (300-400 F)

Wipe off excess before it begins to congeal.

Let dry and buff.

Repeat if necessary.

David C. Hufford


I have been using ferric nitrate for a coloring on plate stock and bar

stock. It makes a very pleasing to the eye marbling of orangy browns to

deep rich browns, The metal must be clean clean clean for optimal effects,

rinse the patina in water, when dry clear coat with an acrylic or


I have never heard of a recipe on the ferric nitrate mix but after trial

and error I arrived at 1 part ferric nitrate crystals to about 15 parts

water. Is anyone else here using ferric nitrate? Do you know of a

chemical supplier that sells a premixed solution that would remove some

guess work, or what mixtures have some of you been using?

I have had interesting results by blotting the solution with a sponge, or a

scotch-brite pad, or a crumpled plastic sack.

Would anyone else care to share a patina for steel?

Roger Olsen,


Howdy Matt,

I think the Johnson paste wax in the ingredient is

pretty important so that you get some carnuba wax in the

mix. Beeswax is too soft to polish up to a hard shine

or at least will drive you crazy trying to get it to! I buy

pure carnuba from Woodworker's supply and melt it myself.

I use the same schmooze for both wood and iron finishing more

often than not... I may vary some of the proportions, especially

with wood on the early coats as opposed to final coats, but the

main ingredients of almost everything I finish (hot or cold) are:

*Boiled and/or raw linseed oil (boiled has japan drier in it)

*and/or Tung oil (dries slowly without japan drier or other

metallic salts added - just pure tung oil. Kind of pricy).

*Beeswax (any art supply store, kind of pricy for good clean wax -

the good stuff still smells like honey or royal jelly)

*Carnuba wax (Woodcraft store sells blocks)

*turpentine and/or mineral spirits

*japan drier - (careful with this stuff- you can get the mix

so "hot" it crinkles as it dries plus it's pretty hideously

toxic, all heavy metal salts)

*mineral-oil based wipe-on satin polyurethane (sp?) for wood

Can't remember for sure who makes this stuff, but it's really

nice - wipes on thinner than any brush-on that I've used - you

build it up like a traditional oil finish.

I keep a jar of home-made paste wax around for all sorts of uses -

the main ingredients being about 2 parts beeswax to 1 part

carnuba. Beeswax being very soft and sticky, carnuba being

brittle hard and buffs to a high shine, you can balance the two

to get the kind of wax you want. I heat in a double boiler,

stir in some turpentine and raw linseed oil (only use boiled

linseed or tung oil in paste wax for small batches - it will

make the whole batch get stiff as it sits). More turpentine

or mineral oil, or more tung oil, to make it creamier. Tung

oil (or linseed) makes it dry more slowly but makes a really

nice wax finish for wood that you don't plan to seal with

a varnish coat of any kind.

All this stuff seems to really mix and match well. You can

go wrong (like the incident that inspired the warning about

over-accelerating with japan drier) but it's pretty hard -

these ingredients are very forgiving. They are pretty

toxic though, especially the fumes from the turp when you

wipe it on hot metal - I'm pretty serious about a mask for

that step.

For wood finishes, I start with almost 50/50 turpentine and

linseed or tung oil, and, after a few coats, each of which must

be wiped off and allowed to dry thoroughly, start adding poly

to the mix until I'm at about 1/3 poly. Then a top coat or

two of straight poly to seal it. I've used this kind of

finish on everything from shop fixtures (bench, tool handles,

etc) to some pretty finely finished stuff - jewelry box,

turned burls, etc.

Haven't tried poly on iron yet, I'm now wondering if the

wipe-on satin poly (mineral oil based, hmm, I think it's

johnson?) would adhere to warm iron - especially if it was

mixed with turp and linseed as a binder? Could give a much

more durable rust resistant finish in the more humid climates!



Erie, Colorado, USA

> >> The traditional recipe I have for the wax finish is as follows:

> >> 1 lb can Johnson paste wax

> >> 1/4 cup boiled linseed oil

> >> 1 cup turpentine

> >> 1 Tb Japan Drier

> >> Brush on very warm (300-400 F)

> >> Wipe off excess before it begins to congeal.

> >> Let dry and buff.

> >> Repeat if necessary.

> >>


> David- What's your typical dry time here? Also, if you can't fit the whole

> thing ovetr the fire, do you heat it with the torch, or not, or use a

> different formula for cold application?

> Whit


There's another finish for iron I haven't tried deliberately but I've

seen examples of. It's a hot quench in sugar water. We've all seen a

well used cookie sheet and how impossible it is to get rid of the burnt

in coating. A friend of mine ran a series of test pieces in different

concentrations and quench temps and said he was able to get colors

ranging from a reddish tan to glossy black. He says the coating is very

tough, as in grind or burn it off. The weathering tests are still under

weigh in his back yard. <grin>

Don't remember what the concentrations were but as I recall the quench

temp was the main control for the color. It made me wonder what if

anything adding water soluable oil or using different types of sugars:

fructose, lactose, maltose(?), etc, might produce.

Unfortunately, it'll be a while before I get the chance to experiment,

so I can't say from first hand experience what it's like.



> Jon Cookson here. Norfolk, Virginia. I am interested in everyone's knowledge

> about metal finishes. In particular I am looking for irridescent finishes and

> homemade finishes to get patina finishes (like the green patina found on

> oxidized brass and copper). I make end tables with swamp themes (dragonflies

> and lily pads) and fish and hummingbird gardening stuff. I am willing to try

> just about anything to get what I want in a finish. Please post your ideas

> and tried and true methods on the Forge. Oh, yes, I am also a director of the

> Tidewater Blacksmith's Guild. We are now incorporated and working on a

> permanent home for our guild. This is an exciting time for us. Thanks to all

> for your advise and suggestions.

> Jon Cookson

> Creative Metalworks

How about this for starters Jon?

I do a lot of rusting of metal sculptures and need to do it fast.

After much experimenting with various acids, salts, etc. and with

suggestions from others on this list and else where I have settled on

an extremely fast, environmental harmless rust formula. This will

start a rust in minutes and in damp weather will leave a great rust

within 3 or 4 hours, especially if the piece is hot when applied.

The iron should be clean. I sandblast, then spray on the solution

which consists of the following.

Pint of drugstore hydrogen peroxide.

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 or 3 tablespoons of salt.

The vinegar and salt are estimates. I don't measure so obviously

amounts are not critical.

After a couple of minutes the piece should already have a light tan

rust forming. On dry days spray water on it from time to time. On wet

days it will continue to darken with rust throughout the day. By the

next day it will be well rusted but may rub off a little. Left out it

will cont inure to darken and after a couple of days with some rain or

occasional spraying it gets pretty deep and stops rubbing off.

When necessary I can have a piece thoroughly rusted for sale a couple

of hours after starting by heating the piece before spraying. Looks

like it had been at it for weeks.

Clyde Wynia

M222 Sugarbush Lane

Marshfield, WI 54449

715-387-1653 Home

715-387-2580 Office

715-387-1212 Fax

A method of patinating steel

Article by: Charles Lewton-Brain c 1990

Warning: This procedure should be undertaken with appropriate

precautions; goggles, gloves, protective clothing, adequate


As part of a large scale patination project in which I patinated a

steel roof surface 24 by 48 feet on both sides I performed some 40

experiments to find out how to patinate the steel which was a

requirement for structural reasons. In doing so I also experimented

with paint, buying over $350.00 worth of spray paint, eventually

finding one single color which for all intents and purposes is green

patina. When placed in recesses and the high areas are rubbed off it

is indistinguishable from a cupric nitrate patina. It is a car paint:

GM 42, 1980 Chevrolet Medium Green. While this is ideal for smaller

surfaces my paint experiments did not produce the surface effects I

required on the large scale work. I reasoned that if I could plate the

steel with copper and then convert the copper to patina in a fume not

only would the job be easier but it would also be safer than dealing

with solvents or corrosive patination techniques (such as a cupric

nitrate patination) over large surface areas. I was dealing with 4 x 8

foot sheet steel to be equally patinated on both sides simultaneously.

Other types of objects might be easier to deal with. 'Tents' of

polyethylene plastic sheeting stapled to a framework of 'economy'

studs were built. The construction of such a tent requires that it be

sealed (draped onto the floor from the frame and then weighted down).

The object inside is positioned on supports of some kind so that it is

suspended off the floor in the air inside the tent. Then pans of

household ammonia are placed underneath the object. The fumes attack

copper or copper based alloy surfaces. Under normal conditions one can

activate a copper containing surface with a dilute salt solution to

speed up the procedure and obtain a blue patination but this proved

too corrosive for dealing with steel. The final procedure chosen was

as follows:

l) The steel was cleaned well. Sandblasting would be ideal but was

impractical for the project. Solvents were also out for safety reasons

on such large surfaces without good ventilation. We ended up using

Fantasticr cleaner. Two scrubbings with Fantasticr on large sponges

and good rinsings in between and after were adequate most of the time.

The surfaces were then left damp with the rinse water. Only the edges

were handled to avoid contamination of the cleaned surfaces.

2) A contact plating solution for copper plating was prepared (see

below) and this was applied to the steel using paint rollers

(goggles/gloves!) Brushes work also but the paint roller is a bit more

gentle. Plating occurs instantly. Several passes may be made over the

same area, without pressing hard, which can remove the delicate

plating. The surface was then rinsed very well. If areas of the

plating lifted grease residues were the cause and a further local

Fantasticr sponging and good rinsing sufficed to allow plating to take

place. After final rinsing the steel (held by the edges) was taken to

the tent. One moves fast to retain the surface moisture.

3) The steel was then placed in the tent and pans of ammonia enclosed

under it. The tent was sealed. The centers of the thin sheet sagged

causing pooling, therefore we built a wooden support with a single

nail pointing upwards to support the sheet. More stable objects would

not need support, though pooling may be factor to consider depending

upon the surface relief. The time required to convert the copper

plating was optimal at about 1-1 and a half hours.

4) The steel was removed and gently rinsed as scrubbing or hard

spraying can remove the delicate patina surface. It will be a mixture

of blues, greens and hints of brownish red where pooling has occurred

and the surface dried. In my case I chose to re-introduce pink

spatter marks to the surface by spattering droplets of the contact

plating solution onto the patina surface where they instantly went

pinkish-brown. The steel was then dried with fans and immediately

sealed using clear automobile enamel paint. I then went back with

stencils and gold spray paint to further modify the surface. The

steps in the procedure are then: Clean, rinse,plate, rinse, fume,

rinse, dry and seal.

The conversion process

The copper on the surface is attacked by ammonia liquid, not as much

by the fume which has a different chemical composition than the

liquid. The water dampened surface slowly takes in ammonia fumes

where they are converted to ammonia liquid in solution so that they

can attack the copper. The purpose of the pans of ammonia below the

object is to provide a constant vapor pressure which replenishes the

ammonia on the surface at a constant rate as it is used up in

converting the copper to patina. This system therefore ensures better

overall constant dilution control than beginning with ammonia on the


Control Factors:

Resists: Resists may be used to prevent plating or to prevent the

plating from being converted to patina by the fumes. Resists to

plating may be a greasy material (litho-crayon, oil) or thinned

rubber cement. Other resists require too much cleaning time and may

need solvents for removal. Resists to patination may be a protective

spray through stencils (Pamr) or thinned rubber cement. Pattern

control through resists is easy. Time: Time is a factor in all

fumings. Experiment with various times on sample pieces to have a

palette of process marks (colors, tones, effects) to choose from.

Pooling: Where pooling occurs variations in color will result.

Pooling can be encouraged and controlled by local application of

greases before or during patination and by the position and shape of

the object. Various liquid thicknesses cause surface variations.

Sealers: Sealers will each have a characteristic effect on the

surface. I recommend making a palette of various sealing options over

a patinated surface. Examples of sealers include waxes, oils,

lacquers, transparent acrylics, enamels, varnishes and so on. They

often have a tendency to darken the colors on the surface. I prefer

clear auto enamel or Spray-Lac number 1473 professional Finish Clear

Dead Flat lacquer. It is available from Star Chemical based in

Hinsdale Illinois, Deerfield Beach, Florida and Dallas Texas. It is

an industrial quality spray and requires good ventilation. It is very

unobtrusive on a surface. With any spray the surface chosen can be

glossy, like paint (in which case why not use paint?) or shortly

after spraying can be matted down with a cloth pad for better surface

control. Other Chemicals: I mentioned dilute salt solutions earlier.

