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I Forge Iron


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  1. DSW: I shied away from oxy/propane in the end for two reasons: even with a donated oxy/acetylene set, the initial costs were going to be over £100.00 and secondly, safe and convenient storage of the oxygen tank. Anyway, to finally put this to rest: I bought a Victor Turbotorch STK-11 (uses MAPP or propane) and tried it out this morning on just propane. I have to confess that I was most impressed. Within a very short time, I had successfully brazed two 0.5mm collars together with the pieces in the open air. Trying this originally with my old torch, even with surrounding and filling the pieces with refractory material, it barely heated the parts enough to melt the braze, let alone join the parts securely. This new torch makes my original propane device look like a candle in comparison. Thank you for all of the advice, James.
  2. After playing about with the torch that I was given and looking into it a little more, I am having second thoughts about an oxy-propane set up for a number of reasons and am looking at MAPP torches in more depth after all. The Victor torches seem to be more favourably viewed and three models are readily available here: the STK-11, TX-504 and the STK-9. The trouble is that I cannot work out from the details on the Victor site what the differences are between the models and whether any is really suitable for brazing. Does anyone have any experience of these torches and able to advise? Thank you, yet again. James.
  3. Thank you for the advice regarding hoses and tips. I should be collecting the set in a week or two, so will be able to check the type of hose and the tips then. Thinking about it, though, I imagine that I could just use the regulator and hose from my current propane set. Regards, James.
  4. Well, they say better born lucky than rich. After due consideration of the general suggestions here, I mentioned to friend that I had finally decided to buy an oxy/propane kit. It turns out that he has an unwanted, unused oxy/acetylene kit that I can have as it is in the way. It comes with a wide selection of nozzles and an angled brazing head. It needs a new fuel regulator, so I will get one for propane. Am I right in thinking that the fuel hose should be changed for a different material if it is being used with propane? Countryforge: I think that SilPhos is what I currently use - a copper to copper, fluxless braze. Regards, James.
  5. Ian, Thank you for the suggestions. I have been looking for German solders, but have been unable to find anything much (Google is also insistant that I meant "German soldiers" and keeps giving me pictures of Stormtroopers".) Countryforge, A friend has a TIG welder. I may take some bits of copper up to his workshop and see whether I can have a play. Regards, James.
  6. Ian, Perfectly reasonable question. There are two main reasons: 1) I feel that the way that a brazed joint weathers looks far better than a soldered joint, and many of the joints will be visible. 2) When I have soldered large items before, and then added more detail pieces, I have had problems with the first joints failing under the heat needed for the additions. Although this can still happen with brazing, I have had far fewer problems. This particular piece will have several small pieces adding on and I have visions of it disintegrating if I use solder. However, these German solders of which you speak may be different. Do you have any details of them at all? Thank you. James.
  7. Thank you for your replies. DSW: I had not realised that you could get straight air-acetylene torches. I shall have a look to see what is available over here in England. John: I did try stuffing the work with refractory material and working within firebricks. It did help, but not sufficiently to effect a decent joint. However, as I progress with the project, I will be forced more and more to be working with pieces where filling them will not be viable, so I shall have to look for an alternative torch. Regards, James.
  8. I currently use one of these propane torches for brazing copper, generally selecting the largest of the three sizes. In the past, most of my work has been quite small and it has coped well enough. However, now that I am working on a dragon with thicker (0.5mm) copper and larger pieces, it cannot get the work hot enough to braze. Stupid question: do I just need a larger nozzle, perhaps the type used for weed burning, or do I need to invest in something like an oxy-propane set up? I did consider MAPP as an alternative, but I get the impression that the gas cannisters do not last that long. Regards, James.
  9. When I started playing around with copper, I just used the tools that I had around. I used mainly: - small ball pein hammer - small cross pein hammer - pointed-nose pliers - small chisel - big hammer - flat, hard surface (back of the vice) - tin snips - cheap gas blow lamp using cannister of butane I used a variety of scrap metal, including copper plumbing pipe. The only "specialised" tools that I have since bought are an anvil and a more powerful blow lamp. Other things that I find useful are: - lumps of wood of different hardnesses, some with hollows and grooves carved into them - lumps of hard rubber - bits of scrap metal bar around which to bend copper. I have used these to make roses, trees, toadstools, jewellery, lillies and currently a dragon. Regards, James. Oh, and a file.
  10. Further to the suggestions made here, and a little other research, I made this tool to make the rounded ends on bull rushes. It works very well, allowing me to take a 15mm pipe down to almost nothing, with nice rounded shoulders, by working through the different sized holes. I just need to polish to working faces a little as they leave marks where I ground them to shape. Regards, James.
  11. Thank you for the replies. I had not heard of fullering before, but have looked into it and shall have a go at making a basic tool and then shall give it a go. Regards, James.
  12. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can make the rounded ends on some copper bull rushes? I have tried two methods 1) Slitting the end of a piece of 10mm pipe in a few places, pressing the ends together to make a taper and brazing the slits back up again. This looked just that: a brazed slit and would need a huge amount of fiing and sanding to shape. 2) Making a copper hemisphere to sit on the end of the pipe and brazing it on. This may have worked, but I have been unable to keep the cap in place whist trying to braze it and it kept falling off. I gave up after losing three. Any suggestions would be welcome. Regards, James.
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