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Alan Longmire

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Posts posted by Alan Longmire

  1. Plain polycarbonate (with coatings) has always been good enough for me.  Trivex isn't necessarily more impact resistant, it just meets the ANSI Z87+ specs at a slightly lighter weight (read thinner lens) than polycarbonate.  Unless your regular glasses are coke bottle bottoms you probably won't even notice the difference.  I did the glass lens mistake once, and the ultra-high index plastic (+$40!)mistake once. Glass is too heavy with my scrip, not to mention the other issues I already said.  The ultra-high index plastic are technically lighter than poly, but I couldn't tell the difference with those frames.   Once I hit early middle age and my vision started heading downhill fast I started needing a new prescription every other year or so, so I've had time to experiment.   

  2. Your research is correct, that's exactly what happens.  I'm sure it will work with 15n20 / 1075.  


    If you want to go down another rabbit hole of research, that flux formula is also a good stoneware pottery glaze.  The sodium in the salt will combine with the silica and alumina in the clay to produce a glass. The color of the glass depends on the kiln atmosphere and whatever impurities it absorbs from the clay.  When you put that on steel, it will then absorb other elements from the surface of the steel.  The chlorine (and everything else) combines with oxides and hopefully leaves the forge as a relatively harmless vapor.


    In the pottery kiln, they use a LOT more salt, and the excess chlorine leaves as a VERY harmful vapor.  Once in the open air it will combine with atmospheric hydrogen to produce a weak hydrochloric acid, but fresh from the kiln chimney it's just chlorine.   With the small amount of salt you're using I wouldn't be concerned.  

  3. Plus you saved it from a couple of junior bush-ninja!  :lol:  I have seen a wakizashi of unknown age and an Ames model 1850 foot officer's sword that were reduced to sorry wrecks by such treatment. Little boys and decent swords don't mix without supervision.

  4. Definitely go polycarbonate. Lighter (MUCH lighter if you have my miserable vision), more impact resistant, and flux spatter/sputterballs from electric welding don't stick.  They do stick to glass, and will lay your finger open when you try to brush them off.  


    I get these:  https://rx-safety.com/shop/master-safety-glasses/prescription-safety-glasses/prescription-safety-glasses-rx-75/


    I'd like the ones Geoff uses, but I also like the retro nerd look of mine.  Plus they're cheap enough not to worry about messing up, unless you get progressive lenses.  I get the UV and IR coatings just for fun, and anti-fog because in the summer I tend to fog lenses pretty badly.  


    If you do need bifocals, be sure your eye doc gives you the segment height you need.  That's the point on the lens where the magnification kicks in.  Too low and you can't use 'em, too high and you have to look down to see distant objects.  

    • Thanks 1
  5. Well, that outcome was always a possibility. :( But!  As you said, you have learned more about how this works, and that's worth the price of admission.  It can be a large hit to the ego, but accept it in good faith and you'll go far. 


    I learned enough at my first big show as an exhibitor (Contemporary Longrifle Association, September 2001) that it really changed my perspective of what is expected of art and craft.  My table was right behind one of the biggest names in the field at the time, and he was a blast to talk to.  I still use some of his tricks to "antique" objects, and also to identify fakes.  If you know how it's done, it's easy to spot! I also learned just how much a name can account for in pricing.  That particular gentleman could sell tomahawks for $10K all day long, while mine at the time were lucky to get $250 for the same level of quality.  

    • Thanks 1
  6. Use a xx slim triangular file to cut a sunburst pattern on the head, leaving the slot intact enough to be functional. Chase some patterns.  Lots of ways to dress up a slotted screw head.  Look at flintlock lock bolt heads for inspiration.   A xx slim taper file and a 120 degree push graver let you do what's basically chip carving in metal.


    And I like the design!  B)

    • Like 1
  7. 5 hours ago, Francis Gastellu said:

    my original source was this.


    And that's a good source! Especially the part about why true anhydrous, while slightly hygroscopic, will not revert to a hydrated form unless fully dissolved in water and recrystallized. People sometimes ask me, why bother with anhydrous since it's just going to revert to 20-mule-team after being exposed to the air? The answer is, it doesn't.  It gets a little sticky, but it cannot reabsorb the chemically bound water unless dissolved. That's why those expensive fluxes like Iron Mountain, EZ-Weld, etc. never "go bad."  It can't.


    11 hours ago, billyO said:

    what was the difference between this and if I had a vacuum furnace? 


