MattBower

tips on forge welding

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Trip what size and type of metal are you using? Clean fire, clean metal slow even heat is very important as well. have to hit it just right not to hard and not to soft. I use Borax the more some times the better

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sounds like the same talk we had in the chat most of last night. any luck yet?

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Haven't tried yet, went driving in the near by towns looking for new clients. will let you know by Tuesday (got a part time job on Monday)

Thanks yall!!!!!

Trip

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One other thing to consider, sometimes it is the steel, especially with a-36. Heaven only knows what makes it's way into a bar of that stuff, and some alloys can be downright impossible to get a weld in. If you are struggling with the same pieces of steel over and over, try some other pieces. Ask Phil, LOL the night he was up, I couldn't get a solid weld in the pieces we were working with to save my life. But, other than that, the other tips are pretty good. Keep in mind your 3 keys to solid state welding and you should be ok: Heat, pressure, cleanliness. Extremes of any of those 3 reduce the need for the others. In our case, heat is our extreme, so you should just need to give it a brush off, and tap it together.

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One other thing to consider, sometimes it is the steel, especially with a-36. Heaven only knows what makes it's way into a bar of that stuff, and some alloys can be downright impossible to get a weld in. If you are struggling with the same pieces of steel over and over, try some other pieces. Ask Phil, LOL the night he was up, I couldn't get a solid weld in the pieces we were working with to save my life. But, other than that, the other tips are pretty good. Keep in mind your 3 keys to solid state welding and you should be ok: Heat, pressure, cleanliness. Extremes of any of those 3 reduce the need for the others. In our case, heat is our extreme, so you should just need to give it a brush off, and tap it together.


Still, one of those pieces forged out into a fire rake pretty nicely!

Jason tried lap welding the two pieces together, no go, cut the ends off and tried again, no go. I folded the piece over took it to welding heat more than once, grabbed the tail in a vise and it peeled like a cold shut! I think Jason tried the same with similar results. We were fluxing with borax.

On another trip up I welded a basket up from political sign wire. I did one end easily, Jason saved the other end for me (I got distracted) and it welded neat. I finished the rake finally, and need to post pictures. We did "cheat" and tack MIGed the bundle to start, and MIGed the basket to the handle (I wasn't ready to try drop the tongs)

Phil

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Food for thought. In the days before electric and gas welding, forge welding wasn't difficult, because it was the only way!

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Food for thought. In the days before electric and gas welding, forge welding wasn't difficult, because it was the only way!


And in the days after electric and gas welding, forge welding isn't difficult if its done in a proper manner,

Patience preperation and understanding.

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hey yall,

sorry I haven't gotten back to answer some of your questions about what I am trying to forge weld. my laptop crashed AGAIN, and I am borrowing a laptop to write this.

The only type of metal I have ever tried to forge weld is mild steel. I used to be able to forge weld pretty good, but for about 7 months I didn't have a shop since I was in the process of building a shop on the new farm. So now I am having some trouble getting back in to the swing of things.

I am having trouble with pretty much any type of weld (as in lap weld, drop tongs weld, ect), it seams that I am getting it hot enough, and I'm not killing it when I hit it, and I put plenty of flux on it. So you can see why I am a little confused as to what I am doing wrong.

I am going to try to do some forge welding some this week, but I just bought the metal to build a tire hammer, and as you can imagine I am a little excited to get on that project. :)

Thanks,
Trip

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Fire control,good clean mating surfaces and temp..I feel your pain, Im stubborn..I use to stand at the anvil for hours practicing forge welding..I just wouldent stop til' I got it right..
What helped me the most was a good deep, clean fire. Several inches of coke between the tuyere and workpiece..Dont try to hit it like your killing a hog, just tap it to start..Plain ol' 20 mule team borax is all we use..
In all honesty Id say close to 75% of the projects that leave our shop are forge welded..Mostly axe heads..keep heart and practice.ev erytime you have a fire practice at least once..
After a while forge welding,even the hard welds will be no different than drawing a taper..
Trip, if yourr ever over here in eastern,Ky give us a holler..

