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Here goes nothing (photo heavy)


Joshua States

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6 hours ago, Aiden CC said:

Is this stuff something like a mixture of ore that got reduced and some which was just melted? I can imagine that if there wasn't a clear slag layer, this material may be a challenge as would be a good deal of non-metallic material that needs to be separated.

In my crucible I am using crushed green glass for a slag/sealant/flux. This floats to the top in a melt, and this melt was no different. I had to break through the glass/slag layer before getting to this stuff at the bottom of the crucible.

 

6 hours ago, Aiden CC said:

I'm not sure if wootz intends to use columnar (same orientaion, from) or equiaxed (random orientation) dendritic growth, or some mix, but I would imagine that also has subtle influence on the pattern. If I had to guess, I would say many of the dendrites in the etched photo grew "into the page", and what we see is like looking up at a tree from underneath it.

I am no expert on this by any means, and I certainly don't have the metallurgical savvy, but....

From what I have been able to learn from guys who have done this a lot, is the dendritic pattern type is largely dependent upon two things:

1. The amount of carbon

2. The amount and type of carbide forming elements (CFE) that are added to the melt.

 

The patterning is really just excess carbon that hasn't been absorbed by the iron and is now locked in the cementite. Get enough carbon in the mix and get the temperature control just right, you can create a dendritic pattern. The CFE controls whether that pattern is linear (like in the second puck above) or more watery, like most wootz patterns we think of. CFE are things like Vanadium, Nobium, Titanium, etc. They combine with the Carbon and form carbides in the steel. The CFE molecules provide an anchor point for carbide formation and if you get the heat control just right, you can get that classic watery patterning in the steel.

 

Now watch as Jerrod Miller corrects me on everything I got wrong....

 

The first puck has some CFE content. I threw in some of the cast iron buttons I made here.

The second puck is just iron and charcoal.

Edited by Joshua States

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

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To say that things get complicated in this type of thing would be an understatement.  Carbides can be a bit tricky, as the formation of them depends not just on whether there are the proper atoms present, but what other atoms are there, too.  For example, in the high chrome white irons (HCWI) my foundry produces we can develop Cr2Fe5C3 to Cr5Fe2C3 carbides based on the ratio of Cr:C (not just total quantity of one or the other).  Add onto that that V or Ti (or any of several other elements) will form carbides before the Cr or Fe can even begin to form carbides and you have now just changed the overall chemistry (and as such the ratios of elements in it) for the still liquid metal.  We use this and add FeTi just before pouring to get TiC carbides spread throughout the material to act as nucleation sites for the Cr carbides to grow on.  We do this to prevent larger dendritic carbides to form because large carbides and dendrites are bad for mechanical properties.  This is why I personally dislike wootz; because the "cool structure" is a sign of less than ideal structure.  It can still be significantly better than really bad alloy or processing choices, though.  Trading off a little performance for style is a valid choice, just not one I prefer to do in this case.  

 

So, in broad strokes, the types/quantities of CFEs you have will vary what types of carbides form and when they form (temperature dependency).  Pile onto that the cooling rate and you can really start seeing big effects on the structure.  Once you start forming nucleation sites (i.e. carbides in this case) things will want to start growing on them.  The longer your melt is in the temperature range where only that carbide forms, the larger those carbides will form.  Then, once you get enough dendrites (carbides or otherwise) you start getting pockets of liquid that start to get cut off from the rest of the material.  This can lead to segregation (which is also happening with the carbide formation) as well as porosity.  

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2 hours ago, Jerrod Miller said:

Pile onto that the cooling rate and you can really start seeing big effects on the structure. 

This was something I hadn't realized until I got done with these first two melts. The first one was allowed to cool for an excessively long time, which I think led to the lack of visible carbide formations.

 

Thanks for the science Jerrod!

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“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

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  • 5 weeks later...

The experiments continued yesterday after I got a new T-couple and ran a calibration melt. This puck recipe:

960g pure(?) iron, 24g W-2, 20g charcoal and 16g of magnetite sand. Target is 1kg puck with 1.5-1.6% C content.

 This one came out pretty nice and so close to target mass.

 

Puck 1.JPG

 

Puck 2.JPG

 

I ground a window in the side to check solidification and patterning. There is some watering in there, but the pattern is very tight.

 

Window 1.JPG

 

Window 2.JPG

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“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

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Nice!  The ingot itself looks great, but I suspect the carbon content may end up lower than you were looking for, based on the pattern in that window.  I could of course be completely wrong, but I'd expect more dendrites on the surface for the desired carbon content.  But there's nothing wrong with a 1%C ingot in the grand scheme of things.  

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7 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

I suspect the carbon content may end up lower than you were looking for,

You may be correct, but we will see. I plan on sending 3 or 4 of these out for testing so I can compare what I put in with what I get out. These are open-top crucible melts, so there is a bit of charcoal loss in the burn. The placement of the charcoal in the crucible is supposed to help mitigate that loss. There is a certain mass in the charcoal that isn't carbon, but other organic matter that burns away. Hence the prescence of ash after a charcoal fire. The puck also uptakes some carbon out of the graphite crucible. So there is a bit of give and take going on.

Simple math says I lost 21g of something along the way, but what? Could be carbon, organic material, stuff in the sand.....

From what I understand, the amount of dendritic grain in the original puck has more to do with the cooling rate than anything else. It's supposedly a matter of capturing the carbides in the cementite phase (please don't ask me what that means). Anyway, see what Jerrod said above about carbide formation being largely temperature dependent.

 

5 hours ago, Joël Mercier said:

My uneducated guess would be for the traces of vanadium that helps with the formation of dendrites?

