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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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  #1  
Old 09-25-2016, 01:55 PM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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maybe a VERY stupid question but ill ask

ok guys so this may be a very stupid question but..... is there any reason that you cannot melt and cast copper like you can with brass??? so I have made my own brass pieces before from scrap lying around for bolsters and such... well I just started working on a new hidden tang and I wanted a nice thick copper guard so I had a bunch of scrap copper. I used the same crucible that I have for brass well no not the same exact one but its from the same thing. problem is the copper didn't seem to melt so I slowly turned the heat up every few mins as I didn't know if too much heat could burn it and ruin so I went slow so eventually exactly what I was trying to prevent happened the metal seemed to burn away and yeh it got soft but not much of it got to real LIQUID. so idk I really did turn the heat very slowly so I wouldn't have this happen and it happened anyway so idk maybe its not even possible to do with copper??
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Old 09-25-2016, 02:03 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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It is possible but it can cause problems. Brass melts about 1000F but copper melts about 2000F. You must use a separate crucible for each metal or you will contaminate your metal. If you manage to spill any inside your forge it can contaminate any metal you heat in the forge later, especially if you are trying to weld damascus. If you plan to pour it into a mold you should probably heat the mold.

So, no reason you can't do it but it won't necessarily be easy with copper ...


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  #3  
Old 09-25-2016, 02:05 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Dave Brass melts around 1600 to 1700 F and copper melts at almost 2000 F. Also did you use a flux? Dave join us tonight in Rays chatroom. Also your mailbox is full.

Last edited by jimmontg; 09-25-2016 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 09-25-2016, 02:10 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Exact numbers are 1660 for bronze and brass and 1981 for copper. Does your oven go to 2100 as that is what you need and before smelting copper you may want to read up on it. You would need some kind of flux to blow the impurities off the top or you could skim them off with a spoon with a long handle.
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Old 09-25-2016, 02:34 PM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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alright I think I am just going to change my plans for this knife and use brass messing around with coper isn't worth the headache it seems and I have done brass a few times so I should be ok with that....I didn't realize the melt temp was so much higher...Ray yes I did use a separate crucible what I ment it was the same thing I had a few pieces of steel pipe end caps I don't know where they came from found them when cleaning stuff after dad died I have seen the same thing in brass or pvc but never steel like these I have 6 of them so it was a separate crucible but same thing see what I mean? and yes some did spill out where thing deformed but I should be able to clean it out with out re lining the thing because it spilt out right at the edge of the forge so its kinda driping down the side not laying in the flat (I have another forge anyway and more wool if I have to re line it) jim ....no flux didn't know you should with that never did with brass what woud I do put it in the crucible or coat the scrap pieces?....and no way am I using the oven for this! if it spilt some how in there it would be a nightmare...spill in the forge no big like I said I have another forge and enough lining materials to re line both of my forges if I had to....with the oven its all soft fire brick and some kind of thin "mortar" or something in the cracks between the bricks then a metal jacket that holds everything togather if I had to re do all of that it would be a huge pain...ill buy the copper before I try that
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Old 09-25-2016, 04:03 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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I don't even mess with copper for guard or pommels as it is so expensive.

No, I didn't mean flux it IN your oven, you can skim the impurities off too. Now you'll need to be well above the melting point of the copper to pour it and would definitely as Ray said, need to heat the molds to about 1000 so the copper flows into it clean. If you've ever made your own bullet from lead alloy a hot mold works best, but not too hot or the lead takes too long to solidify.

My brother and I smelted using his big propane forge by adding pure oxygen into the air mix and Mapp gas instead of propane. It got so hot it scared us.LOL We didn't have a clue except what I had studied in metallurgy class. Melted steel which is like 2700 F. Had to wear oxy-acetylene welding goggles to look at it and you bet we wore leather aprons and gloves plus full welding helmet with the dark filter raised up. We made our own Bronze which is a mix of tin and copper and even though bronze melts at 1660 the copper doesn't when making the alloy. Tin and zinc melt at a much lower temperature thus the difference in brass melting point at 1600. You average the melting temps of each alloy's melting point and that tells you "mostly" where the final alloy is going to melt if all parts are equal. Like 1/3 each.

