Blackcat

Cleaning up wire rope after forging

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I've been making knives with wire rope / cable, but am stumped about how to clean the unwelded areas I'm leaving (the handles) in their woven state.

 

First, I pre-clean by heating to orange, and quench, X3. Then, probably because of the number of times I have to heat to get the blade forged, and my (poorly reasoned?) thought that I need to keep working at yellow temps to keep the area I am working on together, the gaps in between the individual wires area filling up with scale. I've tried to get it out with: wire wheels (OK, but only gets the very top surface), vinegar overnight (nothing as far as I can tell), and dipping in Muriatic Acid for 20 minutes (just plain worried me :unsure: ). I'd really appreciate any other ideas, I'm really banging my head against the wall.

 

No answer too basic, thanks, as always!

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That is something I deal with all the time.  I've found that much of what looks like scale is really borax.  The humidity in the air brings it out after time (blooms white).  Wash with hot water, brush and repeat.  It take a couple of times, then oil really good.  I'd like to see some other folks methods.

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If what you're dealing with is black steel scale it will be hard to get out of cable so flux it with borax as you forge. Flux is there to prevent oxidization and it does a fine job so long as you keep the coat continuous. Once you're done it's pretty easy to remove, borax is water soluble and as JM says above it's easy to clean out.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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You need to put it in some type acid or derive chloride to get the pattern to show anyway which should remove the flux

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I do have to wonder why you would quench times 3 then forge weld?

I use this to do the initial cleaning of the cable. It comes covered in oil, dirt, and markings and heating / quenching burns and steams the gunk out.

 

Have you read through the knife classes about this ?

I did a keyword search in the Knife Making Class sections for "cable" and "wire rope" without much luck. Is there a thread I missed?

 

Thanks again for all the replies so far!

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so you dont think its worth the time to clean that crud of before you get it into the fire, jusy hoping that it all burns off and dont leave anything behind,  how is that working for ya ? :( sorry if reading the posts there is too much effort good luck,

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Sorry if I rubbed you the wrong way, it sure wasn't my intention. I thought the way I was cleaning was doing the job. It isn't working for me, which is why I asked the question. I have read the posts there, but without much luck in finding info. Is there a specific post you could link me to?

Again, sorry.

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so you dont think its worth the time to clean that crud of before you get it into the fire, jusy hoping that it all burns off and dont leave anything behind,  how is that working for ya ? :( sorry if reading the posts there is too much effort good luck,

 

Breath Steve, in one  two  three, exhale, breath . . . .  He is trying to clean the gunk before working by heating and quenching,  he's asking because it isn't working. He's also asking about cleaning out the scale formed during forging on the unforged cable handles.

 

Are there posts or threads in the knife section dealing with degunking cable? I'm no knife guy so I can't link him or even suggest search terms.

 

I replied initially thinking he was having trouble removing built up scale in his handles as they're left as unforged cable.

 

I know how much work you guys do and you can't really take the time to do basic research for guys. How about just pointing me in the right direction and I'll see what I can do for him. He has a specific problem and is asking a specific question. That ONE may not have been covered and be newish territory.

 

How about it Rich, give me a hand helping the new guy? We won't bother you anymore, I'm not a blade buy, but all I need is a hint.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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getting grouchy from too many people asking the same things over and over in the chat sorry for taking it out on you...  in the classes we pointed out always clean before trying to weld, we also explained to grind them clean,  and use flux to keep them clean.  Burning the oil off still leaves the burnt crud behind, and as you found out that can get into places we dont want it.  Some times we even have to open up and unwrap the cables to get it cleaned, them reassamble.

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Thanks Steve, you're entitled to snap now and then, you've put so much into this and the blade forum it's hard for us civilians to appreciate the load.

 

Please just point us to the thread name, Jason and I will take it from there.

Thanks again,

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Hi Blackcat if your scale is building up in the cable as you weld your blade which is what the original post looks like is part of the problem. I am thinking you might be useing a gas forge, these are normally set up to burn lean as people dieing from co poisoning is not such a good thing. If you have lots of really good ventilation you might run a little rich that might help, or if you were to weld in a coal or charcoal forge with the unwelded part out of the fire that might help as well.

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For sure I will give wot I know....and we did not cover cable well if at all in the classes.

i have welded some cable and I am not a fan,,other patterns suit me more. When I did i welded 4the very ends of the cable,,,and not any wiht a other than steel core..I use a mig or stick welder...Then i heat enouigh to stick one end in a vice and use channel locks to untwist the cable as much as I couild...Yoiu couiile also weld on a t bar to one end so you could untwist with heavy gloves. that opens it up enouigh for a wire brush to reach some if not all of the crud hidden inside..And a dull red heat should work or even a little darker,,,Watch the downwind side of the forge,,the fumes are not going to help any body parts i can think of,, if you let the steel get hor,,even to a dull red indoors, you will start scaling..and if it is outdoors in sunshine it may build scale before you see colors. i have nto tried the next thouight but remember it is volatile and WILL ignite if near a flame...with the forge off and cool,,no other ignition sources,,,and the cable cold as weather will allow...spray with degreaser....wash the cable out...Again..this product will not only do its best to clean wot you spray it on,,it will try even harder to find an ignition source. Some degreasers like engine cleaners are not as volatile and wash off wit4h water...I would use one of them...When all traces of fumes are gone...like next day..heat to dull red in shade ,,just enoough so twenty mule team will stick,,,then heat a little more and wire brush as good as youi can...then more flux, take it to al ittle hotter and tighten the twist back up.,,Wire brush the outside,,,flux again,,,then to welding heat...have vice ready and if you welded a tee bar on,,,use apiece of tubing on each side as handle and twist it up tight with other end in vice. Wire  brush,,flux and repeat...Then reapply flux and use hammer and anvil to do wotever...

