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I finished with my Spring event schedule two weeks ago and wont start back until late summer so I have some time to "play" in the shop. Last Sunday night I fell asleep watching the HBO mini series "Rome" and this is what came off the anvil on Monday. I forged a different style crossguard and after I got it fitted I shifted e gears and started playing with the copper. Couldn't stop thinking about those Roman daggers.

Blade is 7 3/4", forged 1095, annealed and draw filed, hand sanded to #600 and hardened in canola. Tempered for two two hour cycles at 450f. All the fittings are forged copper. Handle is canvas Micarta and the scabbard is Ash.

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Very nice piece!

Have you done anything to coat or treat the copper to keep it from tarnishing? 

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Thank You. No, it's turning almost black but I can always buff and seal it. I like the way it's ageing but I have the wax on standby if I change my mind!

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Very cool. I like it how it is but I am thinking how cool the metal guard would have looked. Either way nice work. 

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Thanks Das! When I fitted that guard up it was just a little too large for the blade. It overpowered it but I think I can still make it work on something in the 12"-14" blade range. It's sitting on the cool off table with about a hundred other "works in progress". I was anxious to do something with the copper. I got a couple hundred feet of 1/4" x 2" copper in aprox 10' sections. It was live rails from a buss bar system in a local machine shop remodel so this is going to be the summer of learning to forge copper! It hot forges like chewed bubble gum and is really a lot of fun. Heat it and quench it and it cold forges ok but I discovered that hitting it hot will cause it to MOVE!

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What you made suits it great. I also just like the first idea too but can see how it would be a bit large on it.  I never forged or worked much copper. Thanks for the insight. 

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I have a friend down on the coast who forges a lot of copper and silver. He's a great blacksmith too but his copper jewelry is pretty awesome. Part of that is having an eye for aesthetics but forging non ferrous metals is a whole other skill set. If you have time to play and take some notes it's fun for sure. It's familiar yet totally new.

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Looks good. When you say copper bus the first thing that comes to my mind is beryllium copper and seriously dangerous alloy to work, especially with abrasives.

No need to quench copper to anneal if you're going to be forging it, just take it from the forge and go to work on it. Copper is a lot of fun to forge, when you cold work it take it as far as you can with the first 3 blows, it'll REALLY move. After that copper alloys work harden abruptly so pay close attention, work it hard and it wants to break up.

Copper forge welds easily, clean it up and a LIGHT dusting of flux, soldering paste wax works even. Gentle blows when you start to see mid red or above.

Frosty The Lucky.

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All of the copper buss I have seen was silver plated copper. The cost of BeCu makes it pretty prohibitive to use ($23 a pound). BeCu is also a lot different in color. More like a brassy bronze from the mill, and a dead ringer for gold when polished. We literally ran through tons of it in the last machine shop I worked at.  With proper precautions it is a wonderful alloy for certain applications.

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19 hours ago, Frosty said:

Looks good. When you say copper bus the first thing that comes to my mind is beryllium copper

thats buss bar not bus bar  Just FYI

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23 hours ago, Frosty said:

 

No need to quench copper to anneal if you're going to be forging it

I really like the way it moves hot. I'm learning when to go from hot forging to cold forging so I can harden it during the last forging phase. A spiral bracelet for example, it forges quick and easy hot but it's too soft. Cold forging the last series of hammer blows stiffens it up enough to hold it's shape, even gives it a little spring tension. I haven't tried welding it yet but that's on my to do list!

 

4 hours ago, BIGGUNDOCTOR said:

All of the copper buss I have seen was silver plated copper.

I admit I'm a little out of my depth on copper alloys. The main reason we used metal cutting fluid in the last machine shop I worked in cutting brass was to keep the lead in the brass from going airborne. I never grind anything without a mask! I haven't run into a scenario where I needed to cut this copper except for parting it up into workable size pieces. If I end up doing any shaping it will likely done hand filing. I absolutely cant confirm your suspicion but I also doubt the live rails would be made from anything approaching $23.00 per lb!

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16 hours ago, Steve Sells said:

thats buss bar not bus bar  Just FYI

And I edited out the second S! Arghh, where's spell check when you want it?

12 hours ago, TwistedCustoms said:

Cold forging the last series of hammer blows stiffens it up enough to hold it's shape, even gives it a little spring tension.

Notice how abruptly it work hardens? Brass is really quick to work harden but the same tricks work. A way to do the final work hardening like you describe on products that are too thin to withstand hammering is to put it on a  bass speaker laying on it's back. It takes longer but works.

12 hours ago, TwistedCustoms said:

I absolutely cant confirm your suspicion but I also doubt the live rails would be made from anything approaching $23.00 per lb!

Heck, I don't know what a "live rail" is without looking it up.  Beryllium copper is IRRC used where wear resistance or strength is needed. It can also have a more brassy color. What I do know is beryllium is toxic in very small doses. It's not as bad as cadmium but it's another really toxic metal. It's often used in copper buss bars so when I hear someone talking about using one I put out the warning. 

It's like telling tourists DO NOT try to pet the bears! No I'm not joking you have to tell them things like that. A resident went for an evening walk Monday night searchers found his remains Wednesday. One searcher was attacked and mauled by a brown bear close to there the body was found. Until they can ID the bear the current thought is the bear was guarding his kill, the man mauled to death Monday.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Another thing about BeCu allys is that they cannot be hot forged - they crumble. Solution annealing and cold forging is the way to work them. Even though the beryllium is a maximum of 2% in the alloy it makes huge differences in the properties. We heat treated the connectors we made between 625F-750F for around 2 hours depending on the application. This made them hard, and springy.

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