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I Forge Iron

Need Opinions On Type Of Steel

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Ok I am on this fish gig thing and would appreciate someother opinions on the type of steel that might hold up. These fish gigs are normally thrown at fish and sometimes miss and end up hitting rocks.So the steel has to be something that does not bend easy or dull the points.Theres an old blacksmith somewhere in Mo. I think that uses old car leaf springs (what are they made of? ) but I am no blacksmith, so I am wanting something that is either already what I need, or something that will work after heat treating it. I will have them cut out with a CNC plasma cutter.Thanx for any and all of ya'lls opinions. Cooter
Thought I would post another pic of one.



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I am using the coil spring off of a GM pickup to make center punches out of. It isn't dulling unless I try to use it hot. From the looks of the picture you will be cutting away what you don't want and then welding it together. The (flat) spring stock will be fine once you harden and temper. The plasm will likely daw the temper so you will need to heat treat. If the temp stays below ~400F clean up with a grinder and careful welding may produce what you seek. Slow cool the weld area of course. Try a piece and see.

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I just looked up the definition of forging. Even tho I find that very interesting, and would probably be really neat to do, I think I am to old to start now to learn this, or at least right now in trying to produce these gigs. I've never done anything other than some self taught machine work. I am hoping to learn heat treating first, and use that after cutting the gigs from some sort of flat sheet metal 1/4" thick.The wife would KILL me if I started collecting more equipment right now, other than an oven for heat treating.All of ya'll are artist that can do all this forging,drawing and such,I am a spectator at best. I just need to find the metal type in sheet form that will work for me. Thanx for all your inputs. Cooter

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I've made a couple hundred gigs over the last 30 years or so for the giggers around here. I forge most of mine from old pitchforks and then weld on a half inch round mild steel shaft and a handle socket made from 16 guage sheet. I have made some from car spring, slit the tines with a hot cut and then forged to shape, all one piece including the forged handle socket.

Either way, I just let the gig normalize after forging and then heat treat only the points. I heat the points up to the barbs to critical and then quench in oil. I polish the points a bit to see the temper colors and then using a propane torch start heating the hardened tip back behind the barb and watch the colors run to the tip. I temper mine to a dark purple or so.

I have had good luck with this process, but no matter how hard the tips they will still wear when gigging in gravel bottom streams. Also, if you leave them too hard they WILL break. I still have one of the first gigs I made and still use that I have rebarbed a couple times now as the points have worn down.
I like to keep a very sharp point on the gigs that I use, which means I touch them up after every use. The points are too hard to file, so this means using an angle grinder or a sanding belt to sharpen them.

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My brother in laws dad ( no longer with us) made gigs forged from leaf springs
I looked at Admiral Steel -http://www.admiralsteel.com/products/blades.html
5160 is what most springs are ,the widest I found was 4 in. & $$$

You say you wanted to cut them out not forge.Just thinking can you weld?
Or have some one Weld it for you? Like make 2 -1/2s out of 2 in and weld them to each other.

My Grand Dad ( Moms Dad) had to gig in the winter to help feed the family.
Mom tells- Everyone in town wanted to go with Tom giging ,he allways brought home tubs full of fish. I guess he was really good.
He passed before I was born and from what Mom has told me he made his gigs
only info she knew about his gigs they were as big as his hand.
Not much help
I dont think forging would be that hard to do
I would think its like making a Fork -I think there is a BP on forks

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Man ,this is whole lot of info. I am gonna think about some of this.If I was only gonna make a couple, or for just myself, I would love to hand build them. But I am gonna try to build several dozen to sale locally around here and trying to hand forge that much would be a killer I'm sure.I can weld, so thats why I figured if I got the right kind of plate steel and got someone with a CNC to cut them out, I could probably do the heat treating and weld the collar for the pole to the gig, and then it would be ready. I seen one advertised that claimed it was made from T1 Wear Plate, what is that? Thanx, Cooter

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I make gigs from the springs off overhead doors. I heat and unwind the spring, straighten a bit, then bend two long pieces to make a four point fork pattern (two "U" patterns with a leg in the center of each for the mounting shank). Since you aren't forging, you can grind a barb on each tip and weld the backs of the pieces together. No need to heat treat if it's high carbon as you don't want it to break on a rock.

I forge each point and barb in a heat, then lay up and forge weld the two shanks in another heat but this might be a stretch if you haven't done it before. Takes me about 15 minutes to unwind the stock and another 15 minutes to make the fork so two per hour is reasonable. Years ago, I picked up about 30 pieces of 1/4" round high carbon steel at a scrap yard and made a bunch of trash spikes and gigs from that but it's all gone now.

This is actually one of those few jobs that goes faster with hammer, forge and anvil than most other methods.

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