Many chemicals will modify surfaces. (Remember never to mix bleach

and ammonia). Experimentation and sample making will offer the user

control choices. Suggestions for initial investigations include salt,

vinegar, baking soda and local heating. There are a number of

patination books available including one I sell on patinas for small


Contact Plating Solution Recipe

All safety warnings apply. Always add Acid to Water!! Goggles/Gloves!

250 grams copper sulfate (CuSO4) Technical grade chemicals for this

solution is fine. 42 cc sulfuric acid

Distilled water to the 1000 ml level.

Put about 800cc water into plastic or glass container after marking

the 1000cc level on it. Add the copper sulfate and stir to dissolve.

Slowly pour a thin stream of acid into the swirling water. Heat is

evolved-be aware of this. Rinse the acid container with distilled

water and top up the mixture with it to the 1000 ml level. This

solution can also be used as an electroforming solution for growing

copper. Remember, acids are dangerous. A dust mask is suggested around

chemicals. Work cleanly. Copper salts are toxic and irritant and

should be handled with care. Dispose of properly.

All rights reserved internationally. Copyright c Charles Lewton-Brain.

Users have permission to download the information and share it as long

as no money is made-no comercial use of this information is allowed

without permission in writing from Charles Lewton-Brain.

Copyright c 1996, Brain Press Publication / Ganoksin Jewelry Co.,Ltd.

Author: Dr. Aspler

Last revision date: 11 Sep 1996

Metal Finishing Techniques

Mild steel will rust upon exposure to any source of oxygen, air being

the most common source. Heat causes most chemical reactions to

accelerate. Therefore, if you take a piece of mild steel, heat it and

do nothing else, it will rust. In order to not have your work rust,

you must exclude oxygen from the metal. The amount of humidity in the

air determines the kind of finish you will need. Areas having low

humidity, like New Mexico, could use an oil finish for both interior

and exterior work. However, areas having high humidity, like the East

Coast, require stronger coatings for exterior work.

Mark Williams Phd.

Traditional Finishes

Nearly any wax or oil, or a combination thereof, will work as a metal

finish. Make sure you remove all loose scale with rotary wire brush or

similar tool. Apply whatever mixture you choose liberally with a brush

and then wipe the excess off with a clean cloth. If you are quenching

your work while it is still hot (red heat or better), a hard rust

layer can form which is very hard to remove with wire brushing. Some

common oil/wax mixes include:

Mix equal parts of linseed oil, mineral spirits, and japan drier.

All available at your local hardware store. Reapply as needed.

The thinning of the linseed oil allows for it to get into all the

cracks and crevices. Mineral Spirits are flammable!!! Use this

mix only on cold metal!!!

Equal parts boiled linseed oil and turpentine with varying

amounts of beeswax dissolved in the linseed oil. Have the work at

a black heat and rub the mixture into the surface with an old

towel or rag. The mixture should smoke upon application

Quench from medium black heat directly into a pan of beeswax.

You've got to be careful not to let it burn. When it has cooled

enough to handle, wipe the excess off with a rag.

To get a gray to black surface, apply peanut oil to the heated

piece and continue with the flame until the desired color is


Equal parts of liquid wax and boiled linseed oil. Any liquid wax

that can be found in the grocery, hardware, or auto store will

do. No plastic finishes please!! A water soluble car wax that you

"mix with water to wash and shine your car in one easy

application" will work fine. To apply, heat the piece just short

of color and brush on. Continue applying until the liquid ceases

to boil on the surface of the metal. Then quench in water and rub

with a cloth. (Do not try this at home because the smell is

horrendous and takes months to go away!)

Bees-wax and turpentine. This mix turns a very nice brown just

before black, which can be very attractive. Use the turpentine to

dilute the beeswax a bit, i.e. to make it softer and easier to

apply. The proportions of bees wax to turpentine can vary

according to personal preference. Mix some up and add more

beeswax/turpentine if it is too soft/hard. Use the turpentine


Melted paraffin and boiled linseed oil

Beeswax and mineral oil

To make most wax/oil or solvent mixes USE A DOUBLE BOILER and heat the

wax until it melts. Then add the solvent/oil. ****DO NOT DO THIS OVER

ANY KIND OF FLAME**** An electric stove or heating element will work

fine. Most solvents, like turpentine, smell pretty strong, so prepare

only in a well ventilated area. Take the melted wax off the stove to

mix in the solvent/oil. Pour it into some kind of a container with a

lid and let it cool.

To apply most wax/oil finishes, warm up the piece of metal (pleasantly

warm), and rub mix all over it. Then continue heating it until the wax

starts smoking. At this point the wax is caramelizing on the surface,

which hardens it a lot. You need to get it warm enough to caramelize

all the loose wax (or you could buff it off later), and not so warm

that the caramelized wax burns off entirely. Somewhere in between

those temperatures the wax goes from light brown through dark brown to

a nice shiny black. It takes a bit of practice (and patience) to apply

this finish to an irregularly shaped piece and get a uniform

appearance. You may hear this described as "applying the finish at

black heat."

To heat small ironwork for finishing, try opening up a gas forge and

holding the metal in the exhaust.

Brushes for applying wax/oil/solvent mixes can be made from twine or

hemp rope, tied into a shape like a shaving brush, with the ends

trimmed and unwound. Cheap "natural" bristle brushes can be found at

most Builder Square/Menards/Home Depot type stores. The brushes must

be of a natural vegetable fiber. Synthetics will just melt onto the

metal and "Goo it up."

George Dixon detailed his finishing method as follows:

Either hand sand or wire brush clean the metal surface. Mix 60 -

40 linseed oil (boiled) to turpentine. Brush this mixture on,

remove the drips that slowly form. When this has dried, apply a

good coat of varnish, organic rather than synthetic. This is more

due to the plant base of the first mixture than anything else.

When this has dried, apply several coats of a good caranuba base

paste wax. Apply with a soft brush to get into uneven or layered

surfaces. When the wax dries to a matte finish, buff the piece

with a soft shoe brush to raise the luster of the wax. The use of

brushes instead of cloth reduces lint and the bristles get into

places a rag won't. This finish approach was used by the Samuel

Yellin shop early in this century and work coated in this manner

is still rust free, Again, this is an interior finish. Tell the

customer to wax their iron as often as they wax their fine wood

furniture, tell them which wax you used and how to do it. A card

with "The Care Of..." that explains this is a nice thing to add

with the bill!

A simple method of achieving a blue/black finish is to buff off

the scale, heat until the metal turns about the color or colors

desired and then spray with WD-40 and wipe when cold. William

Hightower used this finish on bathroom towel bars, and "hasn't

had a rust spot yet."

Painted Finishes

A product by Carboline, called RustBond, is a commercial epoxy

"paint". It is a two part mixture, about $50 a gallon, and a

gallon covers about 500 square feet. It is all coating and

contains no solvent. It is used in chemical plants, water towers,

etc. A one mil thick coating is all you need to protect the bare

metal from corrosion. Then you can cover it with anything, oil

base, latex, etc. It usually comes with a cool green tint which

is transparent, and you can still see the metal surface finish

through it. Your local distributor should also be able to get you

some without the tint, which is of course clear.

Automotive lacquers used on metal objects create an intense

illusion of depth. It does require a good deal of time and it is

quite thoroughly toxic and should only be performed with very

adequate ventilation and a respirator suited to the purpose.

Despite the required dedication of time and the need to check out

and implement precautions, the results can be quite beautiful.

For exterior work: sand blast the piece and apply a zinc base

enamel primer. Then apply a top coat. Sherwin Williams Commercial

division has a graphite black premix that looks pretty good. It

isn't as good as applying graphite dust while the paint is tacky,

but repair touch ups are hard to match.

One part by volume of fine lubrication grade graphite powder

mixed with three parts of Formby's hand rubbed low gloss poly

finish. The result does not look like a urethane finish, but the

highlighting effect of the graphite when well rubbed is

outstanding, and the poly is an excellent binder and


1 tsp of powdered graphite mixed with a can of paste wax. Great

for inside iron.

A primer for a natural iron finish called "MICROSEAL" is available


The Microseal corp.

PO Box 541

Rome, N.Y. 13440.

tel: (315) 337-2720

It was developed and is used as a clear primer for outdoor bronze

sculptures which were being eaten by acid rain. It can be used under a

warm wax application or under any other type of clear coating. if used

as the sole finishing treatment it produces an interesting brown oxide

that can be very appealing.

Tinted Finishes

Robb Gunter has been using potters non firing stains with

beautiful results. You might contact him for more on this

technique, in Tijeras ,NM. He has one of the best blacksmith

school facilities in the country.

A pleasant flat finish is a mixture of bowling alley wax with the

colored powders used to tint concrete. (Remember those green yard

frogs). Preheat the piece with the torch, apply the mixture with

a rag or brush, then lightly reheat to dry and seal. The green

mixture looks especially good on leaves.

A book containing many good patina formula, for both red-metals and

iron, is:

Methods For Modern Sculptors

ISBN 0-9603744-0-X

It is available from Lindsay Publications, Centaur Forge and American

Foundrymen's Society for about $20

Donnie Fulwood, Editor

Ocmulgee Blacksmith Guild (A Georgia chapter of ABANA)


>I do a lot of rusting of metal sculptures and need to do it fast.

>After much experimenting with various acids, salts, etc. and with

>suggestions from others on this list and else where I have settled on

>an extremely fast, environmental harmless rust formula. This will

>start a rust in minutes and in damp weather will leave a great rust

>within 3 or 4 hours, especially if the piece is hot when applied.

>The iron should be clean. I sandblast, then spray on the solution

>which consists of the following.


>Pint of drugstore hydrogen peroxide.

>1/4 cup cider vinegar

>2 or 3 tablespoons of salt.


>The vinegar and salt are estimates. I don't measure so obviously

>amounts are not critical.

>After a couple of minutes the piece should already have a light tan

>rust forming. On dry days spray water on it from time to time. On wet

>days it will continue to darken with rust throughout the day. By the

>next day it will be well rusted but may rub off a little. Left out it

>will cont inure to darken and after a couple of days with some rain or

>occasional spraying it gets pretty deep and stops rubbing off.


In July, I break out the pile of leg hold and Conibear traps to get

them blacked, waxed, and sorted for the start of the trapping season. By

September, I've managed to get them all untangled from the pile.<G>

I toss a mop bucket on the forge and fill it with water, letting it

come up to a rolling boil. Toss in a few traps for about five minutes to

melt off the wax from last year. Skim the wax off the surface of the

water, remove the traps.

In order to black them, you need a good surface coating of rust.

They dye (I use black walnut husks in boiling water) binds with the rust,

not the iron.

For rusting, I cut H2SO4 (Car battery electrolyte, about $15/quart

from any auto parts store) in half with water in a PLASTIC bucket. This is

concentrated Sulfuric Acid, BE CAREFUL. Slide a few traps into the acid,

let them sit in it for about 3 minutes to make sure it gets into all the

nooks and crannies, then hook them out and rinse in clear water. Hang up

to "dry". Before all the water has evaporated off them, they're already

bright orange with rust.

To dye them, I fill that old mop bucket with black walnut husks

(sumac "flowers" work well too) and about a gallon of water. Keep thumping

and stirring until they're a swampy mess in the bucket. Add water while

stirring until you've got about 2" of "clear" water over top of the mess.

Toss in a cake of beeswax and one of paraffin.

Drop some of those bright orange traps in the stuff and let them

cook for about five minutes. Hook them out with a coathanger, and lift

them *SLOWLY* out of the pot. You'll get *exactly* the right amount of wax

coating them to protect them for a year of heavy use by slowly pulling them

through the wax layer that sits on top of the boiling mess.

Works great on wrought iron too, the only problem is finding a

metal bucket big enough to get those big fence gates into.<G>

Roy Wilson


Misc. Rose Hints:

Eric Morgan wrote:

> I just recently finished making my first rose (truly a

> confidence-building exercise for a newbie), and I was wondering if any

> of you had any advice on finishing it. The standard finishes I've heard

> mentioned so far all involve rubbing an oil or wax onto the piece, which

> is a bit difficult on roses, due to the intricacy. Are there any good

> spray paint type finishes that any of you would recommend. The rose is

> gonna be inside, so I don't have to worry too much about

> weatherproofing. I just don't want the thing to rust. Any advice would

> be appreciated. Thanks!!!

