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I Forge Iron

Help, my metal is all flaky. How can I fix it?


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For my first major forging project, I've decided to convert an old barrel of an AK-47 into a giant spoon/ladle.  Basically, the barrel is the handle of the spoon, and the place where it connects to the receiver (where the bullet enters) is the spoon part.  

 

So far, I've got everything hammered out into a roughly spoon shaped object.  But the metal is getting all flaky on me.  I'd like to get all the flaked smoothed out into a smooth.  There's also some holes in the middle of the spoon part where I accidentally hit the metal with the edge of my hammer, rather than the face.  I'm not too concerned about having holes in the middle of my spoon, as lots of serving spoons have that, but the flakes would make the thing unusable.

 

Right now, I'm using a propane forge with brick insulation.  It gets hot enough that you can see the red metal in full sunlight, but it's not glowing.

 

So my question is: how can I fix the flakiness?  Do I need to get my forge up to hotter temperatures, or is their a "quick fix" like buying a map gas burner and just heating/hammering these flaky bits individually?

 

I've attached a bunch of pictures.  I've got a lot more of different angles/different progress levels during the forging if you think it might help.post-39798-0-71985700-1366086254_thumb.jpost-39798-0-07247800-1366086263_thumb.jpost-39798-0-17789800-1366086269_thumb.jpost-39798-0-16453000-1366086286_thumb.jpost-39798-0-62886800-1366086293_thumb.jpost-39798-0-61590000-1366086301_thumb.jpost-39798-0-60815600-1366086309_thumb.jpost-39798-0-94030300-1366086315_thumb.j

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i think if you research burnt steel the pictures will look just like your steel, No way to fix it,, Another thing is you do not have an anvil,,cast iron does not allow you to work well,,,and you then need to heat the steel a lot more than you would otherwise,,,with alot more sessions of heatin and beatin steel gets to hot too often.....all steel heated into red range develop scale...And as the steel gets thinner with work it heats faster,,,more scale,,,,but if it is scale or burnt ,,,,it is still not usable...

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To me it looks like you have a few things going on.  I am sure rifle barrels have a very controlled heat range that you should be working in. next are you wire brushing the metal coming out of the forge, also I would start off with mild steel not a rifle barrel and and get the forge running right you need to be in the bright orange to yellow range. 

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I think major problem is alloy of materials you are working with.....  To much heat and not cleaning (brushing) surfaces often enough... Think the AK barrel should be consigned to wall art or yard art and you should use a more malleable material for your spoon....

 

Dale

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Just thought I'd mention that some AK's had chromed chambers and bores.  The fumes of that stuff at forging temperatures isn't good for you or anyone around the forge.  

 

The other thing that occurs to me is that AK's are made in many, many countries with a wide range of quality in materials.  I once watched a program where the host traveled to various dangerous places.  One of which was a godforsaken village in the Mountains of Afghanistan where people were making extremely crude copies of Soviet firearms (among others).  There were little kids in the street assembling ammunition by hand - seating bullets with carpenter hammers.

 

I wouldn't be a bit surprised if their metal stock came from whatever came to hand.  I also wouldn't be surprised if some of it was crudely smelted with whatever scrap they could find.  It seems to me that a billet of mystery metal with impurities aplenty would be susceptible to strange behaviors in forging.

 

Without knowing the lead, mercury, or whatever content, I'd be concerned about using the spoon for food or cooking.

 

As an art piece I'd consider riveting a split piece of empty cartridge brass over the interior of the spoon. You could use a loose bullet as a rivet to attach them together.

 

As for the flaking, I'd say file it.  I wouldn't expect things to improve with further forging.

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Without knowing the lead, mercury, or whatever content, I'd be concerned about using the spoon for food or cooking.

 

As an art piece I'd consider riveting a split piece of empty cartridge brass over the interior of the spoon. You could use a loose bullet as a rivet to attach them together.

If you're going to use a loose bullet as a rivet, then definitely stay away from food and/or cooking with that spoon.  I imagine it would be perfectly fine for 'industrial' uses, like as a flux spoon.

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