Recommended Posts

I browsed thru some of the topics here, so I apologize if I missed where this topic belongs...

I have been reading on and watching some material on Canister Damascus and a little here and there on classical crucible steel; which leads me to a question I have been unable to find a definitive answer to...

Can you throw all that messy scale into a crucible, or a canister, with a little charcoal to create steel?  Has anyone tried this?

I found this link only filled with a bunch of scientific greek that I simply can't follow.  

www.hindawi.com/journals/jm/2015/926028/

 

Edited by Aubrey
Forgot to add it in

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

scale is iron oxide and can be smelted into usable metal, add it to the ore for your next bloom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Steve.  So would it come out homogenous mixed as a powder in canister damascus?  With a carbon additive?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scale is iron oxide.  Iron oxide is more stable (less reactive) than pure iron.  In order to convert iron oxide to iron it requires both energy (heat) and something that will strip the oxygen from the iron at that temperature (it has to have a greater affinity for the oxygen than the iron has).  You are not going to accomplish that with a little bit of charcoal in a canister damascus setting.  It will require a smelting process in which higher than forging temperatures are achieved and hundreds of pounds of charcoal are typically used.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can smelt in a crucible; but it's a very different process than forge welding!

Scale is also an abrasive---why using an anvil a lot will polish the face.

And IIRC it was also used in some cultures' "traditional medicine" as I recall a smith being asked to collect it for such use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I understand things, the Iron Oxide is reduced to Iron by Carbon Monoxide during the smelting process, rather than directly by the Carbon. You need a *lot* of Carbon and quite a lot of Oxygen/air to produce enough heat and Carbon Monoxide to reduce the Iron Oxide. Enclosing a small amount of Carbon with the Iron Oxide will not do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That'd be the puddling process, Tim. 

Adding scale from around your shop to the rose beds will really brighten the red. My Gradmother (Mom or Suzie) drove 2 oe 3 nails into the trunks of our peach tree once she saw the peaches. Soooo I drove a couple nails into the: orange, lemon and grapefruit trees. Blood oranges, lemons that were orange and good to eat straight from the tree and the best darned grapefruit ever. 

I didn't have scale available then but I vote for soil amelioration. 

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The title of this thread is "A Use for Scale" thus this answer.

I collect and save it.  If you have to grind some area of a forging the ground area is smooth and does not look like forged work.  If you try to forge it to get rid of that appearance you probably will change the dimensions.  I sprinkle the scale on the ground area and pound it in.  Because scale is harder than the steel it will impart the forged appearance.  

Wayne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of good interesting info here guys! Thank you.  As I am just getting started and working through the basics I get a lot of questions that pop into my noggin.  But smelting??? 

I'll be honest, I think its a very appealing concept, but I am a VERY long ways from trying something that risky.  Maybe some day in the not so near future I'll be brave/crazy enough to attempt some blooms.  Crucible steel is fascinating stuff but I think it'd be best if I took some of Ric's classes or something like it before I try jumping into a project like that half cocked. For now I'm content soaking up all the knowledge accumulated by the thousands of collective years experience right here on IFI.

Besides, I think perhaps a better topic header would be "A Use for Scale for a Beginner".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One great use that I've heard of, but not used myself as yet, is to fill the legs in a hollow anvil stand (either box style or tubular steel legs).  I'd have to check to be sure, but suspect that iron oxide in scale form is denser than sand.  Even if it is close, there is certainly enough of that and grinder swarf in my shop to try to find some use for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Me?  No I like my eyes.  There was a fellow over on SFI Sword Forum Internationals who was doing smelting with thermite and getting some interesting alloys that way---up until he suddenly dropped it as his Dr said he was going blind and that was with PPE; just not the the specific strengths he needed for working with thermite.

In general we try to advise our smithing friends to NOT "self harm by smithing"!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ninja, 

Yes thermite is powdered iron oxide and powdered aluminum.  But it is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. Once it starts burning it is basically impossible to put out and can burn straight through an engine block. It doesn't just need to be treated with respect, it needs to be treated with a healthy dollop of straight up fear as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For years I have set my anvils in boxes of sand. I built the boxes a little tall and allowed them fill up with scale. It held the anvils in place, quieted them down, gave me a place to stick chisels, punches, ect. and they didn't roll away and have to be picked up off the floor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now