Congratulations!! (fun, huh?) My advise on finishing:

1. Look it over carefully after you've cooled it off. You'll probably

find a few "unfortunate" spots. Remember, mother nature isn't perfect,

but if there are some that really bother you, try a fine file.

Make sure you have it well riveted -- looseness gets to me after a

while, and probably will bother you too.

2. Clean off any THICK fire scale. Heat to low red and brush with a fine

steel brush. This also blends in the filed areas.

3. Get a fine brass wire brush. Let flower cool slowly in air. AFTER it

has lost all red in low light, start brushing lightly with the brass

brush. As it cools, there is one point where the black surface will

start picking up the brass color on the high points. You'll have enough

time to put quite a bit of color on the petals. It looks great.

4. Have some pure beeswax. When it has cooled down so the beeswax

doesn't smoke when you touch it to the flower, coat the whole thing with

just a film of beeswax. It will soak into the black surface and make it

much darker. While still hot, shake and blot excess wax. I use an old

t-shirt (no lint) to blot wax. Let it cool.

5. (compliments of Dorothy Steigler) Get a tiny piece of BLACK flannel,

felt, or cotton cloth (avoid synthetics). Put one or two drops of pure

rose oil on it. Tuck the oiled cloth into the center petals (black

makes it almost invisible). Enjoy the startled looks when someone

smells the flower and it smells like a rose. <chuckle> I've found that

nearly 3/4 of the folks I've handed one to smell it within a few

minutes. The smell lasts from 6 mo. to a year.

Morgan Hall

Rose Interior Coloring:

Agree with David and you could also consider the inside finish perferred by

Yellin. Linseed oil/turpentine mixed 60/40. First buff with 80 grit

sandpaper & follow with maroon scotch bright pads. Provides soft luster

and highlights any raised portions. Apply the finish & wipe up drips.

This is all done cold. Then apply organic varnish and wax with a carnuba

base wax. After one to two years, a soft bronze patina will appear and

will continue to obtain a more soft glow over time. This is a traditional

finish but has been time tested and for inside work it's fool proof.

Something I usually need.


Dark Black Steel for Rore Interior:

If I was better organized I could have found it earlier. Steve makes up a

large amount, then puts some in a smaller container to brush on. It gives a

dark black satin finish, interior only. If I recall it was applied at a

warm to the touch temp. (I haven't looked for a source of powdered


1 lb. Johnsons Paste Wax

1 3/4 cup boiled linseed oil

1/4 cup turpentine

2 lbs. powdered graphite

David W.

Bronze on Brass:

David, another suggestion - try Birchwood Casey's "Antique Brown" on

brass. May require a couple of passes but you will be supprised with the

finish. Final result looks like bronze. Just on visual perception you can

double your money! The word bronze vs. brass automatically results in more

$$$ impressions.


Blue/Green on Brass:

thanks for the replies


>I have some old posts, for green color, use citric acid and hydrogen

>peroxide. 50-50%. Maybe try substituting lemon juice for the citric acid?

>Also dormant spray, lime sulfur kind, from garden stores is said to give

>green color to brass. I haven't found some of these items in my stores but

>maybe you could. You need to really clean the brass, no grease, for

>patina's to work.

>For blue/green color, use vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Wine soaked cloths

>work for blue/green, I use my wine for something else.

>Couldn't resist, I know you didn't ask for blue, but... my favorite is

>still the ammonia soaked sawdust to give beautiful blue to brass.

>David W.

Tree Bark:

I've seen bark made by cutting "scales" out of sheet metal with a torch,

cut with a rather sloppy cut to simulate the rough outline of real tree

bark scales. Then the scales were "shingled" onto the trunk to hide the

welds that attached them. Depending on your definition of Blacksmith work,

it might not qualify but it made for realistic looking bark.

Dan Cruzan


Turning Copper Green:

Say something nauseating to it. Sorry, I couldn't resist, see below.

>P.S. I guess the green would need to stay there and not get washed off in

>the rain.

Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. Try different proportions. A little salt

(too much will ruin the color) sprinkled onto wet surface. When dry, spray

with lacquer. It won't last forever, but cheap, easy. No fingerprints

allowed, you always need to start with clean copper, so first clean with

fine sandpaper or Scotchbrite, flush with water. Steel wool can sometimes

leave an oily surface, bad news.

David W.

Dallas, Texas


Black Iron:

> Heat metal and wipe down with any type for oil ie. motor

>oil, olive oil if you are going to plan having a little taste.

Or, for a more permanent black, wash in weak acid, dip in brine,

and hang to dry. When it turns bright orange with rust, dip it into

boiling water with a few sumac flowers or black walnut hulls. Blacks right


Roy Wilson


> Would some Smith's Please give me their comments.

> I am looking to find out what kinds of finishes you are putting

>on your finished iron work? I don't want to paint it but would like to

>have a soft dull kind of black look to it . Such things as kitchen

>wares and fire place tools.


For a black color I use WD-40, sprayed on while the piece is warm. beeswax rubbed on while the piece is warm gives a lighter hue, but my favorite finis is a mixture of 1/3 beeswax, melted, 1/3 Tung oil, and 1/3 turpentine. Mix and let cool. Some say that Japan drier should be added and they are probably right but I there wasn't any at the recycling center where I found the can of Tung oil and Turps.

Jack Yates

Return To Index


I know there is continued interest in anvil acquisitions and the like so I

wanted to mention that I recently picked up a really nice 208# Peter Wright

from Bruce Wallace. I thought it was also priced very fairly. Anyway, he had

a lot of other neat stuff up there. I was particularly drooling over an

ancient square anvil that may have been a 3-400 year old swordmaker's anvil.

I couldnt swing the price for it but it was not that expensive.

At that time he also had other anvils, cones, swedge blocks and of particular

note: a 4B and 5B Nazel and 3 fly presses. I know there have been relatively

recent inquiries about nazels and fly presses. Bruce is at I thought he was a good man to deal with.


Don Plummer



I'll bite.

My partner just took possession of his Gladiator. The price was $1295

but that's supposed to go up anyday to ~1500 bucks. They do look sweet

and I'm beginning to understand the advantage of having new , not 100

year old edges for making offsets and leaves, etc.

Don't forget Laurel's 400 lb London pattern in Mississippi for roughly

1300 dollars as well as their 175 lb one for 700$.

The Gladiators are cast from 8640 and I believe the Laurel's are 4340.

For Gladiators- call Russ Jaqua at 360-385-5272. For Laurel- Ray

Robinson at 601-428-0541

Steve Howell


Never had a Turkish bath or inherited a Turkish rug or smoked Turkish

tobacco or seen 2000 year old Turkish buildings or used a Turkish machine

of any sort I suppose. I won't hold your cultural prejudice against you

but will only try to inform you that in all industrialized societies that

produce consumer products, some products are good and some are not. I

have found the Hisar brand cast steel anvils to be quite good-I've been

using mine for about 6 years and it is holding up well despite my

repeated attempts to smash the edges with my missed blows! Mine is 150 kg

( 330 lbs) double horned Eurostyle. I sell them for $850.00, fob Memphis.

I'll have one available at the end of January.Doug's getting one, as is

Bill Bastas at Austin Communtiy College.

Let me know.

Brian Russell 901-867-7300


As I've had a number of inquiries on & off list about my new arrival (it's

a boy? dunno...), I'll clip and post the details I've sent to a number of

you. I wrote:

...As for the anvil, it was $242 U.S., $109 shipping, and a $32 "brokerage"

charge (for which I've not yet received a bill) for crossing the border.

Because it's made in the Czech Republic, it's subject to duty (wouldn't be

if it was Canadian, and there's no country of origin marking on it, so...),

but I called Customs, and it appears they waived the one-tenth of one

percent duty that the book lists for anvils (is it that shadowy,

all-powerful blacksmiths' lobby at work?), as it was not worth the bother

of assessing it. So all together, it came to about $380 delivered to my

door (actually, to my office door, where someone could sign for it) --

quite good for a new anvil, but I could have gotten more if I'd managed to

find a good used one in that range. It *is* real nice to have a freshly

ground face and perfect edges, however...

As I noted, it's a double horn style with a hardy hole at the base of the

round horn and a pritchel hole at the base of the flat horn, made of cast

tool steel with a very bright ring to it. Just tapping at it, it seems

very hard -- too much hardening, if anything. We'll see. It's shorter and

stouter than the Fisher and the Peter Wright of about the same weight I use

out at Colvin Run, with a much broader face -- much more good working area

than those two, and probably as much as the 250+ pound "no-name" out at the


"Forge and Anvil" is a two-person shop & smithing supply, and very, VERY

good folks with whom to do business. I bugged Dean at F & A with two or

three e-mails a day for awhile there when I was deciding, and he was always

very helpful and replied very promptly. Mine arrived a week after they got

my order. You can get a look at their inventory on the web at

<> -- on they anvils, they keep the 110 lb.

and 198 lb. double-horn versions in stock (oddly enough, shipping to me

would have run $109 for either one), and say they can order any of the

other ones they list for delivery in 2-3 months. Anyway, so far it seems

like a good anvil at a fair price -- I'll know more once I've laid some hot

steel across it!

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!


Return To Index


Ron Reil wrote:

> You are more than welcome Ross. When you get a moment I would like to hear

> more about your tumbler design. I probably need to build one too. I have two

> barrels that I built for a rock tumbler years ago, six sided plywood

> barrels, but they are probably too small for most metal work. How big is

> your drum, etc.

> Thanks....

> Ron

Hi Ron:

This tumbler of mine just sort of fell together, it was just one

of those jobs. In one day, at the scrap yard, I found a 48" by 20"

propane tank (an odd size, I know), a 25/1 gear reducer off a wood chip

screw conveyer and a bunch of 11/2" squ. tube. I had a 1/2 hp motor at

home. I cut a 18" by 32" hole in the tank for a door and a 2" hole in

the center of each end to pass a long piece of 11/2" pipe right through

the tank with lots at each end. I had a good pillow block and roller

bearing that fit over the pipe at one end, and supported the other end

by making a loose coupling out of bits of pipe and sliding it over the

output shaft of the reducer. The reducer is supported by 4 pieces of

angle iron off the 8' long skid I made from the 11/2' hss as is the

pillow block bearing at the out end. The reducer is high enough off the

skid to allow the motor to sit under it on a hinged mounting plate so

that the drive belt is tensioned by the weight of the motor. The reducer

came with a 13" shieve so I got a 7" shieve for the motor and ended up

with 37 rpm (about 185'/min inside).

I lined the drum with 3/8" conveyer belt held on with a lot of

cladding screws. I also put in 5 angle iron lifters of 11/2" x 11/2"x40"

angle a foot apart. On the free end of the pipe (after I cut the pipe

out of the inside of the drum) I tacked on a couple of pieces of 2"

exhaust pipe to build up the OD of the 11/2" pipe to about 21/4" which

just fits inside the plastic hose receiver on a small 5 gallon shop vac.

I built a little bracket to support the shop vac which is held in place

with a bungey cord and happily sucks the dust out of the drum as the

greased pipe rotates in the hose receiver. I purposely left a fairly big

kerf around the door in the drum when I cut the hole for air intake.

I had misgivings about the small motor but I put 5w30 oil in the

gear box instead of 80/90 and it starts it without even having to give

it a push. Its an old (read good) motor, draws 8.6 amps and is thermally

protected so it should last a while. I even bought a 3/4 hp motor to

replace it because I didn't think it would cut it but I think the 1/2

will be fine.

The coupling between the motor and the reducer is just a piece of

2" pipe inside a piece of 21/2" inside a piece of 3" which just slides

over the output shaft. I tacked them all together and pinned them over

the 11/2" pipe from the drum with a 1/2" bolt.

The other scrap yard has a truck load of 1/2" x 1/2" iron worker

punching and I threw a 100 lb. of them in it for media.

The noise isn't all that outrageous with the belting in it. At least

it doesn't ring.

If this all makes sense to you then your doing pretty good. I sort

of followed the John Smith tumbler article in the "Best of ABANA

newsletters" book by the Arizona B.A. Great book. John uses his at his

Kooteney Forge in Crawford Bay near Nelson B.C.. Just a little cruise

across the border from you.

Anything not clear?.. Give me a shout.


************ wrote:

> So I've got this old air tank from a compressor and I would like to make a

> tumbler out of it. I only know that I have to turn it slow. The question are:

> How do I determine what size motor and and thingamagigger to slow it down do

> I need? Do I let this tank roll on rollers? or put a belt around it ? I would rather not

> use a center shaft cause I seriously doubt I could center it correctly, unless

> the Pipe from the original connection is always centered . Its still attached.

