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Fire scale is a kissing cousin to rust. Both are iron oxides, slightly different chemical formulae.

When the orange hot steel comes in contact with the oxygen in the air, the scale forms. If your gas forge is running lean/oxidizing (less gas) more scale is formed. If the gas forge is running rich (more gas) less scale will form.

In the coal forge, if you push your steel down towards the bottom of the fire pot, you will get more scale as the oxygen at the bottom of the fire pot has not yet been consumed by the burning coke.

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Is it recommended to brush off scale with each heat? Does this lead to less scale on the finished piece or is it not worth the extra time?

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brushing your piec does remove but doesnot reduce scaling...the reason you want rid of it is it is harder than the metal you are bangin therefore when its hot and you smack the metal the scale can imbed it self in the steel ...not to mention how it will dent your anvil so you should brush the piece and wipe the anvil after every heat

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Thanks guys. The brushing seems logical. I have worked without doing so and it did seem that I had pounded some of the "super rust" right into the piece. Thanks for the confirmation.

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A lot of the time you can hit a few glancing blows or "on edge" smacks with your hammer to dislodge the scale. Saves tons of time messing around with a brush, switching it for a hammer and then going to work.

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I saw a smith who worked with a wet anvil and hammer because the water would form steam so fast it blew the scale off the steel without brushing. I've tried it and it works however I've splashed myself a few times plus the loud pop when the steel hits the anvil is a touch disconcerting for onlookers.

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I guess if your anvil doesn't have a good ring, you could wet it and make it pop to get people to come see what is going on. :) Sending flying scale at them after may not work out in your favor though :(

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I agree with Nuge on angling the hammer for the first tap or two. I tap the outside edge first, to send the sparks at my leather apron rather than at the onlookers. (Knock on wood), never burned a spectator......yet!!! My welds usually take quickly by angling the hammer, then flat striking it. My 2 cents. :)

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Anybody try fastening a wire brush to the anvil stand? The thought leaped out at Nuge's comment about switching tools. I can only think of minor reasons to not do so, such as brushing your leg or not being able to be vigorous enough with a large iron. Controlling the hot iron seems the only dangerous part...

I have noticed that the first few taps drop a pile of scale and I am tending to tap on one end of the anvil and work on the other because of it. I keep forgetting that I have a wire brush on the stump ready to pick up till I am reheating. Then I brush off my anvil.

Phil

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Yeah, great idea Phil and a good modification Grant.

How about angling them so the bristles come together in a "V" so you can brush different sized steel and still hit both sides?

Frosty

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I thought about making a V too. I think the only extra wire brushes I have are small ones, so I might need to buy another brush to give it a try.

Phil

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The switching of tools and the time/heat lost doing so is certainly a drawback.

The brush attached to the anvil stand sounds worth attempting. How about two brushes with a spring to create some pressure on the piece as it passes between them....

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No spring needed. Take two of the big brushes (what 3 X 6?, The kind with real stiff wires) and mount them so they face each other just touching. You should be able to draw anything up to 1 inch or so through. The wires are the springs.

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I am knew to this, but what scale I do get, usually comes right off with the first smack. I guess the law of averages ensures that at some point I am gonna end up with scale sticking outta my project when all finished. But, what I do know is that if you are trying to forge weld, you deffinitely need to get off the scale. It makes welding a living hell if you don't get it off.

Mutt

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Perhaps mount the brushes with a hardy hole shaft so that they will drop in place and be stationary whilst dragging the work back and forth?

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I got in the habit of smacking the hot iron against the side of the anvil, before placing it on the anvil and striking, surprised no one else mentioned this method, most of the scale falls off. Even if I am using my power hammer, I smack the side of the anvil with the hot steel.

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I got in the habit of smacking the hot iron against the side of the anvil, before placing it on the anvil and striking


What? No mounting of brushes, springs, gadgets etc.? Where's your sense of adventure?

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