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Making Micro Chisels from music wire


Guest DFogg

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Don!

Thanks very much, that's very useful to know.

Now, just to make sure my head has got things straight, the steps are roughly as follows:

Shape the wire into the chisel you want.

Smooth the cutting end.

Heat up on hotplate till shiny ends goes bronze.

Heat with a propane torch till the whole piece becomes a uniform bronze (this one I am not sure I got right).

Dip in extra virgin olive oil and eat with a side of coleslaw.

 

Am I getting this right???

Thanks again for the tutorial.

 

-t

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Almost, shape, heat to orange, quench in mineral oil (though olive oil should work) and then the hot plate.

 

The first step is to harden, the second step is to temper or draw some of the brittleness out of it by reheating to a low temp on the hot plate.

 

The V chisels and gouges would require special dies, not complicated, but also not worth it for one or two pieces.

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Guest DFogg

I don't know anything about bicycle spokes. If you have some, heat it up and quench it. If it hardens enough to skate a fresh file it might work.

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Guest DFogg

Most spring steels will work. You may want to heat it to a dull red first and let it air cool before cold working to avoid breaking and cracking. Don't get it too hot or it might air harden. Hardness is easily checked with a file, if the file cuts it, you can cold work it. Color is best judged in dim light.

 

After it has been shaped then go through the hardening and tempering steps. You only need to harden the end of the tool and it takes only a second or two with the torch to bring it up to heat. Be sure to get it into the quench oil immediately because in these small sections it can air cool below critical rapidly. If you miss the hardening temp, just redo it. Always check with a file to make sure it hardened before you temper.

 

You can quickly make specialized tools for unusual jobs. I like hooked scrapers because you can get into really tight spots and take off whisps of material.

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Yeah, hooked scrapers! That is a group of fantasy tools yet to be made!

 

Temper- is that the warming after the hardening, uh, hardening to straw color, quench immediately, then temper by__________ to what heat?

 

Janel

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Guest DFogg

Sorry for the confusion.

 

Harden by heating to orange and quench in oil. Check with a file, if the file skates it has hardened, but will be too brittle.

 

Tempering is reheating to add toughness. Temperatures run from 350F to 900F. The higher the tempering temperature the softer the tool will become, that is the trade off, toughness vs. hardness.

 

You can roughly judge tempering temperatures by polishing a section of the hardened bevel and watch the colors change when you reheat it. The color will go through a spectrum from light straw, light bronze, dark bronze, purple-bronze, blue, light blue as the temps rise.

 

For most high carbon steels a light straw to light bronze will make a good cutting edge without chipping in use.

 

With the micro chisels it is possible to reheat or temper by using the hot plate and watching the colors.

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