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I Forge Iron


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    Northern Virginia


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    Northern Virginia

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  1. Good tip on the hot cut, Rich. I never thought of that!
  2. Big forge with hard firebrick and a small burner. You need better insulation, plus a much smaller forge and/or a much bigger burner.
  3. Since the face of your largest hammer (largest one-handed hammer, anyway) probably isn't more than about 2.5" across the widest dimension, I'm not sure I see a real advantage to welding the pieces together side-by-side. A 6" wide face is mostly wasted unless you're doing a lot of work with a sledge, in which case you probably want a considerably heavier anvil, anyway. You would get more mass directly under the hammer -- and thus probably more benefit -- by stacking them on top of one another (with the 3" face as the top surface) and welding them up that way. I don't know if it's necessary to weld the slits, but it probably wouldn't hurt. I would also make sure they are oriented vertically in whatever anvil configuration you settle on.
  4. I second what Dodge said. Charcoal doesn't need much air blast. If you're wearing yourself out cranking the blower for charcoal, something's off. EIther you're cranking way too hard, or something's wrong with the blower. Try slowing waaay down. You may find that it solves several problems. It's possible to force so much air into a fire that you blow all the heat away, just like blowing out a candle.
  5. That's interesting, because I grew up in northern Indiana (Elkhart County) and I don't throw in the extra "r" in words like wash. At least if I do, I'm not aware of it. I wonder if it may vary even within the state. I grew up calling soft drinks "pop," but around Indy they tend to call them all "coke," which is a term I associate with the east coast (although it's apparently popular on the left coast, too, and in a lot of big cities in between). lupiphile, nice tie-in! :)
  6. Well, that's Wayne's definition. I don't think I agree with it. But of course I don't like to use the term damascus at all, because it's confusing; it can mean several different things. I do say cable damascus, though, because I'm too lazy to come up with a better term that's as easy to say. :)
  7. I agree that experimentation is important. I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. But to borrow some terminology from my days as an artilleryman, a good reference book can save a lot of adjusting rounds. In other words, it can help you get in the right ballpark. Industry has come up with some fascinating ways to overcome the problem of getting from the furnace to the quenchant without losing heat. E.g., sometimes the quench tank is directly under the furnace. When the part is fully austenitized, the bottom of the furnace opens and dumps the charge straight into the quench bath. I'm not suggesting blacksmiths necessariy need something that fancy, but it does get you thinking. :)
  8. These are good questions. I am sure one of your professors can give you a theoretical answer to the time-to-100%-austenite question. (It's not just a function of the size of the piece. It's also a function of alloying elements. Highly alloyed steels convert to austenite slowly, which is why many of the high speed/air hardening tool steels require very long soaks at high temperatures for full hardening.) However, the practical answer to your first question is that smart metallurgists have already figured this stuff out and written it down for the rest of us. Walk over to your university library and find a good reference book on heat treating -- one that specifies soak times for different alloys. The point (or at least one of the points) of soak time is to ensure 100% austenite formation. If they don't have such a book, I'm positive they can get it for you. Generally speaking, yes, the goal is to form maximum martensite (I don't think it's ever actually 100%, but you can get very close), and then temper back from there to get the desired characteristics. This is much easier and more repeatable than trying to achieve a particular mix of structures straight out of the quench, by not fully austenitizing or by quenching in a coolant that isn't fast enough for the steel. An exception would be differential hardening of blades, in which you try to achieve for a martensite edge, a pearlite spine, and a transition zone of mixed structures.
  9. Come to think of it, I just realized we're talking about two separate things. You're talking about a design patent, Thomas. Yes, those are easy to get around -- so easy that they're hardly worth bothering with. Utility patents are a different story, and much more worthwhile. I assumed that's what he's going for. But maybe not.
  10. Eh, I don't think it really works that way as a legal matter, although it may depend how the patent application is written. The modern patents I've read have been written in extremely broad terms, probably to prevent attempts at that sort of thing. In fact, some of them have been written so broadly that, at least for me, it was hard to tell what the heck they were patenting! It was all very abstract.
  11. I look forward to reading the application. No offense intended, but I am skeptical about the usefulness part. I have yet to see any evidence that PW steel can do anything, mechanically, that monosteel can't do at least as well. As far as I'm concerned, PW is a decorative process -- which is not to say that I don't like it! But stuff happens. A guy over at Don Fogg's five or so years ago was playing around with making crucible steel using thermite, and ended up creating a new alloy with some unusual properties. With some help from a metallurgist and some other professionals, he ended up patenting it. So anything's possible. Again, though, is the pic still up? I can't see it for some reason.
  12. Here is Dr. Feuerbach's list of papers from her academic homepage. At least some of them are available for download. Her dissertation and master's thesis are not included. http://hofstra.academia.edu/AnnFeuerbach/Papers I hope that helps.
  13. For some reason I can't see the photo. Is it still there? Rich, The Patent Office explains patentability as follows: In the language of the statute, any person who “invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent,” subject to the conditions and requirements of the law. The word “process” is defined by law as a process, act or method, and primarily includes industrial or technical processes. The term “machine” used in the statute needs no explanation. The term “manufacture” refers to articles that are made, and includes all manufactured articles. The term “composition of matter” relates to chemical compositions and may include mixtures of ingredients as well as new chemical compounds. These classes of subject matter taken together include practically everything that is made by man and the processes for making the products. . . The patent law specifies that the subject matter must be “useful.” The term “useful” in this connection refers to the condition that the subject matter has a useful purpose and also includes operativeness, that is, a machine which will not operate to perform the intended purpose would not be called useful, and therefore would not be granted a patent. The invention also can't be obvious to a person skilled in the trade, based on "prior art" (prior publicly disclosed information in the field). So you can't (er, shouldn't be able to) patent pattern welding; that's an ancient and well-known process. And you can't patent a process based on pattern welding that'd be obvious to people familiar with pattern welding. But if there's some claim that a unique, non-obvious combination of steels in a particular pattern produces unusual and useful material properties, that certainly could be patentable. From what I can tell, the Patent & Trademark Office does not scrutinize applications very closely to see if what they assert is true; i.e., if the invention actually does what the applicant claims. (I base this on the fact that I've read the patent applications for certain processes patented by a metal worker who shall remain nameless -- I'm not referring to samcro -- and they're bunkum. Very impressive-sounding bunkum, I grant you, but still bunkum as far as I can tell.) It appears to me that the PTO basically just looks to see if the idea is prior art or would be obvious from prior art. If not, the PTO seems to err on the side of granting the patent. I suppose it's easier to grant the patent and let private parties fight it out if there's a problem, as opposed to denying the application and getting the PTO sued.
  14. Are you telling, or asking? If you want smaller quantities, several common roach poisons are 98%-99%% boric acid (and 1%-2% "inert ingredients"). Roach Prufe and Hot Shot Roach Killing Powder are two examples. You can buy them just about anywhere, and they're cheap.
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