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Matt Bower

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Posts posted by Matt Bower

  1. Check the flash temperature - it is VERY LOW. It would be dangerous to try that!


    Thanks, Scott. I feel like a bit less of an idiot now. Having said that, isn't the autoignition temperature the really key one, in terms of safety? (If I understand correctly, flash point indicates a bit of a flare-up while autoignition equals major eruption.) I ask this because while the flash point of WD-40 is quite low, the autoignition temp isn't too bad.

  2. My comment was directed at WD-40, which in my experience seems to be a lot more flammable than diesel. Upon further investigation, though, maybe not so much. In any event, I was only trying to suggest that a little caution may be warranted when experimenting with novel, flammable quenchants. I do apologize for making the point in the smart-@$$ way I did.


    With respect to the cost issue, WD-40's price in one gallon cans is around $15/gallon, which is comparable to or better than the prices I've seen for small quantities of commercial quenching oils. (I think I paid a bit more than that for my P50 from Darren Ellis, including shipping, but I don't remember exactly what I paid.)

  3. I wasn't familar with that story. Thanks for mentioning it! I don't know what the knife looked like, but you can reach Wolhuter's grandson through his web page. (That's where I found the lion story just now.) He might be able to help you. That's a family heirloom if ever there was one. I'll bet he has photos, and quite possibly the actual knife.



  4. (1) Your steel crucible will get fairly floppy at copper melting temps.


    (2) Molten copper alloys will dissolve iron, such as the iron in your steel crucible. The zinc in your brass also becomes corrosive to iron at high temperatures. (This may also be true of silver. I don't know.) This will add impurities to your copper and brass (and maybe your silver), and it'll eventually eat your crucible away from the inside-out. Even if your welds are perfect, sooner or later you will spring a leak. Plan accordingly.


    Judging from the photo, you don't seem to think that you need a very large crucible. That being the case, maybe you could afford to spring for a commercial clay-graphite crucible. Small ones aren't very expensive, and they don't suffer from the problems that steel crucibles do (though even ceramic crucibles will eventually fail).




    I like the idea of casting into a divot in a firebrick. It's even cheaper than a clay-graphite crucible, and it solves all the steel crucible problems.


    If I understand Ed's suggestion correctly, he's recommending a wood ingot mold. That might work, but I wonder if it wouldn't produce some awfully gassy ingots?


    Cast iron muffin tins are often used as makeshift ingot molds. Yes, copper/brass may eventually dissolve them, but it'll take a long time.

  5. I can't give you any specific recommendations, but you might try looking for a company that operates/rents excavators with hydraulic hammers. Maybe you can get someone to make you a good deal on a worn-out breaker bit. Some of the ones I've seen look just perfect for a power hammer anvil. (A bit of the diameter you want may need to be cut down a little in length.) Another plus is that I would expect the steel to be just about perfect for use as an anvil, considering the type of abuse it's intended to handle.

  6. I suggest you go with maximum insulation and minimum castable, consistent with: (1) the interior size of the forge you want (could you get a bigger shell?); (2) protecting the wool from mechanical damage; (3) providing a flux-resistant floor; and (4) sealing in the wool. The ITC 100 is a good idea.

  7. It's here, under both "super quench" and "superquench." But there's no harm in re-posting it, I suppose.


    It's worth pointing out that this was designed for mild steel. It's extremely fast. I'd be way too skeered to try it on a proper blade steel.

  8. I think it's Alexander Weygers (The Complete Modern Blacksmith) who recommends using brass shim stock on edge, run parallel to the teeth, to clean files. The brass is soft enough that the file teeth cut down into it, so it quickly comes to fit the file teeth and grooves perfectly. Then it simply pushes the filings and other crud right out of the teeth.


    This guy is doing the same sort of thing using wood and bamboo: http://www.frets.com/FretsPages/Luthier/Ti.../fileclean.html

  9. Have you considered peanut or canola oil? Peanut oil runs about $11/gallon (I'm not sure about canola), and they're both much more highly regarded by the resident quenchant guru around here. They're also easy to find. You can buy 3 gallon containers of peanut oil at the hardware store, back where they keep the turkey fryers.


    By the way, three gallons of P50 cost me a lot less than 3x$37.50!

  10. Ken,


    Your 60XX/70XX electrodes contain in the neighborhood of 0.06% carbon -- in other words, almost none. I do think this is kind of a neat idea, though; don't get me wrong. Again, if you were to get a piece of, say, 1095 and lay down your beads on each side of that, then forge them down, then lay down some more beads . . . you might be onto something. But yeah, keep at the forge welding too.


    Your diagnosis of your problems sounds plausible. You might also want to be sure you're working in a neutral or reducing part of the fire, but I'm not sure I can tell you how to do that in a charcoal fire.

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