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Hi Trip. I saw an article in the CBA magazine that said if you are bad at drop tongs welds, get a power hammer. Then, you can draw those reins out. I got two strikers to help me make a pair of tongs, and after we drew the reins out, he said, "you'ld better improve your drop tongs forge welding." That is pretty good advice that everyone is giving you. I'm afraid, however, that forge welding can be kind of difficult. I have seen people who have done thousands of good welds fail to stick a weld during a clinic during which they were the teacher! And no, it wasn't me. The interesting thing was that they were quite nonchalant about it. No problem, just go on. One class I was in, the teacher gave up after about three failed welds. The metal just wouldn't stick. All the right technique, with all the tips given above. The teacher did not even break a sweat. Just left it to all the students, most of whom ended up doing just fine. The funny thing is that once you are taught the first time, you will still have trouble. Then, when you go to a clinic, the teacher may have trouble. Then it will work. Then it won't work. Once, at open forge night at a conference, I was absentmindedly welding some leaves on a desk stand. There were two old professionals watching. One of them said to the other, hey look at that beginner try to forge weld. The second one said, quaint, but if you want to make money, use a TIG. The first one nodded and said that he knew how to forge weld but stopped after his apprenticeship. Waste of time, coal and money. One of them pointed at the smoothed scarf on one of the welds. He said, boy that smooth transition really turns on the wannabe smiths, but the customer can't tell. And guess who is improtant to impress in the end. Funny, there a lot of different opinions out there. Keep trying and practicing.

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To fire weld, there are many factors. Let's say you're going to drop the tongs lap weld.

I have a "fast - slow - fast" theory..If you know you have a welding heat, don't stare at the pieces as they come out of the fire. You'll be mesmerized by the incandescence. It'll slow you. Practice dry runs at room temperature over and over again. Look at the anvil; that's where you're going. Practice how to place the pieces. On a lap weld, use the near edge of the anvil as a fulcrum to lever down on the far piece. If it takes you more than two steps to get to the anvil, something's wrong. As you're going to the anvil, rap the pieces against the hearth edge, or shake the pieces in mid-air or rap them against the anvil to knock the surface soup onto the floor. That's going to be your "fast" move.

For the"slow move," you lever onto the piece. The anvil edge helps you aim. DO NOT dab it on from above, or you'll be waving it around. That causes misplacement and crookedness.

Now, "fast" again. Pick up the hammer quickly; it should be near the hardy hole on a London pattern anvil. Your first, perhaps, half dozen licks should be relatively light. I say "relative." Heavy, thick iron, say, 1/2" x 1", requires heavier "light" blows than does say, 316" x 1/2" which is smaller stock. Then, assuming the pieces cohere, you start whaling on them. Hit the middle of the back of the scarf first.

And quit using the term, "stick;" for example, "It didn't stick." You don't want it to stick. That's just a glue job. You want the pieces to cohere. "COHESION; COHESION!"

Francis Whitaker made a work support to hold the far piece. He took a length of stock and forged a round on one end that would fit in the pritchel hole. Once in the hole, you can bend hot to a right angle. Now, you have a pivoting horizontal bar. The bar may need a little bending to make it support long or short pieces. That support is quite a help when working by yourself.

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Here are some pictures of some things that I have been playing with useing a flux that has been on the market for some time now called Iron Mountain Forge Welding Flux. It contains Disodiumtetraborate and pure iron powder, anhydrous borax and iron. Russel Colvin gave me and Lyle a bottle of it over one year ago, and I didn't try it out until about 2 months ago. I have never had any problems welding so I did not give it much thought until I took a day to play and try it out. I started by doing some branch welding with a technique that I came up with a long time ago; I call it a "blob weld". Instead of forging a scarf, I forge whatever I choose and leave a mass of parent material so that I have the opportunity to forge the weld more and make a true weld. The technique is shown in another thread titled, "Forge welded candleholder", I believe. If someone could dig that up, I'd appreciate it. My computer skills are somewhat lacking. Anyway, when I went to close up the area to be welded, I noticed that the pieces tacked together at a red heat. I had never done that before with mild steel or A 36, only with wrought iron had I done this before. I was amazed and so I stuck the next separate piece on with one hit at a orange heat. I kept doing more and was able to take my time to place my piece exactly where i wanted before I tacked it then return to the fire and finish the weld at normal forge welding temperature. Next I did some lap welds without scarfing and was able to fill in the seams with it so you could not see where the weld was. I've used all kinds of fluxes before and forge welded without flux, but I normally use plain borax. This flux allowed me possibilities that I have not seen with the other fluxes when welding A36. Wrought iron and higher carbon steels are a piece of cake compared with A36. Daniel Riffe has done alot of things with this now, and I believe you'll see alot more possibilities in the near future from other people. I did a video on youtube yesterday using this flux, but the camera that we have will not show the true heat. It looks like I'm always at welding heat. I only went to welding heat once. The one hit tack at a bright red heat is impressive though when I pry it apart.post-4954-0-04030900-1338563034_thumb.jppost-4954-0-21134700-1338563099_thumb.jp

