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Jan Ysselstein

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Pit Charcoal Run #4

 

Be careful what you wish for.....the 43 # bloom is mostly cast iron ...a little slag..it should end up at about 35 lbs. cleaned...here is a picture of the bottom, it is sitting on a barrel of charcoal fines ( I may destroy this barrel due to the moisture ).

43#.jpg

 

Jan

 

The remaining posts on this topic will be related to converting the iron ( low carbon), iron (high carbon) and cast iron (2%-4% carbon) to a workable material. Off to the welding forge to see if I can stick some of the flattened stuff together. Low carbon and high carbon suggest most of the flattened fragment is one or the other.

 

Jan

 

Edit, Lots more slag than first assumed, bloom split into cast iron and high carbon iron .

Jan

Edited by Jan Ysselstein
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Pit Charcoal...

 

It looks like there will be a Pit Charcoal run #5 as I am about to cover the pit....this will be some real funky stuff and yield about 50% or more fines.....I will take fines over moisture any day.

Jan

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Jesus,

 

Yes and No...I have not tried to forge or weld the above piece of metal made via that 6" little furnace, I hope to do that tomorrow.

 

Yoshihara mentions ( under the topic of Orishigane ) he does not like the carbon content of his iron to be over1.5% carbon because it does not forge weld well and tends to crumble. In an old book on steel making, I found a statement that confirmed this and was the reason the carbon levels were brought down below a certain point ( or maybe not allowed to go up too high in the case of carburizing, I have forgotten which process I was reading about) .

 

When I was melting files,I had some pieces of crucible file steel which had the carbon brought way up...I could forge them, because they were homogeneous ( where the Kera Iron might not be) but when attempting to forge weld them, they would not stick. I could revisit that file steel test and really let the surface decarburize in the gas forge. I recall heating them as a stack..maybe if I had heated them side by side I might have had a weld.

 

To decarburize in a gas forge and avoid a lot of scale, just mix a little clay and ( FeO or Fe2O3) and H2O ( 90% clay powder,10% FeO by volume, guessing) dry and stick in the forge at a nice orange heat.

Jan

Edited by Jan Ysselstein
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Pit Charcoal

 

Cast Iron

....The metal sample spark tested in a post above was still too high in carbon ( about 2/3 of it crumbled...or maybe I should not have heated it in such a hot forge) about 1/3 stayed together was quenched and broken.

 

Low carbon Iron

 

Four stacks of flattened bloom were consolidated in a gas forge into bars , each having been folded 2-3 times during the gathering of material. This work was done way over normal welding heat. I did have to forge weld a wrought iron rod to one of the bars. The bottom of the forge was some high alumina stuff in a SS pan as suggested here by Kevin...The edges of the pan are gone and the contents are an ooze ( even the slice from a 100% alumina firebrick is gone)..I am hoping to try some high carbon iron today. The low carbon iron was melted with silica flux where the high carbon iron will be done at lower temperatures with borax.

 

A Pit Charcoal problem which will not go away is the fines larger than 1/4"...so I will weld up a permanents quenching forge using the big perforated shell shown above and/or use it in making some iron via the Catalan process in two isolated steps ...ore to pre-reduced ore.... to iron.

 

Pictures are a problem as I seem to have misplaced/lost my camera charger and a spare battery..I have a few on an I pad which I will post later.

 

Jan

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Pit Charcoal

 

We now have eight pieces of iron consolidated, 4 low carbon and 4 higher carbon...al bars are still very heterogeneous and need more folding. The next step is to go back to the cast iron and change it to a workable form by reducing the amount of carbon to about 1% -1.5% . I will attempt two more Salem Steel trials and move on to crucible steel should they fail. Once we have a workable form for each bloomery product some blades will be attempted Here are a couple of pics.

 

P1060957.jpg scooping out the puddle of slag/flux with a cold wire

P1060958.jpg low carbon and high carbon consolidated bloom

P1060959.jpg a low carbon bar showing a cut and bend ( very ductile) ..revealing more folding is needed

 

Jan

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Mark,

Thank you...it is a lot of fun. I just came up from testing the new "Salem Steel" furnace and I have high hopes ( I will do 1 run tomorrow) . This may be able to consume a lot of fines. I have a bit of a time crunch to work up some of this bloomery iron..if I did not have that deadline, I would certainly work on the press....it would make this so much easier.

 

Jan

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Pit Charcoal,

 

Cast iron "Salem Steel" the second attempt had limited success as well ....I do have a larger piece of metal , however it did not form in the crucible formed, but below it....most of the sample is steel some is very high C cast iron. During the run the furnace was tilting to one side..by bumping it into a vertical position I may have created a void for the fluid metal to go to.

