Nobody Special

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About Nobody Special

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    Senior Member

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    Oak Harbor, Wa
  • Interests
    Smithing, casting, running, almost anything involving historical engineering. A shiny new hobby or bit of knowledge a day practically.

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  1. Vulcans were made by Illinois Iron and Bolt, starting in the 1870s, and running for about 100 years. The reason they were quiet, and you shouldn't mess with the face is that they have a cast iron body with a thin steel face. Makes for a quiet anvil that's fairly cheap to produce. Fisher did the same thing and so did Southern Crescent. Fishers are great, Southern Crescents are lousy, and Vulcans...are hit and miss. The good ones are great, the ones made at four o'clock on Friday, not so much. The face looks good what you can see of it. If it's clean, and the rebound is decent, maybe three or four bucks a lb in the eastern United States. Out where I'm at in Washington now, maybe a buck or so more. Anvils are like hens teeth out here. (and all but my little 75 lb Columbian are in Georgia, dang it). And also, looking at your name, I'd also caveat that with don't use it as a welding surface, you'll make soft spots on the face.
  2. Doesn't look quite even across the top, any wear or hammer marks as a clue?
  3. Sure, that's fine for you, but I had my tonsures and my adenoids removed.
  4. Beware the Jabber-vise my son, the jaws that bite, the claws that catch. Beware the Jubjub...I dunno, anvil stand, beware the Frumious Curmudgeonsnatch! Oy...I stretched poetic license too far, and I think I broke it. Does anyone know a good blacksmith?
  5. Hello, You've got most of the requisite warnings that melting iron is dangerous and expensive. Bloomeries are less so, and leave you a workable product at the end instead of cast iron. Where are you at? I would highly recommend checking out groups in your area (and it may have to be a larger area) that do iron pours if that is what you are into.
  6. I have used portland cement in the past, using the recipe at the site formerly known as I forget what they're called now. If I remember correctly, it was 1 portland cement, 1.5 parts sand, 1 part perlite, and 1.5 parts fireclay, with the first three mixed together, then fireclay added last and mixed with as little water as you can get away with. It worked...but it was problematic. Definitely not as effective as a good refractory. I used it on and off for several years without spalling at temperatures suitable for melting aluminum or lower temperature metals, but at higher temperatures, it..well, it didn't explode, it just kind of degraded, got brittle, and fell apart a lot quicker. Pieces started to break off of the inside and required patching when you poured bronze, copper, or brass. Not explode, just kind of cracked and gradually fell to the bottom over multiple uses. Not really desirable, and you ended up having to cover your crucible. I did have one rather glorious explosion in one furnace, but that was due to a failure to ram the refractory in properly, which allowed a gap in which water collected. The thing about cement is it's porous. And any porous material that collects water is prone to nasty steam explosions. Honestly, with homemade refractories, I did about as well with a 50/50 sand/fireclay mix over grog, with maybe 10 percent straw or sawdust built in and baked out. It's about as effective as a refractory, and easier to work with. The real way to go is to buy a proper refractory and use it. It's cheaper in the long run, and far more effective. Have you looked at the Gingery books, or the website above?
  7. Yesterday's Peddinghaus and today's Peddinghaus are not the same anvils. Both are nice, but the older ones are often quite better quality. I've played a bit on both, and was happy with each. I haven't used the other two brands. Joey van der Steeg is very knowledgeable of the german brands, and used to hang out both here and in the blacksmithing forums on Facebook, sometimes under the name TechnicusJoe, although he's a bit quieter these days. If all you are concerned about is a large striking anvil, have you considered obtaining a block of 4140 or some similar? When striking with a hammer that large goes awry, it can be tough on the anvil. Good luck any way you choose to go.
  8. Used to use something similar with dry ice to pull small dents and dimples out in sheet metal. Put it (or often enough, park it) in the sun on a hot day, then run dry ice over it when it was good and hot. Pulls small rock dings out of a car nicely.
  9. Think they're long out of the coal business. There was someone selling bituminous near Olympia that advertised on Craigslist, but they were about 50 cents a lb. If you get a positive response though, let me know. I may pick some up the next time I go to drill at Lewis.
  10. True, but we wouldn't be into smithing if we didn't like doing things the hard way for the joy of it sometimes. I've also had a couple of frankenvises that worked fairly well. If all else fails, and it's old enough, (to not be mild steel) he may have a perfectly good chunk of wrought iron to play with. I second (or fourth?) the acetone tranny fluid mix, with the addition that I like to toss jammed up bits in the back of the pickup after applying and drive around with them for a few days. The vibration and such seems to decrease the time it takes to penetrate the rust.
  11. Heh heh...and the police don't understand when you sneak into the yard in the middle of the night to give it a gentle wire brushing and BLO either...not that I would know from experience. AHEM... You see officer, I was just trying to preserve...why no, there's no need for handcuffs...
  12. I can't find my pics, but small stock squared, tapered, and twisted makes cute icicles for the tree. Keep it little though, gets heavy fast. Also, hand forged stocking holders proved popular.
  13. Been living in very humid areas. BLO soak or antifreeze soak seems to help, but not enough by itself. I've taken to making a round metal wedge a lot of the time and using it with a wooden wedge. Usually works great, but every once in awhile I'll get one that just doesn't seem to stay put no matter what I do. It's twice as bad if it's a struck tool. (Yes, I know the debate about not wedging struck tools...)
  14. Well, the main difference to me would be the potential for inconsistency. A chain, famously is as weak as it's weakest link. One bad weld, however it was done would make for a weak chain. For calculating working load strength, I suppose you could always do it the same way they used to. Test some to destruction with huge weights. Of course, breaking strain is funny. I was always taught with rope that the longer it is, the less tension it can handle safely. Not sure it applies to chain. And of course working limits are only a fraction of the breaking strain.