Jump to content
I Forge Iron

repurposing old ratchet/socket extensions

Recommended Posts

Not too far for me but too far for my wife. She thinks the idea of buying scrap metal is stupid.


You need to make her a few things and lament about how much NICER they'd look if you just had X steel from the scrap yard to make special tools with. Just don't be too obvious about it.


Ask around at auto/truck/spring, shops, they usually have a dumpster of spring out back, just make the owner a knife. Good PR is gold. ESPECIALLY with the better half.


Frosty The Lucky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you have them and can repurpose then why not, be aware of the hazards and get to it. Some of the older smiths would and still take what is at their disposal to get the job done. That is if you need a punch and all you have is mild steel make the punch get the job done and move on. You are hitting hot steel. If it will work for what you need get to it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All of these ideas sound so great. I understand the hazards of plated metals as I do a lot of hobby welding and offroad fabrication. Sometimes to make something work you gotta use zinc coated material.

 NO you do not have to, use non coated, and zink plate it afterwards if it has to have it.....  please read more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, you don't have to, but when I was working as a welder I ran into a lot of galvanized metal that had to be welded.  I don't turn metal down just because it's got a coating of zink.  On the other hand I know the hazards of metal fume fever and how to avoid it, namely not breathing the crap and grinding it off before welding or heating.  And yes I try to avoid it if I can.  Yes, you can avoid it completely, but then coal dust and fumes ain't exactly healthy either.  Come to think of it, not a lot of things in metal working are without risk, you just got to know how to avoid and manage the hazards.


As for socket extensions, not sure what steel, there most likely a medium carbon.  I've added pieces into damascus mixes before just for fun.  The plating will burn off in the forge, but like most things you stick in the forge don't breath the fumes.  Pawpaw Wilson died from sticking galvanized pipe fittings in a gas forge in a closed in shop.  Personally I'd rather use part of a coil spring for any punches and such.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


 Pawpaw Wilson died from sticking galvanized pipe fittings in a gas forge in a closed in shop.  Personally I'd rather use part of a coil spring for any punches and such.


from what I saw of Jim's shop it had no walls, and he didnt die from the fume feaver, but I do admit it didnt help.  Where do people get these rumors they insist on throwing around as facts?


'?do=embed' frameborder='0' data-embedContent>>



also when you  'just burn it off"  you realize that you are sharing the poison with all your neighbors?   a complete EPA and general health violation, not good to advise people to be doing.





I have more but doubt they will be read

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I read the news about Pawpaw from anvil fire rite after it happened.  Was it accurate?  Don't know, but it sounded authentic.  If not I apologize for the inaccuracy.


And burning coal doesn't release toxins?  Using a cutting torch doesn't release toxins?  Welding doesn't release toxins?  Were not talking about doing a 100 of them at once, or making a big cloud of crap, or of doing it all day, every day.  If your forging in the city you might have issues.  My nearest neighbor is a 1/2 mile away.  Just use a little common sense when working in the shop and use basic safety rules.  The reason I've got a dust collector in my shop is for grinding materials like mycarta and carbon fiber, stuff you really really don't want to breath.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, you don't have to, but when I was working as a welder I ran into a lot of galvanized metal that had to be welded.



I had a welding job to do on galvanized pipe last week. Spent $75 on a new 3M 7500 respirator and filters because I couldn't locate any zinc/lead rated filters for my other respirators.


$75 is more than worth my health, I'd pay 3 times as much or more if it was better. However most guys who use coated products are doing it to be cheap. Not really worth dropping $75 on the right PPE when you can simply spend $50 and buy brand new material without a coating.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not to mention that some of the smaller yards around here want to charge more than you can buy new for.  The larger ones have contracts and have issues because there running large equipment sorting it.


A good quality respirator is a must, even with a dust collector I still use one when grinding noxious material.  One I just about refuse to use anymore is coca-bola.

Link to comment
Share on other sites



That is Jim's home on the left and his shop, the dark building, on the right. The shop is as large or larger than his double wide.



