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To flux or not to flux?


Carlos Lara

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So today I'm putting together my Mr. Volcano, with the plan to start forging tomorrow. First project is a wrought tsuba, and the goal is to fold it on itself 5 times, then hammer it flat. I've been reading up on welding, and most online sources recommend flux. However, for this wrought iron, it's already going to be heated exclusively in a reducing, welding heat, and the iron already has a lot of silaceous impurities in it. I have borax, so that's not a problem, but I don't want to wear out my Mr. Volcano prematurely if I don't actually need flux! So do you guys think I should still use flux, or for this application it's pointless? Thanks!

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Just keep in mind that wrought welds at a much higher temperature than carbon steel.  You may find yourself needing some kind of atmospheric protection. It doesn't have to be borax.  Traditional "fluxes" for wrought include silica sand, salt, glass, ashes, and my favorite, ground mud dauber nests.  Those are high-silica clay.

 

When working wrought in solid fuels you generally don't need flux. With venturi burner gas forges you may, since it'll be hard to hit 2400F with a reducing atmosphere. 

 

 

 

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I recommend infrared filtering protective eye glasses for working with a forge.  I'm wondering that if I had used them more I wouldn't be facing cataract surgery next month but it's at the point of having the surgery or going blind.  Wish me luck.

 

Doug

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HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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Good luck, Doug. Sorry to continue to veer off topic.

 

Back in the 80s when I began to enter this world (pre-internet). I saw in some book, most old time blacksmiths had early cataracts and my first teacher was wearing didymium . So I managed to get some in prescription. Found out later that glass is great for glass blowers, not so much for blacksmiths. I think there is a discussion here about the light spectrum we need protection from. Mostly the shade 3 allows me to see the work, without something the coal fire and especially propane blind me from seeing what is going on. I could push them up an instant before pulling and see my work.

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Matt Walker                https://www.youtube.com/@onedamascusmaker/videos

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks! I got some shade 3 glasses, and they work great. With that big brick out of the forge, it did heat up way faster. I tried to weld two pieces of wrought together today, leaving them in the heat for a lot longer than usual. I could see the scale bubbling, and it did run down between them and bond them together a bit, but not quite enough to totally weld them together. I didn't have my flux on me, but the next forging I'm going to try it! 

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