Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Jon Cook

Will it forge?

Recommended Posts

I picked up this little guy for $2 at the junk shop today. I was thinking I'd just scored a half pound of copper big enough to easily work into some blade furniture.

A quick search tells me it's actually berrylium copper, which is cool, but I don't know if I can use it without getting cancer.

What say you all? Will it forge, or should I let it go?

IMG_20170719_180811.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For what it is worth:

Hazardous Operations

Operations which could potentially lead to airborne contamination above the permissible levels include grinding, abrasive cutting, abrading, polishing, spark erosion and electro-chemical machining, high temperature heat treatments, welding, melting and casting. These operations require controls and air monitoring to ensure their safety. The controls depend upon individual circumstances, ranging from the simple use of coolants and lubricants to entrap dusts, to local or general air extraction and filtration systems to draw air across the work and away from the worker. Specifically heat treatments, such as ageing, solution annealing or re-heating for forging should be carried out in closed furnaces. In addition furnace maintenance workers should wear airsupplied breathing masks. Oxide films formed during heat treatment may become airborne during vigorous operations, such as tumbling. Hence it is recommended that oxides should be removed by pickling and spent pickling fluids should be disposed of by standard methods without evaporation. Similarly in the case of spark erosion and chemical machining the working fluids should be diluted and disposed of as liquids.

Source

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4% of people affected. . . That's one heck of a gamble. If it work hardens anything like copper, it's probably a no with my equipment, I gather. Positive pressure air system, maybe? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A local smith got a block of this stuff at a scrapyard, military surplus and unlabeled.  He cut and ground it like a normal copper/bronze.  It killed him in about six weeks.  It started like bronchitis and progressed to him shedding his lung tissue is great bloody shreds.  Even if you don't care for your own life, don't risk those around you.  Treat this as hazardous waste and run as fast as you can.

 

Geoff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What Geoff said.  That stuff is bad news period.  I knew a smith who had been a machinist for the government at Oak Ridge, TN where they made parts from beryllium bronze for certain top secret applications.  Used all applicable safety gear.  Turns out the fine dust from machining it stays on your clothes, where over time you absorb it through the skin.  Then you die slowly and painfully.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

About this time I would bet that some readers are wondering "why would anyone even MAKE this stuff"?  Well, the #1 answer I know of is because it is very high strength and won't spark.  Take a steel wrench into a highly combustible area (think oil rig or some such) and if you drop it, it may shed a spark --> BOOM.  Or use take a beryllium copper wrench that is just as strong and not have to worry about that being the thing that makes you go boom.  The stuff is expensive and difficult to work, but there are applications for it; albeit few and very specific.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Exactly.  I was once offered a ten-pound BeCu sledge hammer that had gone awol from an ammunition factory, where non-sparking is a very important quality for a tool to have.  I declined.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is also very useful in creating RF (radio frequency) gaskets where you need to keep the RF noise either out of or inside an electronic enclosure.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This sounds to be the kind of stuff you don't even want around.

You know in case you forget and decide to use it, you might want to mark it as Doug Marcida says, "this stuff will kill"!

Decided to look into this as I remember seeing some info on it before and did not realize it was as dangerous as it was. The following excert is from a thread in this link!

Note a big lump of this is not dangerours, untill you decide to do something with it!!  WT.........................

You will not believe this thread till you really read in depth in it!!

http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/30093/Is-machining-beryllium-copper-hazardous

Here is what OSHA has to say about it!

https://www.osha.gov/dts/hib/hib_data/hib19990902.html

Beryllium ~ There is a word I am not going to soon forget after doing some research! It sounds as no matter the metal it is fused with it then becomes a health hazard to work that metal!!

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/beryllium/

Edited by C Craft

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What those guys said.  At the very least mark it as hazardous waste.  You now have been told what this is and what it can do, but suppose something happens to you.  Someone is going to have to clean out your shop, and there it is, like a stick of dynamite in a tool box.  I would find a hazmat disposal site and let them deal with it.

In the right hands, for the right project, it's valuable stuff, but so is plutonium.

Geoff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After hearing from all of y'all, I kind of feel like I needed to keep it just to make sure no one else gets it. I was smart enough to research before I started grinding. The next guy. . .

Maybe I'll call a couple scrap yards and see if one can get rid of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What amazes me about this kind of product. You see it on the metal sites and they do not issue a warning with it! So...............it appears it is easy to get! After doing some research on it today I don't want any metal that  Beryllium has been bonded to. The dust appears to be the killer. Even taking all precautions the dust can get you! 

This one paragraph in the OSHA report just amazes me!!

Beryllium is a metal that is found in nature, especially in beryl and bertrandite rock. It is extremely lightweight and hard, is a good conductor of electricity and heat, and is non-magnetic. These properties make beryllium suitable for many industrial uses, including: metal working (pure beryllium, copper and aluminum alloys, jet brake pads, aerospace components); ceramic manufacturing (semi-conductor chips, ignition modules, crucibles, jet engine blades, rocket covers); electronic applications (transistors, heat sinks, x-ray windows); atomic energy applications (heat shields, nuclear reactors, nuclear weapons); laboratory work (research and development, metallurgy, chemistry); extraction (ore and scrap metal); and dental alloys(crowns, bridges, dental plates); and sporting goods (golf clubs, bicycle frames).

