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I Forge Iron

wrought iron?


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Possible? Yes. Practical? No. Some people do this for fun. A crew of three or four will spend a few days and if they are lucky and very knowledgeable they might get a pound or two.
The methods would take me too long to write out. Do a google search, there is plenty of information out there.

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I was just thinking that this would make anything made out of wrought iron incredibly expensive... and being able to say that you made the wrought iron yourself would probably allow you to charge ALLOT more... not that I am anywhere near selling what I make, let alone letting most people see it lol :p

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At this year's BGCM Blacksmith Days, this past May, 2 blacksmiths from Colonial Williamsburg demnstrated making iron. It took them about 4-5 hours and they ended up with a 20 pound bloom of iron.

After the iron was smelted, they cut it into smaller pieces and spent a lot of time consolidating the bloom. That was an awful lot of really heavy hammering to turn the sponge like bloom into bar stock.
Then on Saturday and Sunday, they made things out of the resulting iron.

The bloomery was a piece of chimmney tile slathered with refractory cement.

The big expense was the charcoal, you go through an awful lot of charcoal to make the iron. An awful lot of work to make just a little bit of iron.

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A number of people have done this. Lots of time for a little bit of wrought iron. A BLOOMERY is what you need to search for when looking for info.

Darrell Markewitz of Wareham Forge has a CD-ROM of info on some Viking/Norse era iron smelts that he and friends did. Lots and lots of info, pictures, and time/data studies. I've only read through part of the whole info.

Colonial Williamsburg published a couple books about this. Volume 1 of their Historic Trades has part on a Bloomery asbn 0897-7216. They also did The Geddy Foundry isbn 0-87933-086-5 -- but most of that is casting brass/bronze.


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I watched a show a year or so ago about Viking iron making and they were burning peat in a tall bloomery. As I watched I was wondering how they were getting enough heat burning dry peat to make a bloom. It turned out the peat was the fuel and the ORE!

Evidently the iron was so finely divided in the peat it made a bloom with nothing but huge amounts of labor, cutting, drying, hauling, stacking and charging the bloomery all the while working the bellows non-stop.

I don't know how much time they spent cutting, hauling, drying and stacking the peat but the furnace was run non-stop for days, maybe a week to make something like a 30 kg bloom. The stack of dried peat looked to be about the size of two semi trailers maybe 6-7' tall.

Unfortunately very little was in english and it was heavily edited to fit into the program. I would've liked more info, AK has LOTS of peat and it'd be a good project for the guys around here who want to make their own wrought. Probably keep them occupied for a couple summers anyway. ;)


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781, Yeah most folks believe that railing and most all garden/patio furnature is wrought iron.

Acutally I've wondered this point. If you look up the definition of 'wrought', it is the past tense of the verb 'to work'. See the 'Terminology' section of this link:

Wrought iron - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I guess that any iron that is shaped or worked can justifiably be called 'wrought' iron.

However, from a metallurgy point of view, we all know there are significant differences between mild steel and what we consider wrought iron.

I guess it depends on who is doing the defining.

Am I off in my thinking? Please correct me if I am.
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Wrought Iron the material is a composite consisting of a clean iron with ferrous silicate spicules distributed through it. It used to take quite a bit of "working it" to get it in usable form (look up puddling, shingling, muck bar, merchant bar, etc...)

It was also the material that the smith made things out of for about the first 2000 years of using iron made by man.

Using the term wrought iron for items that have been worked is rather like going to the store for linens---all made of cotton or poly cotton *BUT* they used to be made from linen and the name of the material stuck for the type of objects originally made from it.

So WRT materials there is a difference WRT objects made from such materials the name stuck.

"What English lacks in precision, it makes up for in ambiguity"

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I was wondering about it for pure curiosity's sake... and thanks for the info to look up wrought iron bloomery... that got me what I wanted with a quick google search... as I have said before this server rocks... if the info isn't known, some1 knows a way to find it lol :p

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I've always wondered if you could make a material similar to wrought iron by sintering iron powder with silica powder. Various particle sizes and proportions could be used to make different grades. I've heard of people 'can welding' steel powders, has anyone tried adding some kind of powdered silicate? Would this work?

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Can you make a cake just by pouring all the materials in a pan and sticking it in the oven? Some of what makes wrought iron wrought iron is the mechanical working of the system---look at the byers method of making wrought iron using bessemer steel.

Note that it's ferrous silicates not just silica.

If you go just by composition some of the high silica, clean iron transformer steels would be "wrought iron"---but they don't work or look anything like wrought iron

The Byer's book on Wrought iron is cheap I suggest you buy or ILL it.

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Maybe sintering is the wrong word as it implies that the powder is compressed into the final shape and then heated. I was thinking more of making a billet of the welded powders and then drawing it out and welding it a few times to develop the spherical inclusions into strands. I think with the right composition of powders and sufficient mechanical working you could make something similar to wrought iron.

Electrical silicon steel has the silicon in solution with the iron, what I am proposing would have silicon dioxide inclusions.

The only definition I can find for the Byers method is:

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Wrought Iron: Its Manufacture characteristics and Applications, James Aston, A. M. Byers Company, Philadelphia

The Byers company came up with pretty much the last WI production method where they would pour molten steel into slag and then hydraulically "mix" it to get wrought iron---a process that made a friend of mine scream about going backwards.

As I see it the mix you suggest may have a problem that the melting temp of the silicates is below that of the welding temp of the iron---one reason that multiple forge weldings helps "refine" wrought iron as it extrudes silicates during the welding process. Putting pressure on a mixed state material can become "interesting".

Can you get old "rock wool" made from steel refining slag?

Nothing like experiments to show what can be done!

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