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Forge weld flux

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Indeed it does sound labor intensive...............way too much so.  I can get 5 pounds of Natural Red Iron Oxide for $20.  Pricey, yes....... messy, no.  But thanks for explaining the process.  I don't remember hearing that before.

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How about just making your own? Buy some super fine steel wool put it in a fire safe container and light it on fire, just sparking it with a battery works as an igniter. Do NOT drop the battery in with the steel wool! Burning batteries:o is a B A D thing!! A bit of steel wool and virtually any battery is an old Boy Scout fire starter, beats rubbing sticks together you betcha. It'll oxidize quickly enough; minutes rather than hours and powder easily. 

The only downside is the almost utter lack of chemistry or serious hazard other than a little bitty class D fire. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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you can get boric acid, non roach poison, at yer local pharmacy. It's either on the shelf or just ask at the counter. Two of the three pharmacies I checked with had it. I seem to remember the pharmacy was a bit cheaper than the roach poison at the hardware store.

both work fine.

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I just received his book The Complete Bladesmith in the mail today.  Hope to find out a whole lot about his Steel Glue recipe when I sit down to read tonight.  Also received my Anhydrous Borax today.  So I've everything except Natural Iron Oxide.  But a really quick scan through the book today I found where he said  to use steel filings................with no mention of iron oxide, natural or not.  But he also said the steel filings were not a requirement for the recipe to work.

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I've never understood putting iron OXIDE in welding flux. One of flux's main purposes is to prevent or flush scale (iron oxide" and other inclusions. I've seen too many experienced smiths swear by adding iron powder to their flux to gainsay them. I still don't buy Iron oxide. 

Just FYI, the word "Flux" is from the old French "Flus" meaning copious flow, later meaning continuous flow like a stream., etc. A later form is "Flush" as in flush the toilet.

This is why I LOVE etymology it gives me insights into history. Looks to me like in the days of wrought and earlier things like sand melted in the joint literally flushed the crud out during a weld. And you still see folk saying this is what flux is for.

Personally I don't think physically flushing crud out of a joint is as important now as it once was. IF you're careful about cleaning the join. 

And that's my daily dip into the fascinating and fun world of sharing random etymology with your friends. :)

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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Well, I just took a few minutes after dinner to look more closely at the Flux section of his book.  Have to say, with all the hype, I'm somewhat let down.  Basically all he says, in two paragraphs "covering" the subject is "the basis of flux compounds is Anhydrous Borax".  Suggests to use it as is or add one or more of the following:  Clean white silica sand, iron filings (low carbon steel, not tool steel) and/or Sal Ammoniac.   He personally uses just the Anhydrous Borax because all the other components can cause impurities to be caught in the weld.  Says the most important thing is cleaning all the scale off the areas to be welded....................which is what you, Frosty, have been saying all the time.;)

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Frosty, years ago I had read a book on the reason why iron in the flux is good.. It had something to do with scavenging.. I don't remember whether it was O2 or not. 

Recently I forge welded back together some scrap wrought iron.. It was so rusty and pitted it technically should not have welded (according to all the info shared) anyhow it welded up just fine with no cleaning what so ever.. When I say no cleaning I mean no grinding or wire brushing or any brushing of any kind.. 50% of it was welded with no flux.. 

when I pulled it from the fire at welding heat there was a shower of sparks unlike most would ever see..  I'm done this before and attribute the sparks or extra sparks/ slag from the rust, 

 

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A shower of sparks is the steel and carbon burning and is above melting temp on the surface. If the steel is liquid on both sides just touching them together will weld them. Welding with an oxy acet torch melts the sides together. Same same.

I've heard lots of things about the why things work, read them in acclaimed books and a little looking found no basis in fact or science. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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And remember that forge welding is a solid phase welding process; no liquid metal needed!  Why 2300 degf works and 2600 degF not needed.

The "juice" is usually melted scale, melted ferrous silicates in wrought iron, melted flux if you used any, etc.

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Mr. Frosty,

Has said,

"I've heard lots of things about the why things work, read them in acclaimed books and a little looking found no basis in fact or science".  

What is an acclaimed book? And who did the acclaiming?

