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I Forge Iron

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Depends on the details!

Real Wrought iron? Clean silica sand or powdered glass will work

Mild steel? borax

High alloy tool steels? a mix of borax, boric acid and fluorspar

What kind of forge? What kind of fuel?

There is NO BEST without all the details! What's the best vehicle? Well are you commuting 200 miles a day or hauling 16 tons of gravel---or heading to outer space!

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It also depends on what kind of electrode flux you're talking about. I sincerely doubt E series rod fluxes will do anything but prevent any weld. Flux on E 6011, etc. is sawdust and clay, the sawdust burns providing a good plasma column and strong pressure to help blow crud out of the way and the clay fuses into a nice strong slag to protect the bead while it cools.

I don't know about 70xx rods but the slag tells me there's something like clay in the flux so it probably won't work so well.

However, seeing as I've never tried breaking the flux off welding electrode I could be as completely wrong as it's possible to be. I've never even given it much thought seeing as I've had really good luck using 20 Mule Team borax, the laundry soap and recently I've been adding 1pt in 4 of boric acid and like it a little better.

If you try electrode flux, please let us know how it works, I may want to add it to my tool kit. (tricks I use to make life easier or possible)

Frosty The Lucky.

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What type flux is like asking what brand truck or talking politics everyone has a favorite and the others allow are worthless. I like anhydrous borax and buy it at chemical supply in 60# bags. If not etching a blade it will bleed white in humid weather a few months down the road though.

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Clay and wood ashes are traditional fluxes in some places---usually for real wrought iron which is pretty much self fluxing all by itself in lower grades. Dirt Dauber nests (a clay tube built by an american wasp to hold it's eggs and a meal) have been used as flux. IIRC this was in one of the Foxfire books, perhaps #5?

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