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Fluxless Forge Welding

Discussion in 'Working the Steel' started by Mythtaken, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. Mythtaken

    Mythtaken Staff Member CKM Staff

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    Has anyone here tried making damascus without flux, yet? If not, are you considering it?

    In case you don't keep up with the trends, a growing number of makers are turning to fluxless welding. No more Borax, no more drippy mess, no more relining the forge.

    In simplistic terms, fluxless welding substitutes the borax for a longer, hotter soak in an oxygen poor environment so almost no oxides form. Basically that means getting your forge up to a high temp (approximately 1260C or 2300F) then reducing the air flow when you put the billet in, so all the available oxygen is burned up.
     
  2. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    I know lots of guys in the forging groups on the face book that are running rich and fluxless. J.D. Smith has been a proponent for a long time. I am going to give it a try shortly with some 15n20/1084. Wish me luck.

    Dan
     
  3. John Noon

    John Noon Active Member

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    From what I remember of it the material has to be clean and bright that was how the surface condition is described in one old book. secure parts to be welded and keep in fire until ready, no pulling out and peaking etc.
     
  4. Grahamm

    Grahamm Active Member

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    Good luck.
     
    dancom likes this.
  5. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Yes I will take a photo to share with you guys. ;)
     
  6. Mythtaken

    Mythtaken Staff Member CKM Staff

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    It's one of those new-old things that's caught on big lately. When you look through some of the forums there's a lot of different opinions and contradictory information about it. Not to mention some opposition from the set-in-our-way crowd. Of course, anyone who makes patterned steel in a can has been doing it all along.

    I don't know if it's fluxless is easier or harder, better or worse. But I think anything that gets people thinking about doing things differently is good.
     
  7. John Noon

    John Noon Active Member

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    Uncle called flux a crutch for poor surface prep and technique but then again he learned in 1945 and stopped in 2000 give or take a couple years. Other smith that does very high end work for unnamed people prefers not to use flux and his welds were tested in a lab environment for tensile and notch toughness both passed with flying colors, although one coupon should have been normalized instead of quenched. The school security thought we blew up something in the lab and evacuated everyone
     
  8. Mythtaken

    Mythtaken Staff Member CKM Staff

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    When it comes to damascus for knives, no flux means no inclusions that can ruin your day, and some time is saved, being able to weld and draw out the billet in one heat. From what I've seen in comparing the two processes under a microscope, there's very little to choose between them in the quality.
     

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