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I Forge Iron

Looking for info on ATF safety


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A lot of folks recommend wiping down their anvil, vise, etc with ATF as a rust preventative. Given how much we advise against using motor oil as a quenchant -- since there's a significant potential for chemical nasties being carried into our lungs with the resulting smoke -- does anyone have any information about comparable risk assessment from ATF burning off hot work surfaces?

 

 

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The difference is dipping hot metal into a container of motor oil and watching it smoke, and applying hot metal to a thin coating of ATF on a small surface area.

 

From the MSDS sheet

Inhalation: Not expected to be harmful if inhaled. Contains a petroleum-based mineral oil. May cause respiratory irritation or other pulmonary effects following prolonged or repeated inhalation of oil mist at airborne levels above the recommended mineral oil mist exposure limit. Symptoms of respiratory irritation may include coughing and difficulty breathing.

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I was under the impression that the biggest risk in using motor oil as a quenchant was when it was used motor oil. I don't use it new or used for that purpose so it's not an issue. On the other hand I do use non detergent ATF and 30wt oil on occasion for my blower and as a rust preventative. I don't wipe it on the anvil face though. I just lay a rag with it on it across the face. 

Pnut

 

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Thank you Pnut. Many times we get tunnel vision when answering a question and concentrate only on one detail and forget the larger more involved picture.  

Used, dirty, motor oil has all kinds of metal particles from the surfaces being rubbed together. There are discussions on the site about used motor oil that you can reference if you are interested.

If you use an anvil the face should remain shiny from having hot metal hammered on it.  Like any tool that is used, it has little rust.  Only recently have mechanics started wearing gloves as often as doctors during surgery.   

 

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Another source for mineral oil is for cooking.

We are only talking about a layer of material thick or thin enough to keep the oxygen from getting to the metal.  

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Some oils (such as linseed oil) will polymerize with exposure to air and form a more durable layer than oils that don't, such as mineral oil and ATF.

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There's a big difference between HOT steel touching a surface with a very thin coat of oil and being dipped into a tub of oil. The amount of smoke in the air is more significant than what's in the smoke, within reason of course, some things are so toxic any exposure is dangerous. The point being is toxicity is a matter of dose, not type. Believe it or not there's a "safe" level of ingested plutonium. 

Unless the anvil face has oil running off it I've never noticed smoke from an oiled anvil face. The quench tank on the other hand wants to fill the shop with smoke even if I plunge the work under the surface quickly. It's not safe to breath that much vegetable oil smoke with or without colloidal metal particles found in used motor oil.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Well that was an interesting rabbithole; turns out that my Y1K anvil is about the critical mass for Plutonium-239 and one of my PW's is about the critical mass for Uranium-235!   Frosty; I strongly suggest NOT switching them just to see if I would notice!  Of course they would help keep the "anvil" "warm!"  Now for a heavy water slack tub....

How about a nice Misch Metal anvil?

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Just to make things clear, we are not talking about enough oil on the anvil face to splash if hit by a hammer, just a film thin enough to keep the oxygen from getting to the anvil face.  

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Mr. Frosty,

Even though plutonium is very toxic and mutagenic, it is not as poisonous as most people would think.

It goes through the digestive system very quickly*, before much of its radiation is absorbed in the body.

But the plutonium infested poop is a different matter. For example such plutonium laden poop, in the compost could cause long term problems if the growing crops are fertilized with same.

In other words, do not play with the element** nor put the ensuing poop in your compost pile!

Just Sayyin',

SLAG.

* average time is forty eight hours.

** plutonium is a man made element and very hard to come by.

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Neither Plutonium nor Uranium would make particularly good anvils.  First, they are about 2.5 times as dense and iron and would be proportionally that much smaller for the same weight.  Pt is about as brittle as cast iron and has a melting point of 1183 degrees F (compared with 2800 degrees for iron).  So, no forge welding of iron on a Pt anvil.  U would be better and probably safer unless you were using one of the fissile isotopes.  Metallic U isn't particularly toxic but some of the oxides are pretty nasty.  Also, U has a melting point of 2070 degrees which is better than Pt but not as good as Fe for use as an anvil.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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IIRC metallic plutonium isn't the really toxic form I believe it's the oxide that's water soluble. No pb poop on the compost!

A Misch metal anvil is an exciting thought. I mean Whoo EE!

Does Misch metal corrode? Should we put a thin coat of oil on it to prevent contact with atmospheric oxygen? 

Frosty The Lucky.

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We’d definitely need that with a solid sodium anvil, especially if we’re doing the trick of sprinkling water on the anvil to blow scale off a blade. 

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