Randy

Metal and Pricing Frustration

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I guess I could grex about coal, too. When I first started buying it, back in the '70's it was already being dropped by a lot of coal yards. The old smiths friends I had were having a tough time getting it. It cost about $80 a ton back then. Then I found a mine in western Maryland that had coal. I went up with a trucker in his 10 ton dump and the machinery they had was huge! The tire on their bucket machine was bigger than the dump truck. He had one piece of coal across the whole top of the bucket. He turned off the engine and asked how I liked that piece?! I said I can't use that, its' too big! So he flipped it up in the air with the bucket and each time it came down it broke into smaller pieces. Even the big pieces that remained I could break up by hand. Best burning coal I have had. Good and hot, little klinker, nice to work with. I bought several loads from that mine over the years. $10 a ton for the coal plus $10 a ton for the trucker. $200 for 10 tons of coal! I sold some and gave some away to my old smith friends. Then the EPA came in and shut the mine down. :angry: I even called the owner of the mine and found the next mine on the same vein and ordered 10 tons of that. Mistake! Full of slate. Miserable stuff. So now I'm hunting for some decent stuff again. Plus it's over $200 a ton now in bulk. It's $8.50 a 50 pound bag if I buy it that way. So that's $340 a ton. And it's crappy stuff. I have two good gas forges, but they sure don't have the control that a coal forge has.

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Randy, During the winter I work for a steel service center by the name of Fay Industries .They are located in Strongsville Ohio www.fayindustries.com From working there I can tell you that 1018 cf definitely is not a problem they stock sizes from 1/8'' to 4'' as a rule. I Have cut stuff for them as large as 18'' in diameter.One nice thing about this place is they do service some areas in Pa .via truck and definitely by U.P.S MIght be worth a call to see If they might be of some help

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.... It's $8.50 a 50 pound bag if I buy it that way. ....
I pay 25.00 for 50lbs of coal. 8.50 a bag seems like a great deal to me! I think I need to find a better supplier of coal. Any Ideas for coal in SE WI?

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Hi my name is Robert young and im a Blacksmith in Hopewell va and i own the ornamental iron company Ornamental Designs, inc. When i go to buy my steel the price for me here is .60 per pound which is still high because it don't take much for it to add up to a big bill.

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I stocked up my racks back at the begining of Nov. This what I payed then.

1/2 sq. .64 lb
1/2 rd. .56 lb
3/8 sq. .64 lb
3/8 rd. .61 lb

I am going to have to back to the steel yard in a couple of weeks for a job. I will let you know what the price is then.

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It looks like prices sure vary across the country... Here in Central Oregon (Redmond) the scrap yard gets 30 cents a pound no matter what type of steel-- some of the new stuff at the supplier is less expensive (cutoff 1/2" round stock for 26 cents/lb). Propane is 2.39 a gallon. Just for kicks, Gasoline is about $3.34 a gallon for regular unlead.

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Local scrap yard no longer sorts what's going out between clean steel, mixed steel and cast iron. It all goes to China at one price! Used to be able to buy cast iron *cheap* as it was bringing 1/10 the cost of steel scrap, no more...

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I haven't wrapped my mind around it yet, but I just went. for the first time, to a metal shop (BMG in Wilson NC). I talked with the warehouse manager a few days ago and told him that I am very small time and had never been in one of these places before. Most of the steel and wrought I have, I have literally found. occasionally, if I needed/wanted a specific size, I would go to one of the box stores and purchase. Well i got three sticks of 1/2 round, three sticks of 1/8 x 1, three sticks of 5/16 round, 1 stick of 5/8 square and three sticks of 5/16 coldroll. I paid a total of $48 all told. I don't know if I was mugged, but didn't feel like it. figured it works out to about 20-cents a foot, all told. I know if I bought the same from a box place the same amount would be 3-5 times that, so I was happy.

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Local scrap yard no longer sorts what's going out between clean steel, mixed steel and cast iron. It all goes to China at one price! Used to be able to buy cast iron *cheap* as it was bringing 1/10 the cost of steel scrap, no more...
Yeah but see if its one price when they are buying your scrap they got more ways to skin ya then an old trapper :angry:

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*You* *sell* *METAL*? (cue rising voice...) I generate so little scrap out of my shop that I usually just let our local scrapper have it---in return he keeps his eyes open for smithing stuff on his rounds and *DOESN'T* mess with *my* scrap pile.

I do take my non-ferrous scrap in; but to a non-ferrous scrapyard in town---my wife used to drive out to the town recycling place and give away our Al cans till I pointed out that not only do we get money for the cans at the scrapyard we save about 10 miles drive over taking them to the recycling point!

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Here, I buy from a couple of welding shops and it's pricey. If I have much to get, a 60 mile drive to the city will about cut my price in half, but I need to be getting a fair amount to justify the drive. No one in this area has ever charged me to cut 20 ft pieces in half tho. In fact the last I got, I said "I'll be cutting 5 ft pieces so make sure to cut the 10's accurately" and he went ahead and cut five foot pieces at no extra charge.

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I have a section of metal cutting bandsaw blade mounted in a bow saw frame to make a 30" hacksaw, very handy for subdividing stock at the purchase place and at US$1 a cut I'm happy to do so by myself.

Recently I bought a 80 pounds of steel from the scrapper for about 11 cents a pound, then was told the next time that the price *should* have been 24 cents a pound, then last week it was 9 cents a pound---by the same guy who told me it should have been 24 cents a pound---don't think the market has been that variable the lest couple of months. *But* I am willing to put up with a lot of BS as they let me rummage the piles, take things apart and are generally happy to see me and it's *still* cheaper (and more fun!) than buying it new down the street from the scrapyard.

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Most metal suppliers have what is called 'rem' piles- these are remnants. Most of the stuff is warped, twisted, a bit rusty or has some sharp edges.

They usually sell it cheap. Usually by the pound and not the foot. When you have a fire, you're the boss and you can reform the stuff to your needs.

I bought probably 75% of my materials from rem piles. Most suppliers are glad to be rid of it.

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Lots of the smaller shops are more than happy to trade scrap for beer, its how I get most of my stuff that I can't scavange from work for my projects at home.  Booze will get you a better price than cash any day.

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   I used to buy a lot of 1/4"x 3/4" hot rolled for small scrolls and other small items but the last time I ordered some it was all sheared stock. I cut it all in half before I realised it and couldnt take it back . The steel supplier doesnt even know the difference between hot rolled and sheared stock, I had to show him the difference. But they don't really care anyway as long as they are making money on it.
          The sheared stock isn't worth 2 cents for ornamental ironwork, it's not even flat and has sharp edges. Now they say that it is the industry standard to shear most stock that is under 1/4" thick. 
               Screwed again by corporate greed

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Today I  picked up 75# of 20 ft long bars of 3/8 and 5/8 inch round cold rolled for $35 at my scraper from his drops (or rems as one member called them)

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Last time I bought 1/2" mild cold rolled I didnt need to cut it. Just bent it in a U.shape to sit in the back of the truck. 20' lengths bend pretty easy if you stand on it close to the middle and grab a as far towards the end as you can reach.

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I pay 25.00 for 50lbs of coal. 8.50 a bag seems like a great deal to me! I think I need to find a better supplier of coal. Any Ideas for coal in SE WI?

i pay 60.00 for a 75 lb bag

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