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At the advice of my local toolmaker, I am using Crisco© shortening for cutting the end caps with jig mills, as well as threading both with dies and single tooth threading.  I bought the smallest can of shortening at the store, punched a hole in the plastic lid and use an acid flux brush.  Best thing I have found for machining nickel silver bar.  (Jerry Young)


What do people use to clean up tarnish?  (Pete Van Schaack)

    I use a white buffer tool on my Dremel. I shine them up with silver polish (as in silver ware) if the Dremel doesn't work.  (Rex Tutor)

      Yep, the white buffing wheel on a Dremel is how I've done it as well.  (Bill Walters)

    There is a much cheaper solution if you don't already have a Dremel tool. Some jewelry stores and some silverware stores sell a polishing or rouge cloth for a few dollars. They do a very good job. Not only does it take off tarnish, but they leave a slight wax coating that resists tarnish for a while. On the other hand I like the old patina look, so why polish it at all?  (Darryl Hayashida)


Which one is finer, Finesse-It, or Perfect-It II??  (Harry Boyd)

    Finesse It is much finer.  (Peter McKean)


Has any one on the list used color case hardened steel or sterling silver instead of nickel silver for there rod hardware.

What are the pros and cons to using these materials.  (Denny Dennis)

    I've seen sterling silver hardware on rods a few years back at a Gathering. I don't recall the maker's name (no surprise) but they looked very nice. Irish friendship rings or something like that from your friendly neighborhood jeweler.

    I used stainless steel rings on a rod and was pleased and will do it again. But it's a devil to work with. I also used rings cut from a copper  pipe, polished and  lacquered. Not too shabby. And the ultimate in hardware was made by Cecil Pierce, the great rodmaking innovator from the State of Maine. He worked up what looked like garden hose rings and they served him well. They held the reel very securely which is kind of important.  (Bill Fink)

      Isn't Monel a type of stainless?  Someone in Denver had a ton of Monel ferrules.  (Brian Creek)

        Monel is a nickel/copper alloy, not a stainless. Nickel and copper will alloy in any combination. The low nickel, high copper end of the spectrum is the nickel silvers, in the middle are cupro nickel alloys, and the high nickel low copper alloys are Monel. The Monels are noted for corrosion resistance, and are good alloys around sea water. I never tried machining it, but hear that it's tough. It draws nicely however, and I think it would make an excellent drawn ferrule. I thought I heard Granger used it, but am not sure of that. The problem with drawn ferrules is that to do a really good job with decent tolerances, the tooling costs will kill you, unless you are planning on using a few hundred thousand of each size.  (Tom Smithwick)

        Monel is a stainless metal and is somewhat soft as compared to other stainless metals.  (David Gerich)

        Monel is essentially a nickel-copper alloy with several grades being available. It is noted for it's corrosion resistance to fresh and salt water, acids and alkalis and super heated steam. It is not a stainless steel.  (Paul Blakley)


I have found, beyond the ones all of you listed, a few additional sources in the metals industry in the US.  Most seem to carry alloy #792 as opposed to # 763.  The difference appears to me to be one of the % nickel (12 Vs 18) and the inclusion of small quantities of lead for malleability.  My question is:  what difference would there be in the finished product?  Is the 792 weaker, heavier, harder to machine? Pretty basic stuff, but that is where I am.  (Jon Lyman)

    The 792 is a free machining grade. The addition of lead makes the metal somewhat more brittle, so the chips break cleanly away, rather than gum up the tool bit. It will be fine for ferrules. The same situation exists in stainless steels, except that sulfur is added as the impurity that produces the embrittling effect. If you were going to draw or bend the metal, you would not want these grades, but they are superior in turning applications.  (Tom Smithwick)


Tap Free cutting fluid is really good to use when fitting ferrules. (Joe West)


Since I retired, I've been doing a lot more metalwork on my lathe.  I've been looking for a good cutting oil that did not come in 50 gallon drums. The other day, I was looking through "The Best of the Planing Form #2" and ran across a tip from Dave Leclair that STP makes a great cutting oil for NS. I'll bet it would work on Duronze, also.  Anybody tried it?  (Tom Smithwick)

    STP is a great high pressure lubricant. I've used it in forming dies and on the lathe when cutting alloy steels in the distant past. But... why not just buy a quart of the correct stuff from Enco, Little Machine Shop, or ... There are quite a few operations that are quite willing to send small quantities. The newer stuff is often biodegradable, less carcinogenic, and better at its task than the old sulfurated cutting oils and ad hoc substitutes.  (Larry Lohkamp)

      No, but being the cheapskate that I am I use Castor Oil.  I buy 4oz  bottles and it works pretty nice.  (Ron Hossack)

      Yabut...  That old rotten egg smell just lets you know you're in a machine shop...   ;-)   Kinda like the smell of cooking cane, or sniffing the tumbler of a good single malt, or the smell of grits cooking in the kitchen...  (Mark Wendt)

    I've never used any cutting lubricant on brass or nickel silver. What am I missing? Thanks for any input.  (Vince Brannick)

    Haven't heard of that, but I was at the local American Hardware Store here in Waldorf over the weekend, and I saw on one of their shelf's a gallon of high sulfur content cutting oil with the American Hardware label on it.  I haven't tried it yet, but I'm gonna go back and pick up a jug.  I'd really like to find a good way oil in something less than a 55 gallon drum too.  Heck, a gallon jug of way oil would probably last me three lifetimes, but I'd even settle for that.  Smallest container I've seen for that is a 5 gallon bucket.  (Mark Wendt)

      Smithy sells a good cutting oil.   I use it and haven't had any problems.  (Ren Monllor)


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