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i had a thought on this but i have no idea if it would actually be effective.  all pre-cleaning handled separately, would it work to prevent scale buildup within the cable during welding/forging to sleeve the unwelded end in a tube packed with coal or something else that will consume oxygen more readily than the steel?  might have to neck down the ends to prevent the packing from spilling out.

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Thanks guys I think it was a matter of not being clear in the questions, thanks for jumping in.

 

I seem to recall cable welding guys talking about untwisting the cable to twist it or insert interesting alloys. Do you think a marlin spike or splicing fid would work? I've spliced loops in cable and rope and found it pretty easy to untwist both in long sections so maybe do the cleaning before cutting it?

 

That's a good point Mark, if he's using a gas forge it may be as simple as choking the air intake a little. doesn't Tristan do cable damascus? I'll have to shoot him a message and see what he does.

 

That's not a bad idea Chinobi. shielding the  cable from the atmosphere was what I was thinking when I suggested he flux the handle section even though he wasn't going to weld it. Charcoal has fewer volatile impurities than coal so that may have a better chance in a pipe sleeve.

 

Now we're cooking.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Also saw a video where the guy (after cleaning cable) put it inside stainless pipe and welded it shut. Forged it to shape then removed the pipe. It won't weld. Another thought for ya's. 

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Excellent, thanks. Jason is reading and thinking about this. He has a lot to absorb but is working through it. This is his first dip into more than simple metallurgy. He'll be along soon I'm sure. I know Ill be here soaking it all up.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I beleive the Knife making class forum right under the Knife making where this was posted.  Is where the info Steve was refering to is located.

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I don't have a solution to the handle issue, I have run into the same thing myself. It may be the grease that is left in it, but the idea of pulling the cable apart to clean it sounds like way more work than it would be worth. I am fairly certain that metal mangler is correct in the thought that a gas forge causes more issues.  Perhaps a thicker coating of protective material is needed on the handle. It is certainly worth a try.

While I know the thought is off topic I feel I need to point out that IF you are using new cable there is simply no need to clean the grease out for the portions you are welding, it burns off and doesn't hinder adhesion at all. It appears to actually help with the contrast.

-Tristan

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Teeny a couple of points you may be able to help me with:

if you thouight I meant to completley take a section of cable apart strand by strand then I said it incorrecty Let me try again ,maybe that will help. I weld both ends up  with an electric welder..then with some heat in the piece i untwist quite a ways to spread things  open...then i wire brush. Then with a little heat i twist it back close to how it was at start. A little flux is a good thing when you do this retwist.

And,,,if you have removed all of the oil and grease...how can that then make a difference in the contrast?

My thoughts on the contrast is that since all of the metal in cable that i am aware of is the same metal. there is no contrast. Wot I see for the finished product is there is dark lines at each welded seam. To me that is a line showing decarb. The outer layer of each strand that we cannot keep clean while forge welding.

i have already stated that I am not fond of forge welded cable for my knives..But i have to admit that some of the knves I have seen on this site are really nice pieces..look great.

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Teeny a couple of points you may be able to help me with:
if you thouight I meant to completley take a section of cable apart strand by strand then I said it incorrecty Let me try again ,maybe that will help. I weld both ends up  with an electric welder..then with some heat in the piece i untwist quite a ways to spread things  open...then i wire brush. Then with a little heat i twist it back close to how it was at start. A little flux is a good thing when you do this retwist.
And,,,if you have removed all of the oil and grease...how can that then make a difference in the contrast?
My thoughts on the contrast is that since all of the metal in cable that i am aware of is the same metal. there is no contrast. Wot I see for the finished product is there is dark lines at each welded seam. To me that is a line showing decarb. The outer layer of each strand that we cannot keep clean while forge welding.
i have already stated that I am not fond of forge welded cable for my knives..But i have to admit that some of the knves I have seen on this site are really nice pieces..look great.


Glad to hear that the end were stuck together, I have taken them apart when I wanted a smaller bundle and it is a giant pain.
As far as the contrast it honestly seems to me that the pieces with less grease do not have as nice of a contrast. I always assumed that there was carbon in the grease changing the ratio and the color at the weld.
I also think they are inferior metal for a knife compared to other sources, but they work good enough for common uses like I would be involved with.

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A jewelry maker and Mokume gane maker friend of mine suggested dissolving borax in water and dipping warmed stock to flux deep intricate shapes like cable. By warm he means less than boiling temp, as the stock cools it increases capillarity and draws the flux solution in. When heated to forge the water evaporates leaving every nook and cranny coated in borax. So it foams a little more than normal, it's there where you need it.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Lyle,

Thanks for posting that link. I remember seeing one of your cable knives in New Hampshire and it was real clean throughout.

 

Dick

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