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forge welding


nicrom

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What is the different fluxes and how are each of them used in the process. I found the most interesting of fluxes I have read about thus far is a combanation of straw charcole and clay slurry. That is what I am extremely interested in seeing as it seems to be the least mentioned. I would love as much in debth info as anyone can provide about this process. I have read a lot of articles about this and many other types of forge welding but none of them really seem to offer much understanding of the process for a new blacksmith/blademaker. I mean I understand the basics of it but putting it into practice seems to be a much more difficult thing. Now from what I can gather the clay slurry is just clay and water. What is the consistancy? What kind of clay is used? Does it matter? Is the straw entirely charcole? Would other types of charcole work as well? When exactly is it used in the process? Thank you for any and all help. In the mean time I will continue experimanting and researching. Oh and what methods are better for gas forges and charcole forges and is there really any difference? Ok enough questions for now. I really do enjoy all the information on this forum. So much more than anywhere else.

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The easiest forge welding flux is just plain ol' Twenty Mule Team Borax. If you want to make it anhydrous borax, put it in a pan and bake it in the oven for a while. I think that I did my last batch at 300 degrees and just left it in there for a good while, maybe an hour or so, probably the so. This seems to be the flux that just about everyone seems to come back to, though others might have their favorites. Get the steel that you want to weld up to red and sprinkle the borax on, plain borax will sputter a bit, and return to the forge until it's up to welding temp. It's not fancy, but it beats trying to find the right kind of clay and charcoal or the right type of white sand. If it absorbs water, which it will, all you have to do is bake it again, though I haven't bothered to do that with mine yet. It got me out of a tight spot with the knife that I'm making. I got quite a gutter formed where I was drawing the bar out and I didn't want to just hammer it back and get a cold shunt so I just put some borax on it, brought it up to a bright yellow heat and just welded it back down.

 

As far as forges go, gas is cleaner thus less likely to cause inclusions in the welds. Especially with venturi burners, however, they are harder to get up to welding temperature. Charcoal forges can easily get up to welding temperature, you just have to inclease the air blast. Just be sure to have plenty of fuel over the tuyere and cover the steel with fuel also to hold the heat in. The downside of charcoal is that have to keep the crud brushed off so that it doesn't get between the welds.

 

Doug Lester

Edited by Doug Lester

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

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I use the 20 mule team as well.

I use a charcoal forge and it works pretty well for me.

I've done it both methods, burying it in the coals and also by forming a chamber around the coals and holding it inside it.

I prefer the chamber method as it's easier to keep an eye on the workpiece, but if you need a bit more heat then you have to bury it.

Beau Erwin

www.ErwinKnives.com

Custom knives

Bcarta Composites

Stabilized Woods

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see if you can find a smith in your area or go to a demo and watch someone do it in real time.......

hundreds of your questions will be answerd and hundreds of new ones will come up ...... but there is nothing like watching someone else do it.......

like the others I use 20 mule team for flux ...

I use coal for the fire.......but coal is hard to do if you live in a populated area cause of the smoke.....

Glad to see you didn't go off that bridge last week..

dick

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Just my .002 worth, I have used 20 mule team borax and anhydrous borax and found the 20 mule team to be as good a flux as any. I mixed wood ash with it, used it straight and baked it-----all the same. I beleive it is the temperature of the billet and experience of the smith more so than the flux, there are days I can weld Buffalo poop to a rock and then there are days when I can't make it happen if I used a mig welder and a sacrifice. There are too many variables in an open atmosphere forge to say one type of flux is going to make the magic happen. Rely on tried and true methods rather than types of flux to get the weld. Clean material and temperature is far more important than the type of flux. :lol:

 

 

 

 

 

Peter

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Just my .002 worth, I have used 20 mule team borax and anhydrous borax and found the 20 mule team to be as good a flux as any. I mixed wood ash with it, used it straight and baked it-----all the same. I beleive it is the temperature of the billet and experience of the smith more so than the flux, there are days I can weld Buffalo poop to a rock and then there are days when I can't make it happen if I used a mig welder and a sacrifice. There are too many variables in an open atmosphere forge to say one type of flux is going to make the magic happen. Rely on tried and true methods rather than types of flux to get the weld. Clean material and temperature is far more important than the type of flux. :lol:

Peter

Indeed I have not had the chance to really do much trying. I was just trying to find out as much information about the different processes as possible. Knowledge is power as they say. :D I have just been working on making some simple tools and getting better at some heat treatment and the moving of steel. I have only gotten the chance to mess around with some rail road spikes. I thank all of you for the opertunity to pick such knowladgeble peoples brains. :D Much apreaciated.

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Let me make another suggestion to you. We all love to help the new guy out here, even if we don't know a whole lot more than s/he does, but nothing takes the place of a good reference book. I like "The Wonder of Knife Making" and "The $50 Dollar Knifeshop", both by Wayne Goddard and both worth their weight in gold. A good book on general blacksmithing might not be a bad thing to have either. The blacksmithing book that I have is "The Backyard Blacksmith" by Lorelei Sims. It has good advice on basic forging techniques and ideas on some tools that you can make for yourself. You can probably get all three from Amazon. Some of the blade/blacksmithing supply web stores may have them too.

 

Doug Lester

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

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Just my .002 worth, I have used 20 mule team borax and anhydrous borax and found the 20 mule team to be as good a flux as any. I mixed wood ash with it, used it straight and baked it-----all the same. I beleive it is the temperature of the billet and experience of the smith more so than the flux, there are days I can weld Buffalo poop to a rock and then there are days when I can't make it happen if I used a mig welder and a sacrifice. There are too many variables in an open atmosphere forge to say one type of flux is going to make the magic happen. Rely on tried and true methods rather than types of flux to get the weld. Clean material and temperature is far more important than the type of flux. :lol:

Peter

 

That made my whole day. I laughed so hard I shot snot. THANK YOU!

www.toddblades.com

 

"Geometry says how sharp, steel says how long." - Roman Landes, Ashokan 2009

 

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

 

- George Orwell

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