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Any luck using it in a gas forge? Particularly in venturi types, which seem to cause a lot of scaling? I have only successfully forge welded in coal forges, which are not practical in my present location.

Here is the link you were looking for:

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Brian, Is the flux readily available or can we just make our own if we find the ingredients? Is A36 a common steel? (I'm a novice and don't know much about steel)

Also I want to thank you and Lyle for the great teaching demonstrations you gave in NH at the NBA meet a few weeks ago. It was instructive and inspiring.

Larry

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I ordered a bottle online after Brian's first recommendation. I have not had forge time since it arrived though. There is a list of sellers on the Iron Mountain website. I ordered from one of those sellers.
http://www.ironmountainflux.com/www.ironmountainflux.com/Welcome.html

About all I can say about the flux is the consistency is a finely ground product in an air-tight dispensing bottle. I haven't had a chance to try it yet.

A36 is common hot-rolled mild steel. It is specification based so the chemistry is not fixed, and sometimes is funky enough to make it useless for forging. A36 is sometimes difficult (or impossible) to forge weld, even by experienced people.

Phil

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After watching Brian's video this morning I went out to the shop to finish some other work and while I was at it I used the old bottle of Iron Mountain I got from Tom Clark many years ago. It worked somewhat but I was unable to stick pieces as Brian did at an orange heat in a Chili forge Gas forge. I set my air gates like I normally do to weld in this forge I cleaned and fluxed the parts and then put them back in teh forge until the flux was the same color as the metal. I then took it out and placed it on the anvil in teh position desired and gave it ONE hit. I picked up the top piece and the bottom one stayed on the anvil. I then drew out a piece of 4140 for a hawk and tried a weld on it. It welded but it didn't seem to be any better than plain borax, and actually separated a bit when I drifted teh eye. I also had a thin lap edge that rolled over. I usualy just brush these and flux with borax and weld tham in. I had to weld it twice to get it to go away which I found strange. I will say I have use the Iron MT before when I had a really recalcitrant weld that didn't want to stick and it saved almost all of them. I will try and get some time to try it in a coal forge the way Brian did his cross in the video an dsee what happens and post the results here. Oh yeah one more bit of info on the one I did that failed this morning, it was cold rolled 3/8 round I was trying to weld.

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One thing you need to remember about this flux is that there is Iron Poweder in it and this will settle out! (MOblacksmith0530 this may be why yours didn't work...just a thot) As Brian told me, you need to give the bottle a good shake before you use it, especially if you have been traveling. I have had no forge time....well, except this past Wed evening when Colton made his 'S' hook! :D... But I do have a few projects waiting that I will use this flux on. The first weld I made at Brian's stuck using it and I was totally amazed. Good stuff.

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Question: Does anyone know what's the difference between Disodiumtetraborate and anhydrous borax?


They're the same stuff anhydrous means the hygroscopic water is driven out.

John, if a naturally aspirated gas forge is scaling it's running lean, richen it up a little at a time till you have a little orange dragon's breath. I forge weld in mine whenever I want with no problem I don't cause myself by getting lazy or in a hurry, etc.

Frosty The Lucky.

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post-4954-0-73301500-1338734947_thumb.jpHere is a little Celtic cross I made the other day with this flux out of 1/8" x 1/4" and a washer. I tacked the pieces together with the Iron Mountain flux at a orange heat, brushed them clean, and then finished the weld at a forge welding heat. I doubt that i could have done that without this flux on mild steel. I know I could have with done it with wrought iron or tool steel, but have you all ever tried to weld small A36, plus what an advantage being able to position and tack below forgwelding heats.

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