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About Kang

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  • Birthday 01/17/73

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  • Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • Interests
    My wife and kids, backyard metal casting, A Song of Ice and Fire, minis
  1. Your stuff always makes me smile, so twisted and weird, in such a good way! Kang
  2. Over the weekend instead of getting out and casting something as I have been dying to do for months, I realized I still have a few things to prepare before that can happen... I made a new flask big enough to cast the next bronze axe I plan to make, which will be a little different design than the first one. Should be nice and big enough for any of the stuff I have in mind so far this season, actually. Making it was fun, I got to go to my friend's house and use his big planer (whirling blades of death) to even out the parting line surfaces. The flask is almost complete in the pic, only the alignment hardware remains to me built and added. That is to ensure that the mold is beiong closed up properly, not with the top rotated 90* from where it belongs, nor turned the correct way but with half of the axe offset from the other half by a few 16ths or whatever. This flask is 12" X 12" on the interior, ie. bigger than I have ever rammed up and poured before. I may have explained this somewhere above, but TLDR: A "flask" in sand casting is the 2-part bottomless and topless box that the mold gets made in. I also made patterns to mold the gating; shown in the pic here you should be able to see a sprue well (site under the prue to catch loose sand and reduce turbulence in the mold), a deep narrow runner (said to be a good shape for casting copper alloys), and two gates a little less deep where the metal will go into the castnigs themselves. The pic shows it all upside down, and it is only the bottom half of the mold (called the drag); the pieces that will be molded in the top half (the cope) are also shown here. But the gating is the part between the axe and the other doodad, which is a pattern for a small bronze anvil that I will use to peen the cutting edge to hardness (this is called "work-hardening" and is done because bronze does not generally harden with heat treatment like high carbon steel) after sharpening. The pic shows roughly how the flask and patterns will be laid out when I ram up the drag with green sand. Once that is done, I'll flip it over, put on the top halves of the patterns using the alignment dowels you can see in the pic, and proceed to ram up the cope with the sprue pattern in place on top of its well. If we get some decent weather next weekend I may get the chance to actually cast the new axe at last, or at least cast something... I have some new patterns for casting in aluminum lined up and ready to go too, though I may build some gating patterns for those as well, since aluminum likes shallow wide gating where copper likes it narrow and deep. In the past I have just carved the gating out of the packed sand after the mold is rammed up, but molding the gating using patterns like this is supposed to get you less loose sand inside the mold and smoother passages for the metal to pass through, ie. better castings. Kang
  3. If you can afford it, get yourself one of those portable band saws for jobs like breaking thick ingots apart; hacksawing them will be No Fun At All and a reciprocating saw will work faster (get a metal demolition blade for it if you go this route) but it will leave your hands numb for hours afterwards - I've used both methods to beak up scrap aluminum car wheels, which don't have any sections as thick as those ingots look, for the crucible; been there, done that, no thanks. Better to chuck them on a bonfire until they get crumbly then whack them to bits. But that would not work with bronze, you'd need to build a whole new furnace. So, the portaband is probably your best bet. Heck, a full sized metal cutting bandsaw would work great too but would be massive overkill and far more expensive. Maybe you can find a used portaband on Craig's List for cheap, or find a new one on sale. I have had my eyes out for a good deal on a used one for a while now, but so far no luck. Painting bronze, my only real concern would be that it is prone to oxidization. I've seen everdur sculpture castings with very nice patinas. If this bronze decides to grow a natural patina underneath your paint job, how will that affect it? Turn it green? Hard to say, I'd make sure to seal it once the painting is complete (or maybe seal the bare metal before painting? I just don't know) and hopefully keep the air away from the bronze as much as possible. At that price and since you'd be doing investment casting even if you use pewter, casting in bronze may actually save you some money. Not sure, you'll save money on the metal but not on energy/fuel for melting it; you'd have to do the math and maybe a little experimenting to figure out which is more economical. Probably not a huge difference per piece anyhow. I found a couple of marine forums fairly easily (google "primer for bronze") where people were discussing using 'etching primers' for painting bronze... I thought that etching was how all primers worked; maybe some etch more aggressively than others? Anyhow, it was probably not everdur being used in these marine applications, but perhaps the primer and painting info is transferrable. If you go with the bronze, I hope you will keep a few castings to display in naked metal as well, at the very lest it would be an interesting curiosity. It sure isn't something you see every day... You could even try chucking one or two in a bucket of salt water for a couple months, I've read this gives a nice (and durable!) verdigris effect, though the patineurs probably have an alchemical/potion-ingredient sounding reagent (they all have names like "liver of sulphur") for doing that within just a few minutes. This might be an easy way to make some nice miniature statues for your dungeon/ruins game setting or what have you. Kang edit - muffin pans etc. make decent ingot molds, maybe you would need the pans for making mini-muffins, depends on how big the mouth of your crucible is. Don't use a brand new pan though, burning Teflon is extremely nasty (google polymer fume fever, we're talking birds falling out of the sky dead here), but a well used pan will work fine. Better still if they are a little rusty or perhaps coated with graphite or soot - then the ingots will want to stick less, and that is good because with copper alloys having your ingots actually braze themselves to the ingot mold is a real concern (trying to pour ingots on the cool side if you can as well should also help). Always preheat your ingot molds to prevent residual moisture from causing a steam explosion that will fling molten metal at your face, but if you are using cast iron ingot molds it also helps prevent them from cracking from the thermal shock. Eventually it might make sense to weld up some ingot molds of a suitable size using angle iron, When I am going to need to pour a bunch of ingots, I sometimes mold up the bottom of my mini-loaf baking tray in green sand, that way I can pour ingots in there as well as in the loaf pan itself.
  4. Nice waxes, the keepers look great! Looking forward to seeing as much of the rest of the process as you feel like sharing. What are you gonna cast these in? ie. will they be pewter miniatures... or bronze statuettes? :) I won't even look at an X-Acto knife (the closest thing to a scalpel that I own and hands down the most dangerous thing in my shop (which contains a radial arm saw and sometimes molten metal)) without making sure I have a bottle of krazy glue (CA) handy. Quickly closes up small but bloody cuts on the fingertips and lets you get back to work within a minute or two. The alternative being to allow your SO to see what you did to yourself and insist that you go to the ER for stitches and stop talking crazy about just quickly closing it up yourself with a little drop of CA. You will wait in that ER, oozing blood through a series of wadded up paper towels, for at least 3.5 hours until a doctor appears, takes a quick look... aaaaaand just quickly closes it up with a little drop of CA. Kang
  5. Wow, nice froghemoth. I tried to make one for the Age of Worms campaign I was running a few years back out of a rubber frog toy and some green stuff. Had nothing but trouble from the primer not drying right to my water effects... er, not drying right either. In the end, long before I ever got it painted, my players encountered and killed it... one round too late to avoid transforming the entire city of Greyhawk into a metropolis of the undead. Somehow they managed to get outside the walls before being eaten. Oops! I never did complete my froghemoth, in fact I gforgot all about it until I found it in a box a couple months ago; typical Kang minis project... So, I'm happy to see one that did come out! Came out really good too, very nice! Kang
  6. People don't realize scorpions are arachnids, they assume they are insects because they only see the stinger and claws and never get around to counting legs. I gave "arachnid" as a clue for "scorpion" in a recent game of Codenames with some pretty bright players, and they were this close (makes teeny tiny fingers) to guessing "octopus" instead! Kang
  7. LOL, actual onion knights! I must admit, I expected Ser Davos Seaworth. Well done! Kang
  8. "Pieces that will be featured on a few minis" actually makes me even more curious than if you'd just said "minis"! :) Looking forward to the wraps coming off... Kang
  9. Thanks TS! I do plan on testing this one out as a thrower. I even have a couple big round slices of tree trunk I've been saving to use as targets... One thing I was considering earlier was putting a shorter handle on this axe, more like a hatchet - or a 'hawk, as you say. We have a couple of different axe throwing businesses here in Ottawa; I know a couple guys who went and tried it, I'm told it's a huge amount of fun, but I checked and they won't allow me to bring my own axe with me - insurance concerns, I gather. Why allowing you to bring your own beer and wine to drink while hurling sharp metal objects around is fine but bringing your own sharp throwable object isn't is mystifying, but their house their rules I suppose. I'll just have to try it for free in my backyard instead. :) The other axe pattern I have ready to mold up and cast is for a full sized axe blade, unlike this smaller one. I figured making a matched axe & hatchet set might be a fun project. I guess I'll leave the type of replacement handle that gets put on this one up to the guy who will end up with it... The beauty of greensand casting is that selling this one, even with a full size axe handle on it, doesn't mean that creating a matched set with one just like this being the hatchet is going to mean a lot of extra work or expense - my molding sand can be reused indefinitely with only a little water needing to be added regularly to replace evaporative losses, and ramming up a new mold only takes a few minutes. Once the snow is all gone and my pouring area isn't icy or muddy anymore, I can decide to make another one like this at any time, and be pouring it within 90 minutes or so. Less if I got the mold right on the first try... Heck, I could build a large flask and cast one of each in a single pour if I was really eager, I'm sure my #12 crucible has the capacity to handle it. This means I can still do the matched set on a whim if I want. A bit of work on the pattern for this one first would be good though, so that less grinding of the casting itself would be needed... Kang PS. No news is good news as far as your lost wax efforts are concerned, yes? Hope that is going well.