> I have several different sizes of motors already, but I if can't use them

> that's o.k.. I am in Chicago so what ever I need I can probably put my hands

> on it pretty easy. I just don't want to appear like a complete ninny when

> calling on the motor or gear people . Help!

> Thank you

> RJ


Mine runs about 26 rpm, something like 150 feet per minute. Works for

me. I ran a piece 1 1/2" pipe though it and cut the center out, at that

speed you don't need to worry about the center being out a 1/4" or so.

Get a couple of 1 15/16" taper lock pillow block bearings and mount them

on the pipe. Mount the blocks on a couple of pedestals and drive one end

of the pipe by mounting a sheave on it or couple it to a gear reducer

like I did (then you only need a bearing at the other end). Get a small

5 gal. garage sale shop vacuum and slide the inlet over the free end of

the pipe. Build a mount under the shop vac. Be sure to have some way for

air to enter the tumbler near the drive end. I just cut my door kerf a

bit wide. Line it with rubber, if you don't you'll wish you had.

Conveyer belt works well. Put a few 1 1/2 inch angle iron lifters down

its length, these help to hold the belt in too. Mine is 40" long and 20"

wide carries 100 pounds of punchings and sucks the guts out a good 1/2

hp motor, but it only runs for a 1/2 hour at most at a time so it has

time to cool down.

If you run it on rollers it will tend to want to run off the end of the

frame unless you put some sort of guide on it.



Raymond Maiara wrote:

> Ahhhh...too late for that over here. I'd like to build a tumbler soon. So

> the vacuum removes the "fines" but there's still alot of scale and other

> heavy debris in the drum afterwards, no? How do you clean that? How wide of

> a door is practical? Does dust fall thru the space of the door kerf? Is the

> rubber, glued against the inside of the drum?


> Ray Maiara


The only thing left is clean media (iron worker punchings) and your

tumbled items. The dust and dirt is in the vacuum bag. The door should

be a large as possible. My door is about 32 x 18. The shop vac sucks air

through the door kerf which picks up the dust. The rubber could be glued

inside the drum but I used cladding screws and the lifters to hold it

on. If you think you need a 4' long drum, make it 6', you'll be glad you

did. I make a lot of table legs and I built mine lots big for them but

then I wanted to do a few 5' candle stands and I can't in this one.

Tumblers are also very useful for removing paint and rust from salvaged



Return To Index


I found a source for touchmark stamps that some of you may be interested

in. The ad was in Metalsmith Magazine.


2770 E Walnut St

Pasadena, CA 91107

800 243-3543

Call for free catalog.

Their ad shows the word "Microstamp" .25mm tall in between the "E" and the

"C" of "ONE CENT" on a penny. I know this is smaller than we can use but in

shows what they can do.

Carl S


- don't make a small, fine detailed design for one

- make a female first, harden it, then drive the male into it HOT, then

you'll have nice raised design roughed out and will only need to dress it

up a bit

Ray Maiara

Return To Index


Go to  ......scroll down to the

FAQ section and click on Case Hardening. This site is a gold mine for

muzzleloader and traditional methods information.

Chuck Bishop

Return To Index


There is a huge range in wrought iron quality, especially if you are using

salvaged bolts, spikes, etc.. Most of these items were made from muck bar

(straight first run from the puddler) because of low cost and no need for

further forging. The stuff with visible strings of slag is a great

exercise in forge welding and often not much else. The big dimension

material can be lapped and welded a couple times to partially refine it.

The pattern is great if used as backing material for cleavers or knives, as

one member of the River Bluff Forge Council here in Memphis does. If

twrought iron is rusted, especially from water immersion, the rust will

move down these big inclusions and turn into splits when forged. One way

to overcome these splits is to forge to rough dimension at a welding heat

to squeeze all these rusted lines out. The material is not at all

forgiving of sloppy technique, and will blow apart if abused by off-center

forging, cold forging, etc..

Some wrought will be crystallized and look like cast iron when broken.

This stuff is great to take to the scrapper and sold for 2 cents a pound.

This will be hot short, crumbling even at near welding heat (high

phosphorus content) and not worth the frustration to use.

Wrought iron wagon tires are usually a decent quality, as they had to be


Wrought iron pipe is good high quality stuff (usually) and can be

identified by a red candy stripe down the pipe (if out of a building and/or

not rusty) or often by having the name of the company rolled into the pipe.

This pipe was often used in fire suppression systems in older buildings or

in return lines in steam heating systems. Poke around any old (pre 1910)

buildings that are being torn down AFTER asking permission or get to know

your local heavy demolition company owner or the scrap dealer he takes the

stuff to. The scrapper often loads directly into a container that goes to

the melt shop, so get there before the iron is loaded. Old water towers

are a good source too, but can be heavily rusted inside and covered with

lead paint outside.

A real joy is double or triple wrought iron or the newest stuff that was

made by the modern method of dumping slag into a ladle of molten iron, then

rolling the resultant bloom. This stuff has up to 20,000 fibers per square

inch and is a dream to work. Forged at no lower than a dull orange, this

wrought moves like soft modeling clay and will not split apart. Working

this one can see how such large forgings were done with hand hammers and

strikers in the old days. I have a couple sticks of 1" triple refined from

an old fence and it takes only about 1/2 the force to forge as a good

quality modern mild steel.

Punching/slitting holes requires different techniques to prevent run-outs

but these are easily learned by reading reprints of old forging texts.

Will wrought be more expensive than mild? Of course, but well worth the

price for authentic restorations, exact period pieces and just the joy of

forgin the real stuff.

Doug Learn


To All,

David Smucker asks:

<< Has anyone on theforge ever worked with 1008 and wrought iron? how do

they compare? >>

For the uninitiated 1008 is a dream. Is wrought iron capable of finer work, I

don't know? 1008 is available. It is used for things like nails and auto bodies.


Return To Index


Uwe Dobberstein wrote:

> I've been reading the Forge for a while now and decided that I finally

> have a question worth answering.

> First off, I'm no blacksmith or anything related...just interested. OK,

> here is the question. How would one temper leaf spring steel ??? What is

> the tempering temperature ???

> Thanks in advance

> Uwe

Uwe D.,

My old master smith taught me the best way to temper a spring. He

made over a hundred pocket knifes with the springs tempered in this

manner and had only one of them returned.

Harden the material by bringing it to a "sunrise red" as he called

it (a red/orange color) and quench in oil. Wrap the piece in an old

cotton sock and set it, sock and all, in a shallow container of used

motor oil (with the oil just deep enough to cover the piece). Set the

oil in the container afire with a torch (the sock will act as a wick to

keep the oil burning). Just let it all sit there untill the oil burns

away and the spring is room temperature and its done. (This is about

equall to tempering in a heat treating oven to about 600 degrees.)

Donnie Fulwood


Heat your steel to just the point where it becomes non magnetic

quench in oil light oil

preheat oven to 400 put in oven for about 1 hr

remove cool to room temp

return to oven again for 1hr

remove let cool its done

makes for nice blade



From: (Uwe Dobberstein) >>

I sometimes make knives from spring steel which is usually 5160 type steel.

I heat the steel above the transformation temp (about 1450F) , the point at

which steel is no longer magnetic, and quench it in oil to harden, At this

point it is very brittle and needs to be tempered( softened a little to

relieve stresses) I heat the back edge of the blade to a ribbon of blue with

an oxy-acetylene torch and let the color run to the cutting edge and quench

it when the edge is a medium straw color, I know the color is subjective but

the temp is app 350F . I repeat the tempering process two more times. This

is very basic info but maybe it helps you. Good luck


I'll add one thing to Steve's remarks on tempering -- at the ABANA

conference in Alfred Gavin Harris had this advice: Quench as you

normally would but don't quench the entire piece, just say one inch on a

chisel. Leave some residual heat in the end of the tool. Now go to the

anvil and without letting the tool touch the anvil keep hitting it with

an old file until the file just begins to cut into the steel. In other

words as the temper begins to leave the tool the file will stop skating

off the hard stuff and begin to dig in as it reaches the softer tempered

state. As Gavin put it "File don't lie." I like the residual heat

method. I was taught this at the Folk School by Don Witzler. We made a

chisel there from a coil spring and I have been using it for 5 years

without retempering. Don didn't use a file. In this case he had me clean

the quenched steel quickly using sandpaper attached to a wood block.

Then I watched for the colors to run (straw in this case). You have to

have some shiny steel to see this take place and a dark room is a big help.

Jim McCarty


When quenching, the heat removal for the first second or so is the most

critical part of the operation (here agian we are talking about 10xx

steels, and 1095 in particular). The cracking occurs in the temp drop

from Ms to room temp, and if you water quench or brine quench a blade,

and hold it in the water or brine until it cools to the temperature of

the water or brine, and you have a high carbon plain steel, and did not

austenitize using temperature controls of some kind, cracks are almost

inevitable, regardless of whether it was edge down, point down, or upside

down. The cooling from Ms to ambient is the part that needs to be slowed

down, so, quench, hold in for a not quite two count, pull it out for a

few seconds and then quench again, like Randal suggested, or get some

polymer from Art (the stuff works great, but it may be more of a hassle

than you want in your life unless you want to heat treat lots of blades).

I would also have suggested grinding thinner, but the post desribing the

blade indicated a pretty nicely thin edge, so that is not the problem. I

do have a question though, why do you want it through hardened anyway ? I

would suggest for simplicity to get a FAST oil together, austenitize the

whole blade, quench in the fast oil, and there will be martensite on the

edge, and pearlite in the spine, and a hamon of some sort just from the

nature of the beast. I do not like oils for quenching personally, but it

is mostly a mess to clean up and stink thing, not that it doesn't work.

Or, you could send it to me, and I can run it up in the salt pot, quench

it in polymer, temper it and send it back, but that did not seem to be

the most desirable option from the discussion, how to do it seemed more

the idea.


Return To Index


> >I have had real good luck with a flux made of borax and boric acid. I did not

> >mix it, so I am sorry I don't have the ratios. Perhaps s......

> >I think the ratio is about 4 parts borax to 1 part boric acid. Thats if I

> remember correctly.

That sounds right.

Carl S

Return To Index


>On Sat, 27 Jun 1998 11:48:52 -0400, Kevin Donahoe wrote:

>>Lorena and Daniel Moore had a display of iron ore minerals from around the

>>world that included: hematite, Fe2O3; magnetite, Fe3O4; goethite, FeO.OH;

> Just a note - if you need Fe2O3, you can make it yourself from

>steel wool. Dip the wool in water, then shake most of it out. Pack it

>loosely in a tin can, flood the can with O2 from your O/A torch, and light

>it. Keep the O2 flood going while the wool burns. 80+% of the "rust"

>you'll get will be Fe2O3.


> Mix the dust with vinegar and you've got an *excellent* deep black

>stain for wood.

>Roy Wilson

Return To Index


I'm sorry I must have deleted the original message regarding perfect

spirals and "The Golden Mean" ratio, so I don't know who to thank for

pointing me to web searching the term. I found a great site that explains

it at

I tried Brian Joseph Synders' instructions and made some CAD drawings in

DXF, EPS & MiniCAD formats which I posted on my website for anyone

interested. I always knew there was a proper ratio but never knew the

actual details.

Ray Maiara

Return To Index


<< go get some water hardening drill rod >>

This was it! Brings it all back. Thjis is what I used to use and couldn't

remember other day: got it from a local steel supply service center. Made

great strikers: use low heats and minimal working or will develop too many

micro cracks....


Return To Index


For a copy of The Best of The Hammers' Blow:

Either call 314-390-2133 and order by credit card or

send a check to ABANA

PO Box 206

WashingtonMO 63090

The total, shipping included, is $14.00.

G Dixon


> I would like a copy of the Edge. Please notify of total price

To order the "New Edge" call BookMasters, my fulfillment service at the



They also carry the Yellin and Schramm books. Thanks

Jack Andrews

SkipJack Press, Inc.