Last edited by jimmontg; 09-25-2016 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 09-25-2016, 04:20 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Dave, if you want an unusual colored alloy just mix 15% Tin, melts at like 450 degrees, less than lead even. To 85% copper. What is the highest temp your kiln go too Dave?
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  #8  
Old 09-26-2016, 06:47 AM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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Am I understanding you are using steel caps of some sort as the crucible to melt in?


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Old 09-26-2016, 09:44 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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jim...if you mean my oven it goes to 2400 but again not taking the chance melting anything in there the forge I don't have a temp gauge but I have 2 blown burners and 2 venturi so I am sure I could get it pretty high only one burner is necicary

wnc yeh I have these steel end caps I guess I would call them they are about 3 maybe 3 1/2 in diameter
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Old 09-26-2016, 08:41 PM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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I'm just not sure what kind of luck you're going to have melting metal inside a metal "crucible". Having done probably hundreds of melts and pours, castings, ingots, etc. in precious metals, gold& silver(don't know if I've ever poured brass or copper...don't think so.), I think you'd do better to have a proper melting dish, something made of ceramic with a pouring handle. Like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Ceramic-Cruci...e+melting+dish

You'd coat the inside with flux, usually borax which puts a glass-like coating on it. Heat it red hot with a torch, move the torch, sprinkle borax, put the torch back to melt the borax. Do that in differing spots until the whole dish is coated.

Then as suggested, you flux the metal as you melt as well. Start heating the metal with a torch, when it starts to melt, move torch away, sprinkle on a pinch of flux, then direct flame from torch back on the metal. When it is molten you pour it into your.... uhh, you didn't mention what you were using to pour into but typically you'd use an ingot mold. Preheat your mold first before pouring the molten metal in. If the metal forms a vapor lock against a cold mold it can explode and sling molten metal flying in every direction! Don't ask me how I know that. (Exciting day that was!)
Here are a couple of ingot molds:
https://www.amazon.com/Reversible-Ad...rds=ingot+mold

https://www.amazon.com/Ingot-Mold-31...rds=ingot+mold

Heat the mold with a torch until it's hot to the touch, too hot to hold in your hand but not blistering hot. All of this is assuming you have a torch of some type. Oxy-Acetelyne will work as will a large propane tip like some use for forge burners (not the little pipe soldering things with the little bottle) You'll also need some glasses or goggles used for brazing.
https://www.amazon.com/Hobart-770129...razing+glasses

After all that you get to hammer and file for a while to get it useable for bolster material.



Now having said all that, You know, brass sheet for bolsters, or copper for that matter, really isn't that expensive. Expecially when you consider your time, equipment costs, and breathing those fumes.
http://www.knifemaking.com/product-p/cp541.htm
http://www.knifemaking.com/product-p/cpc41.htm


