Lot's of different pics of this sign.

Lot's of different pics of this sign.
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Been thinking about "The Iceman" lately...

You know the guy... the one to your left.

In case not, here's a more recent likeness to jog your remembery:

It's obvious that some of us age more gracefully than others.
Anyway, Otzi (That's what they call him - too twee by half if you ask me - but that's how he's listed down at the DMV so...) has been in the news off and on over the past twenty-some years. Not a lot but more than he'd been newsworthy over the previous fifty centuries - which time he'd been napping under a glacier.

At first it was cool enough to have found this guy in the first place but, when he went down, he did so with his entire wardrobe/toolkit intact.
If this is all news to you, click the link in the first sentence.
We talked briefly about the knife he carried here but it was a pretty standard stone-age rock knife. The real show-stopper was his axe.
Initially they thought he'd gotten hypothermia and simply laid down for a long winter's nap.
A few years later, they found an arrowhead lodged under his shoulder blade and the plot thickened. Latest INTEL is that, while the arrow was bad, what had really sent Otzi away had been a serious knock on the head - presumably by whoever had previously shot the arrow.
The Iceman's axe. the copper blade has been pulled out of its bindings. in use it would have been three-fourths buried.
So, someone put the old boy down but - and this is important - they didn't take any of his shit  (By that I mean of course accouterments).
Most importantly; they left behind his axe - which was so gee-whiz techno-awesome for the day that an equivalent situation in the modern world would be to find yourself murdered on the highway for your pocket change while the robbers leave behind your Bugatti Veyron.
You can read all the particulars of his copper ax at this site: the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology. According to my initial source on the whole subject, "The Man in the Ice" by Konrad Spindler, the blade had been cast from nearly pure copper - smelted within forty miles of the Iceman's resting place.
But this is about tooling. My man, Konrad (See link above) who is self-effacing enough not to have a Wiki page I can link to, described the blade of the axe thus:
"The blank of the blade was cast... into a mould which stood upright with the cutting edge facing downwards...".
Said mold would have been a two-piece affair made of fired clay or soapstone. So they say.
Now, because this thing has gotten some attention over the past twenty years so more than a couple folks have endeavored to replicate the Iceman's axe.
They all managed to pull it off in their own way. Of the folks I made my lazy way through reading on the Google, this guy who actually cast his shot at it - and with a period melting set-up - got closest. In my opinion.

Others... well, have a look:
There's this guy. he made a gorgeous example but seems to have carved it out of a chunk of copper with an angle grinder. It looks really good though - like knapped stone but it's bogus. He gets bonus points for paying attention to the flanges along each side of the blade. I'll get back to them.   This guy; a seriously good job at the look-a-like aspect... I never really found how he'd come by the blade itself but he made it absolutely look the part down to a special "copper aging solution"
This guy managed to produce some truly horrific castings but he kept at it... wow.
Copper is notoriously difficult to cast, so they say and, thus far, my only experience with copper all by itself was when I accidentally burned all the zinc out of my brass by overheating it.
My recollection was that it poured like snot.
My first pattern. This thing was tiny.
Now, our friend above who seems to have experienced any and all of the horrors of casting pure copper (the last guy I linked to. Try to keep up) was melting copper wire which is very close to the pure metal. Poor bastard
That having been said, thank God for impurities because I melted all the copper that came to hand for a test drive and it consisted of about half-and-half wire and plumbing/flashing.
Included in the latter portion was a bit of solder - tin and antimony - a few percent of the total but it was enough to wreck my shit.
Where's my porosity, my gas inclusions and brittleness?
Damn you, contamination! Damn you to hell!
More later.

1 comment:

Jimh. said...

I can't wait to see your next attempt! I love this blog, though I rarely comment. I thought I should say thank you for putting your shit out there.

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