6 Laport Court

Ocean Pines, MD 21811 USA 410-208-9098 208-9099fx

< >

Return To Index



Complex question. I will give you the result of my experience with

welded cable and pattern welded steel. Ferric cloride is a good

etchant for these. The etching depends on several factors. The heat

treatment of the blade is important. I fully harden and temper all

parts of the blade. If you edge quench or selectively harden the

blade you get little etching on the hard parts and too much on the

soft parts. Carbon content is important and that gives you the

pattern, but hardening is important, too. The rate of etch depends

on the concentration of the ferric cloride, temperature and the metal

being etched. When I am etching I periodically wipe the black

accumulation with an old rag just to see how deep I have etched. The

issue of acid or trisodium phosphate is just to neutralize the

ferric cloride. It is not necessary to do this, just wash the blade

well in water and be careful about getting the solution on yourself.

If you have done the etch and have a good depth, then rub the blade

on a flat surface covered with a fairly fine abrasive paper and you

will begin to see the pattern. Continue as desired. You can blue

the blade if you desire and continue rubbing with finer abrasives,

but keep the stiff backing or you will loose the contrast.

Borax or borax/boric acid is a good flux for high carbon steels and

combinations of high/low carbon steels. It is not good for low/low

carbon welding. I would recommend EZ-Weld for that. In pattern

welding, temperature, and the shape of the hammer or dies if you use

a power hammer are important. The sequence of striking is also

important. In folding a bar and welding I find that the part where

the fold meets the longer bar is hard to weld and make stick. Once

you have a failed weld, it is hard to make it stick. You can

increase the temperature and hope, but often you end up burning the

piece. It is a matter of material, flux, atmosphere, temperature,

and method. All welders have failures. The good ones know how to

correct and most of us do not. We learn through trial and error. Be

not discouraged by failure. Try and try again. All the great ones

have had many, many, many failures and overcome by sheer


Jack R. Smith Jr.


A few days ago I asked for help with a problem regarding bad welds on

the edges of 256 layer damascus that I had made from of wrought iron

and 5160. While my work methods were sound, the problem still occurs

in my damascus occasionally. It may be due to the vast differences in

my choice of steels in this example, as it doesn't seem to happen to

me when using two steels with more similar characteristics.

The message ended with:

"Other than make a pocket knife blade from what was a Bowie

blade, any suggestions??? please, please, please......."

I got various helpful responses as follows:

Subject: Re: Damascus help needed

From: Hotanvil2 <>

those hair cracks have to be cleaned out

try using a dremmel tool with a cuttin disk to grind them out

reflux and try again.the crap in the crack will keep it from welding


From: Damsteel <>

The Hughie Bartrug Remedy: (Boy do I miss him to talk to!)

Open miswelds with a chisel. Stuff in nickel shim stock, flux real

heavy, weld Strange and wonderful patterns result. Damsteel

From: Aardvarkpg <>


Don't know if this will work with your billet, but has saved a few

of mine. If the unwelded part seems fairly clean, soak in your ferric chloride

etchant for an hour or so. Rinse, then dip into a saturated borax and

water solution. Reflux and weld. If it seems full of crud, heat and cut open, then do the above.

Sometimes a billet just won't weld. As a last chance, you might try


while very hot, with lots of flux. If this still doesn't work, cut out

good sections of twist and weld together into a composit blade. Good

luck. Mike Alexander

You may find the responses and the result of my attempts useful

if you have the same problem.

Basically I went with Mike Alexander's method with a few

variations. It was partially successful.

I took the billet up to red/orange and wire brushed it as clean

as possible, reheated and stuck it into a bucket of Muriatic Acid.

This was repeated 2 or 3 times. I allowed the billet to soak in

the acid for about 15 minutes. When I removed it, I noted several

things. 1- the hairline cracks had opened up from the heat,

quenching, and action of the acid eating at it. 2- there was a bunch

of crud coming from the cracks. 3- there were bubbles still coming

from the cracks indicating that the acid was working within the


After cleaning off the crud,I returned the billet to the acid

bucket for 5 or 6 more minutes to see if any additional crud

would be boiled out. Noting no additional crud I rinsed it with

clear water and set it aside while I brought the forge up to


With a new clean fire in the forge, I placed the billet in and

very slowly brought it up to red hot and dipped it in borax, slung

off the excess and returned it. Again very slowly brought it up to

welding temperature and held it at that temp for about 20-30

seconds to assure the inside was up to temp as well as the


Using a very light (like 3/4 pound) tack hammer and very rapid

blows, I rewelded the billet.

The result was that the weld took for the most part, leaving

one very short place (about 1/4") with a hair line crack. I had to

grind the blank down to a smaller size to eliminate it. While the

blank was saved, upon final grinding two cold shuts were ground

into. One was successfully ground away, the other was a hole

about the size of a match head that was 1/2 the depth of the

blades thickness. This one was repaired by putting a spot weld in

it with a wire welder. Since the pattern was a random damascus

with "raindrops" added via drilling partially through and forging

the surface down, the spot weld matches the rest of the pattern

fairly well.

I think the moral of the story is "if you are not real good at

damascus, stick with random patterns or raindrop type patterns,

and have a wire welder handy to spot weld repairs. Grind the

surfaces clean between welds, clean your fire frequently, - and

stick to metals that have similar welding temperature


The subsequent billets that I made using 5160 had

the wrought iron replaced with W2 (which contains a little more

carbon at about 80 points) Their welding temperatures being much

closer together than wrought and 5160 seemed to have made for

easier welding.

Donnie Fulwood, Editor

Ocmulgee Blacksmith Guild (A Georgia chapter of ABANA)


<< I've got around 20 or so "dead" chainsaw chains. Anyone ever tried

pounding that out into damascus billets? Any tips or hints on it? >>


Depending on length of chain, cut into 2 or 3 pieces. Flat roll pieces

into "honey buns", tack weld in several places to make rigid. Stack rolls on

top of each other and make a bunch of tack welds, to make stable for 1st few

hammer blows. Red heat, lots of flux, welding heat, hammer easy to compact

piece. Fold billet a couple of times to weld up solid. Good luck.

Mike Alexander


According to an ABANA article I read (sorry I don't remember the issues)

Damascus originated in the Damascus region of the Middle East. Small

batches of steel called "wootz" steel were made in one pound crucibles.

This was part of the origin of the Damascus sword. This Damascus has

mechanical properties that are incredible. I also say a TV show that

chronicled the same thing and mentioned Stanford University as studying

this steel.

In a pull to breaking point test (called tensile test) one of the things

learned is the elongation of the material. This is done by making two marks

on the material a known distance apart and then comparing after breaking.

Elongation is given as a percentage. Mild steel might have a 25 -35%

elongation, harder steels have less elongation than softer steels (although

it takes more weight to break them).

Damascus steel from these swords has a 200% elongation Yes that is two

hundred percent. There was a picture of one of these tests showing the

sword piece "necking down" into about a 1/8" diameter that kept stretching

and stretching before it finally broke.

The new stuff that we still call Damascus does not have these same

properties. I attended an AWS (American Welding Society) meeting in San

Francisco put on by Jeff Johnson about Damascus steel. He had a sample

sword shipped from a museum in England. They will ship these sword to most

functions like this around the world. They are shipped to as many events as

are possible, spending most of their time in the shipping container. This

sword was about 30" with an additional 6" tang. The shipping container was

a round 16" hat box with the sword coiled up inside. When pulled out the

sword sprang straight and true.

They are said to be able to bend 90 degrees repeatedly without damage. In

their time, they were the most sought after feared weapon available. The

appearance of the blade is very similar to the modern damascus. If I

remember correctly the reason for the surface pattern was the large grain

structure of the steel, not the folding/welding pattern of todays damascus.

I have heard the best way to avoid problems of distinguishing between "old"

and "new" damascus is by calling "old" Damascus - Damascus, and the new

stuff pattern welded steel. This also is used for Viking and Japanese sword

that are not made from the original wootz steel.

The Stanford University study was trying to match the properties of the

true Damascus mostly the elongation. When I saw this program about ten

years ago they had achieved a close 175% elongation.

The pattern welded damascus that is used today and historically is just not

the same stuff. I'll point you in the direction of the early pattern welded

damascus shotgun barrels. They are very beautiful to look at, but have a

tendency to unweld when used.

This article tends to disagree with some other experts in the field (like

Mr. Hrisoulas) in the terminology of pattern welded vs. Damascus. I am just

adding this info as that, not fuel for a big fire.........

p.s. little fires are O.K. by me <G>

Steve Herrick


To the best of my information the word; "Damasc" means, "the mark" and

the city was named after the steel. The city of Damascus was the main

collection and distribution site on the Damascus road for steel of


The small batches of crucible steel created in the mid east and india,

called wootz were very un-uniform in composition. Carbon content from

one point to another might vary as much as 250pts. To make the steel

more uniform it was folded and welded repeatedly, the resulting patterns

were demasc; the mark of the good steel.

For a number of centuries europeans tried and failed to even work, let

alone reproduce damascus steel from captured blades. I'm completely lost

on the date but eventually the Franks learned to forge damasc at mid to

low red heat and eventually were able to reproduce the patterns but not

the qualities of true damascus steel.

The Franks had invented pattern welded steel. Namely high carbon steel

weld laminated with wrought iron, folded and welded a number of times.

The Frankish, pattern welded "damascus" produced weapons far superior to

european weapons of the day and were often sold or traded as true

damascus. Regardless, when it came to battle, steel of damasc still

reigned supreme.

There is a smith who has devoted decades to reproducing wootz and true

damascus. He rediscovered the process and is producing true wootz and

damascus today. Please forgive my faulty memory but his name is Pandray,

or something very similar.



To All,

True damascus is forged from the cast ingot without folding or welding. The

high carbon content of the steel and the slow cooling at solidification

results in large solidification carbides. In the west, the ingots would have

been heated as hot as they could be and worked for as long as they could.

This process breaks up and dissolves the solidification carbides. It makes

the material more uniforn in structure and composition but it also destroys

the nature of the ingot.

In the mysterious east, faster, hotter, longer does not fit into their

philosophy. The ingots were forged as cold as possible, as little as possible

all with the intent of preserving the structure of the cast material. Some of

the actual processing into the different patterns remains a mystery yet to be


Pattern welding which is a northern european invention, takes different

materials and forge welds them together making the best use of the desired

properties of the different materials. The patterns can be modified as one


Isn' it Al Pendray (sic?) in Florida that is producing damascus ingots?


Return To Index


Appalachian Area Chapter

Al & Lida Cannella (Co-Editors)

1310 Walter Reed Road

Cookeville, TN 38501


Blacksmith Guild of Central Maryland.

Albin Drzewianowski, Editor

Westminster, MD

Blacksmiths Assoc of Western Australia

Editor: Joe Mazzarol

Blacksmiths Association of Missouri Newsletter

Jim McCarty

Taos, Missouri

Editor Rural Missouri Magazine

Anvil's Ring

Blacksmiths Guild of the Potomac

Ken & Nancy Zastrow (Co-Editors)

Blacksmiths of Arkansas

Jack R. Smith Jr.


Dan Armstrong, Editor

Kootenay Blacksmiths' Association

R.R. # 1,

Winlaw, B.C. V0G 2J0

Phone (250) 226-7372


East Texas Blacksmith Alliance

Editor: Tom Lundquist

Furnace Town Blacksmiths Guild


Jack Andrews

Jan Baldwin

Beth Rigby

Snow Hill, Maryland

Great Plains Blacksmith Assoc.

Todd Whipple, Editor

408 N. Rutan

Wichita, KS 67208


Illinois Valley Blacksmith Assoc

Editor: Doug Heritage dheritage!

Kootenay Blacksmiths' Association

Dan Armstrong, Editor

R.R. # 1,

Winlaw, B.C. V0G 2J0

Phone (250) 226-7372

Louisiana Metalsmiths' Association

Dave Mudge, Editor

Michigan Artist-Blacksmiths Assoc

New Editor: Matt Balent

Mississippi Forge Council

Editor: Ernie Dorrill

New England Blacksmiths

Editor: Ian Walker

North Texas Blacksmiths Association

John Planz, Editor

9821 Concord Drive,

Frisco, Texas 75035

(972) 335-9097

Northeast Blacksmith's Association

Carl Davison (Assistant-Editor)

112 N.PuttCorners Rd.

New Paltz N.Y. 12561

Ocmulgee Blacksmith Guild News

Donnie Fulwood, Editor

Pittsburgh Area Artist Blacksmith Association

Bob Selvaggio

5096 Hardt Road

Gibsonia, PA 15044


Prairie Blacksmith's Association

Francis Belohlavy

3015 Orchard

Lincoln, NE 68503

(402) 477-4337

River Bluff Forge Council

Editors: Jill & Tim Brogdon

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Mike George, Editor

1227 Fourth St.

Alva, OK 73717


Texas Artist Blacksmiths Assoc.