    Without doing it in a vacuum you get atmospheric impurities, which is why yours was dark greenish-black.  Every impurity it absorbs from the atmosphere is one it can't absorb from the steel.  So it still works, just not as strongly.  Pure anhydrous borax is transparent, but looks white due to dust from grinding it up.   The glass that spatters off a weld is that greeny-black from all the stuff it absorbed while keeping the steel clean.

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  8. 3 hours ago, Francis Gastellu said:

    it could always be cooked into anhydrous if one cares enough (though that's a bit messy... Ymmv!)


    There's a bit of internet mythology that you can make anhydrous borax by baking the decahydrate at 320 C / 600 F for a few hours.  This is false.  That method will give you a slightly less hydrated borax, perhaps the pentahydrate, but not fully anhydrous.  For that you need a vacuum furnace and must bring the decahydrate to a fully molten state. After cooling it will be a solid block, which then must be ground into granules.


    Since I can get anhydrous almost as cheaply as the decahydrate here, I don't worry about it.  I get mine here: https://www.soapgoods.com/borax-anhydrous-p-887.html. A six-pound jar lasts me several years.  Note the price of one pound; $4.75.  Compare that with a certain blacksmith supply house that sells it for $20/lb.  

    • Like 1
  9. Eexcellent! Je suis ravi que cela fonctionne si bien. B) J'ai pris la liberté de traduire, car cela aidera les autres!


    I took the liberty of translating, since this will help others!


    I tried this flux, composed of:

    2 parts clay reduced to powder

    2 parts wood ash

    2 parts salt

    1 part charcoal


    It was really very efficient! I was able to weld pieces 1095-1095, 1095 - mild steel, mild steel - mild steel in two batches.

    You just have to be careful not to inhale the fumes that are created when you sprinkle the flux on the billet.


    The advantages are that the salt helps the flux adhere even at low temperatures (lower than quenching). Unlike sand which requires very high heat to stick.

    I opened one of the welds, let it oxidize to scale, fluxed, then welded again...Without cleaning, it worked. Except for one piece that was too dirty, I simply heated it to yellow, cleaned it with a knife blade, then refluxed it, heated it again and it welded perfectly.


    I think this is an interesting feed for those who don't have access to borax. It really is much easier than ash or sand alone. I was even able to open a 1095-1095 weld, let it oxidize, flux without cleaning, and weld again... Something impossible with sand because the temperatures are too low and the flux is not powerful enough to dissolve the scale of the weld. the first heat...


    Alan this recipe is really cool!

    • Like 2
  10. Je pense que ça marcherait! Peut-être moins de charbon de bois, car il y a du carbone dans l'atmosphère du feu. Un peu, c'est bien, cependant, cela crée une atmosphère réductrice pour aider à reconvertir les oxydes en fer.


    I think that would work!  Maybe less charcoal, as there is carbon in the atmosphere of the fire.  A little is good, though, it makes a reducing atmosphere to help convert oxides back to iron.

  11. Oui, vous voulez quelque chose d'assez alcalin pour tamponner l'oxygène et quelque chose de vitreux pour maintenir les oxydes en suspension.


    De la cendre de bois, ou surtout de la cendre de fougère, et un peu de sel suffiront dans une certaine mesure. 


    Vous voulez du sodium pour le garder alcalin. Le borax pour flux est du borate de sodium. L'aluminium, le carbone et le silicium peuvent agir comme le bore à cet égard, et le calcium ou le potassium (dans la cendre de bois) peuvent agir comme le sodium, mais pas aussi fortement. 


    Essayez donc d’ajouter du sel et de la silice à vos cendres de bois et voyez si cela aide !  Vous voulez faire un verre alcalin, et c'est une recette...



    Yes, you want something pretty alkaline to buffer the oxygen, and something glassy to keep the oxides in suspension.

    Wood ash, or especially fern ash, and some salt will do it to a degree.  

    You want some sodium to keep it alkaline. Borax for flux is sodium borate. Aluminum, carbon and silicon can act like boron in that regard, and calcium or potassium (in the wood ash) can act like sodium, just not as strongly.  

    So try adding salt and silica to your wood ash and see if it helps!  You want to make an alkaline glass, and that's one recipe...

  12. Je viens de me souvenir d'autres informations sur les raisons pour lesquelles je n'utilise plus de spath fluor ! Non seulement le danger, mais aussi parce qu'il est tout simplement trop agressif lorsqu'il est mélangé avec du borax. Il ronge littéralement les aciers à la chaleur de soudage. Je l'utilisais sur une soudure difficile sur un seax multibar, et quand je l'ai sorti du feu les barres ressemblaient à une bougie fondante.


