Steve Sells

Slack tub is freezing

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Hi Mark, I found some info on this topic but couldn't find any related to a "heater in a block of ice".
Thanks

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take a look here for one of the threads on frozen slack tubs.

a lot of good ideas and one that might work for you.

Mod note: Link removed do threads being merged

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Do you really need a slack tub? At most I have a 5 gallon bucket of water to cool tong handles and punches in and can pour it out at the end of the day on my favorite tree (the one that shades the smithy on the west) and bring a new one out when needed.

Since I like to do knives and other high C tools I do NOT like to have open water anywhere near the forge as hot metal has a destructive genius about finding it and self destructing.

When I finish forging something I let it normalize on the smithy floor or on the dirt driveway or hanging from a hook.

The "traditional" slack tub came about when everyone was generally using extremely low carbon real wrought iron or true 1018 mild steel and cooling in water was just a faster way of finishing the job. With A-36 I strongly suggest to NOT water cool!

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I simply went to the store and purchased two gallons of the non-poisonous antifreeze that is used to winterize the trailers and poured that into the 10 gallon cooking pot that I use. In the spring I rinse out the pot. The mixture does not properly harden water-hardening tool steel, maybe someday a more scientifically minded smith will figure out whether the mixture is any way comparable to an oil quench.

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Macbruce, I like that :D but wanted to make sure that the thing won't burn up till enough water melts to cover it.
Doesn't melted water take up less space (producing a hollow cavity) when it's changed to a liquid state. Maybe its so miniscule that it's a non-issue.
Thomas, what happens to A36 when quenched?

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Macbruce, I like that :D but wanted to make sure that the thing won't burn up till enough water melts to cover it.
Doesn't melted water take up less space (producing a hollow cavity) when it's changed to a liquid state. Maybe its so miniscule that it's a non-issue.
Thomas, what happens to A36 when quenched?


Don't mind me, I'm just got a little wiseaker in me....... :P

If the heater is encased in ice it's not an issue, if you plop it on top of the ice it won't take long for it sink into the water, no worries....
Quenching a36 is like a box of chocolates.......Best to let it cool on it's own, especially if you intend to do any adjusting or twisting on it cold............

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Sometimes A36 will get brittle and so ornamental areas of small cross section may break off, or harden too much to drill holes or file...

David E. PM to you

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Am I missing something vital here?

when my tub has ice on it (last year it was 2" thick) I just heat a lump of scrap metal up in the forge and drop it onto the ice. As long as there is a hole big enough to get the ladel out of the tub or the hot iron into water I'm happy. Surely if you are in need of liquid in your tank then you will have been forging long enough to have a lump of something sitting in the edge of the forge for the melting?

maybe we just don't get the same sort of ice on Dartmoor?

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If it's really an issue, windshield washer fluid is probably the cheapest anti-freeze solution that you can get.

Another good trick, is the system that's often used to keep Stock Tanks from freezing.

By burying a coil of black plastic "well pipe" deep enough to be below the frost line, and using a very small submersible pump to circulate the water through the coil, the above ground reservoir is kept above freezing.

( Around this area, you often see miniature ( 2' diameter ) windmills sitting near Stock Tanks.

Unlike "real" windmills, these little ones are not pumping the water from a well, ... they're just running a little circulating pump. )


.

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I got a heater from napa meant to go on a car oilpan its magnetic and thermostat controlled so it only comes on when needed you could get metal bucket or slip a piece of sheet metal in bucket so heater is on out side. was cheap . they also have heaters for car batteries you could attach rite to plastic bucket. just some more ideas for you

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Dave much of North America has winter temperatures far below those of England and freezing a slacktub all the way to the bottom and having it bulge the bottom or break the tub is not unknown.

I've lived places where several weeks of -30 degC weather was common every winter. I finally came to my senses and found a job in more clement climes!

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Dave much of North America has winter temperatures far below those of England and freezing a slacktub all the way to the bottom and having it bulge the bottom or break the tub is not unknown.

I've lived places where several weeks of -30 degC weather was common every winter. I finally came to my senses and found a job in more clement climes!



Never heard of anywhere in Australia getting to -30 dec C at any time of the year - not even Tasmania.

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Other than a block heater or something along those lines, what do you guys do to keep your tank from freezing solid during the winter months? Could I just dump a bottle of windshield washer fluid in it? Or would this have too much of an negative impact on the quenching process? 

 

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43 minutes ago, SkoobyNewb said:

Other than a block heater or something along those lines, what do you guys do to keep your tank from freezing solid during the winter months? Could I just dump a bottle of windshield washer fluid in it? Or would this have too much of an negative impact on the quenching process? 

You could add salt. Fully saturated salt water freezes at -6F.

However is does impact the quench though it could be suitable for a quick cooling tank for iron.

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How often do you  need to cool stock in winter? Other than keeping tong handles or the held end of long stock cool enough to handle there really isn't much reason to put stock in water. If you do have frequent use carry some out with you, I just fill a 5gl. water jug in the house and carry it out.

However if you really need to keep water thawed buy a stock tank heater and keep the tank covered. Just floating a piece of styrofoam on the surface does wonders.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Last winter the tub was frozen solid..  On one day I was able to get out there and work.. Was around 32F but was nice and sunny...  Took about 4hrs of working and using the ice like water before I had about 2" of water on the top that was usable..

I can work easily with 1 hammer,  an ALO and a fire source that will heat the metal..  but without the water I'm just miserable for more than anything than making a nail.. ..

 

In a shop that gets down to freezing at night but warms up to above freezing during the day.. Just sticking a 4X4 wood log in can be enough if you work in there everyday..

 

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Working mainly A36 and tool steels I try to avoid quenching anything; where with the old nearly carbonless wrought irons, folks would quench commonly for ease of working and safety in the shop.  I recently picked up my winter quench tank; stainless steel and holds about a quart and has a bail so I can hook it on the edge of the forge.  I'll use a dipper in it in case I need to cool something in the middle of a piece.

For me it's easier to work waterless so I don't get used to it and make a mistake when I'm working alloys that CAN'T be quenched safely---too many of the dreaded "TINK's" in my past.

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