Johnny Glades

rebar for tong making?

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These are my first 2 from rebar about 12 years ago. Bottom is my first. Ugly yes, ground down with a grinder. Functionality? Ohhh yes. Quite thin but edge impact is spot on. I admit they were a pain to forge out. Used wood and charcoal then. The blue one (mine) I did a test slice against my dad's machete he made from a band saw. I'm sure my nick is visible. His nick broke the machete. Side impact however could shatter them like glass. Picture us upside-down 

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Edited by ConstructionK88
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I just recently was put onto rebar. It used to be made from bumpers and beer cans, but construction graded rebar has regulated composition. Grade 60 is pretty close to 4130 (though not quite). I have always made tongs from rail clips- I used to have a good source, but it dried up. I called Alro about some 3/4 inch 4140 and am a bit shocked by the $430  price for a 20 ft bar. #6 grade 60 rebar is $13 and change for a 20 ft bar at menards. Rebar is still experimental for me, but thus far it looks good.

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Not having power to my powerhammer, I find working rebar down to smooth is a waste of time and effort when I can use sucker rod for a good medium carbon steel available at 20 cents a pound at my local scrap yard.   Also be sure you are getting the good grade of rebar; most stores around here sell the "trashcan stew rebar".

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9 minutes ago, jason0012 said:

Where I live sucker rod is about as common as moon rocks. I would hate to try forging tong reins without the power hammer.

Same here!

A Menards is currently being built in the town near me!  

 

I see a grade #60 listed on there website. Is this the one you have been using?

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Used to get sucker rod easily in Ohio and Arkansas and Oklahoma as well.   Often used as fencing for horses out here.

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2 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

Used to get sucker rod easily in Ohio and Arkansas and Oklahoma as well.   Often used as fencing for horses out here.

That may be the case again in NE Ohio with the Shale boom. My area used to be a-wash with it, but that boom has long since past. 

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This one. It is not 4130, the chromium is too low but it has nickle, vanadium, and molybdenum.  Actual properties should be pretty close to 4130. Rail clips are not a listed alloy, but are very near either 5160 or 9260, they have some Si and are just a smidge lower in Cr.

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BTW were you  referring to the NUCOR MSDS for Bar Steel,  rebar, etc; that menards links to when you are talking about it's "regulated composition"? (Did you note the large ranges quoted and the huge number of tramp elements listed as maybe in it?) Big difference between a MSDS and a Spec: example: Sulfur <0.9 in the MSDS and MAX 0.04 in the 4130 spec.

A few ones from the MSDS

C: <1.2                                

Cr: 0.01-1.2

Ni: <1.0

Mn: 0.2-2                            

Mo: <0.9

B,Sn,Ti,V,S,Se,P,Ni,Mg,Nb,Si,Cu,Ca,SB:  <0.9  (basically tells you nothing of it's composition)

Properties are not anything like 4130 with those ranges!  Do you have a spec for it that actually gives the analysis details for it, because that MSDS does not show a regulated composition!

For example here are the ranges for for the  AISI 4130 spec

Carbon: 0.28 - 0.33

Chromium: 0.8 - 1.1

Manganese: 0.7 - 0.9

Molybdenum: 0.15 - 0.25

Phosphorus: 0.035 max

Silicon: 0.15 - 0.35

Sulphur: 0.04 max

There are more tightly regulated rebars for things like use in seismically active regions; but they do cost more and are usually not big box store stuff.

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I know from first hand experience there is a good use for rebar outside of concrete. Nothing is better for pinning corners in log construction, we'd mark then notch the log, trim the length so it laid flat then tune the notch so it rested tight and even. Lastly drill a 1/2" hole through the top log about 1/2 way through the bottom log. Using pry bars lift the top log and put a plum sized gob of Bondo on the joint, let the log down and drop a smallish rope of Bondo in the drilled hole and drive a length of 1/2" rebar into the hole. 1/2" rebar doesn't just drop into a 1/2" hole you have to drive it in with a sledge and when it bottoms in the hole it squishes Bondo up and out. 

Even plain rebar is outstanding for pegging log construction corners. 

Of course folks who use 2 sided logs and dovetails don't need to peg the corners and can chink with silicone calking or rubber weather stripping laid between the logs. 

