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I Forge Iron

Forging nickle alloys

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An acquaintance asked me the following question but I don't have any direct experience. How about you guys?



> Frosty,
> I am wondering if you know anyone who could advise me on forging nickel
> alloys. All I can find is related to damascus and I want to know about
> forging larger peices (1" plus) of nickel.
> Thanks,
> Magnus

Edited by mod07
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Please correct me if I am wrong, but isn't nickel added to Stainless to increase malleability (generally)?

I am certainly interested in this thread, and waiting to see where it goes,
just checking my memory..

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I heard back from Frosty.......and the fella was interested in forging nickel silver(german silver). I'd never forged any before but I had some 1/4" plate that I cut off a chunk, and did a lil YouTube vid of forging it. Because I've never forged it, I thought that it would need to be forged hot ...BUT..... because I've also learned that you can forge MANY non ferrous metals cold..thought I'd give it a try cold...before doin it hot. Forged so nice I never got to the hot part LOL:o Much to my surprise I couldn't make it split, from work hardening, no matter how THIN I forged it. When I was done......the NS was so thin......it would almost shave hair, LOL :o and it NEVER split.

here's a link to the vid:
YouTube - forgin Nickel Silver

IF there is a trick to forging non ferrous COLD......it's BEST to use hard penetrating blows. Softer, less penetrating, blows only effect the surface of the metal and it work hardens and "flakes off". This "trick" is relevant to another thread on forging aluminum, fwiw.

Personally.......I LOVED the way it forged. Hope that was some help to your friend, Frosty. Great question, IMO. I learned something........again :cool:

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Glad you jumped in Bill, I was going to post your replies yesterday but the smilies tripped me up.

Yes, your reply and video was more than he hoped for and exactly what he needed. He sends a hearty thanks and a "YOU ROCK!" Too bad he's too shy or busy or whatever to join the Sandbox, or here or . . . I think he hangs at ArtMetal, it's where his original E-mail originated.

I'm frankly thankful for his question. I wouldn't've thought of it and with your effort I now have another trick in my mental tool kit. Watching your video it looked a lot like forging copper, maybe more forgiving even. I'm sure I can adapt quickly with a little hands on.

I LOVE a good question. ;)


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don't ya just love it when the "smilies tripped me up". :D the only thing better is when the smile shoves your ears to the back of your head. :D

Well I hope you didn't bring my name up over at AM.......wouldn't want you blacklisted. LOL ;)

And your 100% correct .....it does forge very similar to copper. But with 65% copper content..........to be expected. That's also why I took a shot at forging it cold. I think I was able to forge it even a lil further than copper......I don't think I've ever forged copper "razor" thin without a lil split. That NS didn't split at all, much to my surprise.

so much to learn.........so little time

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I haven't looked at AM in years, in fact the last time was when E and I did the last podcast and he logged me in. I told him repeatedly I couldn't log in and his only and final reply was, "buy a Mac."

I was kind of surprised the question came from an AM member but I THINK I know the guy from another list. Still. . .

I've forged copper a long way but never like where you took the G silver. It sure makes me want to give it a lash.


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The following information is from; The Miller Company

735 B122 Nickel Silver - Cu 72%, Zn 10%, Ni 18%
740 B122 Nickel Silver - Cu 70%, Zn 20%, Ni 10%
745 B122 Nickel Silver - Cu 65%, Zn 24%, Ni 10%
752 B122 Nickel silver 65-18 - Cu 65%, Zn 17%, Ni 18%
762 B122 Nickel silver 59-12 - Cu 59%, Zn 29%, Ni 12%
764 B122 Nickel Silver - Cu 60%, Zn 22.6%, Ni 18%
770 B122 Nickel silver 65-18 - Cu 55%, Zn 27%, Ni 18

There is another group of "nickle silver" alloys which contains lead and is used primarly for key stock.

In a quick look on the internet, 770 seems the most common alloy followed by 752 both of which seem to available mostly as sheet and wire and small gauges at that.
PS the thickest I found was 1/4 inch

Edited by Charlotte
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Slightly OT, but a guy I know collected many tens of pounds of swarf from a key cutting machine, on the understanding that all key stock was nickel silver. He was planning to melt it down into ingots. I felt a little badly pointing out to him that I have a bunch of keys on my key ring, and exactly one of them looks like it might be NS. (The ignition key for my 15 year-old Nissan.) The shiny silver ones are largely nickel plated brass, which becomes obvious when the nickel starts to wear.

My guess was that if he melted it all down he'd get brass with a very small amount of nickel in it -- and a whole bunch of dross.

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