Clint Jackson

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8801 S. First St. #106

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(512) 292-1652


The Alabama Forge Council - The Bituminous Bits

Clay Spencer, Editor

Vancouver Island Blacksmiths Assn.

Mac and Isaabel Tipton


Western Canadian Blacksmith's Guild

Gordon Phillips

The Rivet


Return To Index

ROSES AND FLOWERS: (Also see Metal Finishes)

Taking a look at Fremlin's Forgery web page,

I downloaded the tutorial on making a rose, and took it with me to the

Machine shop class I'm taking.

I cut out some circles of thin steel, I used 18 guage, and cut theeem with

5 petals. Notched the cuts and filed smooth, then took a heat and peened

first the petals, and then the center bowl of each disk.

Mounted to a stem, peened in place, and after forming each ring of petals,

I took the whole thing up to a red heat and quenched in oil, for a good

black finish. She loved it. <GRIN> Thankss again, you guys saved me!

Michael D. Horgan


Miller, Ray (GEAE) wrote:

> I can't find the web page that everyone has been talking about making the rose.

Here's one method for the kind of rose that is snipped into four, five

petal sections. It's in the AABA book. The sections are starting from about

2 1/2" diameter down to about 1 1/2". You drill the center hole in each

section. Make stem, weld a nut for sholder, square the end to 3/16".

(Square stem keeps it from spinning.) Then hammer radial grooves on the

outer surfaces of the largest petals. I've seen a welding chipping hammer

used for grooving. A calyx, also snipped out, is placed on the stem first.

Then stack and stagger the petals, grooved side down onto square stem. Use

tube to hammer down the petals onto nut shoulder. Place washer into stem,

peen over stem onto washer. A torch helps with this. Use smooth round nose

pliers to fold up petals. Then you can curl over the edges for a fairly

realistic look.

It's not a bad looking rose, and fairly fast. But a little mechanical

looking to me. Of course most actual roses have many separate petals of

different sizes. This is difficult to make. I've tried, but it takes

forever to solder together.

David W.


I saw Dorothy Steigler at Santa Ana demonstrate her rose-making technique.

She had a great little trick that not only helps make the petals come up

more realistically, but really shows her feel for the metal. She says she

helps the metal know where to go by using a graduated series of round ended

punches to put a dimple on the top of each petal just outside the stem

hole. Then when she bends up the petals, they have a rounded base next to

the stem, not a straight-line crease.

Dorothy's great to watch - make a point of seeing her if you can.



You can do a daisy or posey type flower with an attached leaf using

a hex head lag screw. I use a 3/8 x 3 lag screw. Start by

thinning the area between the thread and below the head to about

1/4 in dia. Next use a header plate, drop the screw into the header

plate, then with a center punch, punch in the center of each flat

on the head and in the very center. Enlarge the punch marks then

use a ball end punch to further shape the petals. Try to drive the

petals out and down to create a teardrop shape. Use a pair of bolt

tongs, take a heat on the thread end, flatten the thread end to

form the leaf shape. Use the cross pein side of your hammer (about

a 1/8 in radius) to hammer in the veins on the leaf. Finally fold

in the center so leaf and flower go the same direction, forge weld

the 1/2 in or so at the fold, draw out to a point and round. When

just below a red heat brush with a brass lint brush to give some

color, then wax.

Altogether project takes 10-15 minutes depending on how much you

talk. This is an excellent demonstration project.



> I went one better than that. I made a bouquet of flowers of various shapes and sizes. Inside each flower is the head of a different Alaskan animal (moose, musk ox, caribou, mountain goat, and dall sheep). Made the heads first out of 3/8" square, then drew the stems out of the rest of each piece of barstock, leaving a shoulder just below the head for the petals to rest against. Slipped the petals on from the bottom and welded the little five pointed thingy to the stem to hold it all together. Bundle welded the stems together and stuck them in a "Classical Greek" looking vase forged from 1-1/4" schedule 40. Stainless steel petals added a lot to the appearance of the piece because they turned a spectacularly shiny black when I heated them for bending. Looks like a million bucks :-)

Larry Noller


> In my minds eye, I see the finish as polished steel - 80% highlights

> over the forged texture with subtle hints of temper colours peeping up

> from the center. Leaves will be copper, patinated on top, as dark a

> green as I can achieve, with a mid brown underside.

> Don't hold your breath.

> Robert Bastow

I've had real good luck with 24 ga stainless for petals. Looks almost

like mild steel when it comes out of the forge but it can be polished with a

stainless wire wheel to a variety of colors from gloss black to blue to

chrome, with limitless subtle variations in between. Much glossier and more

durable finish than mild steel and using the thinner (but still stiffer)

metal gives the flower a more delicate look.

Larry Noller


Jeff Powers wrote:

> Thanks fellas, I've wondered about making a swage block for flower making

> and wasn't sore how to go about it. I thought about wood and nixed that idea

> because I thought it would burn. I'll try Rons method today as I have a

> couple of orchids(spelling?) cut out and ready to work. BTW my wife picked

> up a book at the library with the pattern in it "MAKING AND ARRAINGING SILK

> FLOWERS" looks like a lot of patterns to work with ;)


If one can't find the book, get the flowers at a craft store, take them

apart and use the pieces for your pattern. Make pattern pieces out of

sheet metal for durability.


Return To Index


>From the book "The Timetables of Technogy"

4000 BC - Evidence of iron beads near Cairo, Egypt. This is the earliest

direct evidence of human use of iron.

3500 BC - Egyptians mine and process iron, but it's used mostly for

ornamental or ceremonial purposes.

3000 BC - Sumerians use pins made of iron or bone to hold clothes


2200 BC - The first nonornamental use of iron is a dagger blade found in

a grave in Turkey. It appears to be more ceremonial than practical.

2000 BC - The bellows is invented

1600 BC - Bellows are used in the manufacturing of glass and in


1500 BC - Iron smelting begins a period of improvement, mainly in the

Mitanni kingdom in Armenia.

1370 BC - Hittites conquer the Mitanni and obtain the secret of making

usable iron (heating and hammering it).

1250 BC - Ironworkers are reported in Jaffa (Israel)

1200 BC - Iron is in common use throughout the Near East

1185 BC - Hittites are conquered by the Peoples of the Sea and Hittite

iron working secrets spread even further.

900 BC - Iron objects appear in Italy, Greece and Crete. [Also Natural

Gas from wells is used in China - The long march to gas forges ;-)]

700 BC - Large scale iron manufacturing develops in Austria and Sudan.

500 BC - Steel is made in India. Ironworking is common throughout

Germany and Scandinavia. Stonemason's and woodworker's tools are being

made with iron.

450 BC - Ironworking industry develops in Britain.

300 BC - Chinese invent cast iron.

200 BC - Chinese develop a malleable form of cast iron.

This is a interesting book. I got it at Border's Books in their discount

section. Iron has a 6,000 year history. Blacksmithing has been around 3-4,000

years. And its still fun to do. :-)


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I have blown glass for a while. The trick is too keep the glass from

cooling too much during working, or too fast after you're finished.

Glass and metal combinations have been around for a long time, and require

similar LECs (linear expansion coefficients) the rate that they expand and

contract when heated and cooled. For glass to be annealed it is run through

a cooling cycle of 8 or more hours down from 1000 deg. F.

The glass blower first takes a preheated blowpipe that is about 5 ft long,

puts the tip into a vat of molten glass approx. 2500 deg. F. He then rotate

the pipe to gather a blob of glass on the end of the pipe. He will cool

certain parts and work other parts using puffs of air, metal tools, wet

wood tools or wet newspaper to shape the glass into an artistic form. When

ever the piece looses enough heat (below 1000 deg. F.) back into a furnace

called a glory hole.

He will then attach a solid rod (called a punty) to the bottom of the

hollow vessel with a blob of molten glass about the size of your pinkie.

scoring the neck up by the blowpipe with a wet file, he will tap the blow

pipe breaking it off and transferring the piece to the punty so he can

works the neck opening.

Once the piece it finished it is broken from the punty and put in a 1000

deg. F. annealing furnace until the end of the day. The furnace is then

cycled down to room temp over at least an eight hour period (more up to

weeks for really large pieces like a 12 ft. telescope mirror).

For combined pieces, the artist makes or buy a metal form and preheats it

to 1000 deg. F. with an assistant he will start the glass "bubble" and blow

it up into the metal form. then finish it and put in the annealer (Called a

LEAR which is an acronym for linear exchange annealing reduction) The LEAR

is a conveyor belt that cycles once in 12 hours continuously now all

anneals are called LEARs.....

Steel and copper have similar LECs to glass and generally work well for

these applications.

Hope this helps

Steve Herrick

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On May 29, 8:18am, Bill Franchini wrote:

> Subject: self cleaning fire-box, dimensions required

> While visiting the reconstruction of the Hector in Nova Scotia I met the

> local smith who was in the process of installing a self cleaning fire box

> meant to to facilitate welding. I made a sketch of it but the dimensions

> I jotted down were very approximate, particularly the depth.


> The box is a truncated inverse pyramid roughly 12" to 16" per side and

> tapering down to accomodate a tuyere of approximately 4". Inside the

> tuyere there was a circular valve rotated by the aid of a shaft almost

> like a baffle. This valve had a number of concentric cuts to allow the

> blast to reach the fire. The purpose of the valve seemed to have been

> that of breaking up the slag collecting in the bottom by rotating it

> with the aid of the shaft.


> I later saw two more examples of this box, always in the area .

> Now that I am starting to experiment with pattern welded blades I find I

> could really use such an implement so I decided to build one. The only

> problem is that I don't have the exact dimensions and am afraid to make a

> real blunder of it.


> What I really need is the ideal depth considering I am welding stock of

> sizes starting from 1/4" up to billets roughly 1" thick and 6" long.


> Can someone help me out?

> Bill, Chateauguay Quebec.

> Bill Franchini

There is a foundry operation in Nova Scotia that sells a forge kit similar to

what you are describing. Their particulars are:

Lunenburg Industrial Foundry & Engineering

53 Falkland

P.O.Box 1240

Lunenburg, NS B0J 2C0



902-634-8886 fax

Makers of several firepots for the forge. Ask for one with the square

hole as it has a pattern for a clinker breaker. I'm sure they would have some idea of what you want even if you don't buy their casting. I'm not endorsing either the company or the product, just supplying info & giving an opinion.


Return To Index


> From: "Chuck Robinson" <>

> Subject: Re: Scrap/Junk Yards in Seattle??

> L.S.

> If I lived in Seattle I would visit Boeing Surplus every week. Check it out.

> Chuck

> BOEING Surplus Retail Store

> 20651 84th Ave S.

> Kent Washington

> (425) 393-4065

Hello The Forge:

I get down to Boeing Surplus every so often. Great prices on

welding rod! And lots of aluminum in all shapes.



Return To Index


Bowie wrote:

> Do you think sand

> blasting the pieces would be the way to go on the

> welding in a tube thanks


Hi Bowie -

there was a thread a while back on this list about stack welding

using kerosene and very clean metal. It involved using a belt

sander or similar to take all the adjacent metal faces down to

bright metal, cleaning them with acetone or some similar "strips

all organics away" type cleaner, then stacking them and machine

(arc) welding up all the edges except one - kind of like an envelope.

Heat to about 200 F, dribble some kerosene into the unsealed end,

to prevent oxygen from entering the weld, not as a flux, then

bring to bright red/low yellow and hammer... despite my near

total inability to produce a decent forge weld, so far anyway,

I was able, on my first try, to weld up a mild steel billet

out of 1/8" x 1" wide x 6" long strips prepared in this manner. I

left one of the 1" ends open for the kero and stuck a piece of 1/2"

rod to the other 1" end for a handle. The results were that it

welded very well at considerably lower than "traditional"

welding heat - only a couple of very small delams when I sawed,

bent, cold-hammered, and generally tried my best to test it

to destruction...

I would think sandblasting would be a fantastic and quick prep for

surfaces for this kind of welding. I'm not familiar with the

"welding in a tube" that you are talking about, because I'm pretty

much just a newby. My point in the story above is that I think that

any preparation that brings the metal surfaces to bright and with

a uniform texture (sanding, sandblasting, etc) with no oxides or

particulate matter between the faces (i.e., make sure you get all

the sand grit out of there) probably would produce comparable

welds... My opinion, of course. Can't back it up with a lot of

facts, just this one experiment. Hope that helps some, cuz I

sure would hate to have the "peanut gallery" run me off the list

for story telling if it doesn't!!! :-)

I somehow managed to throw away the wreckage as scrap though

before I got a chance to try etching it :-( I was looking forward

to checking out the patterns!