Regards,

SLAG.

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I guess I did not explain it well enough..  Which is typical. 

(is the melted rust part of the equation to success)

My point was or is " that things are possible though many, if not most would call it foolhardy".  this particular result of the wrought iron welds was done at the appropriate temperatures for wrought iron (on the lower welding scale side) and the extra splatter or flux or melted rust gushing from between any metal that was indeed not hollow was very impressive.  I had even told the fellow blacksmith next door how much (shmutz) would be discharged from between the metal when welded. 

He was shocked just how much came out and on how far is shot across the area in a full burst of gobs.  I'll try to find a few of the gobs which some were in the 3/16" diameter. 

The gushed out material is indeed funky melted metal I assume primarily the melted rust (I have not seen this take place with steel only wrought iron). 

Anyhow, it's not a question as to why it works nor as to why the splatter or excessive liquid takes place without added flux and such but more that it does happen and it can work. 

this is not the first time have done this so knew what the results would be.   It is very impressive at dusk as the amount of forced out material is extraordinary compared to a normal forge weld with clean metal.   keep in mind the metal was not cleaned nor de-rusted at all nor prepped..  Just mashed together at the appropriate temperature.  Was fun and challenging which was the whole point. 

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22 hours ago, Steve Sells said:

Jim has 3 books released and  he does explain using the natural iron oxide in one of them

Dangit, I wasn't aware of that when I ordered it.  I'm glad I purchased the one I did, but can't afford to purchase the others just to find the recipe.  I managed to copy the recipe "somewhere" and will just use it.  So I'm still looking for "natural" Iron Oxide, the only thing I don't have at this point.

11 hours ago, jlpservicesinc said:

He was shocked just how much came out and on how far is shot across the area in a full burst of gobs.  I'll try to find a few of the gobs which some were in the 3/16" diameter. 

Guess this is a good reason to wear a leather apron, huh?! :o

On 12/13/2007 at 12:48 PM, ThomasPowers said:

James Hrisoulas once posted this flux recipe:

I found the source of the recipe I have.  This "journey" is all YOUR fault, Thomas!!! :lol:

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14 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

The "juice" is usually melted scale, melted ferrous silicates in wrought iron, melted flux if you used any, etc.

Isn't scale a problem in forge welds because it has a higher melting temp than unoxidized iron? I know I've watched it floating on the puddle when oxy acet welding. Wrought has silicate inclusions that have a lower melting temp and can do any flushing if you get things right. Doesn't it?

12 hours ago, SLAG said:

What is an acclaimed book? And who did the acclaiming?

Acclaimed may be a poor term for books that are well known and often considered on a blacksmithing text book level, the list diminishes as the years go by. "The Art Of Blacksmithing" by Alex Bealer is or was one. It has several maybe mistakes, probably just repeated old timer myth. I'd cite a couple but I'd have to read it again. 

By acclaim I suppose I mean by the general smithing community, the old timers maybe. If there was an official board or organization that could award acclaim it'd probably have to be one of the large or old time organizations. I can not recall the British guild's name. <sigh>

Naw, you were plenty clear Jennifer, about the only clarification was Re. wrought as opposed to steel. 

The rest of this is a typical IFI discussion, we get going you know.

Frosty The Lucky.

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26 minutes ago, Frosty said:

I can not recall the British guild's name. <sigh>

The Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths. Their “By hammer and hand, all arts do stand” motto is quoted here often. 

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That's the one, thanks John. I knew it wouldn't take long before someone filled in for my memory. I'm going to save it this time.

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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9 hours ago, Chris The Curious said:

Guess this is a good reason to wear a leather apron, huh?! :o

And apron and wet hands.. I caught a bunch of it in my hammer hand and it burnt 3 places on my pointer finger. 

I think forge welding is one of the most amazing blacksmithing skills.. But if I were to count how many times I have been burnt forging vs welding it would be like Forging 0, welding 200000..  Welding and flux clean up is also the few times I have gotten old flux in my eye when the item is cooled off enough where the flux will pop off. Right under the safety glasses. 

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I have a tiny scar just under my right eye from a bit of hot scale that popped off and stuck to my skin. Very ouch.

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