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I Forge Iron

People and bussiness drops, scrap, etc

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Whenever i look for scrap metal for forging, I ask the local welding shops. It ALWAYS ends exactly the same. 


Me: "do you have any scrap metal i can look through?"

them: "no, we don't give scrap away... what for?"

me: "well, im a blacksmith."

then i get cut off by

Them: "well, i GUESS you can look through our scraps."


Its always funny.


Similar experiences?

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Back a dozen years ago a local ornamental iron shop used to have to pay to have their scrap hauled away.  By asking nicely we got in a symbiotic relationship where we would take out hundreds of pounds of scrap and leave their scrap bin neatly arranged to hold more scrap.


Nowadays it is much harder to find deals like that; but many metal working folks have a soft heart for blacksmiths and an offer of hand forged trinkets can go a long way...

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I believe it to be people having general disdain for scrappers. I am actually going to USE the metal and recycle it into something beautiful. I think people respect that. I can get some 2" round 4140 from the local welders for $2.00 a foot just because they respect that i am not playing video games and wasting my life away.

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Yeah I see that a lot. Many places just see guys who are interested in making money by doing nothing. I've got no issue with guys who go around on trash night and collect old washers and fridges from the curb trash and sell them as scrap, but in many places it's out of control what these guys try and walk off with. Neighbor had some one try and scrap out his snow plow a few years back out of his drive way while he was off at work. They were not interested in stealing it as a plow as they had tried to cut it all up so they could load it up. I know places that have had all sorts of new material walked off with by scrappers.When prices for scrap are sky high, they steal the manholes or the storm drain grates. You wouldn't believe what those things cost to replace!



I have found that if you talk to the shop guys and they know why you want metal, for learning to weld or for doing forging, you often have a better chance at getting stuff. Most guys don't have an issue with guys who are trying to learn and need stock. As mentioned a few hand made trinkets or some ice cold ones at the end of the day, can go a long ways towards getting guys to take you seriously. Most metal fab guys also enjoy talking "shop" with others with similar interests, assuming you aren't taking them away from what they need to get done. Common sense here goes a long ways. Asking 1st if they are busy and can give a moment politely vs interrupting someone who is obviously in the middle of something.



I used to get a fair amount of "shorts" from a local supplier. I'd go talk to the shop foreman when I went to get material for specific projects. They'd always have a huge supply of misc shorts since the sell stuff by the foot and guys buy the 9' length vs the full 10 foot one or what ever. All these shorts would take up a ton of space and I'd ask if he was interested in selling some  as "scrap" vs the by the foot prices since I really didn't care what the pieces were, I just needed steel to either forge or use for guys to practice learning to weld on. I'd even agree to bring back the welded pieces if he wanted them as when we were done we'd just junk them anyways. He never had a problem with that. They got money for what they'd other wise scrap, or in many cases win by selling me the stuff and getting it back later when I'd come get more to work with.

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The local scrap yard I buy from buys a lot of recycling, cans, aluminum, copper etc. They scrutinize the sellers very hard, discerning the just scraping by from the metal thieves, and I see them turn away more than one seller based on that scrutiny.


when I come out of the yard with 1/2 inch bar, 1/4 inch round and some plate sections and head for the scale, catch the foreman's eye and say I'm buying, not selling, they move me right up to the front.  I used to bring donuts before the scrap prices went so high, now they're just happy to get rid of the bar stock.

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A lot of bigger companies may have lawyeritis, and are worried about liability. Some just don't want to exert the effort to deal with you.

Try hitting up smaller companies. Also check into less traditional places like auto body shops, as they replace suspension components like springs, center links, sway bars, etc. Truck, and auto repair places will produce wheel bearings, suspensions, and more.

The scrap I accumulated over the years came from cars I parted out, cleaning up places for others, places I worked for, and dumpster diving when I saw something useful. I gave away about 1,000# to a friend who was getting started in smithing when I moved to NV.

I am currently getting a bunch of metal from where I work. Some I buy at current scrap prices IE; copper,brass, beryllium copper, titanium, stainless. The carbon steel is normally trashed as the value is too low for them to deal with it since we don't run it that often. I have a pile of 12L15 bar ends that was headed for the dumpster. The other day I hauled home the carcass of a washing machine that was stripped down to make a chip spinner. To me it is just sheet metal. I really clean up when they get the bug to clean the shop-2" square O-1 and other tool steels, small lathe,channel iron, motors, etc.have been past scores.

Pretty soon everything you look at will be with the eye of , what can I use those pieces for?

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