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Thread: fluxing technique

  1. #41
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Gibson View Post
    Here's the problem; Fryxell took literary license and put in print a word out of it's defined context. "Reductant" is a reducing agent. A reducing agent is "a substance that reduces a chemical compound by donating electrons." The alloys we use are not chemical compounds, they are metals. In reference to metals the proper term is "reducer" and it is; " used to "separate, as pure metal, from a metallic ore." or used to separate the individual selected metals from the others. A "reducer" is not used, as is a flux, to blend the individual metals together in solution but to separate them.

    Also most fluxes do not remove "contaminants", as is commonly believed. IMost often it is the temperature of the alloy and the stirring that cause the "contaminants" to float to the surface as they are lighter than the melted alloy. However, some fluxes can act as a reductant as Fryxell mentions (which you don't apparently understand) and can remove some of those chemical "contaminants". However when used as a flux most often the metals are what are simply into solution.

    Obviously bangerjim understands the difference between a flux and a reducer as he is using reducers (copper sulfate and sulfur) to separate the metals. Larry Gibson
    Now you change your mind and Glen has it wrong too. Whatever, if I should ever go to work at Los Alamos National Laboratory I'll be sure to use your terminology. As a bullet caster I'll use terms that (all but one) bullet casters understand.

    Rick
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  2. #42
    Boolit Master



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    For those that chose not to read the book in question here, this is the very next paragraph.

    One of the materials that is currently sold as bullet metal flux includes pine rosin. While pine rosin smells nice (it makes the lead pot smell like a pine campfire) and does a reasonably good job, it operates pretty much the same way that the oils and waxes discussed above do, and is therefore limited in its ability to remove detrimental impurities.

    Glen said nowhere in the book that wax cleans the alloy or removes impurities which to all but one bullet caster is "fluxing the alloy".

    Nowhere have I mentioned "separating metals" when talking of reducing oxidized Sb/Sn back into the melt, your doing the opposite in returning them to the melt. A reducing agent (reductant as Glen stated reducing) does just that, returns oxidized Sb/Sn back into the melt.

    You can either use wax to reduce oxidized Sb/Sn back in the melt or use "a flux" that both reduces and removes some of the contaminates. If you "flux" with sawdust you'll get the best of both worlds, reduce oxidized Sb/Sn AND remove some of the contaminates. Larry is correct in that both melt temp and the stirring action is part of fluxing and removing contaminants - assuming a correct fluxing method.

    If your looking to separate metals or go to work for Los Alamos National Laboratory I dunno, ask Larry.

    Rick
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  3. #43
    Boolit Master
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    I Think what were are seeing here is a true "Clash of the Titans" (Greatest respects to all)
    I have learned a few years ago "never to post anything about Fluxes or Reductants"
    " Associate with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation: for it is better to be alone than in bad company. " George Washington

  4. #44
    Boolit Master

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    I am a degreed chemist but I never worked for Los Alamos. In chemical terms oxidation and reduction are opposite reactions and that which causes an oxide to to give up its oxygen is indeed a "reducer/reducing agent/reductant (all same same). When we deal with oxides we are dealing with chemical compounds and not alloys as alloys are substances made by melting two or more elements together, at least one of them a metal. So we are reducing a chemical compound (oxide) back to its elemental state whether done with wax or sawdust.
    God Bless, Whisler

  5. #45
    Boolit Master


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    Ok Rick, you win. Call it what you want.....now where is that Los Alomos engineer consultant application.....can I use you for a reference?




    Larry Gibson

  6. #46
    Boolit Master detox's Avatar
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    I have finally learned that Glen was correct. Gulf wax or parifin does a poor job of fluxing, but it is better than nothing. Pine sawdust does a much better job of fluxing and it is easy to see if you compare the two. I only use the sawdust in my ladle casting pot.

    For my RCBS bottom pour pot I use Vita-Flux. This blue wax works almost as good as sawdust with less residue trapped between melt and walls of pot.. Sawdust leaves a chard mess that always finds it's way thru bottom spout and contaminating bullets causing voids.
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  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Gibson View Post
    now where is that Los Alomos engineer consultant application.....can I use you for a reference?

    Larry Gibson
    Sure you can, it might (or not) get you a cup of coffee at the guard gate but I can assure you, not any further than that.

