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Thread: My homemade black powder

  1. #3881
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
    Location
    Northwest Arkansas
    Posts
    75
    "My original Sharps shot quite well with home-made 2F and the Eras Gone Smith bullet:"
    That's looking pretty dang good, Maillemaker! You must be doing something right!

  2. #3882
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
    Location
    Northwest Arkansas
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    75
    "Two questions. I watched an interesting video last night about a fellow using the CIA method."
    Vettepilot, that's how I used to make my powder, before I ran into this forum, about three + years ago. We were making and testing a bunch of mortars, for fireworks. I guess I kind of use a combination, of several different processes, today.
    On the vacuum chamber deal, I don't see why it wouldn't work. I guess it would depend on how long it would take to dry up the moisture. Don't they leave air conditioner systems, for a couple of hours?
    A dairy farmer friend and I were talking about using his milking machine vacuum pump for a similar use, for what you are thinking. Not powder related, but as a dryer. I would think it would work very good. And, you could adapt it and vacuum pack your powder at the same time. One less thing, as Forrest Gump said.

  3. #3883
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Lake Havasu City, Arizona!
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    560
    A good vacuum down on auto A/C is an hour, which is what I do. Most guys only do about 10 minutes.

    Vettepilot
    "Those who sacrifice freedom for security, have neither."
    Benjamin Franklin. (A very wise man!)

  4. #3884
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    36
    The vacuum pump is an interesting idea. I once got a fridge compressor going using plastic bags, trying to dehydrate some books that got wet. The idea might have been good but my execution sucked. I did discover that those thick, strong plastic bags are still not airtight; they have a lot of little pinhole leaks.
    Another writer said that he had some problems with this approach for drying powder; can't remember who or even on what forum, but he said there was a big temperature drop he had not expected, due to the latent heat of vaporization. This worked against his objectives so it was not as successful as he hoped.

    However, in weather-related news a willow tree in a park near my home dropped a decent branch in the storms just now, and my deadfall willow stockpile is increased. Time for BBQ.

  5. #3885
    I've used vacuum to dry things in a mason jar. At room temp, almost nothing happened. When I hit it with a hair dryer (from outside the jar) it boiled rapidly as soon as the temp rose only a couple degrees. But it took a lot of effort for just a little reward - and that was with a "real" AC vacuum pump. The dashboard method is IMMENSELY more "bang for the buck."

  6. #3886
    On another note, I re-pressed that dry powder after wetting it and letting it sit out. It did just like I'm used to.

  7. #3887
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Lake Havasu City, Arizona!
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    560
    At least theoretically, water should not be needed for pressing powder, but I'll keep looking into what the commercial producers do when I get a chance. I'm off to get a worrisome heart checkup just now...

    Vettepilot
    "Those who sacrifice freedom for security, have neither."
    Benjamin Franklin. (A very wise man!)

  8. #3888
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Posts
    205
    Two nights ago I pressed some pucks that I re-tumbled that day. The top member on my harbor freight 12-ton press had started to bend, and then I figured there's no fixing it so I kept using it but making sure to not Max it out. I would get to a point where I could barely push it down with one arm and a tidy bit of weight behind it but it would bend the top member with every pump. So, I tried to keep it at that pressure and let it sit for 10 minutes. Those pucks feel Rock hard. So I guess it worked okay!

    well I decided to take the press back to harbor freight for an exchange today, because there's absolutely no way it would have lasted much longer. The welded started to break on the top and it would have eventually snapped. Well, I can say by your harbor freight press with confidence! They exchanged it no questions asked, other than what the heck did you do to that thing? they also let me keep the original bottle jack that came with the frame I returned, because I had already went through the trouble of putting good oil in it and bleeding all of the air out. They weren't all that excited about me digging the new one out of the box in the store to leave it with them, so they tried to get me to just take the new one and my old one! I did dig it out of the box though and left the new one with the old frame just because. So I'm back in business! I just have to figure out why that other one bent and make sure it doesn't happen again

  9. #3889
    I was in Harbor Freight today and I looked at the 12 ton press to see if they had changed the design at all. Yes they did. My top member is two pieces that sendwich the side members a lot like the moveable base. The new design has that as one piece. It looks sturdy, but who knows? I wish you luck and keep us posted.

  10. #3890
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Posts
    205
    Quote Originally Posted by Paramax55 View Post
    I was in Harbor Freight today and I looked at the 12 ton press to see if they had changed the design at all. Yes they did. My top member is two pieces that sendwich the side members a lot like the moveable base. The new design has that as one piece. It looks sturdy, but who knows? I wish you luck and keep us posted.
    Will do. I compared it to their 20ton frame when I was there. They use the same piece on the 20! That's crazy. The bottom piece and all the rest is more beefy... But I guarantee if you have your jack in good shape and max it out you're going to have a failure!

