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I Forge Iron

What am I burning?

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Ok, here's a question I think I know the answer to, but I thought i'd toss it our there for the pros anyway.

My father in law gave me a post vise that was strapped to a tree for the last 20 years. I finally got it all apart and decided to use one of the metal straps that secured it to the tree to make a new leaf spring for it. While in the fire, the flames became a bright blue, and the red paint (very old and faded) blistered and turned a dusty yellow while it burned off. (I was outdoors and stayed clear of the smoke/fumes until it cleared)
I had never had this happen before, and i'm thinking it was probably a lead paint that the strap was coated with.

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We have platforms with 'I'-bean, 'H'-beam, and channel iron that has all been hot dipped galvanized. All the floor grating is galv. also. Never, NEVER burn the stuff in your forge, ain't worth the risk. and there is too much 'free' steel in the right places to take the chance.

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Usually you can recognize it before it gets into the forge; but sometimes old stuff can be quite rusty but still have traces of galvanization!

And yes high lead paint was commonly used on old ironwork too and should be avoided.

And then there are things like cadmium plating that is worse for you than zinc!

The basic rule is to NOT forge *any* plated material and thus not have to worry about what it *might* be.

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At the iron pour some of the young bucks think it is great fun to put plated screws in their molds to get a pyrotechnic display when the molten iron hits them but I get as far a way as possible from them. They will put in deck screw, dry wall screws, galvanized screws just to get pretty sparks, it is quite a display but not something one should inhale.

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