John McPherson

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About John McPherson

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    Grumpy Old Guy

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  • Location
    Charlotte, NC
  • Interests
    Full Time Welding Instructor/CWI, occasional blacksmith.


  • Location
    Charlotte, NC

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  1. Here in the regulated and industrialized sectors of the US of A, Occupational Safety inspected (OSHA) shops will fire you on the spot for running a grinder without a guard, taped electrical cords, no safety glasses, etc. However, if you are self-employed, or work an off the books job in 'Murica!, then everything is fair game. There are plenty of websites and memes with photos of folks doing stupid stuff. One of my biggest problems with training students to go into the welding industry is convincing them that I am serious about safety. One student who PROUDLY went by the nickname of Cletus had taken out the windshields of two different F150 pickups with his head, because he refused to wear a seatbelt. You just can't reach some folks.
  2. Oh, ye of little google-fu. Just because you can't do it at home, does not mean that there are not multiple industrial processes under the heading of solid state welding.
  3. Traditionally, WI was welded with an oxy-acetylene torch. The self-fluxing nature of the silica strands made it flow well. 7018 seems to work a little better (for me, YMMV) than 6010 because it should be run about 25-50% hotter for a similar diameter, and has powdered iron in the flux.
  4. Fluxes scavenge oxides from the surfaces, allowing you to get clean metal-to-metal contact necessary for a weld. Can anybody weld easily without it? Yeah, experts, in coal forges. Noobs in gas forges: lotsa luck! The rest of us, somewhere it the middle. Original wrought iron welds to itself fairly well because it has low carbon content and silica strands internally, making it self-fluxing. Modern steels have none of the advantages, and the more alloying elements added, the harder to weld. Stainless steels require a really aggressive flux that is actually a breathing hazmat item when heated. In a *correctly shaped* joint, using the *right amount* of force, at the *right spots*, the hot flux squirts out when force is applied, taking the surface oxides with it. And the metal plates are joined cleanly, and without trapped flux or un-fused spots. Piece of cake baked alaska with a handmade fondant and piping roses. And yes, screaming hot flux spray means that you better have: visitor standoffs and screens, safety glasses, leather apron, buckets of water or a hose handy. You CAN set the grass on fire 30' away. Ask me how I know.
  5. John McPherson


    The spring *may* be original. Towards the end of the blacksmithing era/Great Depression years, to stay in business many manufacturers made things as stripped down and cheaply as possible: rough finishes, no chamfers or decorative flourishes, etc. coil vs leaf springs, etc.
  6. Western, Plumb, and Collins all made paired sets for the Boy Scouts** at one time or another, fleaBay usually has several for sale. Never seen one with black leather, always brown. Also never seen a stacked leather handle hatchet, but surely there is a collector site somewhere with everything listed. The rare ones are the Official Girls Scout sets: once upon a time they made them too!
  7. Sweet gum is not used for lumber because the wood has a spiral twist to the cross-linked grain. Makes for warped boards and miserable to split without a massive hydraulic ram. Cuts easily with a saw when green, badly when dried out. It rots very quickly in ground contact. Overall, considered a trash tree like elm and southern ironwood. However, it makes great stump as long as you keep it dry. It will check around the edges, but never split. Strip the bark off, seal the base, put three treated lumber feet on it to keep it off the concrete*, and it will give you years of service. *ANY untreated wood will rot and get buggy here in the south if left in contact with unsealed concrete. A four inch scrap of treated 2x4 lagged to the bottom makes an ideal standoff.
  8. An 80 pound anvil would be lucky to start out with a 3/8" plate. That size was considered to be a bench or travel anvil, portable and convenient to relocate, or load and unload multiple times a day. Always meant to be used by one person with a one-handed hammer for light work. The more that you thin out that top plate, the faster the swayback happens as you use the anvil. You lose the stiffness of the hardened high carbon steel top plate, and the softer wrought iron core deforms more quickly. Also, there is a certain amount of work hardening that happens as a function of hammering. Taking off a few thousandths of an inch reveals a softer layer, so it erodes and dents even more than before. If you want perfection, buy a new cast steel anvil. That way, when you chip the edges and put dents and dings in the face (and you will, as a beginner), you can mill it down to your heart's content, and still have good steel left.
  9. IMHO, that is not a hammer, but a tamping tool for sand casting large foundry flasks. Probably made in the foundry, as many were. The only large cast hammers that I have seen have been for crushing coal or driving wooden fence posts. Is the hammer head cast onto a section of pipe, or is it all one piece? What is the profile of the head? More pics would help, and a ruler or other object for scale.
  10. Looks a lot like a Kanca anvil pattern. Western Europe tends to have a lot more Turkish and east European imports than we do in North America.
  11. Around here, the plate alone would be $200, the table another $200, each large stake $50 to $150, and the small stuff that does not really belong another $100. But it all is really only good to a tinsmith, or someone who does large scale non-ferrous art forms.
  12. Short answer: when a wrought iron anvil was forged to the final shape, there was a relatively thin plate, or several plates of high carbon steel forge welded to the wrought body as the working face. It had to be quenched under a stream of water to harden that steel face. Edges cooled faster than the center, thus ending up more brittle. Always a balancing act between the edge hardness and center softness. Modern induction hardening of homogenous cast anvils eliminates this problem.
  13. In regards to flammable hair in a welding shop, ZZ Top style beards protruding from the hood are not a huge problem unless the owner uses some type of oily product as a grooming aid. A bushy beard seems to help block some of the reflective light coming from the chest area. Dreadlocks though, they are a problem. I had at least one student use a green fabric welding sleeve to cover the bundle sticking straight out of the back of his headgear. Looked like one of the Alien characters from the side, I wish now that I had taken a picture....
  14. Where you are located is going to make a huge difference in your options and pricing. Since you posted prices in pounds and weight in kilos, in the UK and most of Europe, old anvils are much more readily available and cheaper than in the US. And no, steeling a cast iron doorstop (ASO) is a fool's errand. Buying all the quality that you can afford now is never a bad decision in hindsight.