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THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you.

This is an archive of posts from December 8 - 15, 2010 on the Guru's Den
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Growing up my parents started giving me tools for birthdays and Christmas when I started High School. By the time I was off on my own I had a decent set of tools to take with me---many of them I still have 30+ years later!

I gave both my daughters drills one Christmas and the big set of Craftsman screwdrivers another.

Teaching our kids that we are *doers* rather than dependent on others is part of a parents duties!

Thomas
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/08/10 12:32:48 EST

When my younger neice was in High School, they came down to the farm for a family event and she dropped by the forge. Her first words were: "Wow; look at all the neat tools!"

After that I went to the flea market, got a tool box, and filled it with some flea market, some of my redundant, and some of my late father's tools. Guess who got a "special" gift for Christmas? She's out of college now, so at least she has the basics to get things done.

My eldest daughter (Master Carpenter at the Signature Theater {note fatherly pride}) has submitted her list of tools; but what's kind of neat is that Mom is using her as a source for some of the more obscure tools on my Christmas list. Number two son in Baltimore has also requested tools, and I'm working with #1 son in Virginia on a possible small workshop for his motorcycles.

"Give me a stick, and a place to stand, and I can beat this monitor lizard to the point where we can cook and eat it." (Homo Habilis)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 12/08/10 15:37:04 EST

How do I get a knife sharp enough to shave hair and cut a one inch rope in half with one strike? I bought the sharpening system from jantz knife supply and it was terrible. You get a cardboard wheel with a little grit on it and another card board wheel you put a little white ruge on. Lame. I was very unsuccessfull trying to sharpen a cold steel tanto. I have the 2x72 grizzly knife grinder so I can buff or put a leather belt on it. Any help would be appreciated. My knives are dull!
   Mike - Wednesday, 12/08/10 15:39:17 EST

I'm a firm believer in "Teaching a man to fish" NOT "Giving a man a fish"
My two boys (who will be 8 and 6 in 2011) have been getting flea market tool boxes and flea market tools since they were old enough to understand not to put them in their mouth and, "Don't crack the cat in the head with that"
They can both pound and pull nails and drill holes with the post drill out in the smithy.
I have provided them with a set of mild steel punches for doing decorative tin punching ( some "interesting" designs coming out of that) and, they each have their own anvil although, admittedly an ASO (they will get real ones if they show an interest in a real one)and, work bench.
They are still more interested in "play" rather than "work"
but, their play usually involves building or constructing something.
They show little interest in the couple of video games we have and, that's fine with me.
I hope as they get older they will continue to enjoy working with their hands and accumulating knowledge of the "Manual Arts"
   - merl - Wednesday, 12/08/10 17:04:52 EST

Once upon a time..Christmas story..I found a great deal on a hydraulic jack set (I was big into rigging then) so got all three boys their own set of pushing; pulling;and bending stuff. Secound son had brought his future wife home to meet us...had to be a shock. However all three sets turn up every now and again when we want to move something. The girl managed to get through it and now just sends me a Lowes card for Christmas.
   Tinker - Wednesday, 12/08/10 19:06:08 EST

My oldest, a daughter followed me everywhere, including the shop almost as soon as she could walk. She began to use tools at probably 5, and asked for and got a Craftsman roll around tool chest set at 13. Filled with tools of her choice. I found her a set of safety glasses that fit and she was forging at 6 and doing her own work at 13 and selling it. She wanted and found a junker at 15 and we fixed it up. She went to the junkyard and helped select and pull the needed parts. She wanted an art car and it ended up a real conversation starter, with rainbow across the hood, a peace sign that covered the roof etc. Had a dragon with a Barbee riding for a hood ornament. She paid for that car as well as another junker in highschool by blacksmithing. She helps all her college friends with their car issues boys and girls alike:)
The second was in the shop some, but was indifferent.
The third, the Juggle guy was and is in the shop pretty regular. Handy and a darn good striker.
The littlest has also worked in the shop but went girly girl at about 14 and spends much less time in the shop.

All have some tools, 2 have their own roll around box:)

I don't push, I enable:)
   ptree - Wednesday, 12/08/10 19:42:28 EST

Mike: To get a really sharp edge, the included angle at the edge needs to be small. I can't tell You how many degrees, because I do it by eye. You need to thin the blade down 'til the edge is not thick enough to reflect light. That is right, when it is thin enough, You won't be able to see it. Then You smooth it up with stones & remove the burr edge in the process.

With a setup like You have it should be really easy. Thin out the edge with progressively finer belts, say up to 600 grit. I am still in the process of building a belt grinder, so I do this part with coarse & fine silicon carbide stones. Next I use a medium India stone, You might not need to with a really fine belt. You can do the final dress with a spiral sewn muslin buffing wheel & white "stainless" compound. You need to be really careful with the buffing wheel, and always buff "off the edge" using really light pressure. This is especially trickey at the point. You could follow this step with a razor strop, but You shouldn't need too.

Lately I have been using a really fine stone instead of the buffing wheel to touch up My pocket knife, works well too.

I have heard of charging a worn out 600 grit belt with buffing compound, and using that instead of the buffing wheel. It is safer than using the buffing wheel, as it isn't as likely to grab that blade & throw it at You. This should be followed up with the razor strop.

I test them out on the hair on the edge of My hand, if it shaves nicely, I am satisfied.
   - Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 12/08/10 22:16:19 EST

Mike, I haven't tried the free-hanging rope cut test, but I recently documented my way of sharpening on my blog: http://helmforge.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-to-sharpen-knife-blade-to-shaving.html

I take a blade from heat treated to cleanly shaving hair off my arm with two stones and a scrap piece of leather. Other folks have other ways; this is just my way.
   - Stormcrow - Thursday, 12/09/10 01:21:04 EST

I am looking at the possibility of an induction forge. I can sort of work out how the power works but what does the water do?
   philip in china - Thursday, 12/09/10 07:15:54 EST

Philip
if I understand correctly ( and I may not as we have yet to get our induction set up hooked up) the water is a coolant so the copper tubing stays cool, and has nothing to do with the field. I have seen some small units for brazing/soldering of small parts that are not liquid cooled , just 1/4 round copper coils, very short cycle times on those units 3-5 min duty cycle if I remember right.
MP
   mpmetal - Thursday, 12/09/10 08:11:41 EST

Sharp Edges that Cut: Step #1, Start with a very high grade of steel harden and tempered to perfection. . .

