A Question Of Alloy

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by Jim L., Jan 11, 2018 at 1:20 AM.

  1. Jim L.

    Jim L. Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    2,579
    Location:
    Brunswick, Georgia
    Anyone familiar with "copper" grounding rods? What I believed to be solid copper was actually copper clad steel.

    Ordinarily, I'd of thought the steel would have only enough carbon in the mix to actually call it steel. When I cut a shank off to do what I hoped would be copper work, the cutting wheel on the old angle grinder through a bunch of really nice complex bright yellow sparks.

    So I forged a 3 inch section down to about 3/32 inches, brought it to critical and quenched in water. Then I laid it across the anvil and gave it a good wack.

    Nothing .

    Another, and another wack. A slight bend. Not only that, but the piece bounced and rebounded not unlike a spring.

    So I'm confused. Passed the spark test, failed (?) the quench/snap test, but acts like spring steel.

    Also the copper remained on the steel. Can/would someone clear this up for me?
     
    Quinlan likes this.
  2. Skeptiksks

    Skeptiksks Green Haired Weirdo Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2017
    Messages:
    1,517
    Likes Received:
    7,689
    Location:
    Everett, Washington
    As far as I have seen they are just copper plated mild/whatever steel. Current travels over the skin of the conductor so a more conductive surface is a good thing, but the cost difference is stupid.

    My guess is the ground rod manufacturers buy whatever they can get a deal on so best of luck with your sample.

    To be honest a ground rod is something to be driven into the ground and then left there, they just need to be strong enough to be driven all the way into the earth. I have seen ground rods stop dead under full jackhammer weight for 5 minutes and have heard stories of them popping up a few feet away and do a huge curve under the ground. They are tough for sure, but probably not the best material for tools.

    They do make awesome window bars though...

    Message_1425705527827.jpg 20150307_154633.jpg
     
    CHREBA, Quinlan, grizz78 and 3 others like this.
  3. OrienM

    OrienM Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2013
    Messages:
    1,381
    Likes Received:
    4,209
    Location:
    Gila, NM
    So many weird things to be found in the scrap pile! ;) Hard to say, but there are some high-copper steel alloys (among others, probably) that are fairly hard/springy without being able to actually quench harden. My rule of thumb is if it won't harden enough to shatter, it won't make a knife.

    I sure wish those bars were solid copper....pure copper is amazing to forge.
     
    Quinlan and Skeptiksks like this.
  4. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2016
    Messages:
    2,660
    Likes Received:
    9,487
    Location:
    Michigan
    You can get solid copper ground rods, but they ain't cheap!
    @Skeptiksks is spot-on: the copper clad steel is better suited for power-hammer driving 10' into the earth.
    Which is never fun.
     
  5. Jim L.

    Jim L. Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    2,579
    Location:
    Brunswick, Georgia
    All very good points. Points as guidelines that I try to follow.

    I would never have even brought it up except for the fact that I hit it hard. A
    1 inch wide x 3/32 inch thick sample, with about 1 1/2 inch over hang. The 1 pound hammer rebounded.

    I know you will get some rebound from mild steel, but you will also get deformity in the test piece. I didn't notice any until the third strike. That's what has me asking questions.

    I played with that sample a bit and found that the copper cladding is still in tact. When ground to the steel, it has an interesting pattern reminiscent of mokume (sp?). Me thinks arrow heads. :15:
     
    Quinlan likes this.
  6. Jim L.

    Jim L. Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    2,579
    Location:
    Brunswick, Georgia
    I
    A local electric supply place said to me "yeah, we have solid copper rods". He looked at me kinda funny when I pulled a magnet from my pocket. I'm glad he didn't try to tell me that copper's magnetic.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018 at 12:47 PM
  7. charlesmc2

    charlesmc2 Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2017
    Messages:
    388
    Likes Received:
    1,046
    Location:
    Central Texas
    For conventional use of a grounding rod, at least in our soils, it is amazing how much a trickle of water will facilitate driving that rod into the ground. It's still serious work, though.
     
