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Forge welding rusty cable

Aden Cassidy

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I recently found some old steel cable at work. It is roughly and inch thick, can't my measurement tools sorry. Just wondering if I need to do anything to clean the thick rust off before welding in my gas forge.

Some parts of the cable are REALLY rusted, like parts gone. Not too many but a bit.

So any help would be much appreciated, haven't done much forge welding at all. This will be my first major try.

I already have some borax ready to go as well.

Just really want to do a Damascus blade for once.

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Aden its like any welding mate, prep and more prep. I would not do it in your new gas forge, as you could wreck the forge insulation.

Wait till your group goes back after the Xmas break and use the coke forges at the shed. You will have to clean the rust off, try heating the cable and wire brush then repeat till clean, ask Jimmy for his help he will know what to do. Cheers John.

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You can use electrolytic derusting setup. Basically a container of water with an electrolyte say baking soda and a stainless steel electrode. Attach the positive electrode to the cable and the negative to the SS electrode. You need a DC power source, a trickle battery charger works pretty well, don't put it on "JUMP!" You don't want the cable and SS electrode touching or it'll short.


turn it on and be patient.


You can protect your forge refractory by laying a Stainless pan under it to catch flux.


Frosty The Lucky.

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Good Morning,


When you heat it up, all the rust magically falls off the steel. When you are ready to weld, with flux on it, swing it quickly toward the floor on your way to the anvil, a lot of the rust will come off with the excess flux. Some wire rope is rope core and some is steel core, the rope core will be burnt out by the time you are ready to weld.


If you don't like your results, you know to get some cable that isn't rusty!!  Sometimes you get what you pay for :) :)



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I found an ancient piece of rusty cable.  It took several rounds of heating, fluxing and welding before I could consolidate it into a solid mass.  The borax can hold only so much rust.  Eventually, I had a 3/8" rod out of 1+" cable.  A nice little piece of steel, but not worth the effort.  I think it was an antique.  There hadn't been logging in the area for decades.

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