Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Stock Pile Survey

Recommended Posts

I've been involved in many hobbies and know others in crafts. One always has more stock than you can ever use.

1) How much stock do you keep on hand? (rough guess of some sort)

2 ) Do you pick the project, then look for the right material?

3 )Do you have to get more regularly?


4 ) Do you look at your stock and pick a project to do with it?

5 ) How many years of project could you make out of your stock if you picked the material first?

In my wood working, when I chose the project first, I had no stock. when I decided to choose the material first, I ended up with five years worth of stock, all over a weekend......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1) Basic, non-scrap stock? I normally have several feet of varying sizes on hand. Doesn't sound like a lot, but most of the pieces I do are small, so 12' of 3/8" round can last me quite a while.

2) Usually. I try to find stock I have on hand to use, sometimes I've got to go out and find it.

3) Nope. Though I do need to get more barstock at the moment.

4) Sometimes. Especially with scrap stock.

5) It all depends. Most of what I make is small, but every now and then I make something big. So I never know exactly how long my barstock will last. The scrap pile, of course, is always growing no matter what.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For my hobby shop: I have stock and I have scrap; for some projects scrap is OK and I will try to pick the piece that is closest to what I want to end up with to make the forging go faster.

For some projects they need to be made from stock and I usually have to buy it before I start the project. If the budget allows I try to buy extra; especially of sizes/shapes that I use commonly or for items that sell well. Of course my steel dealer is about 2 miles away---for a big order or less common sizes/shapes I have to go to town about a 100 mile *each* *way* trip.

The big difficulty is that some of my work needs to be done out of real wrought iron and so I am limited by what I can find *that* in and so often have to do a lot of forging that would be un-needed if I had it in a greater range of sizes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I try and keep a decent amount of stock on hand, but with the price of steel these days it's not as easy as it used to be, but I still manage to but some extra lengths of stock each time I go to the steel yard.
I normally pick the project then get the material, but a lot of times I just want to make something and do not have any projects planned, so then I'll go and rumage around and pick some metal to make something of.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I live in an area where it's not that easy to get scrap, because all the scrap yards dont allow picking anymore because of liability insurance and stuff. As a result i've got ~100 feet of 3/8 round, 1/2 square, 3/8x1 bar, 1/4 square, and 50 feet of 3/8 square now in my shop, having just purchased it all from the steel yard down the road from me. That should last me a very long time, even with some of the replacement railing projects Iv'e got in mind around my house.

It was cheaper for me to pick up a whole bunch at once, so I spent 150$ on steel this last month, and that should last me over a year i'd think. just over 10$ a month makes the steel one of the less expensive parts of the hobby, even at new prices.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the project is an order from a customer, I usually will go buy new stock to complete it unless it can be done with unused stock on hand. I factor in extra just to make sure the project will get completed without running for more, so new, unused steel sometimes gets added to the inventory. If the project is for me or nonpaying, I'll use whatever is handy and agreeable to the desired result. Fortunately for me, I'm hooked up with one of the local scrap yards and have free rein to go pick and choose. I'll gather whatever looks interesting even if I have no plans for it because...well, you just never know......except that it won't be there when you go back. So that gives me a nice stockpile of previously owned steel in various sizes and shapes that's always conducive to project making.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My brother does a lot of welding fabrication as part of his job. He has a six foot tall rack with about six pairs of shelves, each a filled half with steel. None of it is the right stuff for any project he is after.

I do mostly wood carving and wood turning, though I am learning metal working from my brother.
I used to decide on a project, then try and find stock to fit it. I used to never have the right stock for the project I was after.

I made a decision this year to choose the stock first, and then figure out what project would fit it. I also am trying not to add to my stock.

I suddenly went from having almost no stock, to having more than five years worth of stock. What makes it worse, is that I am still gathering stock faster than I am using it up, and this is with my avoiding gathering stock when possible.

I guess I am going to have to quit my job because it is interfearing with my hobbies......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just cleaned my meager stock pile up the other day. I probably have 10-20 feet of 3 different sizes of square and round stock. Then some total odds and ends of varying (mainly small) size.

I usually go to the scrap yard once ever 3 weeks or so. I'll just browse around and pick up anything that catches my fancy. If I know I'm low on some type I want to use, I'll make a point to pick some up if its there. I have rarely bought new metal, most of it comes from scrap.

I usually pick my project first and then find stock I can use. Sometimes I'll grab stock and think about what I could make with it and work on that. Usually I'll pick the stock first if I'm at a hammer in or open shop or something..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I usually try to buy my stock only once or twice a year. I find that if I collaborate with a few other colleagues and we pool our funds and transport; our discounts can be enough to pay for fuel and still have some room left over.
I currently have about $1000+ of stock, not including my items gleaned from sloo-fishing (scrap).
The problem with scrap is that you find it, and want to save it for that rainy day; you have plenty of rainy days - they just don't seem to be rainy enough to justify using that oh-so-special piece.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Like Rthibeau, I purchase new stock for the job.As part of the bid, I include atleast an extra stick of most things I purchase, not so much to supply my own steel at the client's expense, but to ensure I can finish the product at 2:30 in the morning when I'm desperately try to get it finished on time.
this has allowed me to maintain a decent stock of what I call prototype material.
For the design question, I do both. I design what I think looks good, Then put cost in the bid. But I also tend to push the flavor of the month in whatever steel I have if it doesn't affect the integrity of the job.
For instance right now I am working heavily with 14G corten sheet. Because I have a lot of half sheets that were drops from A job I did.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...