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rebar for tong making?


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If you're going to spend money at home Depot you may as well just buy some 3/8 or1/2 in. hot rolled mild round stock. You could get it much cheaper at a steel supplier though. Twenty feet at the steel supplier near me costs the same as three feet at home Depot. You may want to Google, easy tongs iforgeiron. These are the simplest to make tongs I've ever seen. They're not going to do the same work as a pair of heavy tongs but they are plenty good enough to get you started and build some confidence by completing a project. I'm not sure of your skill level but tongs aren't the best project to start with. I got by without tongs for quite some time by using stock long enough to hold.

Pnut

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Thank you, all.  Having difficulty finding a supplier at the moment.  You'd think that there would be more in the area.  When I do a search, I get railing fabricators and such.  I have looked for blacksmithing groups in the area...no joy... I will continue to search and I really do appreciate your input.  I will seek 1/2" bar stock as my go to...Thank you all. 

Steve Sells,   Sir, Thank you.  Perfect!

 

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I counted 4 ABANA affiliates listed for VA and it's about 1/3 the size of NM that has only 1 affiliate.  How are you looking for blacksmithing groups?

(And I've never met an affiliate that wasn't open to out of staters as well as sometimes the nearest one is "next door".)

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thomaspowers.  Interesting.  I could not.  If you would like to message me those four, I'd appreciate it.  The size of the state is not nearly as important as the population centers.  Stay away from those...but, if you are stuck in them, anything can be an hour away.  Thank you for assistance.

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Bit of an old post but what's wrong with rebar? It's composition is stamped into it. Also it's intended to prevent buildings and bridges from collapsing under tens of thousands of tons of its own weight. It makes great knifes if youre careful. It will absolutely get hard and yes to hard but if you do a differential heat treat it should be great! My first knives were from rebar and that was 10+ years ago and I still have them 

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The grade/batch#/code is a great way to find out. Google is pretty good at that. All you really need is the company that made it. It's not at all hotdog meat. Lives literally depend on that stuff. I know it has high shear and the one that means pull strength ratings. It's an absolute pain in the xxx  to forge but I like it. I don't mean to diss other countries but if it's American made then it likely is a good metal in this case. Always go with large rebar. It''s large for a reason so it's very likely up to the task.

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And, rebar can vary in composition along it's length.  Some parts harder than others.  The "sausage of steels", rebar.  OK for practice, but if you're serious about quality work, use known steel, not rebar.  If the ridges aren't forged out properly or ground out, they can lead to cold shuts.  As Frosty often states, rebar is made for concrete.

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Absolutely no disrespect but you're using the wrong rebar and possibly the wrong methods. Rebar is graded by strength. I use #8 or #80 tomato tamahtoe. It's a straight xxxxxxxxx  to forge out but #10/100 would break your arm. #5 and under a toddler could bend. Rebar is no different than any other steel. Simply graded differently based on its purpose. You can make an envelope out of cardboard and boxes from notebook paper but isn't each used sensibly to its purpose? Both are also paper but never considered the same right?

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I use rebar occasionally because I was given several lengths of it. I make mostly door pulls and hooks with it. It's very inconsistent so sometimes it's an exercise in frustration. Some forges with great ease then you move down an inch or two and it feels hard as a rock. Crazy stuff to work for sure

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That would be the lower rated rebar. That stuff is meant for driveways and wheelchair ramps. Always go for the higher grades. Anything you get from a superstore is low grade. Construction suppliers have the good stuff. True some is butter but the good is like pounding on cold Steel with a rubber mallet. I've dealt with many many types of rebar grades and sizes. I have a stack of #60 and #80. The rest I give away for scrap. 

It has great tensile and shear strength. The key is differencial heat treat. Gently. 