Other than that I've used rebar to make ground anchor stakes and inexpensive firewood racks for folk who like how rebar looks. Mother and Father for example, no hand forged stuff for them, nosiree! It wasn't till I was talking to my Uncle Fred after Dad's passing I found out why he was so against learning or doing any blacksmithing. Seems that during the great depression he was too young and small to get a "real" job so he sharpened plow shears on a 50 lb. Little Giant for a nickle a day. By time he'd worked up to making a whole $0.50/day he found a better job and moved on 

They only had a couple of my forged pieces in the house mostly because Mother insisted but forgings brought back too many bad memories for Dad. 

Anyway, that's why we bent rebar into two rings about 4' in diameter and welded a couple cross pieces on the bottoms to connect and act as feet, the tops were welded together. It was in their house in E. Wenatchee when he passed away even though they'd never built a fire in the fire place, it held wood next to it and he bragged about it being made by his son.

Funny what has meaning to folk and why isn't it?

Frosty The Lucky.

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Why on earth would you look to the MSDS for alloy data? I was looking at ansi spec for grade 60 rebar. It is for high stress applications. Grade 100 and 120 look real interesting , and there are higher grades. Grade 60 and 80 are pretty commonly available. Buy 30-40 tons at a time and 4140 gets cheap. I dont want that much and am not ok with paying alro's $415 mark up on a single bar. That is why I use old springs. I hate to have to process that extensively, but for the money that bar stock is off the table. 

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OK; I was just wondering about the link from Menards to the general "bar steel" MSDS.  Could you provide the link you used? They are redoing all the bridges on the local interstate and so some high grade rebar is coming through the local scrapyard; both used and small sections new.

My great grandfather was a smith in a small Ozark Hill town.  I don't know if they noticed the Great Depression; probably just business as usual.  However I did notice that when he died he owned 960 acres of land. I always wondered if some of that was traded for smithing when cash was low.  Still a bit of it in the family; My mother transferred her 13 acres on to me and I will probably pass it to my Daughters in time.  Looks like at one time it was pasture; luckily not for cattle with one set of legs shorter than another.  Trees are progressing as the "starter" ones are getting shaded out now.  Last time I was looking at it I found what looks like a root cellar. Also was picking ticks off for the next 3 days...

One of my kin had the old dog trot cabin: two log pens with a gap between them and a shared roof over both; unfortunately it's gone now.  One of my G'grandmothers raised 13 kids and named them all with names starting with E.

There is a piece of my smithing in the graveyard at my Father's grave. I plan to have my ashes scattered there someday too.

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A706 is a high grade of rebar which you can get in grades 60 or 40.  If you are just buying "grade 60" you probably not getting the A706 version.  Hence my confusion.  Down here we don't usually see the higher grade version of 60 at big box stores. (And the folks at the Big Box store tend not to know the difference either!)

As an example: "If two different bar grades or specifications are welded together, the electrode for the rebar with the higher tensile strength is used. For example, if an A706 grade 60 bar is welded to a A615 grade 60 bar, the electrodes required for the A615 grade 60 are used." from precast.org

Next time you stop by please ask if their grade 60 is A706 or A615 or other?

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Just browsed the local CL and saw this:

Sucker rod: 

3/4 rods-25'-$8.50
7/8 rods-25'-$10.50

That's about a dollar more per rod than I'm paying at the scrapyard for 3/4 and almost the same for 7/8! Maybe next Quad-State I get to go to I should bring some along as trading material.

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The reality of  the rebar availability is online the website says they have it but the folks at the store of course get that glazed over look when you ask about it. I have some of the higher grades rebar from a construction company. I ran a few pairs of tongs and have to admit I am disappointed. The texture is kind of a pain, but it just is not up to being the weight I want. These pick up tongs work fine, but, aside from thier being extra fugly, weigh about twice what they should. This stuff just doesn't have the spring to it that I am looking for. Oh well, back on the trail for tong stock. If all else fails maybe some of the quarries will have old sucker rod. ( I havent seen it, doesnt mean it isnt there)

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looks like you have a few cold shuts in those tongs.

Using rebar of any kind for tongs means that when they get hot, you must quench them. then they break.

Thus I use mild steel for all my tongs. no reforging, no no cold shuts, no breaking when quenched.  

 

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On 11/20/2019 at 11:52 AM, marcusb said:

A Menards is currently being built in the town near me!

That wouldn't be the one on Dayton-yellow Springs would it? 

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I've made a set or three of tongs from rebar, and still have one that hangs on my rack that is useful at times. I will say that rebar is far better for bottle tree stands than it is for tong making material.

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