 

I will post some pics after trying to forge it....tonight I will do my last trial with cast iron and leave that topic until the end of the thread.

 

Tonight I will be redoing the welding furnace, after this initial consolidation of flat pieces I will not be using large amounts of flux ..just enough to flux the metal; as I will not be trying to wash away large amounts of slag.

 

The concern now shifts to ..what is the average carbon level of the metal I am forging? I am quite open to suggestions..some things I may be able to use are microstructure/spark test, overall color after etching, resistance to deformation at forging . The same alloy with varying carbon composition will be dealt with ..so carbon should be the main variable.

 

Jan

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The decarb of cast iron is tough!!

I had good luck the day of F&B. I was able to decarb a big chunk of bloom cast, a few very hi carb crucible cakes to much better steel, and some of the product of Jesus, and Dennis's smelt. It was cast, or very near.
That was the first time I had ever had good luck with the process.
It may seem easy, after you do it a hundred times????????

 

Mark

Mark Green

 

I have a way? Is that better then a plan?

(cptn. Mal)

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Mark,

Sometimes it may be easier to add more carbon in the short run, then work with the really liquid stuff. I did two trials yesterday the first was dramatic but not real productive..I will post my inspiration along with the results.

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Pit Charcoal,

 

Cast iron...below is a picture of the clean cast iron I find in my furnaces , some is still dirty and is not shown . I did a quick and dirty test of a downdraft furnace ( photo shown below ) it produced some very slaggy metal. The inspiration for this furnace is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7s0Hx20qJKo..I just love those gongs .

 

A few pieces of decarburized cast iron, using the Salem Process "Salem Steel"? are shown below , the arc of the larger piece matches the furnace walls profile (.75lbs) .

 

The furnace is set up for the last run ..the angle of the air inlet is now more than 45 Deg. from horizontal..I will be running a little slower as well. I am still using the same SS tube with a ceramic tip as well as the original furnace tube.

Jan

P1060979.jpg

P1060984.jpg

P1070001.jpg

P1070003.jpg

P1070005.jpg

Edited by Jan Ysselstein
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Pit Charcoal,

 

The last run of Salem Steel was also problematic as some iron formed in front of the air inlet and I could not move it..pics later.

 

I am now forging the high carbon consolidated material and I find that at 3 welds on top of the original 2 welds I am losing spark burst intensity and should add some carbon the the sample. I have switched back to coke and find the welding in coke a bit awkward ( learning curve ). Digging up some high carbon wootz to weld into this sample.

 

Jan

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Pit Charcoal,

 

Bloom consolidation

Using charcoal fines for yaki-ire

 

One high carbon bar has been forged and is high carbon no more..I got familiar with the coke fire and can do about 4 welds before looking at moving the clinker. I have etched the slow cooled ( hypo-eutectoid ) bar with ferric sulfate and can see some subtle randomness which may predict an interesting hamon and hada ( should there be enough carbon for that). As I do not think ( lower carbon) this steel will make a good knife, I will heat treat it like a sword...clay coated--heated in a charcoal fire--quenched in water..tempered at about 330 F.

 

Meanwhile I will forge the other bars by mixing them with high carbon iron from past events. Here are some pics

frame0.jpgframe6.jpg

Two pictures of the slowly cooled etched blade blank showing patterns created by the welding process...I was setting the welds with a treadle hammer but stopped and started hand setting the welds. Bar was forged on the hammer trying to keep everything as symmetrical as possible. The total folds add up to about 8.

P1070030.JPG

This casing will sit in a trough, I will drop rivets into the holes I do not want to use..like the side draft forge it will create more heat in the center than the ends ( by opening more holes in the center)..I am also hoping to make the charcoal jump a little when I want to move the clayed blades in the fire.

 

Jan

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pit Charcoal,

 

Bloom Consolidation...One of the higher carbon samples has been shaped into a knife-like object and is about to be quenched in water, I chose this shape for simplicity as grinding is a new experience for me ( I did fall in love with the 3m cubitron belt however) . So I will quench it and grind it wet from there on and it should remain as hard as possible.

 

The perforated shell casing above did not provide a deep enough fire to heat the whole blade in ...however if the phenomenon of keeping the spine cool wile heating the edge of a clayed blade becomes my norm..this is an ideal way of heating blades this way. The first time a took a test piece out of the fire , the edge was above critical and the un-clayed back was still below critical.for certain shapes clay may not be needed at all. The fire is a very hot thin zone just above the perforated tube.

