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I Forge Iron

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13 hours ago, Will Robisch said:

I got my propane forge and put the steel in and heated up as hot as I could, I put flux on, I put it back in

I think this may also be a reason your weld misbehaved. I learned the hard way that if you're using flux it's better to put it on before the steel is hot enough to form scale or you're just trapping all the scale in the joint. Just hot enough to melt the flux. 

Pnut

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Melted borax does have some ability to dissolve scale and carry it out of the weld, but the less it needs to, the better.

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1 hour ago, pnut said:

 if you're using flux it's better to put it on before the steel is hot enough to form scale or you're just trapping all the scale in the joint. Just hot enough to melt the flux. 

The problem with this is that scale starts to form at about 1550°F, whereas borax melts at 1770°F. However, adding flux too early is better than adding it too late, as it will have less scale to dissolve. 

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Latticiano, I did make doors for the forge after bending it, it definitely helped keep some heat in, but I guess it is just not enough heat, the forge I built with my dad, and sometime we are planning on building a bigger one for more heat.

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Seems like the anhydrous borax I made starts to get sticky at lower than scale forming temperatures. Not completely liquid but sticky enough to stay in place. I'll have to check to see if it has a lower melting point. Seems likely. 

My feeling is also better early with the flux than late. 

Pnut

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As I recall JPH's "steel glue" flux has several components to it that melt at lower temps  as well as borax to cover higher temps.  In general I just use a mix of 20 Mule team Borax---3 partsand Roach Prufe (boric acid)---1 part.

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2 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

How hot it gets is based on burner size and how much insulation it has; not the size of the forge chamber.

Ummm, there is a bit of a corollary, depending on how you look at it.  A larger forge chamber typically has more thermal mass to heat up to the required re-radiative incandescence with are looking for.  There is also a pretty direct relationship between the heat loss from your chamber and the surface area of the external skin (though admittedly in a well insulated chamber it most likely pales next to the losses through the heated exhaust gasses and the radiation through the open door).

For my axes and hawks I usually use plain old 20 mule team Borax.  It sticks to the steel for me just fine at a low red heat, then melts as the stock heats up in the forge forming the barrier to oxidation I am looking for.  Other additions, or anhydrous, are also great though.  I have used both a version of Alaskan flux and the commercial Black Magic flux and seen improvements.

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Make friends with a farrier and they may give you a bunch of rasps to try.  Record the maker and then try the heat/quench/break test on the end to see if it's case hardened or not. Wear PPE when breaking!  The ones that break easily are the good ones. (Check  them on your list of makers.)   Cut to length and wrap around a hawk drift, clean flux and weld.  Grind, heat treat, (Normalize a couple of times, heat and quench in warm vegetable oil, temper.)  I often sell these as kindling hatchets for woodstoves.

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Will, your only 14? Cool.

Like others have said this is not a beginners project. 5160 is notoriously hard to weld. If this is your first ax i would suggest getting something much easier to weld to get the hang of it.  

Something you may want to try. Cut some small pieces of your spring, say maybe 1/2" long. Put 2 of them together and try and weld them. Make a couple faggots like that and while doing it pay attention to the color and look of the metal. Once you can do that an ax should be easy peasy.

Anyway keep at it. When you get it and you have made 100 axes you will wonder why it was such a fuss. 

 

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It's sometimes said that an expert is someone who's tried and failed more times than a beginner has even tried. Keep practicing, paying attention, and learning, and you will get there eventually. If you have the opportunity to take classes with, spend some time forging with, or even just watching someone with real mastery, TAKE IT! You will learn more from an hour's instruction with a good teacher than you will from a dozen hours or more working on your own.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sorry for the long wait, I got a little bit side tracked, however I got around to trying to forge weld and I think it was a success I did little grinding after so that's probably why it still looks like there is a crack, and I have not drifted the eye yet. When I get a little closer to being done, I will update.

16208612549169022759979632255259.jpg

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