Winner winner chicken dinner. In this puck I am mixing the W2 and the magnetite to see what happens with more than one CFE (carbide forming element). I will do a test with iron, charcoal and a bigger chunk of W2. That will take some math to figure out what the vanadium content needs to be to end up with the prescribed amount of V in the final 1kg puck.

 

Today I did another melt just using the magnetite sand as CFE donor.

976g iron, 11g sand, 25g charcoal. I hit the 1 kilo mark.

 

Puck.jpg

 

Same tight grain in the grind

 

Grind window.jpg

 

For those of you who are interested, here is a link to the videos of the furnace running and the window grinding.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1W5vsyGAhWEFPgDtTd37bowz6ff58pbmc?usp=share_link

 

 

Edited by Joshua States

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

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Now I have to find that post where @Jerrod Miller told sombody about testing labs we could use.....

 

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

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  • 7 months later...

I recently tried a melt using Vanadium Carbide as the carbide former. Unfortunately I blew the carbon content and only ended up with approximately 1% C (estimated by weight). The puck looks good, but there is no dendritic patterning that I can see. Not enough excess carbon I guess.

 

Puck top.jpg

 

Puck Window.jpg

 

I also tried something new to protect the crucible. I coated the entire crucible (inside and out) with a slurry of refractory.

 

Pre-melt (1).jpg

 

Pre-melt (2).jpg

 

Where the ingot melted inside, the crucible remained virtually undamaged. The upper portion got covered in splatterings of molten glass.

 

Post-melt (1).jpg

 

The exterior also remained almost undamaged. JUst some leftover refractory still stuck to the side.

 

Post-melt (2).jpg

  • Like 2

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today's forging disasters
 

Forge disaster.JPG

 

V2 Forge Crumble.jpg

 

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“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 11/20/2023 at 12:59 PM, Alan Longmire said:

Bummer... :( What happened?  Got it too hot or hit it too hard? Those are the usual suspects in a failed wootz puck.  

Could be too hot, could be I terribly miscalculated the C content and it's way higher than I thought, could be I didn't roast long enough or hot enough.
Frankly I have no clue.

 

So I made some more!

I took two more pucks and roasted them for quite some time and started to forge them out, very gently using the press.

These are heated to 1900 F (~1040 C)

 

1 Forgiing start.jpg

 

I started to square them up a bit.

 

2 Start a bar.jpg

 

And I lost one of them

 

Gorked bar.jpg

 

I may hot-cut that bar into 1/3's and try forging a smaller bar. IDK.

 

 

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

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The other one was doing well. I took it to 1 inch square and it behaved very well.

 

3 One inch square.jpg

 

So I took it to 1x1/2 inch and got it 14 inches long. (all forging on the press)

 

4 Long bar.jpg

 

When I went to the powerhammer, it cracked open.

It's on the end, so I will try and cut that part off and continue.

 

6 Cracks.jpg

 

 

 

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“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

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42 minutes ago, Jan Ysselstein said:

Stay with it .

Oh yeah. At this point I'm like a dog with a dead rat in its mouth!
Daniel has given me some good pointers and I am grateful for the advice.

I'll take all the help I can get. So don't be afraid to speak up, if the mood strikes you.

On 12/19/2023 at 7:27 AM, Alan Longmire said:

the scale looks like you've got some good patterning in there,

I would like to think so, but I know very little about what I'm looking at

 

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

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 "So don't be afraid to speak up, if the mood strikes you. "  

 

Most years we take a drive to the South West to look at wild flowers and the Desert .I can throw some stuff in the car an we can do one together (if you are not too far from California).  If that is good for you we can discuss who will do what and when. If we are good I will go and ask for permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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42 minutes ago, Jan Ysselstein said:

if you are not too far from California

It depends on where in California!

 

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“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

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So, I took that bar, cut off the nasty bit, and etched the end to check for internal cracking. Feeling somewhat confident that the remainder of the bar was solid, I started to forge another blade. I learned the hard way that this steel didn't like being forged to shape too much and after cutting off a few more inches of cracked steel, I settled on forging a rough shape and grinding the profile I wanted.

Cut end

Cut end.jpg

 

Rough blade blank

 

Rough blade 1.jpg

 

Rough grind

 

Rough grind.jpg

 

Hand sanded to 220 grit. I haven't put this through H/T yet. 

Most of these get finished and polished to around 2000+ grit to reveal the patterning. I plan to take this to 400 grit and quench using an anti-scale compound. That "should" make finishing a lot faster.

 

220 hand finish.jpg

 

Wish me luck.

Edited by Joshua States
  • Like 3

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

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I wanted to check the carbide patterning and I cut a short coupon off the tang.

I gound some bevels into it sanded to 400 and put it through HT.

Then I took it to 800 and etched.

 

Coupon.jpg

 

Then I talked about the carbide patterning with Daniel Cauble who told me what I saw was what I get.
So, I put the blde in the oven and quenched it. 

 

Hardened.jpg

 

It's tempering tonight. This will  become a new thread in show & tell.

 

 

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“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

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Update: This will NOT become a new thread in S&T.
Yuck. Just yucky.

 

Pattern 1.jpg

 

Pattern 2.jpg

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“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

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  • 4 months later...
Posted (edited)
On 12/20/2023 at 7:52 PM, Joshua States said:

It depends on where in California!

Joshua, I am in Southern California and am willing to teach you what I know. 

 

BTW, I really like seeing all the progress! Great work! Success wouldn't be any fun without a few set backs!

Edited by Jacob Christian
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