Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Recommended Posts

Welding in the forge is not used today to the extent it once was thanks to all types of time saving welding apparatus and because of the skills needed to join metals in the fire.Still there must be people out there who still utilize this method and in fact have become expert at it.

Are there still smiths who weld blades of carbon steel to mild steel bodies in tomahawks and the like? Come share this knowledge with us, or just tell us how to get started. What to do and what to avoid.How important is flux? Is welding different when using gas vis a vis coal and coal vis a vis anthracite?

Lots of info in books but I would like to discuss this with someone who has been there and gotten the T shirt.

How about it guys?
Hermann.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Herman,
forge-welding is not a thing of the past, in fact it is quite current. There is a look that you get from forge-welding that you cannot get any other way.
I have a 5 minute quicktime video clip on my web site (www.markaspery.net) that shows some forge-welding up close.
In essence, metal will bond provided nothing is in the way -such as mill or fire scale. To remove the scale you can either super-heat the bars and melt the scale (slag) rather like forming a puddle in a oxy/fuel weld. The bars should not be sparking, that is too hot.
The other way (a must for the gas forge) is to use flux.
Flux (borax) is slightly basic and will dissolve the scale into solution at a lower temperature, as it is a glass, it melts and forms a protective covering around the metal preventing the oxygen present in the forge from forming more scale on the work.
When you unite the bars together and GENTLY hammer them together (initially) the molten scale or the flux/scale combo is ejected leaving the hot metal (read now clean) to join.
If there is a secret to forge-weld it is to prepare the scarfs (a prep to the bars) so that they fit very well together. In this way you don't have to use blows from the west side of hell to unite the bars. You are bonding metal on an atomic level - big blows will blow the weld.
Hammer blows come perpendicular to the welding surface until you are sure of the weld.
You can E-mail me at if you think I can be of further assistance.
You need a pile of shame before you can weld your way to a wall of fame!
Mark

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark, I finally found the welding clip you spoke of in your post, The video starts off with with another project and forge welding is but a part of that entire video.

This means you have a 10 meg download to view just a small part of the entire video. We have folks from over 50 world wide countries visit IForgeIron each month, and not everyone in the world has high speed modems. Many folks are still on dial up and this is unavailable to them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been down that trail. I've been teaching blacksmithing short courses for 38 years. When lapping two pieces together, it is more difficult than when you have a single package, as in say, pattern welding.

I use borax first, and it gets tacky when it melts. Then I use a proprietary flux, E-Z Weld, on top of the borax. E-Z Weld contains tiny iron filings, swarf, and when the iron filings melt, you're ready to hammer-weld. If you can't find E-Z Weld, you might try mixing swarf with the borax.

With present day carbon steels, you have two welding heats as seen in a coal forge fire: 1. a light welding heat with the absence of sparks which we sometimes call a sweating heat. The surface of the metal has a liquid composed of molten scale and flux. It looks "runny" and is a near white heat, a yellow/white color.

2. A full welding heat, where you get a few incipient sparks. You don't want a big shower of sparks, or you're burning the metal. We sometims call it a sparking heat.

The sweating heat is used on high carbon steel. If high carbon steel is given a sparking heat, the steel will crack and crumble.

If welding a high carbon bit into a low carbon hatchet or tomahawk, it is all done at a sweating heat.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The preparation of the pieces to be joined is almost half the work done. My first try only joined half the bar, and because I did not upset the pieces enough I was allready down to my final cross section. I find it a lot of work just to get the fire prepared for welding, a deep fire and a minimum airflow. Another tip I was given to preheat the anvil a bit. My anvil (202kg) is too heavy for my forge, I m afraid. Besides it will crush the coal to powder!:confused:
That's why I prefer joining by rivets or bands.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 years later...

The preparation of the pieces to be joined is almost half the work done. My first try only joined half the bar, and because I did not upset the pieces enough I was allready down to my final cross section. I find it a lot of work just to get the fire prepared for welding, a deep fire and a minimum airflow. Another tip I was given to preheat the anvil a bit. My anvil (202kg) is too heavy for my forge, I m afraid. Besides it will crush the coal to powder!:confused:
That's why I prefer joining by rivets or bands.


Thanks to all you guys for your inputs,

I have been able to do some good welds meanwhile, both mild to mild and mild to HC.I find that, in the immortal words of our great golfer Gary Player; "the more I practise(and read and listen - my addition)the Luckier I get".
greetings to y'all
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

YES MAN,
the other Guys seem to be more blacksmiths than wordsmiths judging from the dearth of inputs which is a bit sad.This forum is such an ideal place to exchange ideas and hear from colleagues.

Maar ons boere is mos maar n bietjie skryflui of so iets?

Hoop alles is wel daar by jou
Groetnis
HB

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...