Otherwise you are doomed to failure. While a soft piece of steel can be sharpened to a degree and be quite sharp it will not cut anything with much resistance as the fine edge will roll over or dull as soon as it starts cutting.

   - guru - Thursday, 12/09/10 09:00:39 EST

Induction Cooling: MP is correct. The coils are formed from various sizes of copper tubing with water tight fittings. Water is circulated through the heating coils (and perhaps the final stage power transformer coils).

There are two ways the water is handled. In a low use low cost system fresh water is supplied and warm water dumped down a drain. Closed loop systems have a reservoir, pump, radiator and fan to circulate and cool the water. This is often a seperate unit from the electronic packages.

Another issue to be away of is shorting of the coils. A certain length is expected as well as electrical isolation. Contact with the work can change the coil performance as well as ground out the current (making your bench "hot"). On many small units folks are just careful not to touch the work to the coils. But you can also insulate the coils with refractory.
   - guru - Thursday, 12/09/10 09:10:04 EST

I still have the first tool I remember my Dad buying me. It was a 4 inch long needle nose pliers with yellow rubberized handles. The yellow rubber is long gone, and it has been modified a few times for different purposes, but I still use it when tweaking sheet metal flowers. It was bought from Macleod's Hardware in North Battleford, and I would have been about 5.
   JimG - Thursday, 12/09/10 09:10:07 EST

The water flowing thru the coils is indeed for colling of the coils. The electric current does heat the coils a bit, but the billet you are heating will radiate siginificant heat into the coils. In most inductrial coils there is indeed refractory to protect the coils and center the billet, but the refracory also serves the usefull function of keeping scale build up from shoerting the coils.
And yes in the bigger units water cooling is used in the control cabinet for cooling various components.
A tip if using a water cooled unit. Freeze up can be a real problem if using water in a shop that gets below freezing. Automotive anti-freeze has additives that will make a "black goo of death" in any water cooled braded cables and inside control cabinet components. In industry, we use Pure "Technical grade Ethylene glycol" 50:50 with distilled water for the best system performance.
   ptree - Thursday, 12/09/10 10:44:09 EST

All blades should be honed at an angle of .35 fiddlybits, unless the blade is made of unobtanium, in which case it should be honed at an angle of .314159265... fiddlybits! Honing oil must be distilled from Tibetan yak sweat (don't settle for the Chinese or Mongolian stuff). I strongly suggest Uruguayan whetstones, in 17 grades, and an untanned ibex hide strop. All of the above items are available at Oakley Forge Enterprises, a subsidiary of Pikyur Pokkets, Ltd.

Anyway, that's my method, and I'm sticking to it! ;-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 12/09/10 12:59:40 EST

Roper Whitney Punch coupling nut - the saga ends.....

Back on 12/3 I'd asked if anyone knew how to get a certain replacement part for a Roper Whitney #10 punch. I'd already left messages and emails a week earlier with Roper, but received no answer. Guro provided the exact name of the part, a Punch Coupling Nut.

Mcmaster, who sells almost everything else for these punches, doesn't have this part listed.

The names of a few companies were offered up, as they make/sell ironworker parts, so I contacted them.

Both Cleveland Punch and American Punch wrote back that they only carry the larger ironworker nuts could custom make the part for $$$. They both recommended back to Roper. Sigh....

[Tangent into my screwing up the original on a lathe, lets not relive that.]

Roper finally called back, they have it for $20, but have aminimum order of $50. I have neither budget nor need for more punches, so tehy recommended me to a dealer...

Mcmaster. Who still doesn't have it in their catalog, but DID write back with the part number... for $18. YAY!! The Mcmaster part number is 3434A235 Coupler Nut #10 Rotary Punch ... just to be imortalized in the archive.

Thanks for the help!

   MikeM-OH - Thursday, 12/09/10 16:01:13 EST

Mike, Thanks for the update.

McMaster Carr often has service parts for some of the things they sell but do not list them in their encyclopedic print or on-line catalogs. The trouble I have with them is that they do not sell anything by brand. A tool MIGHT be made by Starrett, but it MIGHT be made by Hnglow Tools, Taipei.
   - guru - Thursday, 12/09/10 16:20:41 EST

I sometimes over-rely on Mcmaster Carr, mostly because they can put almost ANYTHING on my doorstep within 24 hours... a blessing of living near one of their distribution warehouses. They are great for non-minimum orders, odd parts, and access to REAL tools when cheap ones won't do. Just yesterday I got replacement hex keys for the odd sizes my TAIG lathe uses, 3 of each, the high tensile strength variety, for about 30 cents each. You can't buy those at harbor frieght or wal mart, or just the three small ones out of a set of 30 I don't use.

Of course, the down side is the shipping cost... while they are cheaper than most, I have ot carefully forcast each order and make sure I pad the box with other things I need. Paying $5 to ship $3 worth of hex keys is crazy... but adding in the replacement set screws [$1/100], specialized washers for my little press [$4/50], an odd size grinding wheel [$8], and a handful of odd, special size bolts [$2], makes for a box of parts I can't find by burning $5 of gas.

On the other hand, I spent years ordering steel from them, paying 2x+shipping for what was available a 10 min drive away.


I've never bought anything where OEM name = quality, like measuring devices, from them, but I can see how disappointing it would read MADE IN CHINA when you were expecting STARRETT.
   MikeM-OH - Thursday, 12/09/10 17:44:26 EST

If you're an ABANA member, you can get free shipping at Grainger. I try not to abuse it by making (too) small orders. But it seems like every time I add something I'll need sooner or later to bring up the total, it ends up getting shipped from a different warehouse. So maybe I should just order what I need and not worry about it.
   Mike BR - Thursday, 12/09/10 21:35:51 EST

Hello Jock and distinguished crew;
I got sorta nostalgic and had to check in to wish you all well and be reassured nobody here had succumbed to pyrophobia.
We are doing pretty well. Phoebe is about finished with a big (,fired ceramic scales, over ferrocement) sea serpent for a playground in Golden Gate Pk in SF. It turned out quite well.
And i'm finally finishing a stringed instrument that i started almost 30 years ago ( me procrastinate?)
2 old smithing friends died and i've been ambivalently stuffing their metallic remains into my already crowded shop.
One, Studebaker Dave, died at 47, kinda like PawPaw did, from inhaling the wrong fumes for too long. Talented guy.
The other , Richard Barrios "The Iberian Metal Master" was a fine, warm fellow. When he went, he took an encyclopedic knowledge of the craft with him.
Please learn from their example and
DON"T CROAK !!!....pf
   ironyworks - Friday, 12/10/10 01:33:34 EST