The house side of the blacksmith shop. The access road circles in back of the shop. Notice that one side is closed off and the other side has the hole for the door, but the door was never installed. The end is open.




The other end of the blacksmith shop was FULLY OPEN, no doors or anything else to restrict the flow of air.




As you enter the shop, from the left or the house side, you notice Jim's old blacksmith shop is now INSIDE the new blacksmith shop.




This was the out building where he kept the overflow from his shop. It also is now inside his new blacksmith shop.




Again take note of the location of the tire power hammer, and gas forge (white tank) located where the two buildings are put together, and the two open doors at the end of the shop. Take note of the man door just to the left of the forge.


The full article can be found at http://www.iforgeiron.com/page/index.html/_/articles/a0030-jim-ppw-wilson-shop-and-working-with-zinc-r989




Pawpaw Wilson died from sticking galvanized pipe fittings in a gas forge in a closed in shop.

Look at the photos, decide for yourself if the shop is closed.




I read the news about Pawpaw from another site right after it happened. Was it accurate? Don't know, but it sounded authentic. 



As another site does not allow any text quotes I will reword what was written by Jim Paw-Paw Wilson.  


Posthumous Demonstration by Jim Paw-Paw Wilson

Jim starts off with this is a heck of a way to do a demo. Jim says he did something stupid. He says he knew better. He said he was thinking it was just a little smoke and he was tougher than that. He continues that he miscalculated and now I am dead.

You can easily look up the original article on another site.


Accurate? Only if dead people do demonstrations. 


Your call


So there are no questions,

I personally took the above photos with permission to do so.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the links and photo's.  It's been a few years since I read the article and had no reason to question it.  Seems like I remember the article stating that the shop was closed in except for a garage door, but then I don't have the best memory out there.  From the pics I'd call that a pretty open shop.


In any event, burning zinc or other metals can be bad, bad business.


We never disagreed about zink dangers, only the exaggerated statements made about Jim.   fact can speak for them selves, embellishments never help.  When people modify the truth of a story, no matter why, some day the  modifications are found out, then others have doubts if anything was true.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IForgeIron pushes safety every chance we get. This is not to scare people, just inform them of the hazards. Once you know there is a hazard you can research information of how to deal with that hazard. 


Many of us have experienced zinc fumes, welding fumes, and etc. The first time I ran into zinc fumes, I did not know what it was or why I got so sick so fast. It was Jim Wilson that actually diagnosed the problem and told me to research on the subject.  Second time I recognized the zinc fume danger, shut down, and left the building. It still got me. Now I choose NOT to play with zinc. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brought a student of mine to the scrapyard Saturday morning. He started pointing out---there's a coil spring, there a leaf spring! After about 5 minutes he realized that he was surrounded by about a ton of the things and why I didn't feel the need to stock more than I have on hand at my smithy...

He ended up buying about twice as much steel as I did; though the large steel cable was about 1/2 of it. The owner came out and told me he had saved some balls for me as I make armouring stakes from them. I also picked up a cast iron frying pan, (not used for lead melting---I check for the signs...), 20' of 1/4" x 1" strap and a 3/4" wrought iron rod.

about 6 miles from my house and that's 4 miles farther than where I can buy new steel; but a lot more fun to wander the piles wearing the disreputable red hat. (And right across the street from where I have to take the trash! rural area so trash transfer station...)

As for Paw Paw: metal fume fever did not kill him, it was the secondary pneumonia that killed him; just like flu doesn't usually kill people---it's the secondary pneumonia that does it---though you still see it ascribed to "flu". Without the Metal Fume Fever he would have most likely lived years longer. I do not find excluding galvanized metal from my smithing stuff to be a great burden; just as I don't grind Be Bronze and will refrain from using bronze scrap if I can't be sure it's not Be containing.

We all get to make our own life choices; but I make sure that my students know about the possibilities *before* they make their choice. (Had one 18 year old kid that I warned about galvanized one Pennsic and the next Pennsic he had spent a week in the hospital with MFF from welding on it *outside*. Anyone want to guess what a week of hospital care for an 18/19 year old with no insurance runs? Great way to start your adult financial life...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...