  10. A friend of mine told me he wants to buy my bronze axe! The one I posted at the very start of this thread. I did not make it to sell; I cast metal stricly for fun and as a way to learn new skills and to make decorations and other useful things for myself. But I am happy about this, as the foundry hobby gets a little expensive to practice sometimes, and this means that when I make another axe (just waiting or all the snow to melt) that is IMO better designed, I will be able to keep it for myself. Aluminum bronze isn't cheap stuff after all... I can afford to have that much alloy tied up in one axe, but not twice as much tied up in two of them. I only have so many hands to swing axes with at any one time, after all. It's for a friend, so I only asked for enough to cover my costs for the bronze itself, plus a little extra for the time I have invested in the pattern-making and finishing, and the ongoing costs of maintaining my homemade foundry equipment. Anyhow, I got all excited that someone thought my work was worth paying for, and decided it needed some more work before I am ready to hand it over. The original blade was too convex; it wanted to deflect too often when I was chopping a hard log in two last fall. That was OK when it was my own homemade axe and my own toes at risk, but not good enough to sell. So I re-ground the edge it so it is sharper and more acute; should perform much better and a little safer now. And hopefully still have enough thickness to make a decent splitter as well. I reground the reverse facing adze-like bit too; that bit was never any use but now I think I have fixed it to some extent. So now that I had ground it back, I had to re-harden the edge(s). This is done by hammering. Cold, not hot like blacksmithing. Originally I went easy on this as i was afraid of marring my work with ugly hammer marks, but I figured since I was never fully happy with how that had gone down, I might as well sack up and just get to it, stop my worrying and try to make some progress. If it got ruined by hammering on it incorrectly, I could always re-melt it and cast another. But you know what? I think it looks 100 times better than ever now! Definitely something to be said for not letting your fears stop you from trying new things. Not only did I hammer the crap out of the edges to compress and harden the bronze, but once that was done I also then switched to my ball peen hammer and gave the whole blade a crazy all-over bashing. Not sure what came over me, but it worked out. This camouflaged the crude hammer marks I had made near the edge (possibly visible as light lines running parallel to the edge in the pic), and also gave the whole thing a really nice dimpled finish that completely took me by surprise; it was far easier and IMO much nicer looking than trying to give it a high mirror polish with the limited tools I have in my little hobby foundry workshop. A few hammer marks can be a good thing, as it turns out. At the very least it lets you know it is a hand made item... So here it is, all finished up. Well, the side that's showing in the pic anyhow. The far side and the top & bottom edge still need the same treatment to be honest. I'll have to cut the handle off to do the bottom and some of the top, but no big deal, the handle is a standard cheap sledge hammer handle from my local hardware store, not like it is a hand picked and carved piece of hickory from the campsite that spawned my casting obsession or anything. I'm saving that stick for the next axe! :) I thought this might serve as an interesting reference photo for anyone painting minis with bronze weapons or armor. It'd be really interesting to see someone paint a mini with bronze gear to give it the look of a dimpled finish like this, or it could also be helpful maybe just as a general colour reference for bronze, be it NMM or otherwise. Aluminum bronze is a little bit more silvery than traditional tin bronze, but I think most gamers would not know the difference... I chose it over other backyard-castable alloys because aluminum bronze is tough stuff compared to other bronzes. I'm not trying to create historically accurate reproductions after all; the world already has a Neil Burridge... My bronze axes (ok, so far it is just "axe") are meant to be fantasy-inspired art, but to me it is a little more important that they be functional tools first, the kind of thing I can bring on a camping trip for cutting firewood. So, as promised, a pic of the new finish I hammered into it. Enjoy, let me know what you think, and again, hopefully it'll make a helpful painting reference for somone's minis: Shiny! :) Kang
