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vern509

Forge welding problems after casting brass

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Hoping someone has some insight.  My last forge weld billet completely failed to weld.  Was a stack of 15n20 and 1075.  Have done several billets already from the same steel (AKS).  

The only thing I did differently, was in between my last billets I had used a graphite mold to melt down some old range brass into brass ingots.

Is it possible that doing so introduced some contamination into my forge?  (Its also possible I was just having an off day too I suppose).

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you had an off day. brass wont effect it unless you left the brass in the forge at the time, I have had a little sections of the bronze I was forging burn off and leave a spot in there

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Very possible according to some of the old timers. I was warned years ago that putting copper in the forge (or a penny) will stop your ability to ever forge weld in it again. Guess what brass is made from? Copper and Zinc - the zinc might also be a problem. Of course it could all be poppy-cock as well! Rich Hale made a post about it once.

 It's probably more possible that something is off-gassing, a little residual material probably invisible to the eyes. Whatever is off gassing, and it could be lots of different elements with the cordite, brass, copper, zinc, etc, could just be dirtying up the material you're trying to weld. I don't know that I'd be running out to reline it right away though, bring it up to welding temp and let it burn for a half hour before putting in your billet next time, might be all it needs. Forge welding is relatively easy, but that doesn't mean it won't be temperamental. 

-J

Try standing off to the side, look at the dragons breath coming out, you might notice a color to the flame you're not used to seeing - if you do, look up that flame color online and what elements burn with it, could tell you if there's something in there you don't want.

 

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Brass, bronze, zinc, etc. poisoning a forge for welding is urban myth generated mostly by guys who didn't know how to weld. 

Guys not knowing how to use them is the origin of the old myth that you can't forge weld in a propane forge. 

Lots of "it can't be done if" stories were excuses for not knowing how. Not saying anybody is being deliberately dishonest it's pretty normal human nature.

Frosty The Lucky.

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In support of Frosty's statement. Once upon a time to disprove it I forged copper the first half of the day, Then after lunch without cleaning out the coal forge I forge welded the rest of the day. All welds stuck. No problem welding. I used the clinker breaker as needed, so especial effort to keep the forge clean, normal working day, in front of the public.

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Three years ago I put worked some worked with some copper in the forge. I have not had a weld stick since that day. Of course never had one stick before either. But it does serve as a great excuse for not getting a weld to stick. LOL. Seriously I have been able to stick in my seldom used solid fuel forge but never one in my propane one. I have gotten over it for the time being, but hope to get it resolved when I get the opportunity to focus on it. Big Daddy whisperer can’t get it done. I am at high altitude and ask if there is something I can adjust. They assured me that there are plenty of farriers at my altitude that stick them every day. I think his exact words were “maybe you just can’t weld”. He did chuckle a bit so not a complete jerk. 

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A whisper Daddy will weld. I've discovered altitude has less effect than I used to think but it can. Try tossing a little lump charcoal in the forge while you're heating the join, it'll help scavenge excess oxy if that's the problem.  What are you using for flux?

WAIT! You don't have copper wiring in the shop do you?!?!:o

Frosty The Lucky.

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How high is high?  After walking around on flat ground at 16400' in the Andes with the "low site" being at 9000'; I've gained an appreciation for the effects of altitude I never had down here around 5000'. I've known a smith do a lot of welding at 7000' above Santa Fe.

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