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I Forge Iron

spark test chart


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You might try the local welding supplier, they often have such things as give aways. Knowing what you're welding is important on many jobs so being able to identify it generally could just mean a welding rod sale for the store. Giving this kind of thing away is just good business.


I've picked up most of my reference books this way, An Anchorage gear/transmission supply gave me a very handy pocket reference on gearing, belts, sheaves, etc. etc. An Ak hydraulics store gave me a super book about hydraulics, interestingly enough I got a much more complete hydraulics book from a rubber supplier. My welding references and text books came from the welding supply, as did many many 1-2 lb. "samples" of specialty rods, not to mention more than a few trips to the back room to try things out or a little instruction.


You can't do THAT on the internet.


Frosty The Lucky.

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Finding one in color is going to be a Challenge.  Like Frosty said, try a welding supply outfit.  Not just one, you don't know which store has that special individual with the experience and resources to find that gem. 


Now If I ever find one, WmHorus, I'll sure let you know.


Glenn, looked at your BP0020 Compiled by Quenchcrack aka Bob Nichols © 2003 Very good read .


Robert Taylor

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Configuration of a spark during a test is highly important. Along  with passing along to folks new to it that colors may not mean much unless you take into consideration the ambient light you are testing in. And a key part of a test is to have test samples of know steels for comparison. Without specific samples you are kind of flying blind. Many of the steels may look like one thing in your mind, but if you compare it to a known sample it may fall short of wot you are expecting. Test samples should be deeply stamped for ID and the steel either annealed or HT'd to match the testing sample. And do not to forget to mention that grinding on test piece and new sample should be done with the same grinder. Without the above protocols you may be able to tell a mild steel from a HC steel.
If you follow all of the above, you may get a rough idea..but only after spending a lot of time in practice, preferably with someone else to help compare sparks. 
I do not use spark testing in my work as I do not trust my skills to many reasonable guesses as to wot I am testing for. But then I am a knife maker. If I wanted to know if a steel was high carbon and needed to weld it, I might spark test to see if I needed to pre and post heat.

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Learning to read the spark shower is somewhat reliable on wrought iron and plain carbon steels. It get tricky when testing alloy steels. Have the room a little bit darkened and don't press the sample against the wheel too hard. A light touch will work. Look at the carrier lines at least half way out from the wheel and notice the end of the line. You can sometimes see a short separation and a short completion spark. We call it a dash. As has been said, compare an unknown to a known.

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Thats basically what the instructor is trying to do is get a general read on the mystery steels the students are bringing in.....he handed out the black and white which does a great job of explaining things, but a color one for display is now my task to find for him.....

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