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Making a Borax Pencil?


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recently got into metal casting, for inlay engraved tools.

in germany borax is a rare blacksmith commodity(cuz its lowkey illegal...)
so I'm wondering how to best make a long hard rod of borax, from powder, so I can just dab it on the melting metal instead of sprinkling it everywhere...
I don't want to experiment too much and waste it, again...borax is rare round here -_-
 

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Do you have access to a kiln?  If so, you could cast a rod of anhydrous borax by melting regular borax powder into a mold and firing it at around 2000 F.  Otherwise, you could use the powder and bond it with either hide glue or white wood glue.  It wouldn't be hard, but it wpuld gold together.

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1 hour ago, J.Leon_Szesny said:

recently got into metal casting, for inlay engraved tools.

in germany borax is a rare blacksmith commodity(cuz its lowkey illegal...)
so I'm wondering how to best make a long hard rod of borax, from powder, so I can just dab it on the melting metal instead of sprinkling it everywhere...
I don't want to experiment too much and waste it, again...borax is rare round here -_-
 

 

Have you tried boric acid as a substitute?  https://orchid.ganoksin.com/t/adding-boric-acid-to-molten-metal/17426

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2 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Do you have access to a kiln?  If so, you could cast a rod of anhydrous borax by melting regular borax powder into a mold and firing it at around 2000 F.  Otherwise, you could use the powder and bond it with either hide glue or white wood glue.  It wouldn't be hard, but it wpuld gold together.

got no kiln!
glue, sounds like it would work but also smell like hell. 
what if I had a metal syringe filled with borax-water paste?
if that contacted the melted metal would it...splatter? I mean its not oil but...just asking to be sure.   

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It would spatter, yes.  You could also just make a paste of borax and boiling water. Add borax until it won't take any more, then let it dry.  It will be a hard-ish lump, but still able to be powdered if needed.

 

And Dan is right, boric acid works too.  It can be found in cockroach poison as the only ingredient, but make sure it is the only ingredient!  In the US the brand name "Roach-Pruf" is pure boric acid.

 

You can also find boric acid at a pharmacy.  It's used as an eye wash.

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I wouldn't want to be standing over nearly molten metal as I dabbed anything with water in it.  It will definitely splatter as the water fleshes off.

 

It seems like there should be some sort of binder that you wouldn't find foul smelling as it burned.  What do they hold incense together with?

 

 

Edited by Brian Dougherty
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I think I might try just water-lumping it together 

or shellac? since I read that being used as a soldering flux (never tried)

but nah boric acid also banned.
pretty much all borates are banned(from household/public consumer store or non licensed)
you can still buy it online, if you find a website that sells it without having you show a digital license.
so you can kinda lowkey legally-illegally get it but...not as readily or cheaply.(import cost from America way high T^T) 


I also got it from an old pharmacist to order once, 1kg 50euro...
and that only worked cuz I told him I'm a smith and he knew what we do with that stuff and also didn't know borax was banned for non licensed smiths(?). the guy since then retired and the predecessors wanted to see a license...even after I told them I'm neither a pregnant woman nor a health junky who'd eat it....

handelskammer and regulations are a real cruel b...banana.

 just some annoying stuff about germany.

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Shellac might work as a binder.  Worth a shot, anyway!

 

I think the EU in general is very strict about borates, among other mostly-harmless-if-used-as-directed substances.  Meanwhile, in the US we can buy a 2.14 Kg box of borax at the grocery store for about $3.50... I could ship you one, but as you said, it would cost a fortune.  DHL is $58, FedEx is $80-$100, UPS is $100-$125, and, while USPS international is as low as $50, they transfer it to Deutche Post for delivery on your end, which would make us both liable for dealing in regulated substances. :lol::rolleyes:

 

DHL would be the best bet if their US service, at least where I live, didn't suck.  Shipping via DHL here is the best way to ensure you don't get your package at all. I know they're the standard over there, but I've never been able to get a package from them on the first or second attempts.  Once I was expecting a package, and the driver wouldn't leave it because, he told his supervisor, he was afraid of my dogs.  I didn't have any dogs then, and nobody around here did either.  And I only found out because of the tracking site. I had to call and speak to four or five people before they agreed to try again, and that time they wouldn't leave it because they insisted on a signature despite my insistence that they could leave it without one.  When I finally got it, the label clearly said "signature not required."  Another time they delivered to the wrong address in the wrong town and state, clearly noted on their own tracking page, and refused to admit it.  I never got that one at all.<_<

 

Apologies for the rant, that happens anytime I think about DHL.