Pete, Glad to hear you are alive and well and have not succumbed to that inconsiderate disease. I have a series of articles on our revamped health and safety page about what I'm doing to stave it off.
   - guru - Friday, 12/10/10 07:46:03 EST

Ptree, your book got off this morning. Jim
   Carver Jake - Friday, 12/10/10 11:33:41 EST

Jim, Thanks!
   ptree - Friday, 12/10/10 14:09:28 EST

could you send us the pricing on the air hammers made in Germany that you have for sale
Regards Normand
   NORMAND DUVAL - Friday, 12/10/10 18:00:48 EST

I am trying to find a blacksmith in madison, jersey macoupin counties in illinois or the greater St. Louis, Mo. area. Can you help me? Thanks.
   janet kolar - Saturday, 12/11/10 12:27:08 EST

I am a beginner. I have read some and hammered less. A woodworker wanting to make my own tools. mostly chisels. What is the best way to make the socket of a chisel? Also, if using hot rolled bar stock (O1) should I fold the steal a number of times for superior edge or is hammering the edge enough? I have read that the forged edge is much better that just sharpening the plate steal.

thanks a lot.

DEN
   - DEN - Saturday, 12/11/10 16:26:01 EST

Den- This is a pretty good book for beginners. Covers this exact subject. http://www.amazon.com/Tool-Making-Woodworkers-Ray-Larsen/dp/0964399989
   Judson Yaggy - Saturday, 12/11/10 17:59:14 EST

Janet it helps to know what you want the smith to do. Many folks called farriers (horseshoers) blacksmiths. They are a specialist that doesn't do decorative iron work. Blacksmiths are most often listed under ironworks, fencing and occasionally decorative iron.

You may also find them through blacksmiths associations. Check ABANA-Chapter.com. Look for IVBA (Illinois Valley Blacksmiths Association) among others.
   - guru - Saturday, 12/11/10 19:16:08 EST

Chisels: Den, "folding" is part of the process of manufacturing certain hand made steels. It is NOT something you do willy-nilly and not something that improves modern tool steels. "Hammering the edge" also has nothing to do with a better edge in tool steels. Tools are generally forged close to shape, ground closer, heat treated (hardened and tempered - TWO seperate but mutually required processes), then finish ground and sharpened.

I would start with a good general modern treatise on blacksmithing such as "The New Edge of the Anvil". Then look at tool making books such as the one recommended by Judson Yaggy. Then there are MANY bladesmithing books that get into the exotic processes as well as basic heat treating.

NOTE: I know O1 comes in hot roll but I have never seen it. It almost always comes in round (centerless ground) annealed bar called "drill rod".
   - guru - Saturday, 12/11/10 19:26:08 EST

Den - I posted some videos on Youtube showing how to make a socket. In this case, we're making an integral socket handle on a machete, but the process is the same for the chisel socket. Just on a smaller scale.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3wNjA2U6GM&feature=BF&list=UL5mL2qq5-f68&index=12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cap22dm6IjE&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQp1_A5By_U
   - Stormcrow - Sunday, 12/12/10 02:22:03 EST

It is my experience that the material sold as precision 'ground flat stock' is usually O1. In the uk, and from what I can gather lots of Europe the centerless ground rounds are usually W1 ( we call it 'silver steel' is that the same as your drill rod?)
   - John N - Sunday, 12/12/10 10:22:24 EST

Handle Sockets: While these are beautiful and very strong I've seen many old forge welded sockets with failed split sockets. Modern sockets are one piece forged with no weld and often machined afterward.

There are several equally strong alternatives. One is a round shouldered tang made starting with round stock, then a typical ferrule made of pipe or tubing. The alternative is the same tang with a tapered ferrule.

Tapered ferrules and sockets can be made from common pipe. Its easier to reduce the pipe to make a taper than the drift it open but either method works, or you can use both. Reducing pipe is a form of upsetting and is best done in V dies or with a hinge fuller. Upsetting makes the walls thicker and stronger.

For an example of round shoulders and tangs see Craftsman wood working chisels. Because of the high strength plastic handle they need no ferrules and its an excellent design.

The first gouges I made from flat spring stock had square tangs and rectangular shoulders. These worked but had serious issues. In use the shoulders drove up into the handle. They are still good chisels but I do not abuse them with heavy work.

Round vs Flat Stock: My gouges taught me an important lesson, flat stock is not always the best to start with. If I had started with round stock and made a round shoulder as described above they would held up under very heavy use. Some knives are made in a similar fashion with a round shoulder and flat tang. It is also better to start with round when making wavy swords or kris. Bend the waves first, flatten, adjust the waves, finish forging. It works much better than forging from flat where the curves want to straighten out while forging.

Junkyard steel users always think of flat leaf springs for making blades but round stock from coil springs is as good or better.
   - guru - Sunday, 12/12/10 10:45:32 EST

Drill Rod, Silver steel, W1 and O1 John, most places in the U.S. I've dealt with sell round "drill rod" and precision flat ground annealed stock in both W1 and O1. Flats are most commonly O1. While "drill rod" is more commonly W1, I've bought A2, S7, O1 and W1 all as centerless ground rod.

I think "silver steel" is W1 which is the lowest price of the tools steels. O1 is preferred on precision parts because it grows the least of the tool steels when hardened. You can make a small 1/2" W1 part and have it grow 0.0015" or more on hardening. O1 grows about 25% as much so it is better for making precision parts that are not going to be ground to size.
   - guru - Sunday, 12/12/10 11:07:07 EST

I've got about 40 chisels and like the flat tangs driven up into the wood handle, you never have to worry about grabbing the handle and have the chisel fall out onto the floor.
   Carver Jake - Sunday, 12/12/10 12:01:02 EST

Silver steel is the British term for what we call drill rod (I think W1). I believe that Carl Schroen, in his knife making book, always starts to forge his knives from round stock. The idea is to avoid shuts which occur especially when hitting flat stock on edge. You may get a hidden, folded shut in the center of the flat, or the sharp edges widening and folding over. In terms of hand made chisels, is it pushed by hand or driven by a mallet? That may affect your choice of bolster/tang or socket.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 12/12/10 12:20:17 EST

Ground flat stock: The most common is O1, but it comes in other tool steel grades as well as low carbon steel. It is popular in tool shops because it is ready to use. The surfaces are pretty flat & parellell, but the edges may not be truely square.

