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matrix2362

Uses of pure graphite in forging?

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A well know blacksmith, from Maryland, passed away a few months ago and all of his belongings were sold off by his wife, daughter and apprentice. Some of the things I acquired included 15 years worth of notes and teaching material, chisels, polishing compounds and two huge bars of pure graphite. I can't figure out what he used the graphite for, neither could his family or his apprentice. Does any one out there use graphite in their forging process for any reason. Or did this guy just happen to have two really large bars of the stuff laying around.

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It's a great addition to your lubricant when you're punching and slitting stock.  Definitely a great thing for the anodes if you're doing home electrolysis to clean rusty metal.  I've heard some folks add it to their wax when doing a finish, but I never really understood why.  Might be a myth.

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If he was anything like me, he probably happened along them one day and thought they were too cool to pass up.  Then proceeded to hang onto them for years thinking that some day he would find a use for them.

 

Did he ever work with glass? Blocks of graphite are very handy when doing glass blowing.  You can use it as a tool to form the glass while it is hot.  

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A bar of pure graphite is the crem-de-la-crem for making an EDM electrode. Did he by any chance have a few gallons of glycol and some electronic bits lying around as well?

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Did he do any casting?  You said he made jewellery.  I ask because in the foundry i work we paint our moulds with powdered graphite mixed with water and bring it to a high shine, this stops the molten bronze penetrating the clay moulding material and gives us a much cleaner casting which requires much less effort to clean up when broken out of the mould.

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He likely used it the same way one would use fire brick when brazing or silver soldering.

 

In other words, the work to be heated by torch is placed on firebrick or graphite blocks.

 

Common jeweler technique.

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I'm not quite sure what other equipment he had, a large group of people took all of his big equipment before I got there, and I got there an hour before the sale was advertised to start. Apparently they pushed to have it open up when THEY got there, about two hours early. I missed out on tongs, hardies, and other tools. His daughter showed me some of his work and it is possible that he did all of the above. I might use a chunk to make a silver bullet mold.

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Not yet. Back when I was a little , a disheveled man ran up to my father while we were eating at a restaurant. He was ranting about werewolves being real and gave my dad an actual silver bullet and told him he might need it one day. On the casing of the bullet it actually says Werewolf Killers, instead of a regular brand name. He still has it stashed away in his closet somewhere. Ever since, I have been interested in making a bunch of my own. There is a guy who molds the bullet part through special order, but last I heard he was very backordered. But that's a little off topic. :p

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If he was anything like me, he probably happened along them one day and thought they were too cool to pass up.  Then proceeded to hang onto them for years thinking that some day he would find a use for them.

 

Did he ever work with glass? Blocks of graphite are very handy when doing glass blowing.  You can use it as a tool to form the glass while it is hot.  

 

My wife insists that I am the only one in the world that does this. :ph34r:

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Nah I do too. I also work with electronics and have a tendency to collect parts and old power adapters. My wife though they were a waste of space until the day she needed me to hack one up to make her a replacement charger. 

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My wife insists that I am the only one in the world that does this. :ph34r:

 

You don't let the wife out much do you? When my wife ad the other girls get together they sometimes compare how much junk their husbands collect.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Ha! I have a stash of large graphite bars (...somewhere!). Came out of a gizmo for cleaning silver. If I should drop dead I don't imagine many people would be able to guess why I had them. I took them ostensibly for lubricant and for a finish for ironwork, but really because graphite is cool and strangely dry and slippery at the same time, and can be used as a giant pencil. Unfortunately the bars in question have some kind of nasty binder which bubbles and gives off a stink when hot.

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I've made that giant pencil!  A birthday gift for a friend of my wife who is a professional calligrapher---I happened to have some 1.5" diameter graphite rod and some 4x4" balsa wood.  Cut a trough in the balsa and glued two pieces together with the rod in the middle, turned it on my lathe,  a 1# coffee can made the ferrule and I had some electronic packing foam rubber that was just about the perfect colour for the eraser.  I did have to buy a small tin of mandarin yellow to paint it with.  The neat thing was that I sharpened it while it was on the lathe and you could actually write with it---she said it was a big hit when she taught art in schools.

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Like diamond, that is also pure carbon, it's difficult to light.  It will burn as demonstrated by the fire at Chernobyl.

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I have seen graphite used as a brazing block for silver soldering jewellery.

in a similar manner to compressed charcoal blocks....

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The only thing I've heard of in smithing that mentions using graphite is in some lubricant recipes for slitting and drifting.

Sam

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