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cleaning cable


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First off, if this thread belongs elsewhere I apoligize and may the moderators place it where it belongs! Now,I've read about how to clean cable, new and used, for making cable damascus, and have a quantity from Three Sisters Forge and soaking in mineral spirits seemed like the best idea; so I was wondering,not long ago I aquired at auction a number of items from a jeweler including an ultra sonic cleaner and was just curious as to whether one could put a length of cable with mineral spirits through this cleaning process without danger? I realize the flamability of mineral spirits, but do not know how volital it is and I don't want to even experiment with this idea without some advise and insight. Sorry to those who may think this has an obvious answer and is a rediculous idea, but I honestly don't know and am not adverse to learning. Wes

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Hi Wes.


I just forged some of Jim's cable. All I did to clean it up was to burn off the grease in my forge first (warning: It gives off a lot of smoke, do it outside!)


After the thing stopped smoking I just tack welded the ends, welded a handle onto it, heated it up to cherry red, fluxed the bejeezus out of it and forged it square. Worked like a champ.


Oh, I did take the cable apart into the eight main strands before I burned the grease off.


Hope this helps.




"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly." -- Theodore Roosevelt


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from my understanding, i wouldnt think that using an ultra sonic would be what you call volatile.


though depending on the size of the cable to the size of your cleaner, i would think that you might possibly bring harm to the cleaner


personally id say that its overkill anyhow.

i usually just give my cable a wash over with kerosene and then soapy water before it goes into the forge to make sure there isnt going to be any big fires to worry of.

and this has worked with some rather old and grotty pieces of cable too.



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that is about the same procedure i use to clean cable.It works quite well.

"One who is samurai must before all things" Keep constantly in mind, by day and by night. the fact that he has to die...


-Dai Doji Yuzon-

16th Century



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Wes, Here is what I do:


Weld only one end closed, weld a handle on (Rebar) this end. The other is not welded together. Clean in mineral spirits to get the junk off, rinse in warm water and dish soap.


Into forge, out, slap on anvil, junk will fall out, the end will open a bit so the flux can get all over the strands. Heat, flux, slap, repeat. Gemtley start the weld by tap-tap-tap, maybe twist, heat-flux repeat.


I flux quite often, using a cheese shaker, and grind my borax very fine in an old coffee grinder.


No need to ultra, I have one, don't use it.

Jim Allen

Three Sisters Forge

Bend, Oregon



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