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Bamboo Chopsticks Instead of Graphite


#1

Thanks for all the assistance regarding the excess flux in my burno
crucibles. I have another question. I was told that in lieu of using
a graphite or quartz rod, one could use a bamboo chopstick to stir
the molten metal in a crucible. I would assume that a graphite or
quartz rod would be better, but in a pinch could one substitute a
bamboo chopstick–not wood, but bamboo.

I have been asked to teach some friends cuttlebone casting, and my
friends seem to have a knack for dropping and breaking graphite rods.
So, in the event that a mishap does occur, can I substitute a bamboo
chopstick.

Alma


#2

Alma,

Yup…chopsticks will do fine. They need not necessarily be bamboo
but the wooden ones are soft and burn up too quickly. The reason you
can use them is they quickly create a layer of charcoal (i.e. carbon)
on the surface and act like graphite. In fact, if you ever get in a
pinch and don’t have a crucible available, cut a 4" length of 2x4
pine board and dig out a concave center. Then a shallow channel from
the concave part to one corner about 1/4" deep. Play your torch over
the entire surface till it turns to charcoal. Whalla you have a
crucible!

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry!


#3

Some of the old casting books recommend using a piece of a green
branch as a stirring rod in molten metals so maybe a bamboo
chopstick might work fine.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#4
Some of the old casting books recommend using a piece of a green
branch as a stirring rod in molten metals so maybe a bamboo
chopstick might work fine. 

Using a green stick to stir molten lead blinds fishermen every year
making weights, the steam generated causes an explosion and blows
the molten metal all over the room. I have seen metal explode out
like this when poured onto plaster that had not bee fully dried out,
so I suspect that using a green stick might be dangerous. A nice
dried chop stick however, as does a pencil, makes a good stir stick.

best
Charles


#5
Some of the old casting books recommend using a piece of a green
branch as a stirring rod in molten metals so maybe a bamboo
chopstick might work fine. 

I talked to a refiner about dirty (old, finky) white gold one time,
and he said it was probably “tired”. His suggestion was to use a
green stick to stir it, and that the gases given off would help to
clean it…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#6
A nice dried chop stick however, as does a pencil, makes a good
stir stick. 

Be careful with the pencil-- The “lead” pencil used to be clay and
graphite for the lead in a wood cedar casaing. Not always true any
more- the wood may be ( usually is)just extruded plastic and the lead
is now graphite mixed with plastic. A green sapling pole is commonly
used in metal refining to stir and help deoxidize a melt… These are
large furnaces and steam doesn’t cause much problem but stirring a
small pot is different. A bamboo chopstick should be fine but use
saftey glasses and idealy a full face shield and adequate clothing.
The foundrymen and metal refiners do.

jesse


#7

Using bamboo chopsticks as stirring rods in a crucible could be
problematic inasmuchas bamboo contains silica. And, since chopsticks
are always dry wood, you might have a nice little fire in no time at
all !

Ron MIlls, Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.


#8

So much for the wisdom of old casting references, thanks Charles.

Jim

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#9

A wood pencil also works as a stirring rod. Make sure it is a wood
pencil with graphite. You can scrape the paint off.