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Last edited by WNC Goater; 09-26-2016 at 08:45 PM.
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  #11  
Old 09-27-2016, 09:05 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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wnc thanks I am ging to check those links out right now... yesterday I decided to go back to brass since I was having problems with the copper and everything went fine. but I will deffinitly try your sugestions next time I attempt copper. yeh I know its not that expensive to buy but I have sme stuff I got its all to thin for what I am trying to do and I have a bunch of scrap pieces so....
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Old 09-27-2016, 10:48 AM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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A propane torch won't quite get hot enough to melt copper Dave without a different tip than what you get at hardware stores though propane mixed with air definitely gets more than hot enough. Ask a weld supply, they sell all kinds of rod too, but usually by the pound and that's a lot of rod, even 1/8 stainless. Mapp gas will get hot enough and oxy-acetylene will for certain, use a rosebud tip for the Ox-Ac. The Ox-ac will melt all kinds of stuff as it's up there around 3400+. Now here's the deal, propane will get hot enough in a forge with the proper air mix. Ask Goater which type of a tip you can get for propane as it's the cheapest.
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Old 09-27-2016, 11:45 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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yeh I do have a oxy acetylene that mu uncle gave to me a few months back howere I need to get a new tank one of the ones I have from my uncle is one of those 5th tall ones and in NY you need to have a licence to use a tank that big no one will fill it for me ......even the guy that was pouring liquid nitrogen in a cooler for me LOL but I shouldn't have a problem as far as heat in the forge as I said I have enough burners that's for sure (both blown and venturi ) one will do the job I would think ....I got a nice piece of brass melted yesterday and it came out really good I am going to just clean that up and use that for this guard.ill try again with copper eventually but the brass is good enough for now
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  #14  
Old 09-27-2016, 07:08 PM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmontg View Post
A propane torch won't quite get hot enough to melt copper Dave without a different tip than what you get at hardware stores though propane mixed with air definitely gets more than hot enough. Ask a weld supply, they sell all kinds of rod too, but usually by the pound and that's a lot of rod, even 1/8 stainless. Mapp gas will get hot enough and oxy-acetylene will for certain, use a rosebud tip for the Ox-Ac. The Ox-ac will melt all kinds of stuff as it's up there around 3400+. Now here's the deal, propane will get hot enough in a forge with the proper air mix. Ask Goater which type of a tip you can get for propane as it's the cheapest.
I'm not sure but I believe there are some torches that can use propane and oxy since you have an oxygen bottle. I've always used oxy/acet for melting. I have used natural gas and oxygen for jewelry work, but I don't know if natural gas can be bought in bottles. Never used propane but I believe there are torches that work like the burner in a forge that would get hot enough. I think that's what Jim mentions above.

But no, those hardware store propane torches are too small to heat the crucible/melting dish and melt the metal. They're mostly meant for soft soldering copper pipe.


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Last edited by WNC Goater; 09-27-2016 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:37 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Unhappy Propane will get to 3400 with O2.

My brother and I didn't know that and the weld supply guy said we needed Mapp gas which surprise surprise they sold. We melted steel and nickel and as you add carbon the melt temp goes down from 2700 to 2500 F. Pure nickel we got from Ni rod used for cast iron, but we were just messing around. I thought about making our own alloy for a knife, but it was easier just to forge regular 1080 and 15n20 and my brother was getting scared when we had a spill and almost got burned. We just stuck to making Bronze after that. Dave try to trade tanks with the weld supplier for a smaller tank you don't need a license for. Also if you want some bronze go to the weld shop and look at the different types of bronze weld rod. It is a different color than brass and like I said you can buy it by the pound so you could by a lb. of Bronze-A rod lets say, or silicone bronze at 1/16" diameter. Then get your wire cutters out and cut 1" pieces to smelt for your mold.

It is extremely hard to buy real pure bronze nowadays, what is called bronze is almost always some alloy of brass which has zinc in it, bronze doesn't have zinc. Welding suppliers have differing alloys of bronze rod. Brass is considered not weldable by the AWS (American Welding Society) by electric arc as the zinc vaporizes under an electric arc creating dangerous fumes. I'm a member of the AWS and have written tutorials on how to TIG weld it, but you need fans to pull all fumes away from you. Brass has zinc in it Dave so watch the fumes. Understand as long as it isn't smoking you should be OK, but use a box fan to pull any possible fumes from you.

You actually need 100 milligrams of zinc a day, it's the smoke and the hairy wisps particles you don't want to breath and of course to overdose on zinc. I can't believe I forgot to tell you this about brass. Sorry I forgot Dave. Just remember you need good ventilation and a fan blowing away from the melted alloy to pull those fumes away. If you have a metallic taste in your mouth after making a batch of brass that is the zinc and you need more ventilation. I've welded lots of brass and galvanized and recognize that taste. Never got sick, but I got some in me. Got fired for refusing to weld galvanize once cuz they didn't have a fan. Make sure the brass is clean too as you don't want fumes from burned oil either Dave.
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blade, bolsters, brass, damascus, degrees, easy, edge, fixed blade, forge, guard, handle, heat, hidden, hidden tang, knife, made, materials, metal, mold, problem, steel, steel pipe, tang, weld


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