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I Forge Iron


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About MrMaelstrom

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    Taylorsville KY, USA

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  1. Colloidal silica tends to work pretty well for this application. Another good option is sodium silicate, or "water glass" that I would recommend more. They will both end up functioning the same. Remet's colloidal silica binders are generally used for the investment casting industry. Many stabilizing/rigidizer mixes, to my knowledge, are actually just sodium silicate mixed with refractory powders and clay. I know the stuff I used for my last forge was exactly that. The issue is that most of these binders are made with a specific particle size distribution because of the industry they are made for. That actually manages to hike up the price a fair bit. It works, and it works well, but it is a little over engineered for the purpose of stabilizing the refractory blanket. In the investment casting shelling process, the colloidal silica is what actually holds the ceramic shell together. The strength of the shell can be related to the relative sizes of those particles, and usually 2 or three different slurries with different binders are applied over the course of the shelling operation. The colloids are actually amorphous, which means that they are technically glass. Once they get into the furnace though, and "set" they end up turning into crystoballite (quartz) crystals which is what makes that blanket (or shell) rigid. Quartz is what ends up causing silicosis (as well as the other forms of crystalline silica), and way more care should be taken when you are replacing blanket that has been stabilized with the C.S. for that reason. The Sodium silicate is a bit different. Essentially, once you cram enough sodium oxide into a silica glass, it can be easily dissolved in water and this solution is what you will end up buying. (silicate glasses are also water soluble, but that is a different story...). You can then add more water to it to thin it down and paint/spray it on. Once all that water evaporates out, you are left with a sodium-silicate glass that STAYS glass when fired due to the amount of sodium ions still in the network. A bit safer once you go in there and start replacing blanket in your forge. it works pretty good on its own, and if you want to give it just a bit more IR reflection, you can always add some -325 mesh mullite to it. http://www.amazon.com/Rutland-146-Cement-Sealer-Fireplace/dp/B004YEDQOK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433535206&sr=8-1&keywords=sodium+silicate Also, way cheaper than buying a pint of ITC-100
  2. That's immediately what came to mind, Thomas. I remember looking at those tests when I first started out and thinking that they were impossible/required some sort of dark ritual to pass. Then came more experience and a material science degree. So much cooler knowing why things work, in my opinion, and reading about reverse engineering artifacts from history also tickles my fancy.
  3. I just moved from that area last year. A good friend of mine is the Forgemaster of the Mohawk chapter of the New York State Designer Blacksmiths. There werent many of us in the Mohawk chapter so we were all pretty close, and everyone is more or less self taught and extremely friendly. I can personally vouch for them. I will send you a PM with some contact info. http://www.nysdb.org/ if you want to look into the club as a whole. They usually meet about once a month, depending on everyone's availability.
  4. Honestly, that might be some of the classiest, and safest, packaging I have seen. I might want to invest in wooden boxes. When I was in college, I shipped a rather large camping knife to a friend in what I had deemed "Acceptable packaging". I had wrapped the tip in cardboard and packed it in a box that I had under my bed. I got a call a few weeks later. Essentially, it had wiggled loose from the cardboard "sheath" and stabbed its way through the box. Add to that, apparently my laundry detergent had spilled into the box while it was under my bed. Imagine getting a package for a college student at the local post office that has blue soapy fluid leaking from a massive hole: A hole that is currently filled with 6" of sharp steel. It was a stupid call on my part and every bit unprofessional (and unethical). I was younger, and dumber, by comparison. Needless to say, it was one of the incidents that cause me to throw out the "Good enough" mentality. The other one involved tongs that weren't suited to the work...
  5. I had never been, or worked with, a striker until I met a good friend of mine (who is around on this forum somewhere). He is a hammer buff, through and through, and after some convincing, we decided to make me a 2lb straight peen. I was fresh to this, although I had quite a bit of time with a single handed hammer, I didnt have the stamina or the trust in myself. Took us about 2 hours to do that first one with me swinging a 14lb sledge with careful swings and having to put the steel back into the forge when I was tired. Right before I moved though, the "rail road swing" was almost normal, and I found it a bit easier to conserve momentum by doing it. Still couldn't sustain it for a while though, but we were able to forge a 3 lb Brian Brazeal-style rounding hammer in about 45 minutes or so. Trust was a big thing. I found that as I got a bit more accurate, I could swing a bit harder. Then all I did was rinse and repeat until I gradually built up the strength. Then came his trust in me not to smash him in the head. When he struck for me though, it was trust from a different perspective. I am 5'6" swinging either a 10 lb or 14lb sledge, not exactly an imposing figure. He is 6'+ swinging a 22lb sledge (half swings), and causing the entire floor of his barn to vibrate like a drum. THAT took alot of getting used to :-P
