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I Forge Iron

Newbie from Virginia

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New guy here.  I posted pics and info about my set up already in the "Show Me Your Shop" thread, page 15.

I should be hammering steel for the first time this weekend.

Other than that, I'm 49, and married to a wonderful (and patient!) wife.  As the screen name implies, I'm a Marine veteran (artillery, so speak up).  In addition to my new blacksmithing hobby, I also mess around with my 72 Jeep Commando, Celtic festivals, and emergency preparedness.

There looks like a ton of great info on here, and I'm really looking forward to learning from folks.



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T. P.,

The Russian fellow was using an intact shell to smith on. He evidently finally hit the primer and the shell blew up. The primer was the sensitive part and the bulk propellant was a lot more stable hence he used it for a number of years before blowing himself up.

Mr. Hofi is not using an intact shell. He is only using the tungsten rod. That relatively thin rod is the action end of the kinetic energy penetrator. It is surrounded by a discarding sabot which breaks apart as soon as it leaves the cannon muzzle. (namely APDS or APDFSD), The flying rod punches through tank armor destroying the tank. These days heavier depleted uranium rods are used instead of tungsten. It does a much better job. IIRC depleted uranium is three times heavier than gold.

In other words the tungsten rod, itself, is not explosive, and can be smithed.

But you KNOW that.

I am writing this note primariiy for other readers. Perhaps they can also get a hold of used tungsten warheads from military firing ranges or from army surplus.

Somehow, I strongly suspect that Mr. Hofi has access to depleted uranium rods too. That wouldn't surprise me in the least.



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Yes but you forgot to mention that depleted uranium is pyrophoric and SHOULD NOT BE PUT IN A FORGE!  

The 6 Day War predates DU kinetic rounds; I didn't ask him about more modern item access.

I don't know if the Russian Smith hit the primer or if the explosive had just gotten more "touchy" over the years and shock finally did it.  I guess I could ask around EMRTC at NM Tech and see if I got an expert opinion and not an FBI folder...Wartime explosives often were not the cleanest and best stuff. (Are you familiar with the "canary girls" ?)

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You're right about depleted uranium being toxic when heated. (smithed). Over about 150 F it catches fire (pyrophoric). I was mistaken in the previous post.

The canary girls were preparing T.N.T. (trinitrotoluene) explosive during world war 1. (and some of them died of liver poisoning).

That T.N.T. was the primary explosive used by the allies during world war 1.

T.N.T. is fairly stable as far as explosives go

I have watched molten T.N.T. being poured into plastic seismic cartridges, when I worked at DuPont Canada.

Nevertheless it would eventually undergo some decomposition over time. In other words turn into very nasty and explosive stuff.

But the propellant was most probably cordite of some composition. (especially for world war 1 & 2 shells.) Cordite comes in many varieties but is roughly comprised of nitroglycerine, cellulose nitrate (guncotton), and laterally nitroguanidine. Nitroglycerine decomposes at a good rate and becomes extremely unstable.  Cellulose nitrate is a lot more stable but it too eventually breaks down. Therefor old propellant will eventually become unstable and highly dangerous.

If the explosive warhead was still attached to the shell it would be explosive from the get go, even if it was primarily T.N.T. (fairly stable as explosives go). R.D.X. (a Plastic explosive), is more stable still, but I would not be too comfortable storing it around the homestead for any length of time.

I think I am leading this thread off on a wild tangent. I believe I will desist from here on.



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I'm not real up on what Russia used for their shells---or Germany for that matter.  The Canary Girls was just a reference on how slipshod things could get during the war... Out here in the abandoned mines they still find old nitro dynamite, weeping and unstable...

Back to smithing?  OK.

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