    I just remembered other info about why I don't use fluorspar anymore!  Not only the danger, but because it's simply too aggressive when mixed with borax.  It literally eats the steels away at welding heat.  I was using it on a difficult weld on a multibar seax, and when I took it from the fire the bars looked like a melting candle.

  13. La fluorine est effectivement très réactive, mais elle est aussi très dangereuse. Le problème est que lorsqu’il se vaporise, il se mélange à l’hydrogène et à l’oxygène de l’atmosphère pour créer de l’acide fluorhydrique, qui peut transformer vos poumons en liquide s’il est inhalé.

    S'il est utilisé en petites quantités avec une TRÈS bonne ventilation extractive, il est relativement sûr. Je ne l'ai utilisé qu'avec du borax, mais j'imagine que cela fonctionnerait avec du sable ou du verre en poudre.

    Pouvez-vous obtenir de l'acide borique ? On le retrouve fréquemment dans la poudre anti-cafards, souvent comme seul ingrédient. C'est un flux décent en soi.

    Je reçois mon borax anhydre dans un magasin qui vend des ingrédients pour fabriquer du savon. Peut-être que tu peux le trouver de cette façon ?


    Thanks, Google Translate!  For the English readers here, I said


    Fluorite is indeed very reactive, but is also very dangerous.  The issue is that when it vaporises it mixes with the hydrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere to create hydrofluoric acid, which can turn your lungs to liquid if inhaled.  

    If used in small quantities with VERY  good extractive ventilation it is relatively safe.  I have only used it with borax, but I imagine it would work with sand or powdered glass.  

    Can you get boric acid? It is frequently found in anti-cockroach powder, often as the sole ingredient.  It's a decent flux on its own.  

    I get my anhydrous borax from a plce that sells ingredients for making soap. Maybe you can find it that way?

  14. Looks good, but just use the Cast-O-Lite for the floor if you're planning to weld using flux.  Hot flux eats insulating brick like boiling water on cotton candy.  If you want a wear surface that isn't the cast-o-lite, get a piece of kiln shelf.  The insulating bricks make great sliding doors if you weld an angle iron track on the ends of the forge body.  

  15. 59 minutes ago, billyO said:

    it's the result of having too many lawyers here in the States.


    Exactly.  And they're all looking for the slightest pretense to sue.  It's why jars of peanuts are required to be labelled "Caution: Contains Peanuts."  And why you can sue a restaurant if you take a big drink of the coffee you just ordered and it happens to be hot!  They do have a few uses, which is why they're still a necessary evil, but the greater majority of them are parasites.  We have several that even advertise they'll take your case for free if they think they can get money from it, regardless of the merits.  But that's another subject.  


    I wish you the best of luck in Atlanta!  I wish I could pop down and say hello, but I don't have time. Only six hours by car, 35 minutes by air, but I have too much to be doing here. :(

    • Like 1
  16. I'd just change the line to say something like "the buyer assumes all responsibility for any and all eventualities relating to the Goods upon receipt of the Goods."  


    When people ask me if they can throw one of my fancy pipe hawks, I tell them once they buy it it's theirs to do with as they please, but there are no warranties implied or expressed. In other words, if you break it or knock out an inlay, it's your own damn fault and I'm not replacing it.  

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  17. I second Geoff, you're fine.  I usually leave sword tangs as wide as possible, but for a thrusting sword it's not that important.  You definitely don't want a rat tail tang due to the extra leverage a long blade will have, but it doesn't need to be full tang either.  


    When you heat treat it, you want the blade to be a full spring temper, around Rc 45, all the way to the ricasso, then slowly transitioning softer back to the pommel end where it'll be as soft as 5160 gets without a furnace anneal.  A sharp transition in HT around the ricasso/tang junction equals a snapped-off hilt and possibly a flying loose blade.  I'd do it with a torch.  Harden the whole thing and temper the whole thing at around 750-800 F, then starting at the tang end you're gonna peen, hit it with a torch to around 1200 F, blending that smoothly into the ricasso at around 950 F.  DO NOT QUENCH the tang end.  1200F isn't enough to harden 5160, but you want the excess heat to overtemper the rest of the tang.  

  18. One thing that'll help that burner perform better is to replace that Y fitting with a Ward brand reducing tee, 1.25" entries to 3/4" exit. This one. Ward uses a tapered design that increases airflow over a straight tee with a stepdown.  That translates to better air/gas mix and entrainment, for a much more stable and adjustable flame.  Might have to shorten the gas injector a bit to put the MIG tip in the center of the open port, but that's not a big deal.  



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