By Jeff Reinhardt AKA Ptree of Persimmon Tree Forge
Searching for a good safe forge lube can be a challenge.
Having worked in and around large commercial forge shops for about 24 years I knew that solid film lubes that are water borne are the current standard.
These don't flare fire, don't smoke, and don't produce dust like the graphite based forge lubricants common for many years.
I have used several industrial forge lubricants in my personal shop and my public demonstration group,
The Brotherhood of Friendly Hammermen were starting a new protect, carving wizards from 3" square stock.
We use sledge hammers in public shows to do these and so a lubricant/coolant for the tooling was crucial.
Not only does the lubricant protect the tools and reduce effort it improves the steel movement so that the work is cleaner and has better definition.
I contacted Fuchs Lubricants and they provided a sample of Forge Ease 3512 a non-graphite forge lubricant.
Diluted to 50:50 with water we used this lubricant to carve a number of wizards.
We used it on the handled hot cut, the eye punches and so forth.
Worked a treat.
Next project was an anchor from 2" round bar stock.
We used the Forge ease 3512 for the slit and drifts that were used for the mortise and tenon joint and the slit and drifted cross bar hole and the ring hole. This lubricant cools the tools, and leaves a solid film lubricant that lets the tools glide deeper than with other choices. No smoke and no fire.
The trick is to dip a hot tool into the lube to both cool and lube.
The lube does not do much of anything on a cold tool.
NOTE: Sensitive alloys such as H13 should not be quenched when red hot or at high heat as damage to the tool may result.
The tool only needs to be at the "sizzling" point of 350°F (177#176;C) or above to produce the necessary coating of dry lubricant.
FUCHS Forge Ease Technical Data Factory information sheet.
FUCHS Forge Ease 3521 SDS Material Safety Data Sheet.
References and Links