Kang

Kang's Kreations - Molten Metal Madness

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Posted (edited)

Update:  Hahaha, I did get worldtraveler's mailing address (see previous post); I'll be sending the original iron dogs casting I've been trying to copy and the plaster light switch cover for him to lost-wax-ceramic-shell-cast in bronze for me as he promised, perhaps not expecting me to hold him to it.  He can come off as a bit mouthy when criticizing YT content creators when he concludes they are a bunch of "elf-hats" (there's a lot of "foundry" videos of guys acting like they know how to make a casting safely but don't, they're pouring on their knees a foot away from the mold on a wet cement floor in sandals and shorts wearing flimsy gardening gloves and no face shield etc., inexplicably spraying water on everything in sight like that makes them safer (a wonderful recipe for steam explosion powered airborne molten metal), and someone imitating could/would get very badly hurt), but I can say for sure now that I called him on his promise, he's not afraid to put his money where his big loud mouth is, and it does seem like he criticizes mainly with helping others (whose hats he deems less elfy) succeed and stay safe in mind.  Bit of a character, you might say, but a good guy deep down so far as I can tell...  I can't wait to see video of how his process works!  He seems to find the whole situation hilarious, as do I. All in good fun, and it gives him an excuse to cast something - his WiP waxes for the next bronze gas lamp he'll be making aren't gonna be ready for months anyhow, so really everyone gets to have a little fun.  I'll post pictures when I receive the bronzes!

 

Although he's already talking about making the wax patterns he`ll pull from mine thicker than the originals, which will make it a little less challenging to get the molds to fill.  Sounds like cheating to me...  :)  Geez, I haven't even mailed them out yet and I'm already making excuses why he'll succeed where I failed!

 

Ceramic shell casting works a lot like Talespinner's lost wax casting adventures posted in the sculpting subforum, but the molds are made differently.  To put it in layman`s terms, investment molds are poured with a plaster-like substance, whereas ceramic shell patterns are repeatedly dipped in a ceramic slurry and dusted with fine sand and allowed to dry completely until a thick enough shell is built up to contain the molten metal.  Both mold types need to have the wex melted out, then both types need to go into a kiln before the pour, but for different reasons (calcining vs. sintering).  The mold materials are generally not reusable in either method.

Edited by Kang

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Posted (edited)

On 29/03/2017 at 7:20 AM, TaleSpinner said:

That is fantastic.  I would totally buy that from you. It looks like it would throw well as a tomahawk.

Ha!  I am currently on holiday at my parents' place out west in Kelowna, BC, and the other day my dad and my son and I actually went to one of those places where you can go throw axes at targets for an hour.  Now that is some kinda fun!  Been documenting the stuff we've been doing here on my YouTube channel, so there is axe throwing footage online there if anyone is interested.

 

Also, deadly giant birds!

 

And a lot of swimming.  Don't worry, it's pretty safe to watch - I did my best to edit out as much footage of me with my shirt off as I could...

 

https://youtu.be/Xcnbslifguc

 

This place actually allows people to bring their own axes to throw, unlike the place back home in Ottawa that I checked out several months ago, which considered that to be too much of a liability.  Ottawa, go figure...  If I still had my bronze axe, I'd have been a little sad I didn't bring it along.  I'm definitely setting up some targets in the back yard when I make the next one though!

 

Kang

 

Edited by Kang
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I've got to set up a target as well.  Just have to figure out what sort of boards are best.

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Posted (edited)

This place had chunks of what they said were spruce trunks.  Dad thought they looked more like ponderosa pine though.  Before we began throwing, they sprayed them with water, apparently this keeps them from getting beat up too quick and helps blades stick in.  Let me know if you find out any more about how that should be done, chucking axes is a blast!

 

Kang

Edited by Kang
Autocorrect messed up my post

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Posted (edited)

So, this past weekend at the Forges of Qohor (actually my hobby foundry just outside Ottawa), Tobho Mott (my online identity in the world of backyard metal casting) created a historical reproduction of a bronze axe such as the First Men of ancient Westeros might have used in day-to-day life to chop down weirwood trees, make war on the Children of the Forest, and push Andal invaders back into the Narrow Sea.