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Dear Colleague,

Over the last few weeks, we have been working on some new utilities at

the Principal web page and would love to get your feedback.

In addition to our PRIME worldwide inventory search system, Tradename

Finder and our Material Property Data areas we are developing the

following items for you:


The SPEC FINDER will give you access to our database of roughly 6000

ASTM, AMS, ASME, QQ, MIL, AISI, DIN and JIS specifications. We won't be able

to provide full copies of the specifications, but you will be able to find

out what commonly known materials are covered by a given specification.


The PRIMEX system is an area that will allow visitors to our site to

list their excess prime inventory for sale.

1998 mill lead times of heat treatable aluminum sheet, plate and

extrusions as well as titanium sheet have gone to over 52 weeks. PRIMEX

will be a

system that will help buyers locate materials they need, while allowing

sellers to move inventory that is excess to their production needs.

The PRIMEX system is slated for launch in early February.

Feel free to send us your feedback on these new utilities. Are there any

other tools that we can provide to make your day to day work easier?

We thank you very much for your time.

Best Regards,

Sam Fischer


Principal Metals, Inc.

12 Trot Road

Littleton, MA 01460

Fax: (508) 688-9898

Phone: (508) 688-9800


I have built two sheet metal brakes in the last 6 months. The Gingery one, and

another that I found the plans for on the web, at the following url:

I by far like the one from the web better. It is easier to make, and the design

is a lot more forgiving.

Phil Rosche


I was paging through my Northern Hydraulic Catalog this morning and

noticed that they carry a couple of brakes, ranging in price from $27 up

to $600. They have a web page at , might be

worth it to check it out.

Drew J



Here's some sites 'n stuf;

A. G. Russell Encyclopedia of knives at Click on "#" to get some

descriptions of steels. Encyclopedia has other info on steels like D2, O1,

M2, M4, T15, stainless such as G2, 440. The knifemakers steel chart has

chemical contents of popular steels at

Excellent descriptions of tool steels at . Including annealing temps, quench

media, typical hardness.

What we've done is to invite a good metallurgist to speak at club meeting.

Videotape it for future viewing. Interesting concept at the meeting-"Chisel

Olympics". The steel used for the event was from railroad car springs.

Several people made chisels and they were matched off. Chisels were tested

by hitting against each other, best chisel won. Not real scientific, but a

good "real world" learning exercise.

David W.

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From: "Ron Reil" <>

Based on what we do now for our enjoyment, I have no doubt that I am far

from being alone in my explorations into the world of big booms and

instant holes in the ground. I think that blacksmithinging is a natural

progression of things. I should add that I am not really done yet because one of my

main reasons for building my cupola furnace is to eventually pour a taffrail

cannon of about 65 pounds. It will have a full strength steel liner

capable of taking the full powder charge all by itself to ensure that it is safe

to fire. I have a LONG way to go before I will be ready to try that

pour.....years. I still want to make big booms, but preferably not with

my forge......grin.



I highly recommend your acquiring a copy of the Artillerists Manual (spelling?)

published by Morningside Press. In this 19th century reprint, they detail

the various designs and manufacturing challenges faced when making cannons,

such as how decorations, and sudden changes in the shape of a cannon cause

weak spots (ie flared muzzels, decorative rings and crests, etc).

They also cover pouring techniques, and how and why various

techniques are more likely to blow up. Please do not understimate the force

involved in firing "blanks". Casting a cannon around a steel liner is

a big no-no, as literature has indicated that method is not safe, and

apparently a reoccuring problem of exploding amateur cannons. Professionally

made cannons are x-rayed to look for voids and faults, prior to firing


I also highly recommend spending a few sessions with a well trained

group of reinactors with a professionally made cannon, who follow the

nationally accepted safety rules. It is a good source of information on how

not to loose body parts. In the past few months at least 3 cannon accidents

were reported by people who were apparently breaking the accepted safety

rules in firing cannons. In one case a 15 year

old boy was allowed to ram the charge, and lost his hand. In another

case an amateur-made cannon blew up.

I am not trying to discourage you from your interest in cannons,

but only harbor the wish, friend to friend, that such interests are

expressed in as safe a manner as possible.

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>>I was wondering if anyone had or knew of plans for a metal cutting bandsaw

>that I might be able to construct without too much damage to the family

>cookie jar?

>Tim Duffy

There was a good post on this which I am copying in its entirety below:


Subject: Re: Band saws

A few years ago I bought the Harbor Freight version of this saw. (There are

significant differences between brands,BTW.) The blade that came with it

was junk, but served during the alignment of the saw. Once the oil (and

accompanying sand from the casting,) was removed and replaced with a good

lube oil, the wheels were made parallel and in line, and the blade guides

aligned properly, the saw cuts well and the blades (Starret Bi-Metal) last

a long time. I don't baby it much. I was recently slicing 8" bar for a

drop hammer, and routinely cut bars of 2 x 8" steel for my machine shop

students. Cuts through the hardened railroad track pretty well, too, (cut

from the bottom.)

Treat it as a kit of parts to be finished by you, and you'll have a useful tool.

At the Home metals shop club web site, George Carlson details adding a

stand with a coolant pump to his, at .

At his MODEL ENGINEER SUPPORT PAGE, Chris Heapy includes a couple of tips

on modifying the vices on these things to make them more useable, at

Hope these will help to let you get a bit more use out of that "worthless"

used saw. ;)


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No sweat cutting neat holes in SS. Use a white bi metal hole saw, Lennox

has worked for me. Low RPM, be easy on the down-pressure and make sure

the pipe is held firmly without deforming it, or it'll bind like the

dickens when you go through. If you're going through multiple walls at

an angle, pre-drill the pilot hole at the desired angle, through all the

layers. Then replace the pilot bit with a piece of smooth round stock,

the same size as the pilot hole, so it doesn't wallow out the pilot hole.

It also doesn't hurt to back the sheet with a formed piece of wood.

Clamp it in place before you drill the pilot hole and drop in a couple

slivers of wax before you use the hole saw.

Also, they make a heavy wall steel tri-wall stove pipe for folks that

want color.


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>A friend that makes atmospheric gas forges suggested using 68 sized

>orifices for welding. One frequently mentioned size is 1/16" or 52, I

>believe. OK what you think? If I have scale buildup, should I go to 68 or so?

>David W.

>Dallas, Texas

Unless I'm mistaken, the higher the number the smaller the hole. In my gas

forge I started with a #70, then redrilled to a #60. With the #60 (in very

limited use so far) scaling was minimal. Scale forms in an oxygen rich

atmosphere, so I'd think that going to a smaller orifice would only

increase scaling. But, on the other hand, I might be all wet with this thinking. It's the

thinking that gets me into trouble. <grin>

Dave Brown


>Please don't take this as being smart-ass. Building a propane forge is a

>shortly coming project, so the refractory question is one that I am

>considering now.

>I am thinking about a 10" pipe with about a 6" mailing tube in the middle

>for a form, then just burning out the mailing tube after pouring the

>castable refractory.

I would like to make a suggestion here, it is what i did and it worked well

for me.

My main forge is made from a piece of pipe 12 inches in dia and 20 inches

long, probable 1/4 inch wall thickness. I used it for years with a k-wool

lining but after repeated warnings of accumulitive health risks I put a

castable refractory in it. My research came up with the best castable

refractory being made by A.P.Green and is called "Mizzou" , good to 3000

degrees fer. to pour the refractory i stood my forge on end on a piece of

cardboard, inserted a cardboard tube 10 inches in diameter,(the kind the

lumber yard sells for pouring round post footings). make sure you have

something in place for your air as there is no drilling afterwards.

My doors on each end are just stacked up fire brick, these I can re-arrange

as need be. My castable is not anchored with any stainless anything and

has held together just fine, maybe the cylinder shape gives it the strength

it needs.

Some pointers,

Make sure your air intake is high on the side so as the fuel mix enters

your forge the air current will cause a swirling around the tube wall, this

makes for a hotter fire and better fuel combustion, you don't want your air

to just blast head on into the opposite wall from entry.

It is my opinion that a 6 inch forge as mentioned above would be to small

for most work and be a frustrating situation.

Having ran my forge as a full time smith with a Kaowool lining and also with

a castable I would say the castable gets just as hot as the k-wool but

there is a pre-heat time involved, maybe as much as 20 to 30 minutes until

maximum heat output. It is plenty hot enough to weld and I rarely run at

maximum high temp, I am satisfied with a good yellow heat.

Roger Olsen


Hey Ron...perhaps a long answer... and in my experience it's right on the mark.

Built a small one burner after a work shop we had using this design and

pipe fittings . Your post reminded me that I had stepped down twice

which makes a rough air path. It will burn back in the tube at low lp

preasure before it gets cooking.Since I can run with or without induced

draft it's not a problem and I'm going to make a BLOW - JOE liner of

copper ( polished ) to insert in the pipe fittings. Quess you know what

the result will be....

Would like to pass on a thing or two I picked up. I used a 30#

throw-a-way refrigerant drum....used the carrying handle ( once removed

) as legs ...two wrapes of KO and a couple of fire bricks in the bottom

and fired that sucker's a swell little furnace for my trip. I

named it TIGER LITTLE. Made a pilot lite also only because I'm so lazy.

You can also get 50# drums free if you ask a refrigeration guy nicely.

My feelings on posting the drawing on that burner design is POST IT.

It's OLD art .

Reguarding Using a strong tube for liquid LP (scares me) . Check out

what Coleman uses on there white gas camp stove. To give you reference

pt. I once blew out the wall of .25 ID refrigeration copper tube....

It took something OVER 4000 # . My SIL-FOSS joint held. I'm sure not

saying use copper as the heat would sure change things. Perhaps heat

cable wraped around the LP tank and some insulation Or ?????

Thanks for the post Ron....lar

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To All,

Many moons ago there was a string on here about forging a particular titanium

alloy that would give you "flu-like" symptoms. I was talking with a rep from

Teledyne Wah Chang today and the culprit seems to be the vanadium bearing

family of alloys, Ti-6Al-4V, etc. This is a common aerospace alloy. Most big

forging shops do not have this problem because of the ventilation and distance

between humans and the work. Besides a lot of the time the titanium has a

protective coating on it like glass to keep the air off of it. I am not aware

of any simple test to determine the alloy type. CP ( Commerically pure) is

virtually non toxic. If you want to play with titanium begin with CP. It

offers a much different feel than iron.

I am having the MSDS's faxed to me.


Return To Index



I definitely recommend you use Clay Spencer's plans.

The treadle hammer anvil/pedestal should be solid - the heavier the better.

Otherwise some of the hammers energy is transmitted into the ground

(Traumatizing the earth worms). Ideally your anvil should be about 10 times

the weight of your hammer.

Instead of using a turnbuckle in the adjustable link, I made it with one

piece of 1" x 25" gas pipe, welded a 3/4" right hand acme nut on top and

3/4" left hand nut on bottom and used R/L 10" x 3/4" acme all thread at

ends for the length adjustment.

Got the acme items from MSC supply. 800-645-7270


-----Original Message-----

From: Beaner3138 <>

Subject: Treadle Hammer

>I am looking to build the ABANA treadle hammer and was wondering if the solid

>pedestal is a big plus or will a heavy wall tub be ok for this? Also any

>other sugestions on building it or mods. for it will be appreciated.


>Steve Bean


>Has anyone built yet or have plans for a vertical treadle hammer? I

>haven't seen any yet and haven't heard any disadvantages to vertical

>hammers rather than the swinging style, but I have heard at least one

>advantage to the verticals (hammer alignment is easier for various

>widths of steel). Are they much harder to build? Or are there major

>disadvantages that noone's told me about yet? I would think that

>designing a vertical hammer would be a bit easier, but I would like some

>confirmation on that. If it's just a matter of noone making plans yet,

>than maybe someone would like to get together with me and figure out a

>few things, as I am planning on building one sometime in the next six

>months or so.

>-Eric Morgan


Vertical hammers are definitely easier to align the tools.

The vertical hammers I have seen todate do not have enough hammer head

movement to get it moving fast enough to be really effective. IMHO, you

need about 15" of motion to handle tall tools and get the hammer moving

fast enough. F=M(V squared).

