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PBC is a great product (when used correctly)


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A word of warning for anyone who might use PBC in the future.

 

I've recently begun using PBC antiscale powder to minimize scale after hardening. I purchased the regular; it is rated up to 1650. This stuff works GREAT. I really love it, when used correctly there is virtually no, and I mean no scale or markings from the heat treat process. It has allowed me grind much closer to finished prior to heat treat.

 

However, it clearly states "up to 1650". Do not exceed this temperature with the regular. I ran up an A2 blade to 1750 to harden. I figured it would maybe not work as good.

 

What it does do is bond and eat into the metal in places so that there is a significant amount of grinding required after heat treating to get back to unmarred metal again. It is much worse than any scale I've encountered.

 

I'm not sure what the stuff is but man it got down in there.

 

When used correctly, it literally falls off with a little light rubbing under water leaving the blade in great condition.

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What is this magical PBC substance of which you speak, and where might a wayward smith purchase forsaid substance?

 

Seriously, never heard of it, but from what you mention, I'd love to have a can of it next to my kiln.

 

Grins,

 

Dave

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Brownells also carries it. It works very well. I'm not

sure why more bladesmiths don't use it.

 

Warm the blade, sprinkle on the Anti-scale, let it melt in place,

heat treat, and wash it off in hot water. What's not

to like?

 

Bill

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You can also make a paste with it in denatured alcohol and paint the blade with it cold before HT. It works REALLY well, provided, as Jarrett notes, you don't exceed 1650 F. Oh, and make sure it's a uniform coating, the thicker spots don't like to come off easily either.

 

I've been using it (well, actually another brand from Blacksmith's Depot) for a couple of years now on certain blades (the ones I remember to use it on... :rolleyes: ).

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I use it on sword blades in charcoal. It works fine, just pay attention to not rubbing it off. It sticks well at heat, though.

The longest blades I make are 7"-8" (cutting edge) Usuba's and Nakiri's, so I assume I would just dig a hole, drop it in, then re-cover it. But what about getting it back out of the charcoal? Does it glaze like Borax, or is dragging it back out of the coals going to make it flake off?

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It glazes like borax. I wouldn't worry about it unless you're pushing it back and forth through the fire to get the full length. B)

 

Of course, I have no experience using it with a clayed blade for hamon if that's what you're doing.

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It glazes like borax. I wouldn't worry about it unless you're pushing it back and forth through the fire to get the full length. B)

 

Of course, I have no experience using it with a clayed blade for hamon if that's what you're doing.

Thanks, I'll have to try some of it. I don't seem to get as much scale with charcoal as people get with propane, but I still get enough that this would save me a lot of finish work, especially with the Usuba's.

 

I do clay the blades, and while the hamon is visible before the final finish work, I have yet to successfully bring it back out after polishing. I think a major part of the problem was the steel I was using, but I'm working with Aldo's steel now, so the next time I make one, I'll try some of the tips I've read on here and see what happens. I forged a Santoku out of Aldo's 1095 a few weeks ago, and its been setting on the bench clayed up and ready to go ever since. I might go ahead and HT it this afternoon, then see if I've learned enough about hamons to bring it back out...

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I purchased mine from Tracey Mickley also. It really does work great. I've attached a poor picture here of two blades in the tempering oven now. THey are blotchy a bit and somewhat discolored but most of that came from the tempering process. I've gotten even better results than this. What you see here though was obtained after coating the blade, running through three normalizing cycles, heat treating at 1500 and quenching in oil. Then simply rubbed lightly with a kitchen towel and warm water.

 

Alan, I'll have to try the mixture you mentioned. I've only heated and sifted to coat. This can result in some uneven coating and thus the blotchiness in some places. THe blotchiness is only on the surface and easily removed.

 

As a note, I contacted Tracey Mickley for info on the "high temp" version. His reply was that the better option for high temp steels such as D2 or A2 is to just use the foil. The high temp PBC was not panning out.

 

2012-04-25_20-52-12_748.jpg

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Oh yes. Holy crap it can be horrible.

A word of warning for anyone who might use PBC in the future.

 

I've recently begun using PBC antiscale powder to minimize scale after hardening. I purchased the regular; it is rated up to 1650. This stuff works GREAT. I really love it, when used correctly there is virtually no, and I mean no scale or markings from the heat treat process. It has allowed me grind much closer to finished prior to heat treat.

 

However, it clearly states "up to 1650". Do not exceed this temperature with the regular. I ran up an A2 blade to 1750 to harden. I figured it would maybe not work as good.

 

What it does do is bond and eat into the metal in places so that there is a significant amount of grinding required after heat treating to get back to unmarred metal again. It is much worse than any scale I've encountered.

 

I'm not sure what the stuff is but man it got down in there.

 

When used correctly, it literally falls off with a little light rubbing under water leaving the blade in great condition.

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  • 4 months later...

I'm digging this stuff. Just trying it out this week.

 

I tried coating a blade with the PBC and doing my normalizing cycles, then Rutlands clay right over the PBC. The clay didn't stick to the PBC as well as I would have liked. The ashi lines sort of curled up in the heat, but the body of the clay stayed put.

 

I still think it's great for the normalizing cycles. Blades come out all clean and like almost freshly ground. And definitly great for full hardening other stuff.

 

Dan

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I used it a few times many years ago and wasn't impressed. If a chunk fell off of you have nice black crater to grind out.

 

As soon as I built a blown forge I learned how to use a lean hot flame to pre-heat the forge and then bring up a very rich flame. A very rich flame will not oxidize your steel. A small chunk of insulwool over the tip will prevent burning.

 

And with induction all of that is a distant memory. Induction heats the thickest part of the blade first so the edge and tip get to CT last. Exactly opposite of convection (flame) heating.

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  • 3 weeks later...

O.K. so I've got three long blades and three short blades to use in my hamon demo next week. Lots of elbow grease getting ready, what with draw filing and everything. Blades are looking good and needing a few normalizing cycles.

 

So, says I, we'll just coat these long blades in PBC and give them a cycle in the (newly refurbished with brand spanking new elements) Paragon oven. Now mind you, I havn't used this oven much as it had the tendancy to overheat down at the back of the oven, where the sword tips go. Well, with the new elements and the PBC, I was pretty confident it would work out great.

 

Yoink the blades out after reaching digital reading of correctness, and the last ten inches of the three blades look like molten granite had somehow accidentally splashed on the blades. Seems the warning about not overheating the PBC is a good one, they forgot to tell my misbehaving oven. So I am now taking a break from trying to salvage the blades, draw filing and scraping the pits and craters off. And only a few days until the demo, Yay!

 

Dan

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