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I Forge Iron

Forging Iron Pipe


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Planning on using 3/4" iron pipe to make a garden bench. Need some help.

Any ideas/suggestions on making the round iron pipe more organic - getting rid of the purely round shape: oval, textures, etc. Ideally I would like it to have a 'tree appearance'. I do not have a power hammer.

Since this bench will be outside: Will use wire brush, then treat with Ospho. Then need to paint: what is the best outdoor paint to apply on top of Ospho in order to give the longest life against rusting?


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I have forged round pipe and square tubing by packing with dry sand and then capping the ends. Depending of the type of forge you have you can bend and hammer the pipe/tubing fairly freely at orange heat to shape and texture. (remember to use a lighter hand until you get a feel for how the individual piece responds. Each piece you work will have a little different density.
Btw remember to leave a little hole some place for air and steam to escape.

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Texturing by hand will be laborious but doable.

A bottom die made from heavy angle iron or a "V" welded up from heavy stock can be textured to yield bark-like textures. Some ways to do it are to:

Run parallel weld beads, a little waver may be good or stops and starts, etc. Experiment till you get an effect you like but keep the experimental dies for other applications.

Make parallel grinds with a disk grinder, die grinder, drum rasp (HOT), dremel cut off, etc. Experiment again.

Make parallel or patterned chisel cuts and experiment.

You get the idea. When you have a bottom die that leaves a pattern you like, make a top die like it though it should be flat or a very gentle "V". I like flat myself and it facilitates deforming the pipe out of round. "V" shaped tools help maintain your round cross section.

If you're doing a lot of tubing you'll probably want to make spring dies and some type of Oliver hammer setup to save your arms.

As mentioned quenching hot pipe in water can result in truly horrific scalds; the boiling water and super heated steam usually shoots up your arm and into your armpit. Plugging the held end of the pipe will give you some protection and will also slow the heat conduction by preventing air movement.

Best bet is to quench by pouring water over the outside of the pipe while standing to the side and making sure nothing you don't want cooked is in the line of fire.


Edited by Frosty
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