    Rick
    "The people never give up their freedom . . . Except under some delusion." Edmund Burke

    "Let us remember that if we suffer tamely a lawless attack on our liberty, we encourage it." Samuel Adams

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  8. #48
    Boolit Master


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    Wouldn't expect it any other way.........

    Larry Gibson

  9. #49
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    For 50+ years I was sure I knew what fluxing was.

    I did a lot of "fluxing". I started with beeswax but changed to scrap candles because they worked just as well and were available in unlimited supply for free.

    Now I have learned that the procedure that for 60 years was converting dirty, nasty, greasy wheel weighs (full of dirt and slag) into bright shiny perfectly clean bullets was ineffective and didn't work. (Makes me wonder what has been going on .)

    Well, I don't know anything about chemistry, metallurgy, oxidation, reduction, oxides, agents, or stuff like that.

    I never heard of sawdust "fluxing" until I joined this forum, I tried it and didn't like it so I went back to candles. At this time I was casting bullets from clean ingots.

    Got about 300 pounds of wheel weights and began to "smelt" ( yes, I know that is not the correct use of that word.) them. They were really nasty and I was having trouble cleaning them up so I tried the sawdust again. It did a significantly better job of cleaning up the dirty alloy. so when I got it all ingotized, I tried sawdust again when casting bullets. Again, I did not like the results so I went back to candles.

    So! Here is what I know works for me:

    Stirring the alloy vigorously with:

    . . . Sawdust makes clean pretty ingots.

    . . . Candles make clean pretty bullets.
    First reload: .22 Hornet. 1956.
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  10. #50
    Boolit Master
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    Iīm not an expert, too.
    Have read Dan Fryxellīs book and just reread the chapter about "fluxing".

    Iīm just a hobbyiest who tries to make boolits as good and effective as possible.
    Therefore I came here, learned to love this forum, and highly appreciate all that stuff inhere.
    Recognizing that my learning will never end and having to read for years makes me a very happy man.


    Maybe Iīm an idiot, but I didnīt like sawdust for casting too.
    I want to see my alloy, when Iīm looking into my pot to see what it does (like I said, maybe Iīm an idiot) and I had too problems with clogged bottom valves.

    So I switched back to candle wax for casting and like the results, even if Iīm probably doing it wrong now.

    Sawdust for making ingots out of range scrap?
    Well, why not, I will try and see what that does.

    Over here we say:
    "Practice is the death of all theory."

    But thatīs just me, doing what I do and most time i donīt know why things happen, but am trying to learn from the results and am lookling forward.



    Best regards,
    keep it hot,
    Jay

  11. #51
    Boolit Man
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    I have used Beeswax, sawdust, candle wax and kitty litter. I stopped using the beeswax after being attacked by All the local Bees. I had to stop using sawdust as the neighbors were afraid that there was a house on fire from the smoke and the fumes. So now I'm left with just candle wax an kitty litter. Seems to be working ok. Oh well...

    Ghost101

  12. #52
    Boolit Master trixter's Avatar
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    I just use Ponderosa Pine sawdust, because that is what we grow in my neck of the woods, for fluxing my smelting and casting, however I might try using a little candle wax for casting.

  13. #53
    Boolit Master Prospector Howard's Avatar
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    And we have a winner!!! Couldn't have said it better myself. Only took 50 posts to get there.
    Quote Originally Posted by williamwaco View Post
    For 50+ years I was sure I knew what fluxing was.

    I did a lot of "fluxing". I started with beeswax but changed to scrap candles because they worked just as well and were available in unlimited supply for free.

    Now I have learned that the procedure that for 60 years was converting dirty, nasty, greasy wheel weighs (full of dirt and slag) into bright shiny perfectly clean bullets was ineffective and didn't work. (Makes me wonder what has been going on .)

    Well, I don't know anything about chemistry, metallurgy, oxidation, reduction, oxides, agents, or stuff like that.

    I never heard of sawdust "fluxing" until I joined this forum, I tried it and didn't like it so I went back to candles. At this time I was casting bullets from clean ingots.

    Got about 300 pounds of wheel weights and began to "smelt" ( yes, I know that is not the correct use of that word.) them. They were really nasty and I was having trouble cleaning them up so I tried the sawdust again. It did a significantly better job of cleaning up the dirty alloy. so when I got it all ingotized, I tried sawdust again when casting bullets. Again, I did not like the results so I went back to candles.