Smaller dimensionn tool steel does come in hot rolled, and the "bar bark" needs to be removed if You expect it to harden close to the surface.

Larger sizes are usually DCF, or de-carb free, with the bark machined off, but not precicely flat or square.
   - Dave Boyer - Sunday, 12/12/10 21:52:52 EST

Hello Everybody,

I've been interested lately in the heavy metal tungsten (W). Was wondering if tungsten, as is commercially available in sheets, rod or wire, is capable of being welded to steel using conventional equipment ? From what I can find through the web, tungsten has the highest melting point of all the metals, something like 3500 C, but it is used in alloys such as W1, I believe, and other more exotic alloys. However, it seems like such alloys are created using sintering methods or other methods which require big equipment.

I'm wondering if it is possible to take some pure tungsten powder or metal and weld it to some mild steel using a coal or gas powered forge? I've not experimented due to the high cost of tungsten, and decided to stop here for any advice, or comments anyone can offer who has any experience with this metal, before I invest in something that may not work.

Also, in TIG welding, I've seen reference to "Green Rod" or something, basically a label, indicating, it's pure tungsten rod vs. some coated/thorium or something rod. Does this mean that it is pure tungsten metal used in TIG welding ? I have no experience with it.

In case anyone is wondering, I like the dense quality of tungsten and see it as a useful for adding increased weight to certain objects.

Any help is much appreciated,

-bruno
   bruno - Monday, 12/13/10 01:19:32 EST

does anyone know the type of steel a 50 yr. old octagon digging/prybar is? i am looking to repurpose it into punches but do not want to waste it.
   - bam-bam - Monday, 12/13/10 01:57:11 EST

Bam-Bam, Hard to tell. Modern bars are made from a variety of materials including 1050 and 5160. Junk Yard Steel rules apply.
   - guru - Monday, 12/13/10 08:40:24 EST

Coins, Dies, and Pennies:

I was doing some research on making coining dies and reached into my pocket to look at some coins as examples. I saw my first 2010 penny. . . What an UGLY cheap coin. . . poor art, low relief, bad definition, out of proportion lettering. . . I hadn't looked at Lincoln log cabin penny either which also has many of the same faults.

U.S. currency has been going down hill since the production of the first asymmetrical notes. The zinc pennies had the old design but less relief than previously. Perhaps it is because of the zinc but I think not. . . Sad times. . .

   - guru - Monday, 12/13/10 13:24:30 EST

Bruno,

NO, you cannot weld tungsten with a forge.

In TIG welding, the term "tungsten" refers to the electrode used to initiate the arc. It may be pure tungsten, 2% thoriated tungsten, lanthanated tungsten or ceriated tungsten, depending on the particular application. It is not consumed, it is only the electrode for the arc - a separate filler metal is used. Tungsten is used for the electrode due to its high melting point and resistance to oxidation.

Using tungsten to add weight to things is something that is done all the time, but it is an industrial process, not a shop process. Adding tungsten to steel alloys is done in big electric arc furnaces or other fancy equipment you don't have access to. Definitely not a job for the do-it-yourselfer!

If you just want to add weight, what about depleted uranium? There's some really heavy stuff, and tough, too. Of course, you want to be absolutely sure it is completely depleted...
   - Rich - Monday, 12/13/10 14:05:10 EST

Trouble with a penny is that it already costs more to make than it's worth. And no matter how much more work you put into it, it's still only going to be worth a penny. I guess we could apply blacksmith mentality to it. You know what I mean: "Always put more work into a job than you can ever get out of it". Guess that's why we're blacksmiths and not economists.
   - grant - nakedanvil - Monday, 12/13/10 14:23:46 EST

Rich: while I agree with you, I usually like to leave myself a little "wiggle room". So, rather than say "you cannot" I remind myself to say "not in my experience" or "I've never heard/seen it done". Reminds me of when someone declared that "you can't pattern weld titanium". I couldn't resist posting pictures of some of my friend Tom Ferry's "Timascus" from: tomferryknives.com/

Never say "never". And how are you doing Rich?
   - grant - nakedanvil - Monday, 12/13/10 14:36:27 EST

AND there are folks making laminated non-ferrous/ferrous similar to mokume' gane'. I suspect it is possible but difficult to weld Tungsten and Steel. It may be "Fraze" joint (ferrous equivalent of braze - you heard it here first), but it would be joined.

Alloying is often done with compounds of metals and not the pure metal. As they seperate in the alloy the non-metallic portions become part of the slag or burn off.

A little radiation from depleted uranium is not nearly as much an issue as the toxicity of uranium and many uranium compounds.

Cost of Pennies: If they are not worth making then stop. But the cost of good art vs bad art is minuscule and in this case they probably paid more than what they should have. The bad art makes "US" look cheap and reflects on our national pride (if we have any left). In most countries today the smallest denomination coin is worth about 2 cents because they know making a smaller value coin is a losing proposition. In those countries the smallest coin is 5 or 10 of their monetary units. While you would think all prices would be rounded to the the nearest currency unit, things don't work that way. Like us they often have taxes that come out odd and anything sold by volume or weight such as fuel or produce come out in decimal values smaller than the currency allows. Unlike here their cash registers show amounts smaller than the currency units and everyone is mathematically astute enough to round and then make change without the machine doing it for them. . .

At this point I think even the cost of dollar bills is more than the government mark up. . . SO we should probably say good by to pennies and one dollar bills. Start using $2 bills, $1 coins and nothing smaller than nickles. In Canada the most popular coin is the "twoly" a $2 Canadian coin that coincidentally is a bi-metallic so it stands out.

   - guru - Monday, 12/13/10 15:35:51 EST

Delayed post on Tungsten:

Bruno, Interesting question. I suspect it can be welded to a dissimilar metal but may need special conditions such as welding in a vacuum. Normal equipment will not get hot enough to bring Tungsten to welding temperatures but in dissimilar metal joining it is usually the lower melting point metal that determines weld temperature. Note that welding does not require melting the metals but weakening the surfaces sufficiently to create a bond. However, I am not sure this will work with such a great temperature difference.