  11. #3891
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Posts
    16
    When pressing your powder into pucks be aware that the particles of powder do not
    compress and compact themselves instantly. It takes several minutes for the particles
    and the small amount of moisture in the pressing to re-arrange themselves into their
    more compact form with evenly distributed moisture.

    How much pressure is actually needed to press the pucks? Higher pressures will compress
    the mix more rapidly but lower pressures will also yield a very dense product with a little
    more time.

    Some have already discovered that the pressing operation must be done incrementally by
    several pressings at ten to twenty minute intervals. With each pressing allow the
    particles sufficient time to become more dense. With pressures as low as 500 lbs. the
    pressings will become equally dense given sufficient time for the particles to occupy
    their most dense positions.

    In the old days the pressing operation lasted nearly an hour for each batch with the
    lower pressures available then. That much time was necessary for a large batch of
    several layers in the machine. With today's higher pressures and smaller batch sizes
    the pressing can be done much faster. But never instantly. Time is necessary.

    Keep up the excellent work men! Your experiences and tips are very, very helpful.

  12. #3892
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    2,204
    Quote Originally Posted by Vettepilot View Post
    At least theoretically, water should not be needed for pressing powder, but I'll keep looking into what the commercial producers do when I get a chance. I'm off to get a worrisome heart checkup just now...

    Vettepilot
    A theory is just an idea thats not been proved out yet - that one dont work at my place -
    I keep my stuff as dry as I possibly can sos I dont get clumping in the mill - needs some water to press it -
    I cant get a decent mix with the right amount of water so I ball it up, grate it through some window screen mesh then press it - otherwise I get spotty pucks out of the press (not evenly damped) If I spray enough water to get a good mix at first then its too wet in the press (most all fellers are gonna make their first mix too wet for pressing)
    Tried the alcohol water thing = waste of time I reckon.

  13. #3893
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    808
    Damn everybody, all this talk about pressing powder is making me think about giving it a try if I ever get time. Just had to dig up and repair some plumbing going to my in ground Jacuzzi which wasn't a lot of fun and still need to pull some honey off of my bee hives. Just motorized my old honey extractor with a clothes washer motor and am dying to give it a try. I've scrounged up some 2 1/2 inch round pieces of aluminum for a BP die and spun out a ram on my metal lathe which is a beginning but still haven't decided on what size press press is needed. Still need to find a grinder and screens for the project.

  14. #3894
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Posts
    205
    Quote Originally Posted by SeaMonkey View Post
    When pressing your powder into pucks be aware that the particles of powder do not
    compress and compact themselves instantly. It takes several minutes for the particles
    and the small amount of moisture in the pressing to re-arrange themselves into their
    more compact form with evenly distributed moisture.

    How much pressure is actually needed to press the pucks? Higher pressures will compress
    the mix more rapidly but lower pressures will also yield a very dense product with a little
    more time.

    Some have already discovered that the pressing operation must be done incrementally by
    several pressings at ten to twenty minute intervals. With each pressing allow the
    particles sufficient time to become more dense. With pressures as low as 500 lbs. the
    pressings will become equally dense given sufficient time for the particles to occupy
    their most dense positions.

    In the old days the pressing operation lasted nearly an hour for each batch with the
    lower pressures available then. That much time was necessary for a large batch of
    several layers in the machine. With today's higher pressures and smaller batch sizes
    the pressing can be done much faster. But never instantly. Time is necessary.

    Keep up the excellent work men! Your experiences and tips are very, very helpful.
    I was wondering about that idea of multiple pressings.. one of the original guys on this thread, Bob was his name I think, didn't use a press at all. He had a dye made up out of PVC and he used his vise. You would continuously tighten it over some period of time and he was able to get powder that was 80 something percent as dense as commercial.

    I can't measure my actual density of pox, because I can't seem to make a uniformly thick puck. But, I'll test this out for myself next time I press some. Is that what you're doing sea monkey?

    On a side note? I ground some pucks last night that I had drawing for 48 hours in a dehydrator, and I increased my 30 screen, or 2f, yield to 55%, but then I remembered that I had read that Swiss powder grain ratio is something like 75% on a 20 screen and 25% on a 30 screen for their two f powder. So, I'll just mix together my 30 screen and 40 screen for my 2f and I have suddenly increased my two f yield to 70%!

  15. #3895
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Lake Havasu City, Arizona!
    Posts
    560
    Quote Originally Posted by SeaMonkey View Post
    When pressing your powder into pucks be aware that the particles of powder do not
    compress and compact themselves instantly. It takes several minutes for the particles
    and the small amount of moisture in the pressing to re-arrange themselves into their
    more compact form with evenly distributed moisture.

    How much pressure is actually needed to press the pucks? Higher pressures will compress
    the mix more rapidly but lower pressures will also yield a very dense product with a little
    more time.

    Some have already discovered that the pressing operation must be done incrementally by
    several pressings at ten to twenty minute intervals. With each pressing allow the
    particles sufficient time to become more dense. With pressures as low as 500 lbs. the
    pressings will become equally dense given sufficient time for the particles to occupy
    their most dense positions.

