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I Forge Iron


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About porkchop

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    Northeastern, PA

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  1. Hah, thanks for saving me further embarrassment! The jaws are 4 1/2" wide.
  2. Wd, thanks for the help, but I actually scored a nice 5" (?) columbian today without a spring for 40$. I Can't imagine it will be too difficult to make a spring for it. I only say 5 because it doesn't come apart past that. Patience is a virtue, in which I am learning.
  3. Well, I didn't find anything at the auction. Not a single vice was to be found sprawled amongst the twenty acres. An 75 lb. anvil, though not sure what brand, went for only 65$ in not bad condition. wd, that's a great find. I search craigslist often and hardly ever come up with anything. Thanks for sharing, I'll get in touch with him.
  4. Seems like it varies depending on region. I'll definitely keep my eye out...I think 100 will be my max. I'll post if I find one.
  5. There is a pretty large Amish auction I will be attending this weekend. I am in need of a vice, and if I happen to stumble upon a post vice, what would be the max price I should pay?
  6. But isn't that the point of an agitated bath, and the addition of salt to reduce the oxidation? I'm sure the soap process to an extent minimizes the need for agitation. Ah, the ingenuity of the smith...trial and error, trial and error. Since I've been working at the foundry under the metallurgist and engineers, I'm certainly beginning to understand patience and technique (not to mention bizarre concepts to try as a last resort, almost always resulting in new, tried methods). Rich, thanks for the input. I hadn't thought much of the progress of alloys we've made in the past 150 years. I'm sure with carbon string applications being produced, the methods we think of will be archaic in 50 years. I guess the point is just to move on, and not stick with one idea. Those who don't evolve, perish with the wagon wheel.
  7. I was just really surprised someone suggested that. It was only one article, and wasn't brought up again. Perhaps the smith had handled too much mercury for his own good, and it caused him to believe it true. I looked up the Super Quench formula; a lot of credentials. But what part does the dish soap play? Thanks, Thomas, that helped clear a bit up.
  8. Over the past few weekends, I've been "apprenticing" under a local woodsmith/blacksmith who has been gradually introducing me to the many facets of this trade. One book he gave me to read is one I'm sure you're familiar with; Practical Blacksmithing, cataloged by M.T. Richardson. In chapter IV, Steel and its Uses, there is an article name "To Temper Steel Very Hard." It goes on to say: "the most effective liquid is the only liquid metal-mercury. This being a good conductor of heat, in fact the very best liquid conductor, and the only cold one, appears to be the best on for hardening steel-cutting tools. The best steel, when forged into shape and hardened in mercury, will cut almost anything. We have seen articles made from ordinary steel, which have been hardened and tempered to a deep straw color, turned with comparative ease with cutting tools from good tool steel hardened in mercury." This seems so archaic to me, but in fact may be so for good reasons. I'm sure the dangers of mercury were known then, but they still took the good with the bad. I was just wondering if anyone has had the opportunity to try this method, or work with steel that has been tempered in this fashion. He finishes with a bit of a disclaimer: "Beware of inhaling the vapor while hardening."
  9. DClaville, I can test anything I can get my hands on. In less than five minutes I can get a detailed report from the spectrometer which calculates the percentage of 20 different elements without destroying the piece. As I continue delving into this trade, and when I stumble upon something of that grade, I will surely do so. The fab shop down the road from me has been surprisingly generous in helping me with obtaining stock at a decent price (they seem to love artists). I'm sure they can through me a scrap punch or something of the sort. On my next trip I'll ask. Frosty, I appreciate your kind words. It makes going to work much more worthwhile at 4:30 in the morning :D On the subject of anonymity, I will refer to him as J from here on out. I'm glad I can be of service!
  10. Frosty, I'd be more than happy to contribute. If there is nothing I can answer, I'd be more than happy to present the question to my boss. He is nearing the end of his career, and loves the fact that someone is actually interested, instead of just going through the motions, so he is eager to share his knowledge, and lights up each time I ask him a question. **Not to add to his merits, but he was a Bethlehem steel metallurgist until the very end.
  11. As far as I know, the most mild steel starts at .3%. Wrought contains the lowest, starting at about .1%. I am going to run three samples of both again on Monday immediately after a standard to obtain an average. A larger piece will be run on our spectrometer for a more accurate understanding. I am not an expert on steel. I came out of nowhere in this business, so I still have much to learn.
  12. Hi everyone, I thought I'd use this post to introduce myself. I started smithing about three months ago. As I began messing around, I quickly found out what the term "burnt iron" was. I work in the lab of a grey/ductile iron casting foundry in NEPA, under a fantastic and very experienced metallurgist. He has been helping me along throughout my progress, but with my question concerning burnt iron, he couldn't help (he had never heard the term). So last weekend, while working in the forge, I purposely burnt the end of a rod, bringing it to its liquidius temp (honestly didn't think I could do that). I cut two pieces: one burnt and one untouched. The microstructure of the untouched steel shows constant grain boundaries, while the other was disturbed, air-quenched, changing it to martensite and/or bainite, depending on the layer. Basically, as far as I could understand, the force of oxygen combined with the carbon, which cause a loss therein, disrupting the grain boundaries. I am far from a metallurgist, just a lab rat. If you guys have any further input, I'd really appreciate..correct me if I'm wrong. Burnt Untouched I also ran a 1/2 gram sample in out Leco carbon and sulfur analyzer, and found that the untouched steel contained .326% carbon, and .125% carbon burnt. This forum is great, and I hope to learn/contribute more.
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