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I Forge Iron

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Hey y'all. I'm new to this site and dont know my way around and dont know anyone yet. I really need help or tips on forge welding. I'm having trouble with my welds. I live in Brasil and just found borax(finally!!) But my welding is trash. I currently have a charcoal forge. Any tips or advice will be great!! Thanks!!

P.s- I dont know where this message is going or if anyone will see it, but if you do, please reply.

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Muncher welcome :)

(snip! I am the one who was confused here :))

Tell us some details:

What kind of weld?

What thickness stock?

How are you preparing your weld

How are you judging when its ready to weld?

How are you managing the fire to get to welding heat?

How are you hammering the weld?

Edited by maddog
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All right, heres the deal. For now, I'm just learning to weld. So I bent a bar of iron over on itself, fluxed, heated it to a very bright yellow and hammered.I ususally think its ready when its on the verge of sparks. It just wont stick. After that, I heated it to a sparking heat(which is not cool for steel but it was just a test) and lightly hammered. People say not to hammer too hard.I usaully hammer from one end to the other, to try and squeez out the flux. The bar itself is about 15 in. thick. Its was pretty free of rust, but I brushed it anyway before closing it together. Could it be that they were not totally closed together? Is that a major factor?I usually have a good bed of coals(about 3 inches), put the piece on top of the coals and dump more charcoal on top.I figured the more coals there are, the more air its gonna eat up, and air is bad for the weld.I have no idea what is going wrong. Another thing is I'm just using normal borax, not anhydrous stuff. I wonder if thats the problem. It kind of dances around a bit and I cant really see if its getting in there.I also added boric acid to it. Didnt help any. And thats about it. I'm itching to start pattern welding stuff, but welding is proving to be pretty tough. Thanks for your time man!!Any help is awsome.

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Have you tried a different piece of steel?
If you are using charcoal then I would have 6 inches or more under the steel depending on how small the chunks are.
Dumping more on top would stir things up and not be helpful, how about get 9 inch depth of charcoal really burning, then insert the work and using a gentle blast bring it to heat.
That is what I can offer from your description.

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I was originally just welding iron,I will then learn to weld steel. 9 inches of burning charcoal, and put it in the middle?Becaues it has to be covered with charcoal to come up to heat....gently bring it to heat...yeah because I usually pump out all the air I can to get it really hot, the excess air might be the problem.Do you have any suggestions on scarfing? Is it really necessary? Thanks for your help!!

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Thats called a faggot weld. Its a good weld to start with. 1/2" rod is a good size to play with.

Things to think about:

You dont need anhydrous borax. It wont weld any better.

You dont have to worry too much about scale and rust. At welding temp they melt and become part of the film that keeps the hot metal free of oxygen. This is how fluxless welding works.

Be sure the piece is not drying out in the fire. Too long in the fire and the borax coating will go away. It should have a wet sticky look when it comes out. Too much borax wont hurt. Its just messy

Get a thin steel rod and hammer it out to a long needle point. Use this to poke the piece in the fire when you think its at welding heat (give the rod a few secs in the fire to come up to temp). You should feel it stick. When it does leave the work in a bit longer.

Dont hammer the weld below welding heat until its completely closed. Doing so will break the weld as when the welded surface tries to spread and stretch. Even experts use several heats so be conservative and just work it for a short time each heat.

Any heavy forging of the completed weld should be done at near welding heat. A perfect weld can be forged at red heat just like unwelded metal but if the weld isnt perfect this is the way to find out!
You shouldnt close the weld until it comes out of the fire to be welded. Otherwise the borax will not be able to coat the surface

Everynow and then you get a piece of mild steel that just wont weld. The chemistry isnt carefully controled anymore. You might try another piece.

When you take it out of the fire its cooling fast and you only have a couple of secs to set the weld. Be quick and efficient.

Dont smack the weld until its set- the welding surfaces will bounce apart. If conditions are right the parts just need to be made to touch eat other and they will bond. You can see this when you use the pointy tester. Tap lightly or push with a small hammer.

I find that brake drum turnings, steel filings or drillings added to the weld surface help a lot. Dont use the dust from your grinders.

Edited by maddog
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FWIW, I grind the mill scale off before heating and applying Boraxo (common brand of borax laundry additive in the US) and bring the piece(s) to a welding heat in a low, slow draft. Still perhaps a crap shoot due to the dodgy quality control at the steel mill, but it helps me more successfully stick stock together.

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