    In the old days the pressing operation lasted nearly an hour for each batch with the
    lower pressures available then. That much time was necessary for a large batch of
    several layers in the machine. With today's higher pressures and smaller batch sizes
    the pressing can be done much faster. But never instantly. Time is necessary.

    Keep up the excellent work men! Your experiences and tips are very, very helpful.
    You are spot on with this post. However, It's not only the moisture distribution that doesn't happen instantly, It's also the plastic flow of the liquified sulphur.

    Here's some corroborating info for your post regarding pressing and how it used to be done:

    http://firearmshistory.blogspot.com/...-pressing.html

    Vettepilot
    Last edited by Vettepilot; 05-26-2021 at 07:20 PM.
    "Those who sacrifice freedom for security, have neither."
    Benjamin Franklin. (A very wise man!)

  16. #3896
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Lake Havasu City, Arizona!
    Posts
    560
    Quote Originally Posted by indian joe View Post
    A theory is just an idea thats not been proved out yet - that one dont work at my place -
    I keep my stuff as dry as I possibly can sos I dont get clumping in the mill - needs some water to press it -
    I cant get a decent mix with the right amount of water so I ball it up, grate it through some window screen mesh then press it - otherwise I get spotty pucks out of the press (not evenly damped) If I spray enough water to get a good mix at first then its too wet in the press (most all fellers are gonna make their first mix too wet for pressing)
    Tried the alcohol water thing = waste of time I reckon.
    Interesting, (as always), Indian Joe. So you granulate your powder, then press. I'm thinking the freshly granulated would likely be a bit too wet to press immediately. Do you let it dry a bit?? How do you determine when it's ready to press?

    Off subject, but another question... heard anything from Fly? I miss his posts. You and he both offer up excellent tips and advise!

    Vettepilot
    "Those who sacrifice freedom for security, have neither."
    Benjamin Franklin. (A very wise man!)

  17. #3897
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Posts
    205
    Hey VP, I hope your doctor visit went okay and good health abounds!

  18. #3898
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2021
    Posts
    205
    I was just thinking last night.. all of these different types of wood have different densities and chemical makeup, and the specific process under which that wood is turned a charcoal will also result in different chemical composition of the charcoal and therefore density as well. I'm primarily thinking of balsa wood here. It's extremely fast black powder and extremely low density wood. Surely the charcoal made from balsa wood is also much different density than Willow. So, I would think that the standard 15% charcoal recipe doesn't always apply when trying to optimize a specific black powder recipe. Who is going to do some experimentation to figure that out for a variety of woods?

  19. #3899
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Oct 2020
    Location
    Northwest Arkansas
    Posts
    75
    Quote Originally Posted by HighUintas View Post
    I was just thinking last night.. all of these different types of wood have different densities and chemical makeup, and the specific process under which that wood is turned a charcoal will also result in different chemical composition of the charcoal and therefore density as well. I'm primarily thinking of balsa wood here. It's extremely fast black powder and extremely low density wood. Surely the charcoal made from balsa wood is also much different density than Willow. So, I would think that the standard 15% charcoal recipe doesn't always apply when trying to optimize a specific black powder recipe. Who is going to do some experimentation to figure that out for a variety of woods?
    I think your point is probably what Goex was saying when under 'Composition' they said By weight, 8-18% charcoal. 9-20% Sulfur and 70-75% KNO3. I bet your density thoughts are just what that is saying. That is, or seems to me to be, a very wide variance on all three chemicals, for some reason. 10% on charcoal, 11% on Sulfur and 5% on Nitrate. I nominate you, to do the experimenting. lol

  20. #3900
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    2,204
    Quote Originally Posted by Vettepilot View Post
    Interesting, (as always), Indian Joe. So you granulate your powder, then press.

    no no no no - I just cant get a proper mix with the small amount of water (I use a little pump sprayer/ spritzer) so I stir it round, then ball it up by hand, grate the balls through a window screen mesh into a bowl, mix again, then its good to go into the press - if I dont do that then I get "spotty pucks" out of the press - they got little dark spots on em where the moisture didnt mix good enough. If I put enough moisture in to get an even mix first time then its too wet to press properly.

    Pressing needs some moisture but by golly it dont take much - we are in a low humid environment (think Arizona/New Mexico)

    Think Fly has disappeared - he does that a bit - hope he's ok - his posts here got me sorted - I ignored everything else for a time and just followed what he said.



    I'm thinking the freshly granulated would likely be a bit too wet to press immediately.
    You're thinking screened powder here - different process - yeah way too wet to press - I do screened for front loaders - pressed for cartridge - screened is quicker - easier - and you got much better control over grain size (much less dust and fines)



    Off subject, but another question... heard anything from Fly? I miss his posts.

    Vettepilot
    ......

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