  6. Not to be the materialistic weasel of the bunch, but... How much are you looking for it? I have been in situations like that in the past: Stuck between a rock and hard place making tough decisions.
  7. Charles, I have an identical one to yours. it has, however, seen MUCH better days and was pretty beat up when my dad gave it to me (not to mention, having a handle covered in duct tape). He loved the thing so much that he named it "Dirge", and took it with him every time he went camping. I agree with you, the blade makes it a bit unwieldy, but other than that, it is a superb tool. Took an edge very well. Since then however, it was stored in a basement that flooded. I think it would take some extreme TLC/magic to get it back to acceptable condition.
  8. I have actually forged two knives with a very similar blade profile to the one pictured, and only one of them survived heat treat. Mind you, this was a good five years ago when I got really serious about blade making. Still, that step from the upper portion of the blade to the lower portion was a bear to grind evenly with the tools I had, and proved to be the point of failure in the blade that didn't survive. A sloppy HT, combined with a rough, uneven grind proved to be the downfall. For someone who doesnt have a huge amount of experience making blades, it might take some trial and error (as it did with myself). I had attempted to make them for a friend of a friend. After I broke the first one, I didnt feel confidant enough to sell off the one that did survive. In hindsight though, I could have, being that I have used it heavily for years (although I have learned to not prefer the blade design for general use). Just a fellow amateur's two cents.
  9. In718 is an ni-based super alloy used for air based and ground based turbines. It's not really hot workable at all, given it's hardness and brittleness and is extremely corrosion resistant. Nickel it's very soft on it's own, and when it's alloyed with copper and chrome, but in super alloys, that isn't the case. It's able to keep a good chunk of it's mechanical properties up temperature where steel would turn to butter, which is why it's used in turbines. I used to work as an engineer in an investment casting foundry. The vast majority of what our air-based turbines components were cast from was either in718 or in738. I managed to grab a scrap of a cut up airfoil and made a divers knife out of it. Wasn't really that good for cutting, but decent for prying and stabbing...
  10. Update: I had a very hard time tinning the inside of the ring with the high-temp solder. Heating with the torch, although gradual, was not very precise. Getting the solder to melt without overheating it was tricky, and spreading it was a nightmare. As such, I decided to try and use the low-temp pipe solder after getting some flux paste. The results are below, and I am pretty happy. Not bad for my first time, I think. Also, I went with some ferric chloride for the patina. The only real gripe I have with it is that I wasnt able to get a perfect seal between the band and the mokume, so there are some areas where there is a bit of pitting. The ferric only really made it look worse, but Thanks for the help guys, I really appreciate it.
  11. Hmmm, never would have thought of that. I will certainly give that a shot. Along those lines: I have some silver plumbing solder as well. Would that theoretically work as well or would it be too weak of a bond? Thanks Frosty!
  12. Hell all, Being that I am waiting to get my new regulator, I decided to try making some mokume out of quarters. Made little trinkets and stuff, so I decided to make a ring for the girlfriend. I dont want to turn her finger green from the copper, so i wanted to put a silver liner in. I got some sterling sheet, cut the liner and pressed it into the interior of the ring. I heated it up, got my borax and applied it, waiting for it to wick into the gap between the mokume and the silver. Never really started to get fluid and when it finally did, I ended up alloying the solder with the sterling band and melted the band right out of it. Im using an easy silver solder because I figured that the lower the temperature, the better to avoid the exact problem I am having. Thankfuly I didnt end up cleaning the ring very well, so I was able to just pop out the melted mess inside, but I am not sure what I am doing wrong with the solder. Sense says I was too hot, but it wouldnt wick at the lower temperatures. Am I missing something?
  13. At least the military grade 4340 is usable for something. I recently worked as a process engineer casting air and ground based turbines and we used quite a bit of IN718. I had a few sections of an airfoil lying around and managed to make 2 really decent dive knives. An 11 lb cylinder though... I managed to pick up a "pile" of old metal from my current work place and scattered in the bits of steel was a 5/8" rod of F-75 cobalt super alloy and a 4" x 18" block of 17-4. Same boat as you: Really cool, cant figure out what I am going to use it for.
  14. I used to go winter camping quite a bit, and got started making tomahawks around the same time. Brought my first one out with me and promptly chipped the edge later that evening. It was about 0 F out as I recall. It wasn't known steel, and my heat treating wasn't as good as it is today, but the image of my pride and joy ( at that time) chipped to XXXX stuck with me Since then I make my winter axes out of 4140. They don't hold an edge as well, but I have no complains taking it to a stone a bit more instead of trying to grind a chip out. Just my two cents.
  15. So, quick update. I still haven't gotten a new regulator yet, but I did try and fire up the old one to do some mokume gane. I had no issues with it what so ever running at 10 psi for a few hours. In a week or so, I will.see if the news regulator makes any difference
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