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I Forge Iron

Diggin' Irons


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I realize that there are a million out there, but are old digging irons (or digging bars) generally tool steel? Or just mild with tool added to the cutting edge?
How about picks heads?
I cut a few of the irons up and the sparks looked to me like tool steel or higher carbon steel, even when I cut far from the tip.



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Well it depends: a lot of old ones were made from model T axles or truck axles and so are probably a medium carbon steel.

I don't know of any that are "tool steel" kind of expensive for a cheap tool and I have seen some of mild steel.

I was once surprised to find that the 1.5" digging bar I was using to support a trip hammer while unloading it had actually been welded together in the middle and it wasn't a full penetration weld! (neither I not the trip hammer was hurt---plan your dangerous tasks to "fail safe"!)


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Hi Mammoth,

I'm Larry to answer your question yes medium carbon tools work very well. Also just so you know medium carbon can be harden in water quench. It is alot more forgiving than some chome moly alloy and higher carbon steels. When you quench it, it will be fairly hard outside and tough in the core.

Larry McCollum

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Medium carbon is often used for hammers and by some people for tongs. Punches are often a bit higher in carbon but even mild steel will work for a limite run...

I picked up two nice hefty old cold chisels to be forged into punches, slitting tools and knives at the fleamarket this morning for US$1

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