Modern smiths get away with doing a lot of work previously requiring inert gas atmospheres or vacuums by using stainless foil to contain the pieces to be welded or heat treated. This started with bladesmiths welding in a "can" (rectangular stainless tube with welded ends). Foil is much easier and less expensive in the long run. However, the minimum purchase is about $100 U.S.
   - guru - Monday, 12/13/10 15:46:49 EST

ENCO has the SS foil for $38.95. http://www.use-enco.com/CGI/INSRIT?PMAKA=326-1512&PMPXNO=12387763&PARTPG=INLMK3
   - grant - nakedanvil - Monday, 12/13/10 16:38:26 EST

thank's Guru. i was just hoping someone would know for sure. i usually go by the used steel guide, unless the prior owner has marked it. thank's again
   - bam-bam - Monday, 12/13/10 16:59:25 EST

Grant,

True, I probably should have put in a string of qualifiers. Too late now. (grin)

Doing much better, thanks! Still very timid about exerting too much, though. That was a really scary experience I do not wish to repeat - ever! So I'm taking things very cautiously until I see how they affect me. I've never been this timid abut things and it doesn't sit well with me, but popping a lung again wouldn't sit too well either. Time will tell, I guess. Jut makes me feel old and I don't like that. I don't wanna have to grow up!
   - Rich - Monday, 12/13/10 17:38:55 EST

Toony, not twoly Guru, a play on loony which our nickname for the one dollar coin which has a loon on the tail side. Although I would have prefered the term "double loon" for two-ny...
   JimG - Monday, 12/13/10 17:41:40 EST

guru,the 2 dollar canadian coin is tooney,not a twoly.grin
   wayne@nb - Monday, 12/13/10 18:00:55 EST

I have just bought a hay-budden anvil and the top plate has partially seperated from the main base.I would assume it was a forged welded casting.I was wondering if it could be welded and if it could what filler metal I would use and if preheating would be required.I have been a professional welder for 39 years but not knowing what anvil is made of I am at a loss as what to use.
   Terry Beach - Monday, 12/13/10 18:45:20 EST

Terry, There are two types of Hay-Budden. Early ones were wrought iron with a steel face, late ones the entire upper body from the waist up is medium to high carbon steel.

The wrought iron body is probably like nothing you have ever welded before. Wrought is many layers or fibers of pure iron with siliceous slag between. When arc welded the slag runs out greatly increasing the normal flux slag and reducing the metal volume, thus requiring more filler than you would expect by 30 to 50%. It makes a very fluid slag so a rod with a stiff non-fluid slag might be advantageous.

The hardened face is plain carbon steel and sensitive to over heating. It will easily lose its hardness. Normally you want to preheat to 300 F or so then weld in small amounts so as to not overheat and lose hardness.

The welded at the waist Hay-Buddens were originally arc welded and occasionally fail there. The old weld should be cut out and a weld prep made, the top half preheated at the joint and then a heavy bead run. Let air cool.
   - guru - Monday, 12/13/10 19:02:37 EST

Canadian Currency. . . Sorry guys, the last time I was in Canada was for the 1999, CanIron II in Calgary. Had a good time. Better exchange rate then (for me). Maybe we should go again next year. . .
   - guru - Monday, 12/13/10 19:13:18 EST

"Cheap looking poor quality coins"

Yep, looks like our pennies are made in China too...
   - merl - Monday, 12/13/10 19:21:05 EST

Dear Guru, Leaving aside for the moment the question of the artwork on your coinage, be most careful before you advocate the abolition of your smallest coinage. The smallest ones are probably the most important. In the UK when I was a small boy the farthing was still legal tender (though it was not in general circulation). The halfpenny however was in general use through all my growing up years until adulthood when it was decided that we would go decimal. The change from 240 pennies to the pound to 100 resulted in devastating inflation. Many small ticket items such as postage stamps, foodstuffs, confectionery, newspapers and a whole load of the daily expenses can only be adjusted in price by these new larger increments. With the exception of petrol I cannot immediately think of anything else that is priced in anything except whole units. Petrol to some reason is always 118.9 p etc. Why this .9 anomaly exists when all other commodities are quoted in whole numbers I do not know. What I do know is that if you destroy the basis of comparison by changing the weights and measures or the currency you open the floodgates to rampant inflation. You yourself are very numerate but the majority of the population are not, and are inherently lazy when it comes to doing comparisons or calculations.
Exactly the same thing happened in Europe with the adoption of the euro. Each and every country that I have visited appears to have suffered at least five years before things start to stabilise, though by this time living costs have jacked up astronomically.

It is vitally important to maintain the smallest units of the currency and to be able to purchase the smallest of items and to be able to tender the correct payment however small in cash.

Hang on to your one cent coin as long as possible.
   - Chris E - Monday, 12/13/10 19:48:52 EST

Tungsten isn't *that* resistant to oxidation. If you don't believe me, grind a hole in a light bulb . . . Or for that matter, try to start a TIG weld with the gas off.

My other TIG welding mistake is dipping the end of the tungsten in the puddle. You end up with a blob where the point used to be. I'm pretty sure that's because the steel alloys with the tungsten and lowers its melting point. Which suggests that you could indeed bond or alloy tungsten and steel below the melting point of tungsten. But of course both the TIG electrode and the weld puddle are hotter than you're likely to get in a forge.
   Mike BR - Monday, 12/13/10 22:03:40 EST

Great point Mike! Even aluminum will do that. We have no idea what the "forge welding" temperature of tungsten is. I do have reservations based on malleability. That is, even if you bonded it, you probably couldn't hot work it. The difference in malleability causes problems trying to work stainless damascus.
   - grant - nakedanvil - Monday, 12/13/10 22:43:23 EST

Well, the shape and purpose was not part of the question. Neither was forgeability after welding. There are lots of joints in parts that are not intended to be forged after making the joint.

It demonstrates why questions should be thought about and the purpose of doing something needs to be part of the question. There are all kinds of ways to make something heavier, harder, stronger. . with an insert. Drill a precision hole and press in the insert. It works for making armored bolts in locks. Need an armored pin in a torch proof bolt? Start with stainless, press in a series of tungsten pins (a tube would be better but good luck. . ., press in several pieces or hardened carbide to prevent sawing. . . . . Of course now days someone is likely to attack any worth while target with plasma. . . But you have forced the attacker to go high tech.