 

Pictures!

 

The sand mold just after shakeout.  Look at the shrinkage on that riser!  That is what it's there for, to take the shrink that would have appeared on the casting itself otherwise.  Gating and risering theory FTW!:

 

IMG_20170826_233308419.jpg

 

The axe itself after removal from the gating:

 

IMG_20170827_140355489_HDR.jpg

 

Needs some grinding to smooth out the curve on the blade'e edge and remove flashing, plus sanding, work hardening thru a good peening, and a handle.  During last year's annual "Boys' Weekend" canoe trip, I grabbed a hickory log from the same campsite where I first got hooked on metal casting during our 2013 trip, so that will make a really nice handle with significant (to me) provenance, I hope.

 

A shot of the axe blade's eye:

 

IMG_20170827_090220995_HDR.jpg


How did I make a casting with a hole through it like that in a 2-part sand mold, you ask?

Simple!  I used a sand core hardened with sodium silicate, AKA wood stove gasket cement!

A pic of the core, plus a couple extras I made:

 

IMG_20170820_132705307.jpg

 

Video!

 

Quick 'n Dirty Sodium Silicate Cores or Backyard Foundry Work:

 

https://youtu.be/TeXkFgIfZzQ

 

This axe was cast in Aluminum Bronze, alloy C954.  A tricky alloy to cast.  To paraphrase The Book*: Only a man who knows the spells can take a modern alloy that in no way existed in the bronze age, and use it to forge historical weapon recreations from a fictional history!

 

This alloy is the toughest, hardest bronze, comparable to mild steel from what I have read.  I can believe it; removing the casting from the gating was a real Mormont!  It's also hardenable via heat treatment, very unusual for a metal called "bronze".  I don't know how to do that, but I aim to find out.  Meanwhile I will work harden this like I did to the first (but different shaped) aluminum bronze axe I cast, last summer.

 

I have another video still in the works showing: how I molded it, some of the tricks for casting al-bronze, and how cores are used in the foundry.  But my computer's headphone jack stopped working before I could finish editing the last 3 minutes of footage, so I won't be able to upload and post a link to that until I find a workaround.  Arrgh!  Right now I am looking into using a game console's USB-connected headset instead of the standard headphone jack; hopefully I won't have to download any annoying hard to find drivers to get things going again...

 

Kang

 

* - bonus lemoncakes to whoever first identifies the book I'm referring to here.

Edited by Kang
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Not sure but it sounds like something Edward Talbot would have said in "There Will Be Dragons" by John Ringo.

 

ETA: Oh and cool ax BTW.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks! 

 

Nope, that's not it.  But there certainly are dragons!  :) 

 

There were several hints in that last post of mine.  There's also a TV show based on it that you juuuust might have heard of at some point...  The show is really good, but the books are AMAZING!

 

Here's the video; the title is another hint:  "Bronze Age Axe From the World of Westeros"...

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbpdYm6EjHM

 

Never read any John Ringo, I'll put that on my list of authors/books to check out!  Thanks, I'll reveal the answer sometime in the next day or two if nobody guesses it.  We don't want those lemon cakes to get stale now, do we?...  :)

 

Kang

 

 

 

Edited by Kang

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Posted (edited)

Heh.  The answer was "A Game of Thrones" by George R. R. Martin.

 

Hints that were given include:
- Forges of Qohor
- Tobho Mott
- First Men
- Westeros
- Weirwood trees
- Children of the forest
- Andals
- Narrow Sea
- Actual quote paraphrased: "Tobho had learned to work Valyrian steel at the forges of Qohor as a boy.  Only a man who knew the spells could take old weapons and forge them anew."
- Lemoncakes

- Mention of the popular TV adaptation

- Heh

:)

 

Kang

Edited by Kang

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Ooooh! So this is the axe you were talking about? Man that's lovely.

 

I'd just finished admiring a beautiful aluminum bronze gladius I'd seen pictures of on the internet, and here you are making an aluminum bronze axe? You spoil us.