P1070044.jpg

 

 

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Pit Charcoal Bloom Consolidation

 

The quenched blade did not harden enough for a knife...the back is softer than the edge but the edge is not hard enough ( file test). There are a few welding flaws ( created by setting the welds with too large a treadle hammer die). I think if I had cut the blank in half with a saw rather than a hot cut I may have been able to correct those flaws.

 

Prior to quenching I had quenched some of the material cut from the blank and they seemed to harden pretty well. Now after straightening and a little grinding the blade is quite thin....but I will quench it again ..from a higher temperature.

 

Here is a picture of the blade wiith a thin clay wash over it being brought up to temperature in the shallow fire.

 

P1070103.jpg

 

 

Edit,

The blade was quenched from a higher temperature , is harder and has a bend, now in the oven at 320 F...then straightening.

Jan

Edited by Jan Ysselstein
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Pit Charcoal Bloom Consolidation,

 

The above blade was straightened, ground nearly to final size and etched. The etch reveals the price to be paid by not going through the sorting process prior to the first weld..the etch shows quite a variable pattern....should not be a problem if the knife is presented not in an etched form or I try to work the folding to create a desirable pattern......I will do a couple of these this way and look for a pattern in the patterns.

 

I took a look at an area likely to become the hamon on this blade and compared it to the hamon I got a while back in a forged file..see pictures below.

P1070108.jpg bloomery iron blade ( unsorted starting material)

P1070114.jpg edge in the up position, bright area likely to be the hamon ( this blade was not clayed, only coated with a clay wash)

monohamon.jpg forged file hamon, both hamon pics are the same magnification

bloomon.jpg bloomery iron hamon? C.S. Smith where are you?

 

Jan

 

The bend in the blade was caused by the cold spine not allowing the expansion of the martensite transformation to happen in the plane of the blade...the expansion did happen but the result was the blade bowed out of the plane ( but did not crack) .

Edited by Jan Ysselstein
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Pit Charcoal

 

The blade was quenched twice into water without a layer of clay ( the furnace cement bubbled, so I quickly scraped everything off) , the blade was covered with a wash of clay/water. The back of the blade never got above critical temperature . Here is a picture of the blade as etched for evidence of a hamon...there does seem to be one...pic. The end of the blade nearest the handle has a less distinct pattern ..I quenched into a bucket and should have used a tub, where I could have entered the water in a more horizontal position. I am about to forge some of the Salem steel and proceed with processing three more high carbon bars to knife forms ( then the low carbon steel bars).

 

hamonn.jpg

 

Jan

 

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Pit Charcoal

 

The blade hamon is near the edge maybe about 5/8" away...the body of the blade is not all pearlite and I am having trouble getting a good contrast . I should have normalized the blade between quenches and maybe apply thick clay as well...and heat it all to above critical. Here are some pics.

frame2.jpg frame1.jpg

frame0.jpg

 

 

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Pit Charcoal.

 

I will attempt to "polish" the above blade as it is, because of the large Nioi and Nie ...there is also evidence of a strong Utsuri pattern all worth looking for. I do not find Utsuri beautiful, but can understand why Mr. Yoshihara chose to investigate it..Looking at his book ( page 91), my quench temperatures were very close to his requirements . ...what luck.

 

If anyone here is dealing with vendors supplying polishing supplies please post some names...a meantime, I will find some good music for the boom box and start going through the abrasive papers.

 

Jan

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Sweet.

Mark Green

 

I have a way? Is that better then a plan?

(cptn. Mal)

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Mark,

Thank you, I will be doing a local Japanese Culture Fair soon, so I better absorb some of the vocabulary and get some blades made. I will be sharing the iron sand to steel making process with the public, there seems to quite a bit of interest, I will be looking forward to it . No fires allowed but I have lots of stuff to bring.

 

Jan

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While waiting for a book on polishing to arrive, I thought I would modify my charcoal/coke forge. Murray Carter's brick stacked coke forge reminds me of the old GE cast iron grate forge...not made any more ....I like his idea because it has a chimney pulling the heat/fumes/dust away from the front of the furnace. It will take a day or two to get used to it...the ash dump holds about 7 gallons which should make it convenient.

Here is a pic...the grate assembly needs to be tacked to the bottom plate as I think it must be lifting and letting air escape into areas of the coke I would like to keep cooler.

P1070242.jpg P1070247.jpg

 

Jan

Edited by Jan Ysselstein
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