  11. I always had better luck using Jester's pinning technique that is described on the CMON site (haven't looked at it in years but I found it easily just now by googling "Jester pinning coolminiornot") than the way mentioned above where you use a bit of paint on the end of a pin, though the paint method is popular and works well for others. In a case like this, I'd probably try Mad Jack's suggestion above to glue the hand on THEN drill and pin the two sides together before filling in the drill hole opening with putty. You should be able to find an affordable micro drill bit index online if not at a decent local hobby shop. Sounds like what's holding you back is just needing to find a smaller bit, so that should do it. A piece of a small staple sometimes works ok for pinning extremely fine bits together, but you can go out and buy fine wire or brass rods etc., to use as pins if nothing you have lying around seems suitable. Good luck! Kang
  12. I what, now? Oh, OK, I see - it's that other Kang! :) Nice job! PS. I never had any luck getting matte spray to go on any other way than glossy, even a can of Testors Dullcote went on shiny. Maybe it's my technique or a bad can or even worse luck (others for sure have had better with spray-on matte sealers), but I wound up switching to a brush-on matte sealer and had no more such problems. Just tossing another option out there... Kang
  13. Damn, that is just too young. I just listened to his recent interview on Marc Maron's podcast a few days ago and he sounded fine! What a shame, deepest condolences to his family and friends. A great performer, and a skilled director as well; Frailty was a particular favourite of mine.
  14. You know, I've never tried alloying them... :) Kang
  15. Big thanks to CanuckOtter who, as it turns out, works about a 3 minute dogsled ride from where I do (small world!), and was willing to part with an extra 100# bag of Hydrostone he happened to have lying around. Turns out there is no local supplier. He said it is a little over a year old, but I tested some and the castings came out great, so it's definitely still good. And I got to meet another forum member in person for the first time (far as I know, and however briefly). I did not get murdered in a parking lot and tossed into the Ottawa river, so that was a nice bonus as well! Guess he's one of the good ones... It was a little bit strange driving up to a complete stranger standing on the sidewalk and us simultaneously asking each other if our names were Kang and CanuckOtter... Luckily I guessed right on the first try thanks to the map he sent me. Not sure how many guys he had to ask if they were Kang before I got there though... Anyhow, I have rebagged all of the Hydrostone into 11 large zip-locking freezer bags which I plan to store inside a sealed plastic 5-gallon hardware store bucket or two. Those are not actually airtight (my molding sand dries out inside them over the winter), but I figure they are close enough when you consider I'm also zipping the stuff up in those freezer bags. It just has to be a better system than how I failed to keep my Merlin's Magic fresh - an open cardboard box with a bag of MM that is just sort of loosely twisted shut inside it... Resisting rambling on forever here, suffice it to say I will post pictures of some of the hydrostone and PoP sandcasting patterns I've cast so far when I get a chance to upload some to my bucket and link to them here. Mrs. Kang's new job is in evening shift mode and wreaking havoc with my accustomed hobby time and weekly game nights (we have 2 young kids). Still, it beats unemployment and she is happier in her job than I have seen her in years, so I call that a big win for the Kang family, even if it does mean you guys will have to wait a bit for the new plaster pix and some of the plaster casting tricks I learned recently on youtube... Hey what do you know, this hasn't turned into a full blown novella after all. Heck, it's barely even a novelette! You're welcome. :) Oh yeah, also, I 'm totally going to start my HirstArts modular dungeon project back up. It's been on the back burner completely untouched since the day I discovered DIY metal casting and got fully obsessed, but now is the time to get it gong again, while Balerion the Black dread (my big waste-oil-fired melting furnace) is still snowed into my shed out back making casting metal an impossibility. Kang