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I Forge Iron

Heat treating this tool.....???

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OK, the main reason I wanted a forge is to make some tools up.
One that I made recently was a curved bowl rest for my wood lathe.........

I made this one out of 1" thick mild steel, I've used it a lot and it works well, so far, but to bend a piece, I needed to use the 3/4" stock.

Here is a pic, at the time, I did not have a forge, only two propane burners, little ones, and I could only get one small section of the piece somewhat hot, so the bend is not the best, but it works....


Now that I have a forge, :D I will make another one, and I'll even try for an "S" curve.

Now, this is just mild steel, I would really like to make this the best I can, can I harden it in some way?

Heat it up, to non-magnetic, quench it, then heat it up in the oven to a set temp for X number of minutes and then let it cool...?

Oh for quenching, I got some old Safflower oil from a buddy, about a gallon of it, should that work?



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Great pics. You can't really do much to harden mild steels. Pretty much anything with less than 40 points of carbon won't be hardened by heat treatment. I think you could buy some case hardening compound(or do it the old way of wrapping it in bone or hoof chips then encasing in clay and baking it for a week or so, as the carbon compounds decompose the carbon is free to bond with the surface of the metal.) but this will still only harden a thin layer on the surface. I personally think that that size stock would be more than adequate without hardening. You mentioned when you made it that you had a difficult time bending it even with the heat you were applying. Do you really have a concern that it will bend or flex during use? If not, I say leave it as it is. If you truly are concerned, then simply buy some higher carbon steel and forge away, as it will only take a few minutes to get the desired shape now. I also think that the oil may be a bit small for a piece that size, as you want to be able to submurge it completely(any part above the oil surface will allow the oil to burn) and still have some room to wiggle it around( to keep the bubbles off the surface and ensure all parts cool equally). Normally that's the advice given for blade making, and a large thick piece should be much more forgiving than a thin blade. Ok, I've rambled enough.

The above is to be taken with a grain of NaCl.

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Stu: You can use other steel than mild steel. That means you will have to pay more attention to your welding technique, since each alloy has different requirements.

However, for that particular tool rest, I'd just weld a 1/4" trianglular support under it and that will do the trick. In fact, I think you will get a bit of vibration and flex almost no matter what you make the tool rest from unless you support it. It won't take much. I think the last one I did was probably only about 1.5" tall or so. You will be amazed at the difference, and it is a lot easier than trying to heat treat a piece that big without proper facilities. The gouge only sits on the top of the rest, and as long as you don't weld a support lower than you need the rest to slide down, you should be fine.

Don't let your turning buddies find out you weld and forge. They will give you no peace! :)

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How about making the tool rest out of flat bar instead of round??...say 3/4" or 1" thick X 1-1/2" wide or so....just a thought..........ken

And a good one Ken, thanks.

The problem is, I'm having trouble finding good stock that thick. I need to find a good scrap yard that will let me pick through their piles, most won't let the public in the door................ I guess I need to show up with a case of beer in hand...........;)

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