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If I was going to make a knife I would buy an alloy suitable for knifemaking. If my neighbor offered to give me a stack of rebar I would take it and be happy to have gotten it. I think the point most folks and myself included are trying to make is that there's enough variables when you're just starting out that adding stock that isn't consistent is just one more obstacle you could stumble over.  I know what to expect from just as an example, 10xx series steels, I can look up correct forging temps recommended quenchants and tempering procedures. With Rebar its a guessing game because what worked to harden the first foot of stock may or may not work on the second,third, and fourth foot. Now with all that being said I am sure you can make good tongs from rebar but I can make ones just as good from 1018 or coil spring and they're much easier to work under the hammer.  If rebar is what you have then absolutely use it for anything it's suitable for and the only way to figure that out is to try. I only have so much time I can spend at the forge so I try to make that time as productive as I can and one way I do that is with new known steel.

Pnut

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Totally agree! It is great for beginners since it's so easy to obtain. My point is simply not to discount something because of what it is or a stereotype. I've made plenty things from it and they turned out great. Luck of the draw? Maybe. Unlikely but possible. I certainly advocate buying what you know and what is best for a given project bit I also love the guessing game. I have about 200lbs of random 3/8in flat stock for barring store front doors and windows. All logic screamed mild unhardenable steel. I made 6 roughed blades from it before even testing if it could harden. Turns out...yup. definitely hardens. Slammed edge, side against anvil and didn't deform, chip, or crack. Lucky I am but still trying steels you don't know can be fun to. Think of it as practice of technique rather than a failure of the steel. 

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In addition to lacking the predictability of known alloys, rebar also has that texture that has to be hammered out to be made useful. I personally only use the stuff for purely functional applications (e.g., reinforcing struts on my hammer rack) or where the texture can be used as a design feature.

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With mystery steel you can heat a small test coupon to non magnetic quench in oil clamp it in the vise and whack it with a hammer after you lay a rag over it. If it doesn't break heat another piece and quench it in brine and repeat. If it still doesn't break try it in plain water and repeat if it's still not hard whip up some super quench and repeat. If it still doesn't harden it's not going to be hardenable in the average shop. There's plenty of posts here about junkyard rules, spark testing, and testing for  hardening. 

If I hadaccess to free rebar I would use it more but I live fifteen minutes away from a steel supplier that will sell to the public. I also haven't been blacksmithing very long and I like to keep the variables down. I don't turn down free steel though if I can use it.

Pnut

 

 

 

 

 

11 minutes ago, JHCC said:

rebar also has that texture that has to be hammered out to be made useful

No kidding. That texture doesn't like to go away. I had to grind it off with an angle grinder prior to putting it in the forge.

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I made a handle for my sons welding cart from rebar. It was so hard, we couldn't drill holes in it. He ended up just welding it onto the cart. I don't know if it was the material or maybe I work hardened it a good bit. Or both. It was kind of a bear to forge to the shape and dimension correctly

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I didn't intend to argue over rebar. I just have access to very large amounts of it very frequently. So I'll occasionally use it for simple projects or small knives. The nearest steel supplier to me is almost 2 hours away. I meant if OP had free access to a good bit of it then to me it's worth toying with and finding out how to make it work for him. 

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beyond the mystery steel aspects, my reason for not using rebar,, ever since my early beginnings,,, is that I just don't want to put all that time making anything,,, and when you are done, it just looks like rebar.

Rebar looks really good, no matter where it comes from or how easy to get, inside concrete or on the way to the scrap yard.

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ConsrtuctionK88, no argument from me. If you have access to free supplies and you can turn it into something and enjoy it, that's good. That's why I've been using it is because it was free. I just wouldn't want to give anyone new to the craft the idea to go out and buy it to learn on because it's so fickle. 

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I've made a bunch of bottle openers from rebar, keeping the texture on the handle. They are great thank-you gifts, especially to folks who would especially appreciate that particular detail, such as contractors who let you have structural steel scrap. The last one I gave away was to the boss at the scrap yard for helping me out with spectrometry of some 4140; it seemed like a pretty fair exchange.

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