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Posted (edited)

Wish I had the equipment and know-how to get a fine polish on my stuff like that sword, holy moly that thing is sweet!  Thanks for linking.  I've seen a few aluminum bronze blades people on youtube or the backyard metal casting forums have made, most often with homemade al-brz alloy (about 90% copper plus 10% aluminum), but none looked as professional as that.  I thought mine looked pretty good!   Goes to show there's still value in formal training; he is an apprentice with the ABS preparing to do his journeyman's test according to his site.

 

That is the first bronze age ACTUAL historical (not FICTIONAL historical) replica I've seen that was made in aluminum bronze, normally people use traditional tin bronze to do the historical stuff as it is more period-accurate.  Also the first FORGED aluminum bronze piece I have seen, as opposed to cast.  That thing might have seemed like a magic sword if an ancient Roman had a chance to wield it!  Much stronger than tin bronze, comparable to mild steel or so I've read.  That guy's sword has likely even been heat-treated to harden it even more; a smith with a shop like his could likely manage that.  I lack a way to control temperature accurately as well as the know-how to figure out the heat treat schedule.  That and not having a way to get that quality of finish is why I'll be hammering a dimpled texture on my axe as part.of the work-hardening process, like the one I made last summer, the pic of which I believe got eaten by photobucket.  I've added a pic of the old axe below to show what the of finish is in store for this new axe.  Thanks again for that link, amazing stuff!

 

Kang

 

 

IMG_20170326_190853328_zpsr9cm6l1k.jpg

Edited by Kang
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Got the new axe mostly finished up, just need to trim off a bit of wood at the bottom of the handle where it cracked a little when I was installing the head.  I had expected that and left some extra meat on the handle for that purpose, so this trimming was always part of the plan.  I gave up on learning how to heat treat it for this one, as very few hobbyists (and even the al-bronze gladius guy above who is definitely above hobbyist level) seem to even have any idea that this is even possible, much less the details of how to get it done.  I cold-worked the edge with a ball peen hammer to work harden it instead, and ground/sanded it to a shiny finish.  Then I made a handle for it and installed it.  There is a bunch more video footage but it needs editing and uploading before I an share that.  Meanwhile, pictures!

 

Can't wait to do some testing...

 

Kang

 

(edit - first pic is the axe blade sanded, before I did the peening to harden the edge.  Had to redo the sanding afterwards, the price of learning this stuff as I go along I guess.  You can still see the marks from the ball peen near the sharp edge (not here), a dimpled texture similar to the entire first axe I made, pictured above)

 

IMG_20170903_180736864.jpg

IMG_20170907_054706102.jpg

 

Edit - someone on another site said the handle looks too big for the head.  Not sure if it is an illusion of perspective, so here's another angle, I'd appreciate any thoughts you guys might have on this...

 

 

IMG_20170907_054723650.jpg

Edited by Kang
Adding another angle
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Video showing how I finished up the aluminum bronze axe (grinding, peening, sanding, hanging) plus field testing it (throwing it at a target and chopping down a tree).  It held up great!  Not so much as a nick or scratch on the edge.

 

Nerd warning on the intro...  Well maybe "warning" isn't the right word on this site...  Nerd alert on the intro!

https://youtu.be/6kKGjRgig9s

 

I think you guys might get a kick out of this one.

 

Unfortunately, after all that I still thought it needed to be sharper.  More peening, then I re-ground the edge.  But I got a bit careless with the grinder and let it get the metal too hot, I think I annealed (softened) it by accident, as when I tried chopping some more wood, it was really sharp and worked great at first... But the edge was HORRIBLY mangled.  Now trying to determine whether I can fix it, or if I will have to melt it down and start over.  Or possibly get access to a heat treating oven...  You can't win them all I guess.  :(

 

Kang

 

Screenshot_20170911-121430.jpg

Edited by Kang
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elaJ7CB8-YU

 

Video of the carnage mentioned above, then more testing after repairs were made.  Do I have a working bronze axe again?

 

Yes.  Yes I do.  All ready to do some more smashing in of King Joffrey's stupid evil face! (see video linked in previous post)   :)

 

Kang

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