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42 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

Shellac might work as a binder.  Worth a shot, anyway!

 

I think the EU in general is very strict about borates, among other mostly-harmless-if-used-as-directed substances.  Meanwhile, in the US we can buy a 2.14 Kg box of borax at the grocery store for about $3.50... I could ship you one, but as you said, it would cost a fortune.  DHL is $58, FedEx is $80-$100, UPS is $100-$125, and, while USPS international is as low as $50, they transfer it to Deutche Post for delivery on your end, which would make us both liable for dealing in regulated substances. :lol::rolleyes:

 

DHL would be the best bet if their US service, at least where I live, didn't suck.  Shipping via DHL here is the best way to ensure you don't get your package at all. I know they're the standard over there, but I've never been able to get a package from them on the first or second attempts.  Once I was expecting a package, and the driver wouldn't leave it because, he told his supervisor, he was afraid of my dogs.  I didn't have any dogs then, and nobody around here did either.  And I only found out because of the tracking site. I had to call and speak to four or five people before they agreed to try again, and that time they wouldn't leave it because they insisted on a signature despite my insistence that they could leave it without one.  When I finally got it, the label clearly said "signature not required."  Another time they delivered to the wrong address in the wrong town and state, clearly noted on their own tracking page, and refused to admit it.  I never got that one at all.<_<

 

Apologies for the rant, that happens anytime I think about DHL.

eyuup
so far had no problems with DHL, within the EU...
but as soon as I try to get something from US and it gets handed to DHL....suddenly I need signatures and yes it gets send to different cities/
last time I couldnt even get it because I was only notified that the package was send elsewhere, on the last day when it would be send back.
took me 3 months to get ebay to agree to refund me(ebay is horrid with refunding...amazon so far tho A++)
or getting a ripped open box with zero contents, which...I mean...why did they even bother to deliver that?!

or at a pickupstation, the guy actually left me the sticker, the address sticker glued onto the roof of the station box, which I wasn't even mad at that's just such nonsense you gotta laugh XD
 

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Read this in your best Scots blacksmith brogue.....

By the Gods man! Why make this so complicated? You are a smith aren't ye? Make yerself some flux spoons and be done with it.

 

Flux spoons V2 .jpg

 

Just scoop a wee bit out of the jar and apply only what ye need lad.

Edited by Joshua States
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I just take a pinch of borax between my fingers and throw it in the crucible:rolleyes:.

 

If you know anyone with a business licence they can order borax for you online, at least here in the Netherlands, it is just banned for consumers. Afaik it doesn't matter which kind of business.

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On 10/26/2021 at 2:29 AM, Joshua States said:

Read this in your best Scots blacksmith brogue.....

By the Gods man! Why make this so complicated? You are a smith aren't ye? Make yerself some flux spoons and be done with it.

 

Flux spoons V2 .jpg

 

Just scoop a wee bit out of the jar and apply only what ye need lad.

yeeea b-but arguably, if the spoon itself was the flux, I wouldn't need to complicate it by digging around in my borax for the right amount, plus, no spillage, no waste ;)
I don't have a problem of getting borax in the crucible...just a problem with seeing it spill or turn into floaty dust from the torch flame. lol.

I mainly got this idea from seeing andrew berry tap his melting  metal with a borax pestle, it looked so nice!
 

Edited by J.Leon_Szesny
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Wet it into a paste, pack it in a length of metal tubing or small pipe and put a plunger in the other end...

 

Think syringe.

 

You'd have to play with the consistency, but it might do what you want.

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1 hour ago, Don Abbott said:

Wet it into a paste, pack it in a length of metal tubing or small pipe and put a plunger in the other end...

Use a regular drinking straw. They make them out of paper again. You wouldn't even need to peel the paper off it.

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you could mix it with clay, that's how graphite pencils are made

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7 hours ago, Andrew Gillespie said:

you could mix it with clay, that's how graphite pencils are made

But then he would be adding clay into his melt, which isn't ideal.  

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16 hours ago, Jerrod Miller said:

But then he would be adding clay into his melt, which isn't ideal.  

Ok, you definately know much more than I do. A pity they have such strict rules about a chemical that isn't all that dangerous.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/3/2021 at 9:45 AM, Jerrod Miller said:

But then he would be adding clay into his melt, which isn't ideal.  

You are soooooo picky!:P

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16 hours ago, Joshua States said:

You are soooooo picky!:P

I thought I was being quite good about just mentioning that it wasn't ideal.  I guess you really can't please everyone.  ;) 

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