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A-36 steel


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I just picked up some A-36 stock from the local supplier. I was wondering if anyone has tried to forge weld with this steel. I'm pretty new and I'm trying to learn to forge weld with my Forge Master blacksmith gas forge. I have had very little luck so far and I was told the kinds of steel can make a big difference in your ability to forge weld. Any information would be appreciated.

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It is a mild steel, with only 26 points of carbon. It has 75 points of manganese which is also not a problem, as far as forge welding.

Chemical composition of A36 depends on thickness. Carbon ranges from 25 points if less than 20mm to 29 points for 100mm or thicker. Manganese is not specified for stock of less than 20mm, and can be between 0.8% and 1.2% for stock thicker than 20mm. Some manufacturers put in a bit of copper.

But, yes, it can indeed be forge-welded.
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Generally speaking, A-36 should forge weld. But A-36 is a structural grade, which means it has to meet certain structural requirements not a chemical composition. Often A-36 is made with a lot of recycled material and that means it can vary a lot. So while you may forge weld hundreds of pieces of A-36, you may also run across a piece or several or spots in a bar that just doesn't want to forge weld. Go ahead and learn on it but don't get discouraged if you find a piece that gives you fits. Chalk it up to that specific section, get another and try again. Rebar is the same way.

ron

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I had a piece of 3/8" rod which just would not weld. The whole 20 feet of it, which was the stick size unit in which it was purchased (the steel store would not sell smaller). I ended up using some of it, and trading it with other smiths. One bar I traded a piece for welded up just fine, but I used it all up. I ended up having to keep the stuff separate. The bars looked exactly the same. Same size, same rust, same spark test. But you could tell right away. The bad stuff was not sticky in the fire when you heated two lengths next to each other.

A couple of years back, I went to a workshop. Most of the students could complete the welds. They were using precut cold-rolled stock from the same lot. The instructor could not stick one weld with the piece of scrap that she pulled from the bin.

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A man I met the other day, who has been a blacksmith for his entire life and has a large business.He tells me that the steel out there does vary some and they get steel that they try every method they have ( coal, gas, induction ) and can't get it to forge weld. I have just started trying to learn how so it has been frustrating. I'm in a learning curve as well.

jimbob, I plan on coming to a meeting but I had plans yesterday. I had already found the guild's web site and I want to come meet you guys.

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