Try natural gas and forced air. Hot enough to puddle on a cold dry winter
day, welding heat year round, even in 100+ August. It's all about air
density, and how much fuel you can shove in. Too oxidizing? Add more fuel.
A 1/2" line and an 8" blower on a 1.5 horse motor into four burners in a
24X4X4 box. Can you say 3000 degrees? I can. Best $150 I ever spent.
Granted, there are some limitations, but for heavy welding of billet it
can't be beat. Add a 25#LG and you've got a factory for damascus. There's
fair money to be made just making billet and selling it to other makers as
stock. I don't have any trouble getting $50 a foot for knife size stock
from cable. That works out to about $80 an hour of 'getting sunburned'
One caution.... you're building essentially a ramjet engine. Too little gas
flow can lead to too much internal pressure and WHOOOOOMP!. If there are
specific assembly instructions, follow them to the letter, then stand waaaaay
back the first time you fire it up.
Congratulations, you are the proud owner of a chunk of slag. I had a
couple of chunks when I was a kid. Got 'em from the slag heap at a copper
smelter (Bisbee? Morenci?).
Your verbal description popped up a 40 year
old memory; I can see those pieces as clearly as if I were holding them
now. Now, where did I put my car keys?
Sounds cool as anything! :)
And not all that tedious finishing work and second guessing the
fickle market and traveling to shows, either I suppose. :)
Where do you advertize, Charly?
As far as being sunburnt, I -stayed- sunburnt from early April to
late October -every year- and didn't make even $40 an hour. :)
What do you think GA? :)
Alvin in AZ
Ok. If it were iron slag such as you might expect to find near the railroad
tracks would it not be magnetically reactive? It appears to be more mineral
than metallic. If it is slag I should be able to heat up a piece and pound
on it without breaking it right?
It has occured to me that just making stuff like pattern welded steel and
Mokume stock has more dollar per hour value than making knives. I'm
guessing it would feel more like plain work after a short time though. Not
something you'd want to do for a business without a big machine hammer
either. It'd be worth your time to make extra if you were gonna do it
though, even if retail is not your intent.
Well since I already have a job and my hobby ambitions include forge welding
I figure I'll know what I'm doing in say... ten more years or so ;-) I'm
thinking if I ever get to the point where I know my stuff and I get
thoroughly sick of playing the high tech game, I'll start trying to make an
income from blade smithing and related things. Preferably after the 401K
plan has had a chance to grow a bit.
Mine was mostly glass and crud. It shouldn't be magnetic--they kept the
good stuff and threw out the slag. There will be _some_ iron in it, if it
came from an iron smelter, cuz no separation is ever 100%. (First or
Second Law of Thermodynamics, I don't remember which.) Hot or cold, I
expect your chunk to smash into little pieces if you whack it. Try it, see
if my guess is correct.
Are we having a definition problem with the word "slag"? I'm using it to
mean the non-metallic waste product from a smelter. There might be other
meanings of the word that I don't know about. The word I use for bubbly
rocks found along RR tracks is "clinker;" crud left over after the coal
burned in the loco.
I don't advertize, word of mouth keeps me as busy as I care to be. I've
got a permanent sunburn on my neck, it never goes away, so I guess
that's my proof that I'm a real Redneck. I tried advertizing ONCE, made
back about half of my investment. Waste of money. My rig takes about 20
minutes to get to heat, and I can cook two pieces of cable at a time.
The hammer has custom dies, so I get a thickness and width dimensioned
billet out. It'll turn two feet of cable into two feet of billet in
about ten minutes. Two feet of billet makes a really nice short sword,
or a pair of knives.
I have about a half ton of slag that we made some years ago (while
trying to make iron blooms) buried out back. It looks a lot like what
you describe. But it really IS just another ROCK. All we did was to
turn one knid of ore into another kind of ore. Sometimes magnetic,
I would consider "slag" to be anything that drips off of melting material
and runs off onto the ground. Like a byproduct of torch cut steel? Anyway
I plan to whack a chunk off and get it really hot - just to see how it
I'm not enough geologist to make an educated opinion. The stuff I got
really does seem more like rock than metal. Heavy stuff though - expecially
considering its got lots of bubble holes in it. Meteoric material comes to
mind but it's probably something far more mundane.
Remember, the difference between rock and metal is often Oxides, silicates,
and the like. Likely some of the flux used on top to keep oxygen from spoiling
Various fluorides are likely in the wild and maybe in the flux.
The glassy surface is from the various chemicals generated at that temperature
Martin [ books are *packed* so no real examples possible :-( ]
I get $50 a foot for cable to billet, no folds. (Folds are extra, how much
depends on how many folds.) This leaves a billet that you can still see the
wires in, looking rather like a piece of rope that's been run over by a
truck. The wire is oilrig draw wire, so it's probably 1095, 7X19 extra
flexible @ 1.5 " dia. . It will harden up past 'file hard' in water, and to
'file hard' in oil. I have a blade that has held a hair popping sharp edge for
eight years, so it 's got some carbon in it. I know it's damn tough, think
about how much five miles of thickwall drill string weighs. It ends up right
at .300" thick by not quite 1.75" wide, which seems to be a good starting
point for knives. It forges nicely at low orange, and doesn't exibit any
narsty 'memory', like the 6160 axle stock did. Leave me an email, we can work