I've got a few questions that I need answered. I've tried asking at other places, and people just freak out when they see 'galvanized' and proceed to lecture me.
I know it's dangerous stuff, definitely not something to trifle with.
But, here lies my issue. I just put up a wood fence around my yard, and so now I've got a load of old chainlink piled up.
I have read that chainlink is typically made of aluminum or galvanized steel, and that galvanizing can and will wear off, given enough time. Now I know the stuff I have has to be ferrous, because it's all a dark reddish brown color, with pitting and flaking apparent all over. I looked up the markings and numbers on the fence posts themselves, and from what I can gather, the fence was installed sometime in the late 40's early 50's. That's a good 60-70 years ago.
Given that amount of time, would it be safe to assume that all the zinc is gone, posing no threat? Does galvanizing penetrate into the steel below or does it simply bond to the surface? Some of the fence posts are rusted, but with risen patches of a silvery metal, what I assume is the zinc layer, leading me to believe it bonds to the surface. I would really like to hear from someone with years of wisdom on this subject. I just can't pass up all this free steel, but if it's better to scrap it then so be it.
My plan with this stuff, if it's safe to use at this point, would be to cut the chain link into small pieces and melt the bits in a crucible to form usable chunks that could forge welded together, if only just to practice these processes. I assume the steel used for chainlink isn't tool grade steel, probably pretty soft, yeah?