Lots of reasons for odd ball joining. Very difficult to give advice when the purpose is not known.
   - guru - Monday, 12/13/10 23:46:02 EST

Tungsten and Tungsten Carbide: Years ago we had a project where we had a small device that pivoted on 60 degree points. For some reason we got the idea that TIG points were very hard and wear resistant. We went round and round with failures of the little device. . . until it dawned on someone that pure tungsten, while very durable and fairly hard is NOT the same as tungsten carbide which is used for lathe centers as well as cutters and inserts of various types. In the end it came down to short cuts in shop language where we had gotten used to not being as specific as we should. . .

While pure tungsten is not tremendously hard it is very resistant to high temperatures and can be used for punches doing hot work. By retaining its properties to very high temperatures it surpasses the properties of hot work steels under certain circumstances. But at room temperature it is soft compared to hardened tool steels.

I had an argument about specifics in technical language with someone that wanted to call molybdenum disulfide simply "Molly". This made no sense to me at all and really doesn't work as a substitution. But apparently this was the term used in that shop and that the fellow had learned.

   - guru - Tuesday, 12/14/10 10:15:18 EST

Guru: I am a Historic Preservation student & need to know a lot of answers to a lot of questions; but my first query of you is; can cast iron be repaired by welding? I read in your glossary that cast iron cannot be forged; does that mean also that welding would be ineffectual? Is the best solution for damaged cast iron that the entire piece be recast?
Thank you for your time
   Barbara - Tuesday, 12/14/10 12:09:03 EST

Cast Iron Repairs: Barbara, In general CI is very difficult to weld and in many cases is considered unweldable. It depends a lot on the shape as well as grade of cast iron and the use of the item. Welding CI takes a lot of heat and often warps the part.

Hollow cast iron items, pots, pump housings and other liquid tight or precision hollow items are impossible to weld as a repair for their original purpose or VERY difficult to weld for any purpose. Often other repair methods are used. Brazing (using brass in a lower temperature repair) is often used on CI items. This is often an obvious repair and if bare metal the brass stands out as yellow against gray black.

Decorative iron pieces, brackets and such can often be welded successfully. However, heat distortion and loss of fine features is common. The repaired part often must be hand shaped using files, grinders and such to recreate the original shape as much as possible. Essentially the weld repair and surrounding areas are hand carved back to original appearances. This is a high skill expensive process but it is much cheaper than recreating the casting.

If a casting is broken in many pieces and perhaps some missing then a new casting or replacement is often the most economical route. Depending on the item, it can be most cost effective to recreate the part by hand in another material such as steel, brass, bronze or aluminum. This is often done by a combination of methods including every tool and technique available to the crafts person.

Making a new casting can be very expensive. In SOME cases, the broken casting can be repaired by temporary methods such as gluing it back together and puttying up the missing places then using this as a pattern to make a sand mold and replacement casting. There are two issues with this. One is that the replacement may be considerably smaller than the original due to shrinkage of the cast metal. The other is the difficulty of finding a foundry to work with today. Most foundries today are high production outfits that do not do repairs or hand work.

The other way to make a new casting is to make a new pattern. This is made of wood and or plastic and is sized such that the final casting will be the original size. Such foundry work is typically a production process and the reason for a pattern is to make many parts. If the item being replaced is one of many that need replacing this MAY be a viable method. However it is still subject to finding a pattern maker and foundry to work with you. Cost is NOT insignificant. In high production the pattern cost is inconsequential but to make a couple dozen of something the pattern cost may be $1000 per part or more.

Due to the high costs of patterns and complexity of dealing with foundries (in general) many replacement parts are fabricated or machined from solid. While making a complex shape this way may seem an unusual way to proceed it is a common occurrence in both replacing machine parts and in restorations.

So there in no simple yes or no answer.
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/14/10 12:57:56 EST

GRAND THEFT
A Peculiar Case of Missing Samples


On Monday December 13, 2010 the discovery was made at Josh Greenwood's shop in Petersburg, Virginia. His lifetime collection of samples had been stolen. These included the samples shown on his home page, GreenwoodIronworks.com and from his bio page on anvilfire.

Josh Greenwood Bio on anvilfire.com
Greenwood Ironworks

These samples were used to sell jobs. Many were test pieces produced after sometimes extensive development as well as demo pieces. They were an historical portfolio of major jobs over a period of almost 40 years.

Leaves for railing

The pieces included samples for such prestigious jobs such as the Nataional Cathedral railing, The Tobacco Co., elevator enclosure, Massey Estate gates, other works made for other large estates and the sample leaves in the "hands" photo of Josh's archetectural gallery slide show. We have yet to locate photographs of many of the pieces but wil post them as we find them.

The thieves were not looking for something to sell for quick cash as they literally climbed over thousands of dollars worth of easy to sell tools to get to the samples. They also carefully selected nothing but the best of the samples. They knew where to look. . .

WHY, Why, why would someone steal an artist's portfolio? We cannot believe there is a lucrative market in such things. Did they want to use it as their own portfolio? Did they want to hurt Josh? If there is such a market where do you sell such things?

We are asking every smith in the country to keep an eye open for these samples. They could show up on ebay, at a fleamarket, in a gallery or as someone else's portfolio pieces. Please let us know if you see them. The one thing the thieves may NOT know is just how small and tight the world of blacksmithing is and how close we stick together. You may contact me here or Josh via his website.
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/14/10 14:20:37 EST

Stolen samples:
What good would it be to the thief to steal someone elses work to pawn off as your own and then not be able to reproduce it?!? If they could reproduce the pieces then why steal them ?
So you not only have thieves but, stupid thieves on top of it.
WTF ??
   - merl - Tuesday, 12/14/10 14:30:30 EST

Well, that sucks! That's a Hell of a lot of work to have vanish. The only thing I can think of would be someone wanting to have the samples to follow, but it seems like detailed pictures would do about the same. Sounds like someone close, who would know where to look. Kind of like the time my cousin's house in the country was robbed while his family was on vacation. Only a very few people knew he was going to be out of town...
   - Stormcrow - Wednesday, 12/15/10 00:36:17 EST

I have the die hold-down system completed on my power hammer, but have no dies to fit it yet. My main flat dies are 3" square 4140. After welding them to their baseplates, I will heat treat them.

