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I'm interested. I've a cable like this and i'm planning to use it.

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Try and find old cable that has been used. This is personal preferences. Here in Oregon a walk in the woods will usually turn up some cable. The older stuff is usually high carbon steel, that's all. Much of the newer stuff has some alloying. The used stuuf will be tighter wound due to stretching under load. I do not use any cable with a rope core, or heavily crusted with oil. Too tough to burn out. Cut out the frayed areas using a torch. Sawing will unwind the ends. Now cut into about 12" lengths. Do the cuts slow so you fuse the ends.

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Try and find old cable that has been used. This is personal preferences. Here in Oregon a walk in the woods will usually turn up some cable. The older stuff is usually high carbon steel, that's all. Much of the newer stuff has some alloying. The used stuuf will be tighter wound due to stretching under load. I do not use any cable with a rope core, or heavily crusted with oil. Too tough to burn out. Cut out the frayed areas using a torch. Sawing will unwind the ends. Now cut into about 12" lengths. Do the cuts slow so you fuse the ends.

 

I will post in small sections like this to not overload.

 

Enjoy,

 

Jim

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Edited by JB Blades
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Now it gets tricky. Heat the cable to forging temperature;HOT!! Pull it out and slap it on the anvil, reheat, slap a few times. You are trying to get anything that is loose or burned out BEFORE you start using the BORAX. Brush well, again get anything loose out. Once it seems clean, heat, quick to the vice and twist like heck. Repeat until you can't twist any more.

 

You guys want more??

 

Jim

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Now a light coat of BORAX, let it melt on until there is a shine to it. Back in the forge. Let the borax fuse even. Now very lightly tap the cable. Very gentle. More BORAX, more heat, more tapping. The cable will get a different more solid feel, the hammer will sound different. This indicates that the core is welding. Use light taps or you wil squish the cable and break the strands apart. Heat-Borax-Heat-Tap-Tap, repeat.

 

Next is clean up and forge to shape.

 

Any interest??

 

Jim

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Wow Jim, this is the most indepth explanation of how to work cable that I personally have ever heard. On the next piece I work on I'll have to try it your way and see if it turns out better than my first attempt. Keep it coming!

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Is there anything that needs to be clarified?? The areas that work for me:

 

-Older Cable, no rope core, little to no grease build up.

-Heat, burn off rust and junk, slap on anvil to rid.

-Twist like heck

-Heat, BORAX, Tap Tap, repeat.

 

Note the solid look to this billet now. The seams are fused on the outside.

 

To clean up: Once you have a solid feeling billet I recruit some help. The helper holds the HOT billet on the anvil and I hit it with the grinder. This is a quick way to get the glaze and junk off the surface. if you wait till it cools, it is miserable to get off.

 

What do you want to see clarified, or next?

 

Happy to share, that's how I learned.

 

Jim

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Edited by JB Blades
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Hey, Jim:

 

I think I speak for everyone else when I say, just post any step in the process! What you've got so far is very helpful and inspirational, and anything else, from forging to shape, to clean-up and etching would be equally helpful and appreciated. It's so awesome that people go to the trouble to document these things for everyone else's benefit.

 

Keep them coming, please!

 

And thank you!

 

Will S.

Edited by Will S.
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Here is the billet cleaned up. I really like to get it very neat and even, it helps keep me on track.

 

Design: One of the biggest problems I see guys get into, is going into the project without a clear outcome. I spend a considerable amount of time drawing to scale the entire project to scale with measurments. Once the client approves, and signs off I make about 6 copies of the design and hang one near the anvil. Others are used to guide when doing Habaki, handle, etc.

 

I keep every drawing in a binder. I now have a small artist book that I sketch in, looking at different combos of materials.

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