John McPherson

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About John McPherson

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    Grumpy Old Guy
  • Birthday October 20

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


  • Location
    Charlotte, NC

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  1. No water, water based, or water containing compounds ever on carbon steel. Alcohols will actually draw moisture from humid air. Maybe not much, but enough. And at $30 US per gallon, there are cheaper alternatives for metal finishing. Once you thoroughly clean the surface, it will flash rust, as in right before your eyes. Using a heat gun will not be fast enough to dry it before it starts to rust.
  2. Isopropyl alcohol contains 10-30% water, which is why no one who does car restoration uses it. Far better to use mineral spirits or acetone as a final cleaner/degreaser.
  3. "I can't cite a single historical record, account or eyewitness report, or otherwise document anything I am about to say, but I KNOW......"
  4. Natives of Charleston, SC refer to James Island as Jim Island. The Geechies just love to confuse us uplanders.
  5. Traditional? Like The Blacksmith (no that is not a typo) selling authentic period correct hand made MIG welded squirrel cookers at ACW re-enactments traditional? Or the many, many folks online selling "rot iron" traditional? In a hundred years, folks will be bragging about their great grandpa who was a REAL blacksmith, with a hunk of RR track, a brake drum forge burning briquettes, and just, well, EVERYTHING! And Thomas, *I* would certainly never call you niggardly in your post count!
  6. Nit picking, I know. Normalized, reheated, QUENCHED and tempered? By what methods? Inquiring minds want to know!
  7. Lou, you don't think it was done by a couple of bored old Yankee troopers nostalgic for the good ol' days of wrecking Confederate smithys? A memento smuggled back in a saddlebag? And of course, Rebel troops never made it that far north in a retaliatory raid. I mean, it's not like its a weak spot or anything?
  8. My wife says that I am seldom romantic, usually semantic, and always pedantic, so here goes nuthin': I think some of us are confusing 'traditional' with 'place specific and period correct'. Traditional may mean the way that the craft was taught, and the methods used to manipulate the metal, usually in your specific area. Thumb on top vs thumb alongside, for example. (Pulls pin, throws and ducks for cover.) Or it may mean a family tradition, which becomes a legacy, if not a dynasty. Daniel Boone was a blacksmith, Dan Boone is a blacksmith, with an unbroken lineage of smiths going back at least 250 years. Another Blue Ridge traditional lineage of smiths is the Kayne family. America, Australia, and other expansionist colonies turned countries, never had sufficient time or a monolithic culture to develop traditional methods. They had a polyglot populace of immigrants in an unending stream, and an expanding frontier, AND technological advancement all happening at once. Every generation or so was doing something different in the blacksmith shop, even if the shop was on the same site. Wrought iron was replaced by the homogeneous steels, teams of strikers were replaced by an evolutionary line of power hammers, horseshoeing by auto repairs, etc. So, if you ask me to portray a smith on a prosperous 2000 acre antebellum cotton plantation 5 miles from the US Mint in a gold boom town in 1836, you get a charcoal fire and fine home accents being produced on a chunky English anvil by a guy in pocketless pants held up by bracers with a pullover shirt. If I am portraying the smith at the same smithy in the Great Depression of 1936, you get sharecropper neighbor's farm repairs and mule shoes for cash or trade on an 8 acre home site. "Too poor to paint, too proud to whitewash" the crumbling mansion. Done with a coal fire and a sleeker London pattern anvil, by a guy in brogans, worn overalls and a button up shirt.
  9. Books? FREE BOOKS? You can't even BUY books anymore, or maps either, for that matter. But you can get a free download for your phone, or if you are a dinosaur like me, a desktop computer. All it takes is a bunch of YOUR money for the phone and the carrier. (Grumble, grumble. And you kids get off of my lawn!) All of the welding manufacturers have free downloadable apps for the different welding processes.
  10. JHCC is channeling the Weird Al Yankovic vibe! Waiting on the video! (Scary, I am actually old enough to remember when MTV played music videos.)
  11. What a coincidence. Tomorrow is our 40th wedding anniversary. Someone asked what 40 was, since it was not Silver, Gold, or Diamond. My reply: "Forbearance!" "Behind every great man, there is a great woman. Rolling her eyes and biting her tongue."
  12. Easy enough to google anvil makers in Milwaulkee, but they were tight lipped on the descriptions on-line, and you have already reached out to them. Fontanini and Nimba both make theirs out of AISI/SAE 8640, which would be a strong possibility for yours as well. Emersons are 4140. Both fall within the ASTM A148 range of chemistry. Would they tell you how they do it? Maybe. Or they may just have theirs induction hardened commercially. Rhino now uses an air hardening chrome-nickel-molybdenum-manganese alloy. Old World just states high carbon-manganese alloy. Peddinghaus and Kanka are drop forge C45. Others are even more vague. No help there. Submerging just the face down in a 1000 gallon tank with a 100gpm pump shooting straight up may or may not be enough to break the vapor blanket and chill the center of the face equally with the edges. The pump is going to have to run for an hour or so while the body cools down. Let us know how it turns out!
  13. Holly, no one is ridiculing you. You asked for historical information and value, and I answered you in the first two lines of my response. I have a 2000 model year Ford Expedition, with the deluxe Eddie Bauer package. Cost new: $40K. 18 years later, 260K miles, busted windshield, leaky sunroof, ripped leather seats, rust spots, wheezy engine, 12 miles per gallon, etc. 5 years ago I purchased it for $4K. Now worth: $2K if I am lucky. Which is what I have put into it in repairs in the last year. It is as much at the end of it's life as your anvil is. Sorry that you did not win the Antiques Roadshow lottery, but there it is. I do have a beef with some of the members who love to repeat nonsense. The rest of my diatribe was a rebuttal to that load of horse poo that has dogged the internet for 20 years.
  14. Just the words "MOUSE HOLE" puts it between about 1780 and 1795. Original weight 1*1*24 translates to 112+28+24 or 164 pounds when whole. I would not personally pay more than $50 for one in that condition, but the world seems to have lost its mind, you could get much more for that lump on Craigslist. Thank you Internet, for continuing to spread disinformation without a source. Is there a Snopes on this subject, so we can finally put this to rest? I have lived my whole life in the South, 60+ years, amidst folks who lived and breathed minutia about "The War of Northern Aggression", and never once was the topic of Yankee anvil abuse mentioned until a Virginia antique dealer rust hustler tried to RAISE the asking price of his worthless scrap by trotting out this claptrap in the late 1990's. If the story was even half true, ONLY THE HORNS WOULD BE BROKEN, never the heel. And they would have been repaired or replaced at the first opportunity. Horns and heels are weak welds on old wrought anvils. The South was poor to begin with, and destitute for over a half century after the war, so everything got used past the point that a prosperous society would tolerate. As the face of this old relic will attest.
  15. The official soundtrack to this thread has become Jimmy Buffett. "You got fins to the left, fins to the right..."