    Quinlan, Skeptiksks and morganbw like this.
  8. Coryphene

    Coryphene Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2014
    Messages:
    3,251
    Likes Received:
    8,673
    Location:
    Chapel Hill, NC
    But copper and magnets do interact! Copper and magnets interacting is how we have generators and electric motors. Fun experiment: Drop a strong magnet through a copper pipe. It takes 4x or so longer to fall through the copper pipe than just falling to the ground.

    Army compasses use a strong magnet at the tip of the needle and have a copper wire wrapped around the inside of the compass. As the magnet moves around (needle finding north), the interaction with the copper wire dampens the needle allowing it to stop moving within seconds.
     
  9. Jim L.

    Jim L. Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    2,579
    Location:
    Brunswick, Georgia
    Copper and magnets do interact, but not attract. Place copper wire within a moving magnetic field will proportionally move electrons through it.

    Aluminum will form a magnetic field proportionate to its vector throught an opposing magnetic field. That's how automatic brakes work on roller coasters.
    And please, any experts out there correct my terminology or understanding of those principles.
     
    Quinlan, Skeptiksks and Coryphene like this.
  10. Zunga

    Zunga Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    Messages:
    1,679
    Likes Received:
    6,879
    Location:
    British Columbia
    I've read! The presence of copper will make a forge weld fail every time. That's based on web research. So grain of salt. But if true it will affect what you can do with it. Unless you remove the copper.
    Cheers
    Jim
     
    Quinlan and Jim L. like this.
  11. Jim L.

    Jim L. Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    2,579
    Location:
    Brunswick, Georgia
    I would please be corrected here, I believe that nickel is forge welded to copper to make makome (sp?). I don't know if copper affects forging ferrous metals.

    I can sling hammer, but am no blacksmith.
     
    Quinlan and Skeptiksks like this.
  12. DarrylM

    DarrylM Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2016
    Messages:
    2,310
    Likes Received:
    9,659
    Location:
    NE Washington State
    A roto hammer for drilling concrete, that has a hammer only setting, can make easy work of installing ground rods.
     
    ManyHammers and Skeptiksks like this.
  13. Skeptiksks

    Skeptiksks Green Haired Weirdo Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2017
    Messages:
    1,517
    Likes Received:
    7,689
    Location:
    Everett, Washington
    We always used a ground rod pounding socket in a jack hammer for that. Works great until your generator runs outta gas and you are stuck driving the ground rod by hand with a mini sledge... not fun.
     
    DarrylM and ManyHammers like this.
  14. ManyHammers

    ManyHammers Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2017
    Messages:
    401
    Likes Received:
    1,261
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Lenz effect and eddy currents. Pixies and voodoo.
     
    Skeptiksks likes this.
  15. charlesmc2

    charlesmc2 Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2017
    Messages:
    388
    Likes Received:
    1,046
    Location:
    Central Texas
    I have one of those toys--you spin a magnetic top over a magnetic surface and if you do it just right and have the surface really, really level the top will spin levitating over that surface. You'd think it would spin a long, long time since it's not touching, only friction with the air to slow it down. Doesn't work that way. The moving magnetic field induces eddy currents that dissipate enough energy that it would only spin 30 seconds or so as I recall. Interesting stuff. Scottsman James Clerk Maxwell tied it all together about the time of the American Civil war. I believe he is regarded as just a hair behind Newton and Einstein as theoretical physicists go. I believe his theoretical work led more or less directly to radio. He predicted the nature of electromagnetic waves. In other words this was not a discovery we stumbled on to, rather one we were searching for and found. Physicists were pretty smug about knowing all about the basic laws of physics. Then along came the photoelectric effect and eventually quantum physics.

    Real bushcraft stuff, huh?
     

Share This Page