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Crucible Steel Questions

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Hello everyone! 
I hope you’re all having a lovely day!

I have recently decided that I want to try  making some crucible steel, and wondered about recipes, and material quantities that you use. (By weight?)
I have searched the forums and haven’t really found anything of use. I have read pretty much everything that is available on crucible steel. I’ve read all of the Pendray and Veerhoeven stuff. I’ve read Anna Feuerbach’s crucible steel dissertation, but I still have specific questions about how you personally make your crucible steel. 

I’ll be using a hard 3000 degree firebrick hand built “kiln” with charcoal and forced air. 

my questions are these:

1. What kind of crucibles do you use, and where do you buy them? Do you make them?

2. What is the exact recipe that you use for your crucible steel?

3. How long do you fire your crucible before letting it burn out and cool?


Thanks very much for sharing your knowledge!



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3 hours ago, Meridianfrost said:

I’ve read all of the Pendray and Veerhoeven stuff. I’ve read Anna Feuerbach’s crucible steel dissertation,

Wouldn't you be farther ahead asking them or their associates?

You word your question like blacksmiths make steel, with a few rare exceptions we don't nor was it ever common practice. Making steel was the job of a specialist who often traded for bloom iron or segregated his blooms for carbon content like a purist Japanese bladesmith will. 

I don't make my steel and I only know of a couple IFI members who have. If you haven't bought their books and they haven't told you THE SECRET the last time you asked here I don't know what else to tell you. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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  • A6 graphite crucible

  • 4.5 Lbs 5160

  • 1.5 Lbs white cast iron

  • Broken glass for a crucible cover

From chapter 13 of my second book, on making wootz

It is important to know the carbon content of the cast iron you are going to use. We already know the base metal of 5160 is at roughly 0.6%. 

Weigh out the amount of 5160 and adjust the amount of cast iron to come up with a final total of around 1.5% carbon. Being a little off will not be a problem. Place the charge into the graphite crucible and cap with a covering of the broken glass.

Furnace temperatures will take 60 to 90 minutes to reach above 2700°F (1500°C). Then allow 15 minutes to rest at temperature before placing in hot box to cool slowly to room temperature.

Upon removal from the crucible, if the color of the Wootz puck has a very brassy appearance, it could indicate that the carbon content is too high. Any over-carburizing of the ingot from the crucible will turn the steel into cast iron

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Of course *most* crucible steel historically was not Wootz.  There are a lot of differing recipes depending on what you want the result to be like.  This is sort of like "I want one recipe to make a cake!---But I'm not going to tell you what kind of cake I want!"

Ric Furrer made crucible steel in his "3 Ways to make steel" demo at Quad-State one year; you might talk with him.

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