I read in the SWABA newsletter that one of their members had made a

vertical motion hammer using inline skate wheels to guide the head.

I keep thinking about them and maybe one of these days.



Chuck Robinson wrote:

> Ross,

> I was building my treadle hammer with 2 other friends, since the acme all

> thread comes in 3' lengths it worked out right and was cheaper (about $12)

> than my sources for turnbuckles. The added advantage of my mod. is that the

> link is stiffer, the threads are much stronger, and at 6 TPI the hammer/

> treadle adjustment is faster.

> -----Original Message-----

> From: Ross Holden <>

> Subject: Re: Treadle Hammer

> Chuck:

I agree that the 6 TPI is a bonus, I'm using a 1" turnbuckle

which is easier to adjust than my first one with 3/4". It also seems a

lot stronger.

Instead of a rack and pinion I used a Nissan jack on this one

because I couldn't find another rack and pinion at the scrap yard. It

doesn't work near as nice as the rack and pinion on my old one and I'll

change it as soon as I find a set.

I used 3/8" leaf springs in mine because they were handy. And I

found that I could get away with only two coil spring halves instead of

three by moving the anchors back toward the adjusting rod a few inches.

I will probably pay for that later in shorter spring life. My first one

only had one heavy spring in about the same place. I got it for free and

made it work. I beefed up the material sizes for the pivot points a bit.

I found that stuffing fiberglass insulation down the 4" hss post took

the ring out of it. I also pushed 1/4" hose over the ends of the coil

springs to get rid of the squeak of metal on metal. It reduces wear on

the contact points as well. I also tacked a small piece of flat bar

beside the flats on the pivot bolts to keep them from turning and to

make the bosses do the work. I put "fold away" wheels on it to maximize

shop space.

I would suggest not putting a lot weld around the bottom of the

anvil to minimize distortion in the base plate. Good idea might be to

tack some removable gussets about 6" X 6" around the bottom of the

anvil before weld it to the base plate. Preheat it too. That should

reduce the distortion in the base plate that causes my hammer to rock

around a bit because I don't bolt it down.

I found that a good investment was a set of the treadle hammer

demo tapes starring our own Clay Spencer. I think these tapes are

available from ABANA. They are a must for anyone trying to learn to use

a treadle hammer without an instructor. I found that after I built my

first one I stood back admiring my new toy without a clue as to how to

use it effectively. I bought the tapes and found that I had a much more

valuable tool than I had guessed at first. I'd like to get a look at

those tapes of Clifton Ralph on the power hammer.

I also found that a good source of tool info is a reprint of the

July 1994 Bituminous Bits called The Big Hammer (once again.. Thanks

Clay). Although its mainly about power hammer tooling (by Clifton Ralph)

a lot of the tools can be used under a treadle hammer. I found it very

useful. I got mine from Norm Larson.

I'm certainly no authority on treadle hammers but I use it a lot

and find a real labor saver. The work I do involves drawing a lot of

tapers and the TH cuts that work in half at least. The neighbors are

duly impressed because it makes less noise than my anvil, believe it or

not. I just wish I could dance on one leg the way Clay can.:-)


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A test for lower temperatures encountered when forging aluminum and brass is

to rub a dry ash stick on the hot metal. The temperatures are indicated by the

effects on the stick. This test is also useful when heating iron in the blue

heat range.

660 F. Becomes sticky

680 F. More greasy

700 F. Starts to slide

720 F. Slips easily and starts to smoke

735 F. Slips very easily, smoke and a few sparks

750 F. More sparks

770 F. Lots of sparks

790 F. Starts to flame

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Check out the Tips link at the LAMA website

There is a set of plans and a description.

David Wilson wrote:

> At 8:42 AM -0600 12/7/97, Mark Mondloch wrote:

> >I would like to build the super-draft hood that is in the best of book

> >by the AABA but it seems to be missing the dimension for over all width

> >. Or does anyone have a better plan for a side draft hood ?

> I noticed that also. It's not to scale either. I don't have plan for you

> but I've heard that opening should be 10" and overall width 24". I can

> email you a photo of a great small one at the BOB4 meeting. Without the

> smoke shelf, you can get downdrafts and it aint a gonna draw well.

> David W.

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> << First I never wear a glove on my hammer hand ( got lots of right hand

> gloves around). I have been smithing for 26 yrs. or so and my favorite >>

> and speaking of gloves, I get my gloves from Harbor freight at about 6 pair

> for 9.99. They are leather palm and cloth back with the safety cuff and seam

> to hold up as well as the ones from the local hardware store. Does any one

> have a better supplier?

> Marc3

Leather gloves are only good to protect you from abrasion and

sparks. They aren't any use in protecting you against hot metal.

I use Kevlar gloves. They are much more insulating than leather. I've

found cotton hot mill gloves to be even better, but they wear too fast

for me. The Kevlar's are pretty durable.

Note that Carolina Glove will sell you just lefts or just rights, as

you wish.

Carolina Glove Company

PO Box 820

Newton, NC


I currently have their Hot Mill, Band top (KVA65285) gloves and I

think a pair was $15 including shipping. Next time I may see if they

have a little thicker glove.

Golden Needles Knitting and Glove

Wilkesboro, NC


Steven O

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First I never wear a glove on my hammer hand ( got lots of right hand gloves around). I have been smithing for 26 yrs. or so and my favorite handles are as follows. Hand made of hickory with 8 sides. the two sides parallel to the head side are larger than the other 6 sides. ( 3 on top, heal and 3 on the bottom, head face) . This configuration gives me very good control of the hammer, I can tell by feel, the angle of the head etc. Also hand made hammer handles usually come with out a varnish coating. I find this very slippery and it makes me tired just trying to hold on to it! NOTE----In order to get better traction with my hand I hold the hammer head in the vice and then drag a hack saw blade sideways several times along the handle giving the wood a rough surface that runs along the length of the handle . This makes the hammer much easier to hold onto thus less fatiguing. The proper way to tighten or set a loose head or to set a new head on a handle is to strike the bottom of the handle with a lesser hammer thus driving the handle into the head using momentum not by backing the head up or hitting the head to set it. I have used epoxy in some instances when a handle insists on coming loose. A point of note- handled sets, fullers, cutters, etc. should have a loose handle to absorb the shock of the striking action from the sledge. The best place to find hand made handles is in the country at flea markets and old tool stores. My best source is gone now he was an old timer in NC and would cut the log & set it in a creek for 6 to 8 months to let the water wash out the sap and the hand cut canoe paddles and other tool handles from the log. I don't know anyone else who did it that way but it made one hell of a handle!!!

Good luck. Bob Jordan

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> The top shaft in my Little Giant trip hammer had some play

in it that was causing the clutch pulley to hang up and not release fully.

Also wanting to true up the shaft to add a band brake,and have it work

properly,I decided to pour the babbets in the hammer sockets and caps.

> The first thing to do is pull the hammer apart and

thoroughly clean all parts and surfaces. Your objective is to melt the

babbet out of the pockets to reuse it,and to be able to run a micrometer on

the shaft to see where you stand on the condition of the shaft, as far as

out of round or undersized.

> If your shaft is close to standard(on a little giant

50lb.-the shaft should be 2"). You can rent the pouring

mandrel,collars,laddle,shim blocks,spacers,babbetrite daming compound,chian

and bungee,and finish gasket-shim set from Sid at little giant for a very

small fee and certainly can't make it for that. If you

happen to need babbit Sid also sells that in small easy to melt blocks.

> When you find out the condition of your shaft, if it is out

of round or undersized the nice thing about babbit is that you can place the

shaft in a lathe and turn it till it's true again and the babbits will pour

to that size. You won't be able to use Sid's mandrel at this point but

making a pouring shaft out of some turn,ground and polished,is an

inexspensive solution to your situation.

> If your shaft has to be replaced,be aware of the tapered

keyways in the flywheel and spider. That means you have to push the part one

way pull the keys then press it off. Measuring the keyways at both ends will

tell you what to do.

> Now that you know where you stand,and have some sort of

plan,you are ready to begin. Cleaning up the babbit areas before you melt

the old babbit out is a good idea to keep less impurities in the babbit when

your melting for your bearing pour. Melt out the babbit with a torch and

protective clothing is required as this material will burn you. The proper

gear would be a resperator to protect you from Lead fumes,eye protection

(preferably a full face shield), gloves(heavy or heat resistant),and some

sort of leather apron in case of a spill. This material is heavy due to the

lead content.

> Clean up all your surfaces with a wire brush or if you have

a small sand blaster,that works well also.

> Flat file all the parting surfaces.

> Roll babbitrite into pencil size shapes( 3/8" x 10")

> Press babbitrite into recesses in collars.

> Assemble two inner collars on shaft.

> Place the shaft after you have put a coating of soot(from

an oxy-acet torch set real rich),onto the brass spacers--one in each

cavity-(this centers the shaft up and down in cavity). Left to right

alignment is eyeballed. The soot on the shaft acts as a release agent for

getting the shaft out of the babbit after the pour. Other products can be

used such as white out,white shoe polish,or dykem. Soot is easiest to clean

up on the shaft after,but the other products can be used on shims,matching

surfaces, and collars, to make them release easier.

> Use chain and bungee to hold shaft down to keep it from moving.

> Slide inner collars into position-pressing Babbitrite

against journal to form seal.

> Install end collars--pressing to form seal.Use additional

Babbitrite to make certain of good seal wherever needed.

> Preheat to approximately 350-375 degrees (a good method to

tell the temperature you are at, are tempil sticks which indicate the heat

that they are labeled for). Keep the flame away from the babbitrite. It will

harden and shrink away if allowed to get to hot........this causes it to leak.

> Have babbit heating while preheating the journals. The

babbit is hot when a pine stick held in it for 3-4 seconds comes out with a

little brown scorch. Avoid Excessive Heating. Water and moisture will cause

this molten metal to pop out with steam so your pot and laddle should not be

dipped or used while wet or damp. The impurities can be skimmed off with a

spoon or flatbar so the pour will be clean(just skim the surface). An old

cast iron pan makes a good melting pot as long as it's dry and not cracked.

> Pour melted babbit into lower half of each bearing. Be sure

to get it full / pouring as fast as you can safely? Don't mess around. Allow

it to cool for 10-15 minutes.

> Remove shaft and collars from the machine.

> Dress parting surfaces with flat file. Get babbit

down,flush with cast iron.

> Roll out more Babbitrite and press into collars again.

> Install two center collars on shaft and soot up the

shaft.Set the shaft back into the bottom bearing halves.

> Instahl metal spacers(approximately 3/16" thick)using a

release agent on them.

> Place bearing caps on top of spacers,and Install

bolts,snugging them lightly.Check the ends to see if additional Babbitrite

needs to be used at spacer area. If any places look like a possible leak a

small amount of furnace cement can be wiped on to stop leaks also.

> Tighten all the bolts.

> Install the end collars / Press all four collars against

frame tightly to seal. Use additional Babbitrite to seal.

> Preheat caps only to approximately 350-375 degrees.

> Have babbit heating /check tempurature.

> Pour babbit in the top half through the oil holes. POUR


> Allow to cool.........Dissasemble.

> Dress parting surfaces with a flat file.

> Dress bearing ends to flat and check end play in shaft file

more if needed.

> Small folds and lines in bearing are acceptable.

> Drill oil holes and cut oil grooves in the top half.

> Clean and burnish bearing surface.(Scotchbrite pads work

well)wiping in the direction that the shaft turns helps keep oil against

shaft during break in. Dulling the very edges where the bearings come

together helps to keep the sharp edges from wiping the oil from the shaft.

> Oil and assemble.

> Adjust bearings with shims --slight drag--no up and down play.

> Readjust after 3 or 4 hours of operation.

> Never allow to get loose enough to have any play up or down.


Ron, What do you think? could you pour a set of hammer bearings from these

directions or would you have any more Questions? I also have eight pictures

to go with this to show some of the things I'm talking about. Unfortunately

I can't send them to you except by snail mail. If you'd like a set let me

know. I will probably send a set to Sid and ask him if it's ok to put these

on the metal web news page, as they are his directions with about ten

paragraphs of tips and tricks that I added,as well as the pictures to

clarify questions that I had with his directions. That'll teach

yea to ask me what the scrapers are for!

> Thanks, Ralph

Return To Index

Go to Volume #2, soon to be released, for a continuation of this document.

Compiled by Ron Reil

Edited With: AOLpress

5 Dec. 98