    So! Here is what I know works for me:

    Stirring the alloy vigorously with:

    . . . Sawdust makes clean pretty ingots.

    . . . Candles make clean pretty bullets.
    Never in history has there been a situation so bad that the government couldn't make it worse.
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  14. #54
    Boolit Master
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    Dried red oak leaves crumbled up by hand and left on the surface after charring seem to work. I use a dipper and just push the powdered leaves aside to get to the melt and rarely have any trash contaminated boolits...

  15. #55
    Boolit Man
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    Jus lass week Jerom an me rode dwn to the tarr shop anbargined our way into a large bucket of them thar tarr weights to make someboolits from. Gittn home we's bagan tosegrete all them tarr weights from lead (pb) and zink an stele. Tokk bouth ofus'ins most all nite to do the chore.
    Bout son rise after feedn the hens we farred up my 3 burnrColemann stove out'n the barn. Ony lite up 2 of them burnrs. Put my olddutchmans pot on them burnrs and began to melt all the stuff. Dug out myther-mom-eter and sit the pot at som whar near 675° on the dial.
    This process is what somm in the boolit business is call'nsmeltin but it sure is smellin. Al kindanasty stuff in thar. Ruber tarrr stims, ta-backy spit, smoke buts, an somm othrlevens.. Scoopd out tarr clips and evry otther flotin critter incldin a mouseor 2. Eyeballn the tenchperture wethrowed in a big batch of pine notts. Really improvd the smel. Usin a pine treelimb we stired it al up real good. Produced somm more nasty lookin sfuffs thatwe pulld off'n the pot. We did this bout 6-7 times til we's figerred it most beperty clean as we wasnt gettn notting off the top sept what leavn's thar was ofthem pine notts an al the WW's in the pot was shinne with no othr collors. Noblues or golds or purrples. Then we throwed in a boolit size chunk of cann'nwax and watched the hole mess lite up like the outhouse did when it cot onfarr.
    Startd dippin out molten and whaevr else is n the alleys intacorn bread muffn plates. Surnuff comesup a perrty silver collor.
    Keep up doin this process til we had rendered al them tarrweights inta litle roun mufn's.
    We's hopn we's did al this write. Nxt Saturdy nite we'splann'n on puttn somm of these WW muffn's inta our RcbS buttom perr bollitmakin pot.. Gotta sneak out somm more of moms cann'n wax as she got right upsetwith us'ns when she found out.
    Gonna make up somm Lyman devastors fer Jeroms new 40 Smith.
    Al this aint easy but we's surnuf havin a ball.

    Ronnie

  16. #56
    Boolit Master
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    I have used both when rendering ww.
    The wood to me does smell better and seems to smoke less than wax.
    I use a bottom pour so maybe that is why i use it.
    Might have to try this ladle thing one day..with some wax.

  17. #57
    Boolit Master
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    Lol!

    Puttn sduff in a pistola, shootn into da berm.
    Tkin sduff out of berm, puttn in da big pott.
    Puttn sduff out of da big pott, pournī in muffin plate.
    Tkin sduff out of plate, puttn in da lilīpot.
    Poorinī sduff out of lilīpot into da mold.
    Tkin sduff from mold to die, pressin in da brass.
    Puttn sduff in brass into pistola, shootin in da berm.
    Tkin .....

  18. #58
    Boolit Master
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    i was standing on my toilet hanging a clock, when i fell and hit my head.
    suddenly i got the idea for this!
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  19. #59
    Boolit Master

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    I use a stick of Georgia fatwood that I got to start my stove up with. Works well. I tried the flux capacitor .............that sure took me back a ways!

  20. #60
    Boolit Master
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    After reading much on this forum last year I read Fryxell"s book and even posted a thread on wax/sawdust based on it. I just watched BrassMagnets video and there was no mention of sawdust/wood just wax and this left me a little confused as I understood that there was a distinct difference between a reducer and a flux.

    This discussion is very interesting to me as a new caster and smelter. I started with wood shavings, went back to paraffin based on the DVD and Fryxell and then have tried both together. I settled on using wood shavings for melting WW and other lead down into ingots to remove gross impurities and using wax as a final in the pot when casting. It seems to work but does it work better than using one or the other exclusively? IDK. I just find wax cleaner.
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BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
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