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I Forge Iron


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  1. Is this because, given the additives to the water, it cools the steel more rapidly? On another topic- keeping a warm quench can or barrel: even before the current recession, we were trying to keep our costs down around our home/homestead. Consequently, I just heat up the enclosed & insulated shop (using an efficient Scandinavian wood heater in combination with a movable electric space heater) on those days when I want to do a pretty full day of work there. It therefore can be days - even a week sometimes - between warm shop sessions. Seems to me a stock heater in the quench can could add up cost-wise - but maybe I'm wrong... it may be cheap. Advise, please.
  2. I mixed up a formula recommended to me. (Someone said don't use anti-freeze - the steam can be dangerous, neurologically, if breathed.) The recommended forumla is: 1 lb coarse salt, one cup Dawn dish detergent - into 5 gallons of water. Fully dissolve the salt by stirring. So far (three days), it has kept the water from freezing hard at temperatures down to 15 degrees F. At coldest points, the water does become a soft slush, but it does not unify and harden into a solid block. I consider this a useful pail of quench fluid for winter (better than a block of ice!). The slush is a form of water I can warm up readily, if I want. I'm not sure at what temp it would actually freeze solid. Of course, I suppose I could increase the proportion of salt and Dawn. (It already smells like a sink full of dish detergent. )
  3. Okay, so it isn't something we'd drink (it isn't that non-toxic), but steam that contains it is not toxic - right?
  4. I'm kinda new to metalworking, so I have a pretty basic question. My shop area for doing metal work, due to both space and fire-hazard avoidance considerations, is out back of one of our main outbuildings. It's sheltered by a roof, but is otherwise open-air. Although I have a propane strong-fan space heater that I do use sometimes in deepest winter, usually (especially overnight) the ambient temps get down to the general outdoor winter temps (which tend to be at freezing point or as low as -10 F). I have an 8-gallon metal pail in which I keep about five gallons of water for quenching fairly small metal pieces when need be. Trouble is, of course, the water freezes overnight, even if I'm going out there and using it (quenching hot metal in it) during the day - and it freezes especially steadily if I have not been using it for a couple days. The running water on our place is inconveniently distant. Is there any kind of anti-freeze I can add to the water that will not: a) lead to a flame in the can if I put hot metal into it? be objectionably toxic in the steam made by dunking a piece of hot metal? I've been considering calcium chloride, as is used for "ballast" fills - using water - in tractor tires. But I have further questions about it: What concentration of it is needed per gallon? (calcium chloride, by weight or by volume) And will calcium chloride in the water cause rapid corrosion of the steel bucket I keep the water in? But I'd consider other chemicals, too. Thanks.
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