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I see people using air tools in blacksmith work and wonder how safe it is.


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Good Morning All, 

I have been watching some videos on what must be the Darwin Comedy network A.K.A YouTube and I see people modifying air punches and chisels I wonder how much hexavalent chromium they are being exposed to. I know that there are small hand rivet tool sets that may be for hot rivets but a good number of the run of the mill air tooling seems to be chrome molybdenum steel. I was watching a video where the guy from Christ Centered Ironworks was turning a chisel in to a ball end tool once he got it up to forging heat. I have read on IFI that heating up a vanadium chrome wrench to forging temp is at best a VERY bad idea so I figured that was also true for chrome molybdenum steel. (Off topic, does anyone else here have trouble pronouncing the word "molybdenum"?)

Please let me know what you think because if I am wrong I would like to know since it seems like a neat way to get some work done. If I am correct in thinking this might be a bad idea I figure you can take an air tool and cut off the tool end attach a "working end" that is a less toxic steel like 1080 or 5160. 

Thanks again and please remind people that just because it worked on YouTube falls in to the same bucket as "I saw it on HG TV so we should be able to do it". 



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My chemistry teacher said "moll-LEEB-din-um".

Ditto on the plating vs. alloy issue. My main concern would be improper heat treating: an over-hardened bit could break and send shrapnel in bad directions.

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Never mind, I did not know Chromium had such a high melting point. I (incorrectly) assumed that some Chromium could out-gas. given the fact that it melts (from what I have seen) about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than steel I see that I did not know what I was talking about.   

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1 hour ago, eseemann said:

I see that I did not know what I was talking about.   

That's why we talk about this stuff. Better to ask the question than take chances you don't need to. And for your books, 5160 is a chrome moly steel.

Wear a dust mask when you grind chrome moly and you're golden. Wear a respirator when arc welding the rods have plenty of toxic metals, the arc gets it plenty hot enough to release vaporized every darned thing.

I've always pronounced it, "mulibdnum" If you can leave all the vowels but the last U out you got it. The movie, "Evil Roy Slade" with John Astin pronounced the name of the town "Moly BE Denum." It's a great movie if you haven't seen it.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Greetings Eseemann,

        I have been using air chisels for blacksmith work for years . Most are S7 or close to it. Granted most of the work I do with them is cold but they work well with hot work . As far as hardness any chisel that you use with hot iron won’t be hard long. If you file test a new  air chisel you will find that they aren’t that hard to start with. The biggest problem with hot work is holding your stock and not loosing heat on a sturdy base.  Not much time is saved using them on hot metal unless you have a large number of pieces to do. Experiment and have fun.

Forge on and make beautiful things 





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