A year ago I obtained one of those electronic induction heaters, because, why not? They’re fascinating. Some blacksmiths use them to produce high point-heat, including bringing small regions of steel to welding heat in about a minute (more or less). Induction heating is also used by some craftspeople to melt/slump glass in home microwave ovens – you put a block of insulating material containing your target into your microwave and turn it on for 10 minutes. Then, if you still have a microwave oven and kitchen, you can let it cool down and examine the contents.
Here’s what my rig looked like before I turned it on:
And here’s what my rig looked like, when I turned it off:
Yes, those are the same picture. A little LED on the power supply came on, and after about a minute the copper coil began to warm to the point where I could feel heat coming off of it. There was no sign of anything glowing and certainly no sign of anything melting.
I am disappointed but not surprised. Rather than sit around and cry, I put the induction heater rig in the closet (from which it may never re-emerge) and blasted the crucible with a bit of the old oxy/acetylene torch. Guess what melts silver really fast? 3000C is around 5500F and silver’s melting temperature is balmy compared to that.
Then, I poured the silver into my investment mold and dunked the mold in cold water, hammered the investment apart, and – ta-da!
Lately, for cutting silver, I have hit on the technique of using 6″ jigsaw blades in a jeweler’s saw. “Patience is a virtue that I don’t possess” (- Ray Wylie Hubbard) then I took the pieces over to the belt sander and surfaced them, fine-sanded them, and finally hand-sanded and buffed them.
I had carved some runes in the side of one of the waxes, and they came through pretty well, but weren’t deep enough to survive surface sanding. If I ever do more of these, I need to scribe the wax a lot harder. Live and learn.
It’s a bit thin at the back to put a handle in, so I guess I’ll put a ring somewhere back near the butt, and call it a neck-thing.
I have a couple more of these things. Anyone need a small tactical axe for itty bitty lycanthropes? I probably won’t auction any of these because they’re not worth anything, really, and they’re a pain to polish.