So,.................if it is the dust from making these items, I wonder what the death rate is??? Ask Google and you shall get an answer! Here is the whole piece but, here is the statistic as it stands! 

https://www.osha.gov/dsg/beryllium/rulemaking.html

OSHA estimates that the proposed rule will prevent 96 premature deaths each year and prevent 50 new cases of CBD per year, once the full effects of the rule are realized.

Holy Bat stuff, Batman, who knew I, sure didn't till today!!! I just remembered I had seen the name before and was not aware of what one might be getting into!

This is something that every knife forum should adopt to let the new guy know about!!! Never Never use any componets in knife making that use Beryllium! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, C Craft said:

This is something that every knife forum should adopt to let the new guy know about!!! Never Never use any componets in knife making that use Beryllium! 

Glad I could be of service, lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jon,I know that was meant as funny, so not being critical here!

The statisics on this is shocking! Most of the time OSHA is behind the curve on things but,  when there findings show, each year their are 96 deaths with another 50 new cases each year!

That is not a statistic to gloss over,  and you have to remember statistics like this do not take into account the ones that are not reported.Possibly due to either misdiagnosis or yet to be diagnosed!!

I think the one thing that really hits home with me is I almost bought some Copper Berylilum from an online site recently and I had no idea what the stuff really was, only that the price was not bad! I tried to copy and paste this page but, for some reason it won't let me! But if you follow the link it shows the page to order and even though the last sentence might raise a red flag their is no warning about the dangers associated with the material! I checked their  Online Guide to Copper no warnings and I even went as far as putting it in the cart and still no warning. I would have had no idea about the problems associated with using this material!!

 http://www.onlinemetals.com/merchant.cfm?id=1334&step=2&top_cat=1355

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are a lot of common  materials out there that seem harmless, but can hurt/kill you.  I don't say this to belittle the issues with beryllium, but to broaden awareness.  It seems like every year or so I find out about some significant danger from things that are all around me.  Last years shocker for me came from Jim Kelso's wild parsnip encounter.

Other dangers I have found surprising:

Heating PTFE (Teflon) to 400C can kill you - This is within the range of many solders, and PTFE is used as an electrical insulator all the time.  It would be pretty ewasy to unknowingly do this in any electronics shop.

WD40 is trans-dermal - WD40 will absorb through your skin, and carry with it any oil soluble materials it picks up.

Spraying parts you are going to weld with brake cleaner can result in a lung full of phosgene gas

The list goes on and on, so you have to be careful with a lot of this stuff.  We are all familiar with the dangers of ceramic fiber insulation, but look how easy would be for someone to buy it on amazon, and use it for something without coating it.

The world is full of very useful and important materials that can hurt you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@C Craft there's a bit of dark humor to it for me. I figure if death gives you the side eye from the other side of the street, you laugh a little when he keeps walking.

But seriously, if my naivety helps make the world safer, I'm all for it.

@Brian Dougherty I didn't know that about WD-40. Guess I'm sticking with 3 in 1 for cutting right now.

Would a "for the love of God, don't use X" list be in order? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a thought, sort of a "common items that can seriously mess you up" thing.  Like, if you add fluorspar to your flux because it dissolves tough chromium oxides, be aware that if you breathe the vapor the fluorine will combine with atmospheric hydrogen and convert to hydrofluoric acid, which in turn passes through soft tissue and dissolves bone.  Not that it would be easy to breathe enough of it, just something to be aware of, and yet another reason all forges should have chimneys, gas as well as solid fuel.  Positive ventilation is a good thing to have when the least dangerous vapor coming from your forge is carbon monoxide.  

Beginner's place, or shop safety?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd hate to count how many times I've use WD-40 to wash my hands after a brake job or something extra greasy.

Thanks for the warning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Beginner's place, or shop safety?

Shop safety I would think Alan but with a pinned and 'no reply' link in Beginners place? I also seem to recall a conversation a while back about a fellow bladesmith who shoo'd his class out when galvanised material started smoking but died later as he stayed behind to deal with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good idea on the locked pin with link.  While beginners are in the most immediate need of some of this info, we all could benefit.  I did not know that about WD-40 either!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, you guys have me going back to try to check my source on the WD-40 thing.  I'm not immediately finding any references that I think are credible.  Weird anecdotes about people using it for arthritis, and ending up with muscle damage, is about all I have found.

The MSDS just claims prolonged sking contact may cause irritation and defatting. 

I'll keep digging and see if I can remember where I "Learned" that from.  I could be wrong...

Edited by Brian Dougherty

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Brian Dougherty said:

The MSDS just claims prolonged sking contact may cause irritation and defatting. 

Defatting you say?  I have an idea... I think I'm about to become a millionaire!  

Seriously though, besides potentially saving Jon's life (a very worthwhile thing on its own), this has lead (terrible pun intended) to a great safety tip idea for the forum.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll get it going soon, buried under non-smithing work for now. :( 

Brian, sounds like dimethyl sulfoxide, DMSO.  I know it does that and was used for joint pain.  Not to be confused with dihydrogen monoxide...;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You definitely need to be careful with dihydrogen monoxide. Hydrogen hydroxide is a real killer as well. Both have killed millions of people over the course of history.  :P

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...