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I Forge Iron

Really dumb question about rebar


jj2k

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I used Irns design to make my posts for roping off my forging area. I used rebar as the material for the posts because I had had a bunch given to me.
Anyhow I forged the points on one end and the loops on the other end.
On several of these, as I went to use them last saturday, broke at the loop. I was driving them into the ground and wasn't even hitting that hard. Is rebar just that brittle or do I need to handle quenching differently or what? I am gonna do some experimenting this morning but I was curious what other folks excperience with rebar might be.

Thanks,

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jjk-Obviously your stakes were just a little bit too long anyway ;) Reforge and re-bend.

Don't quench that end at all. I have a friend who has made most all of his eye punches, small fullers and flatters etc he uses for making animal heads out of rerod. He lives next door to a construction company and when he needs some new stock he hits their scrap pile and hauls an armload home. He heats and quenches each piece....what will harden he keeps and what won't he takes back to the scrap pile. Rerod is CHEAP, ie. there is a wide margin of what might be in it.

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Low grade rebar can be just about anything and it can vary along the length of a single piece. High grade rebar has a spec to it but is usually used for large construction projects: skyscrapers, bridges, dams, etc where it's a mission critical item and so harder for the smith to casually pick up.

In general I don't quench *ANYTHING* I forge but knives or tools. (and they may be quenched in warmed oil) When I'm done forging I will throw a piece out in the desert to cool "naturally"

A36 the most common "mild steel/weldable steel/?" has a variable carbon content since it is spec'd by minimum yield strength (36Kpsi) and not by alloy content; so sometimes if you quench it it may get hard and brittle and sometimes not; so it's best to let it cool "naturally". In cold weather this may include suspending a piece off a wire hook from the roof truss---keeping it a long way away from burnables of course---rather than letting it have contact with a very cold floor or desert...

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I have done the very same thing, with the same results. Now if using rebar I always let it normalize as Obi Wan Powers has said. no more trouble. yet. I quit using rebar as much since it is so varied I can't get repeatable bends in it. So with some exceptions, I do as JWB said and just buy hot roll. I do have about half a bundle of 3/8 rebar at my disposal so I still incorporate when I can.

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The scrap pile does seem to attract stray rebar if you are not carefull. I managed to get rid of almost all my lowgrade stuff when my neighbor needed to stake down his chainlink fence and was using straight sections of rebar---I fired up the gasser and bent the top over on all the pieces he had and then cut and did the same to all the scrap rebar I had. He was happy and I was happy his dog would stay at home...

What I use rebar for is small snakes---esp for kids doing a simple project.

"These are not the anvils you are looking for" (wave)

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there are basically two kinds of rebar, bendable and non bendable, just cold bend an end and you will know immediately what it is.

At one plant they haul old RR track to one end of the plant, cut the bulb from the base, and run them thru the two rolling mills, one side comes out as rebar the other side as metal T posts for making fence.

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My demo barricade posts are 3/8" rebar. I bent the rope eye into a "U" shape and I have never broken one. I did loan them to someone to use for a demo and when I got them back, one of the "U's" was broken. I don't know where they hit it, or with what, all I know is that I've been using these things for about 3 years with no failures.

I'd rather use 3/8" round stock but I have so many rebar electric fence posts around, it seems a shame not to use the stuff just to reinforce the old axiom : "Poor people got poor ways".

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Rebar is useful in lots of ways, after it has done what ever it was originally bought for. I like them as center punches. Turning them down on a lathe to get the exact size you want.

It is like JR. says bend one, if it bends throw it back on the pile of electric fence posts. If it does not want to bend or breaks, you have some really hardenable cheapies.
I quench them in water with the 1-2-3-4 count then pull them out of the quench and count again , then put them back in the water and let them cool down to where you can hold them long enough set them aside. After cooling enough to handle, I then slick off a spot and draw them back past a blue just a little. Works for me.

chuck

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Different rebar can vary in quality. I found a pretty long piece of 5/8" rebar in a construction dump pile when I was just starting out and just had a little railroad track anvil. This turned out to be fairly high carbon, and I just blamed my tools. Later, when I was in a real blacksmith's shop, I needed a punch to make a pair of tongs. The smith would not let me use his punches (beginner :rolleyes:) or his junk coil spring. He gave me a piece of mild steel to make a punch out of. This lasted long enough to make the tongs, but it was in sad shape. I remembered how easy it was to forge, though. Later, I spark tested the rebar, and found it to be moderately high carbon. It hardened well, and made MUCH better punches than the mild steel. This was really an eye opener about the differences between different compositions of steel. I save that piece of rebar for making tools only. Recently, when I went to a conference, a smith pointed out a pouch with Dorothy Stiegler's tools, and said she was nicknamed "Rebar Queen". Well, that sold me :D.

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I like rebar for S hooks of all sizes, especially the big ones, cause I like the looks of it. the more lettering the better. It cleans and shines up nice, but I don't use it for anything I need to rely on to hold together. Luckily, I found out about sucker rod and found a bunch of it for nuthin'........now that's some stuff to play with....:)

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