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hi guys,

yesterday I was forging my first ever weapon , its a lovely crude war axe its a bit crooked and needs some filing, but I'm very impressed for a first weapon ( second ever smithing project btw )

the problem came with making the hole for the handle, my chisels kept getting stuck. after clamping the chisel in a vice and trying to pry it out with a crowbar, which failed horribly, I had to cut off the tip of my chisel so that I could put the head back in the ''furnace" ( a piece of 120mm steel pipe with a 6 mm wall that I drilled a hole into and stuck an oxy-acetylene torch into:lol: "safe" )

how can I avoid this in the future, I don't want to waist tools like that .

thanks for any help you can provide.

Michael.

 

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Before use.  And remove and cool chisel EVERY 3 blows to keep it from mushrooming or bending over inside the hole.  You can stretch that number some if using high alloy hot work steels.  If it does stick gently forging the sides of the hole will loosen the chisel. 

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Understand why tools like this get stuck. As metal cools it shrinks, and as it heats up it expands. So your ax hole will try and shrink while your chisel tries to expand. While the ax is nice and hot the metal will stretch easily as you try and drive in your drift, but as it cools it doesn't want to stretch as much any longer and shrinks.

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When you feel your chisel starting to bind, reheat the piece, flip it over and land a few good strikes on the opposite side you are cutting. If you look at it, your piece is probably making a slight "U" shape and binding your chisel.

Another tip would be to try to cut evenly from both sides.

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If the steel is still hot when your chisel/punch/drift gets stuck you can normally free it fairly easily by setting the object on its side on the anvil and striking perpendicular to the chisel/punch/drift.

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Rubbing a chisel with coal dust is a great idea. It prevents the chisel or drift from binding in the work.  Another item that will work just as well or better is graphite. One can buy little cylindrical tubes of graphite. They have a nozzle at the action end through which the powder comes out. The item is cheap, and convenient. Auto shop supply shops, and probably, hardware stores, carry them. Their usual use is for lubricating, metal parts, keyways, etc. (graphite is used for metals that will be subjected to high heat that would ignite lubricating greases and oil)s. But rubbing a chisel with a little powder is fast & convenient and obviates the necessary of crushing of coal fines.

SLAG.

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Or cold or any situation where using oil would result in gumming up the works.  Used a lot for lubricating locks that are exposed to hot or cold conditions.

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Dr. T. Powers

Thank you for adding the extra graphite information. Many people, in the Great White North, carry it in their jacket pockets during the winter. It is used to lubricate outdoor locks & car car door locks. The powder helps coat the lock workings so to inhibit water vapor collecting and freezing the lock mechanism. Also, we carry a spritz tube filled with rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol), to free frozen locks.

Cheers,

SLAG.

 

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My Daughter is the Doctor; I just recall reading Byrd's overwintering in Antarctica when his wind up record player had issues and he had to clean off the oil and relube it with graphite.  It was used a lot in the "old days" mixed with oil for machinery lube---another reason besides the coal dust we had a black gang working in ships, also used in farm machinery. Nowadays it's mainly replaced with lithium grease.   It's real messy stuff but very handy for certain things.  I have a friend who experimented in adding it to forge welding flux for example.

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There are many types of materials that can be used as forging lubs including salt (NaCl table salt) coal dust, etc. Many are home brews and others can be purchased commercially.

Usually the punch gets heated during use and is dipped into the lube to both cool the punch as well as let the lube stick to the punch surface.  Then it is 3 hits and reapply the punch lube. Always use a punch plate to protect the anvil surface as you can drive the punch clear through the item and mark the anvil face if your not careful.

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Michael: Most of the more usual causes have been covered but I have a couple thoughts for you. First being this is a perfect example of why I recommend folk learn the craft before moving on to advanced projects. A hatchet is NOT a beginner project. Had you started at the beginning you'd know how to punch and drift holes and you wouldn't have run into it on a project you've invested so much work in.

Off that old horse. What kind of punch, slitter, etc. did you use? You ARE aware you can't just take a cold chisel like you find at the hardware store and expect success with a hole this deep, especially at a beginner's skill level. Yes?

Did you forge a punch, chisel, slitter for the purpose? When a student of mine progresses to this level I will have already had them make: chisels, punches, slitters and drifts. These tools are in fact my introduction to tool steels and heat treating. I'm a huge fan of Brian Brazeal's punch, chisel and slitter profile it's very efficient,

Lastly when a punch chisel, slitter, etc. gets stuck you can unstick them or I should say increase your odds of getting it unstuck by dipping JUST the chisel, punch, etc. in the slack tub. This cools the tool and it'll shrink, if you move FAST you can then probably get it lose and out.

Preventing having to learn tricks to unstick tools beats learning them all hollow. Keep the tool cool and lubed and move FAST. In this process speed is your friend if you stop to wonder why it stopped moving it'll stick. Go go go!

Frosty The Lucky.

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Im not sure what kind of chisel,punch it was. It had a flat tip so i assume its a slitter, it is one my dad had for his workshop and it is made for steel. But further than that I didn't know much about it ... I didn't expect to make some amazibg hatchet. I just saw a piece if steel and wanted to practice, i just wanted to see how the steel moves and it ended up being an axe ... 

But thanks everyone for the advice, now I also know how to fix my locks , lol . 

Michael .

 

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