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A while ago Jack, a Metallurgical Student at the School of Mines, and I were making up a Damascus billet.  The next week when he came over to do more work on it he handed my a plastic ice cream bucket of white goo.  He said here is your borax, we had left it out in the rain for most part of a week.  I had mixed some Roach Killer into it, Boric Acid.  I told him to go put it in a metal pan and put it in the oven at 200 degrees to dry it out.  After a while we looked at and it was thicker but still gooey.  We poured it back into the plastic pan when it was cool and left it.  It got hard as a rock so we used a chisel to break it into some big hunks.  Now when we want to flux a piece we just grab one of these chunks and wipe it on the hot metal.  It melts immediately and flows nicely and there is no waste or over fluxing.  Might not work for anyone else but I sure like it. 

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I have seen smiths that carefully spoon minute amounts just on the joint with what amounts to a long handled coke spoon, and I have seen smiths that sling flux around like a Bishop with a bucket of Holy Water blessing a WWII battalion prior to combat. Both seem to work, but it has always been Smooth, never Chunky. YMMV.

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Boric acid is in itself a decent flux and has a lower melting temperature than borax so it coats faster maybe even lowers the melting temp of a mix. I have some jeweler friends who dissolve borax in water and use it as a paint on fluid flux. It works a treat on billets, warm it slightly, less than boiling and paint of the borax solution capillarity will draw it in 100% Heating the billet slowly will drive all the water out and leave an even complete coat. This last isn't my experience a bladesmith friend says it works a treat so that's an anecdotal comment.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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