I believe that there is enough mass to the dies that I can flame harden them. This isn't something I've ever tried before. As I understand it, I'll use my cutting torch to heat the top portion of the block to non-magnetic, then allowing the mass of the block to quench the heated area. Will I need to speed up the cooling with water sprayed on top? Afterwards, of course, I'll draw temper.

I can heat and quench, but I thought it might work better with this big a chunk to try flame hardening.
   - Stormcrow - Wednesday, 12/15/10 00:55:48 EST

Hi Guru,

Wonder if you still remember me, I asked question about knife making process in Malaysia.

I have done spectrometer testing on both kind of raw material that I mentioned. One is sheet type AISI5160, one is used leaf spring.

It is found that the carbon content of sheet stype AISI5160 is only about 0.2%, while the 5 samples of leaf spring showed carbon content above 0.5%!!

I am not sure whether it is the supplier who cheated the industry, or even the supplier himself was cheated.

regards
   - fatbamboo - Wednesday, 12/15/10 01:06:25 EST

Kids wanting to steal items for drug money etc. would certainly steal the tools instead of the portfolio. It sure seems like someone in the metalworking trade stole the pieces for models to use in making future work. Folks might also be on the look for duplicate work, Josh would probably know the signature and style of his own work.
   Mike T. - Wednesday, 12/15/10 03:24:42 EST

Hello Again,

Apologies for the late response. Thank You, to Guru and Rich regarding the posts about tungsten. So it seems to me, its highly improbable, but not impossible to weld tungsten. I've considered the "can" method, but was not sure if it would work. I've seen powdered tungsten available somewhere online, and the oxidation was a concern, as I believe I read somewhere that it occurs somewhere around 2000 degrees F, I think ? But using a welded can, or foil as mentioned might work, at least to stall the oxidation so to facilitate welding. So a powdered tungsten with some mildsteel variant powder in a 50/50 or 30(tungsten)/70 mix "May" weld, under perfect conditions.

Just for clarification, Does anyone know the welding temperature of tungsten ? My best guess would be around 3500 degrees F ? Since the melting temp is somewhere around 6000 degrees F. But that is just a guess, and no I don't think my equipment would do that, but a large multiburner gas forge may do it ?
But then again, anything that high and I'd be buring the steel, so a lower weld temp would be neccessary.


Also, so if in TIG welding the electrodes are made of tungsten ? SCORE!!! Don't like buying stuff online, but if my local welding store has this stuff, then after stripping any coatings or residue, I should have a rod of pureish tungsten ?


I like the foil idea. Didn't know it was around. nice...
Sad to hear about the stolen goods. Tough times all around, and I can only hope the thief had himself a good night boozing away cuz karmic backlash is a b*tch :-/

Btw, my primary focus in forgings is towards blades. Sharp is one thing, but balance has its place.

Depleted uranium ? Yuck.. Can't have my kitchen knives taste like burning death now. I don't even have the slightest clue on how to get that stuff.
Don't think tungsten is toxic? Unlike copper, which I understand some people can have allergic reactions too. go figure. Or lead.

Anyway, Thanks for the info, any more is appreciated, and it didn't sound like a "No Friggin Way" to me :)

-bruno
   Bruno - Wednesday, 12/15/10 04:13:52 EST

*side note*

----"While pure tungsten is not tremendously hard it is very resistant to high temperatures and can be used for punches doing hot work. By retaining its properties to very high temperatures it surpasses the properties of hot work steels under certain circumstances. But at room temperature it is soft compared to hardened tool steels."--Guru

This is an interesting property. From the little information google provides anymore, Tungsten wire in its fully annealed state (which is available), should be fairly soft, enough to bend easily, however, it's a tough metal to work properly either through machining or forging in larger form. I've also seen a vid on youtube, pause for laughs, of a tungsten rod which took a quite some work to cut through with a conventional angle grinder cutting wheel.

I've seen it referenced as a "cold working metal" even though its temperature at the time may be 2000 degrees F while "cold working".

Hehe, "Fraze" it :) That's a good idea, what bonds easily to both steel and tungsten ? J.B. Weld ?
   Bruno - Wednesday, 12/15/10 04:30:26 EST

That answers a lot of questions then fatbamboo !!!! perhaps stop calling it 5160 :)

Perhaps treat your dad to a set of 'rockwell files' for Christmas!
   - John N - Wednesday, 12/15/10 05:52:51 EST

do you mean 2010 jock ?
   - John N - Wednesday, 12/15/10 06:13:53 EST

Guru,

Email your way regarding the theft of Josh's sample stock. Perhaps a slightly different take on things than has been previously mentioned.

Bruno,

TIG electrodes are not coated. Just ask for pure tungsten and that's what you'll get. Be prepared for some sticker shock, though. 1/16" diameter by 7" long TIG electrodes will cost a few bucks each. Bigger diameters are more. Let us know how your experiments work out, okay?
   - Rich - Wednesday, 12/15/10 08:14:37 EST

TypoJohn, fixed the date. . thanks. A common typo for me.

Malaysian Mystery Metal: That is what I was saying from the beginning, its not 5160 so stop calling it that as John says. I also pointed out that generally 5160 does not come in sheet stock, a point of suspicion.

Many steels do not come in the form you would like to have it and must be specially rolled. A friend has a stack of 1070 in wide thin flat stock designed for producing machetes. This was part of a large quantity specially rolled for a blade manufacturer. There was something wrong with this part of a batch that was probably ordered in the tons to get what was wanted.

Many years ago I was using a lot of 7/16 (11 mm) square for making fireplace tools. I didn't like the weight of 1/2" and 3/8" was too light. All that was available was cold drawn bar with its sharp corners and slick surface. It was expensive and had to be worked all over if one wanted an even finish. So I asked my steel supplier about hot roll and he said he could get it rolled. . . . The steel showed up several years later when I had moved on to other things. I went ahead and took delivery. . . There was several thousand feet.

My point is that you can get almost any kind of steel in any shape or form you want IF you are willing to pay for it. Otherwise, you are stuck with the standard forms for that alloy. AISI 5160 comes hot as-rolled (not annealed) in rounds, hex and spring cross section (heavy flats). If you want octagon for tools such as punches you have to pay for and wait for a full rolling. If you want P&O (pickled and oiled) sheet, you would have to pay a LOT and wait. . .

