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Will this be better than 20 Mule Borax


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"tech grade" .... interesting description. The usual term in my neck of the woods is "analytical grade" for better quality than standard industrial grade.

Ask for a copy of their MSDS, probably little difference, just be whether it is cheaper or not.

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You looking for the magic bullet or something to aid in your forge welding in the fire? There are several suggestions on flux on the site, some a bit weird but the folks say they work so try it and see if it works for you. The folks in UK do not generally use flux and they seem to get along just fine with forge welding. 

When in doubt ask Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Hobart, or Mr. Miller for their blessing and fire that arc welder up and stick the stuff together. Then put it in the fire and back on the anvil and hammer out any evidence that you used an arc welder. You can always say it was a forged weld (grin).

The gems and pearls thread mentions that flux is not glue. May want to read up on that thread. Pack a lunch and a cold drink as you may be a while.

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Instead hit the local welding supply and shop around the gas welding/brazing isle for powdered flux and read the ingredients. Paterson's Blue is, boric acid, borax and some proprietary ingredient probably the blue. The HT yellow contains iron oxide powder as well so I use the blue. I use flux to prevent oxidization in the joint I've never understood why so many fluxes contain iron oxide. There's a lot I don't understand though.

Oh, the Paterson's blue is less than 1/2 the price of "Real forge" welding fluxes but it contains the same stuff and works a treat.

Regardless of flux or the lack of, it's more a technique thing to get good welds than anything else.  Clean, matched joint faces, reducing fire, heat and soak till it's hot all the way through, solid dead blows to set. Brush, reflux, bring back to heat and soak, repeat solid dead blows. Check to see it's it's set by laying one side of the weld on the anvil and see how the temperature cools from orange. It should fade evenly through both pieces, if there's a sharp color change it isn't welded. Brush, flux, reheat and reset. Repeat till there is NO sharp color change then refine the joint to final shape.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Just looking for a little aid I read on here that 20 Mule works but it holds moisture and there's another type of borax I don't remember what it's called that's better there was alot of talk about baking the moisture out of the mule borax not real sure 

Frosty thanks for the info I guess I'ma do some experimenting 

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Laundry borax has water in it so when it's heated above 212f. the water boils making the borax foam up. This can be a problem sometimes and it doesn't cover as nicely as quickly as "Anhydrous" which means without water.

You're asking for anhydrous borax and I don't know if the one you mentioned is anhydrous or hydrous. I don't believe it says in a MSDS but you should be able to ask. Don't get fooled, just because it's expensive doesn't mean it's better. ^_^

Making your own anhydrous is easy and safe enough. I recommend using a silicone cake pan, sprinkle a layer of 20 Mule Team in the pan and stick it in 230f a oven for about 45mins. to drive off the hygroscopic moisture. Hygroscopic is moisture that is molecularly bound but not part of the compound so it can be broken free and driven off simply.

When it's cooled the now, anhydrous borax will be a thin HARD tile you get to break up and crush. I recommend a yard sale blender. If you use a metal cake pan you'll discover why I HIGHLY recommend a silicone one. You'll have to chip and scrape the amazingly tough stuff out of the metal pan but it comes right out of the silicone one, simply stretch and snap it like a rubber band or roll it up and crunch it up. It'll just fall out, I'm a do it the easy way kind of guy. Then toss it in the blender and seal the powder it in a jar or it'll absorb moisture from the air, it's "hydrophilic", means it LIKES water.

If you the mix about 1pt. boric acid to 3 or 4 pts. anhydrous borax you have a home brew welding flux very like the expensive stuff. No it's not the same nor as good but it's close enough a little practice will make up the difference. One of our guys is mixing crushed charcoal in the mix and it works VERY well but he's still looking for the right ratio.

Frosty The Lucky.

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10 hours ago, MarvinB said:

Just looking for a little aid I read on here that 20 Mule works but it holds moisture and there's another type of borax I don't remember what it's called that's better there was alot of talk about baking the moisture out of the mule borax not real sure

any borax will soak up (up to 10 parts) water from the air it is exposed to in a reasonable short time.  Rather than experiment, read up a bit and you will learn so much. and waste less money.

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22 hours ago, Frosty said:

Making your own anhydrous is easy and safe enough.

I was doing some bathroom reading the other day about a particular hot springs in OR which had what is essentially a high-borax lake.  Back in the "good old days", they ran a borax works there.  Basically, you handle it just like making salt from a salt lake or the ocean--heat the liquid on a metal plate (or drum) and scrape as the water evaporates and the goodies accumulate.  Some parts can be mechanized for commercial levels of production.  

The point is...the method you mentioned to dry out the plain old grocery store variety is about as fancy as it needs to get unless you are trying to remove every possible impurity.  Everyone wants to complicate the idea because borax sounds a hair chemically exotic but think of it as a (very hygroscopic) salt--if your salt got a little wet, how would you deal with it?  Maybe we should start calling table salt "granulated halite" so people think it's exotic and we can charge extra an make our millions. 

Obviously store it airtight after you put the work in to dry and crush.  

Argh.  Reading back, someone "new" might think I am implying that table salt is the same thing as borax...no, that's not what I'm saying.  Borax is simply not any more exotic to deal with than table salt. Na2B4O7

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 10/23/2016 at 1:41 AM, Frosty said:

I recommend using a silicone cake pan, sprinkle a layer of 20 Mule Team in the pan and stick it in 230f a oven for about 45mins. to drive off the hygroscopic moisture. Hygroscopic is moisture that is molecularly bound but not part of the compound so it can be broken free and driven off simply.

When it's cooled the now, anhydrous borax will be a thin HARD tile you get to break up and crush. I recommend a yard sale blender. If you use a metal cake pan you'll discover why I HIGHLY recommend a silicone one. You'll have to chip and scrape the amazingly tough stuff out of the metal pan but it comes right out of the silicone one, simply stretch and snap it like a rubber band or roll it up and crunch it up. It'll just fall out, I'm a do it the easy way kind of guy.

If you don't have a silicone cake pan, a layer of baking parchment in a metal pan will work too.

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Halite is the mineral that is common salt. That is sodium chloride, NaCl.

Anhydrous borax is sodium borate. A sodium boron oxygen compound.

The compound is hygroscopic. That is that it will pull moisture out of the air and form a hydrated salt.

SLAG.

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