As to who "cheated", it is almost always the local warehouse where they have poor traceability and where they rarely sell specialty alloys. I've had many surprises from the small place I used to deal with. Medium carbon steels that were supposed to be low carbon, leaded free machining stock in with a batch of standard SAE 1018-1020 CF bar, rebar so hard it could not be bent . . . But they were the closest supplier, friendly to small orders and easy to deal with so I kept going back.

"Fraze" is bonding with the iron (the F is for Fe), the low temperature melting alloy in the mix. . . As I noted, its not the welding temperature of the high temperature metal you are concerned about, its the lower temperature metal. Boiling the steel in order to weld it to the tungsten does not good.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/15/10 09:33:51 EST

hi, i am looking for someone who can forge split flag rattail hinges, preferable in az. i make colonial reproduction furniture by hand and would like to find a local vendor to make the hinges.
thank you for your time!
scott
480 297 3065
   scott pollack - Wednesday, 12/15/10 12:30:18 EST

Modern US Pennies and Zinc

I haven't looked carefully at a 2010 penny yet, or any of the last few years either, but I DID stamp a few test coins form pure zinc last night. I was getting .030 depth per side easily AND all the tool marks, so I'm afraid the poor definition blame probably goes to the artists.

My Zinc planchets were made by melting ingots and casting into a .6" wide, .18" deep channel routed in a pine board, 12" long. These bars cooled, then got passed under my .562" punch in a Roper Whitney #10 [only marginally ruined in a previous episode]. These planchetts, 9/16 dia, 3/16 thick, get squished at ~20 tons and get great depth and definition [too good sometimes] between low carbon steel dies.

Having read up quite a bit now on the US Mint, I'm going to venture a guess that "art" is about the only flexible cost they have these days. The machinery is fixed capital with a predictable maintenance rate. the dies are a predictable cost for amterials. The neat process they have for MAKING the die from the original art hasn't changed in a long time. The materials for the original art are cheap [just plaster], so to save money, they ask teh artist to work quicker or less. Ever try asking an atrist that? HA! just about everyone here has been asked by a friend/customer to make something cheaper! I can guess that's why the art has degraded.
   MikeM-OH - Wednesday, 12/15/10 13:48:46 EST

The "Art" in coins. . . I've seen some really nice designs for coins, including a trial penny, on some of the engraving sites. It was a very nice "classical" looking design with very nice proportion. I suspect there are some very fine artists in this field that would give their work away in order to be able to say,

"I designed the new US penny (or whatever coin or bill)".

The most expensive part of the process would be the selection from many entries. Of course, those making the selections today apparently do not have very good artistic judgment.

Die Making: While the mint uses the highly technical process of using reducing tracing mills the manual process of die making is very much as you started out. Hubs (positive punches) are made and then forced into the annealed tool steel die blank under high pressure. Hubing presses often need ten times the force of the coining press. In less exacting work the die can be sunk hot but afterwards it is difficult to finish without annealing. They can also be used with a hand hammer if not too large.

After cold hubbing the die is remachined to make the ground (background) flat and to resize features that may have been distorted. This is when the ground is polished to make those nice proof coins. Often multiple hubs are used with intermediate machining as needed.

One interesting hubbing die I saw was a machined ring in the face of the die which was then hand cut into a series of leaves to make a border. This was used as a secondary hub after the central design had been hubbed into the die.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/15/10 16:00:23 EST

Historic Preservation; Barbara: The NPS's Historic American Building Survey published a book on metal hardware and objects a few years back. I'll see if I can find my copy, tonight, and post the ISBN and other data for you. As best I recall, they occasionally used zinc castings to replace cast iron finials and such; not as durable and needs more maintenance, but very easy to replace in a non-structural application.

More when I find the book.

Clear and icy cold on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 12/15/10 16:03:04 EST

Theft: Merl, I can't write a best seller but I sure could copy one!

I suspect we will start seeing Josh's designs showing up in imported ornamental iron fab parts

Thomas
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/15/10 18:15:07 EST

Guru,

Thanks for the info, gotta track down some TIG electrodes now. Will inform if any of my experiments result in anything other than failure. Hoping for the best.

Last question, anyone aware of any Tungsten related safety concerns ? It Is a heavy metal, but don't think it gives off toxins when hot like zinc or galvo, at least have not read anything like that. Don't know about contact reactions, like some people have reactions to copper ?

Any info is always greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

-bruno
   Bruno - Wednesday, 12/15/10 18:37:29 EST

Bruno, I don't know of any specifics on tungsten toxicity. This report from Barnes Bullets is pretty clear on the subject.

http://www.barnesbullets.com/information/bullet-talk/tungsten-facts/

That said, it is probably possible that at welding temperatures if flux is used you may create tungsten borates which are mentioned in the referenced article as toxic. However, good welds that are cleaned up should not have any flux compounds in the joint.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/15/10 19:13:19 EST

Historic Preservation; Barbara: The book in question is: Metals in America's Historic Buildings; (C) 1976, 1980 by Margot Gayle and John G. Waite; ISBN 0-16-038073-1; LoC NA3940.M47 1992. All sorts of information on all sorts of metal; and some comments on welding cast iron. I also have some Preservation Tech Notes on Metals (1: Conserving Outdoor Bronze Sculpture; 2: Restoring Metal Roof Cornices: & 3: In-Kind Replacement of Historic Stamped Metal Exterior Siding; there may have been subsequent updates)

You may be able to get the book as an ILL, if it's not already in your college or architecture library; and I can copy the bulletins. If you wish, contact me at bruce[underscore]blackistone[at]nps[dot]gov, and I'll check with HABS/HAER for possible updates.


Anvils, vices and workbench under their snow covers tonight; the ridge vent lets out the heat, but, with the open eaves, sometimes lets in the snow, too!
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 12/15/10 22:19:28 EST

Bruno, stick wit the green banded tungsten electrodes. The red banded [thoriated] ones are somewhat toxic under some conditions.
   - Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 12/15/10 22:29:54 EST

. . . and slightly radioactive.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/15/10 23:15:20 EST

What's a few Roentgens among friends?
   - Rich - Thursday, 12/16/10 00:31:17 EST

Talking about tungsten, what is tungsten carbide ?
   Mike T. - Thursday, 12/16/10 20:05:35 EST

Tungsten carbide is WC, tungsten and carbon. I don't recall if they are covalently bonded though...

Wikipedia has a decent article on it...

Thomas
   Thomas P - Thursday, 12/16/10 20:20:49 EST

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