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How do you spot wrought iron

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Guys,

   are there any clues that you look for when trying to fined wrought iron wagon wheels.  I would like to play with some true wrought iron and there are some wagon wheels available around here for sale but I don't thing the owner would be to happy with me taking a wire brush, sand blaster or grinder to his antiques to find out if they are steel or wrought iron.

 

Thank you,

 

Russell

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Why would you want to remove the signs of it being wrought iron?  

 

What I look for are lineations in the rust patterns.  Mild steel forms random craters wrought iron forms lines.  I also look for stuff I know is old enough to be WI.  If you do get access to scrap also look for cracking and greenstick fracture.  My 30"hacksaw is handy to test at the scrapyard where I don't have access to a grinder: notch it and break it and check the break: 

Tyres are usually around one of the lowest grades of wrought so what do you plan to do with it?  May not be suitable...though you can refine it by stacking and welding multiple times.  (Knifemakers like coarse wrought as it shows it's "character" when etched when made into fittings; not so good as billet layers)

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Thomas,

 

  I hadn't really thought about what I wanted to do with it other than forge weld a billet of it together.  Everything I have read says it works differently than modern steel and I would like to "feel" this difference for myself.

 

If I could go back in time I would kick my young self right in the butt, back in the 90s there were some turnbuckles laying around our shop that were around 6 ft long with 1-1/2" threaded rods that I'm fairly sure were wrought iron. They had been in brackish water for 100 +yrs. and the surfaces of them looked more like tree bark than steel (deep grooves running length ways).

 

I went back that shop and looked for them last year and found out they went to the scrap yard a coupe of years ago.

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One of the neatest examples I have was a small piece of WI that had been busheled with a piece of steel and so the break shows both the granular break of steel and the greenstick break of wrought iron.  I out to dig out that piece and make samples from it to send out to other smiths come to think of it; I've got a piece of it on the magnet that lives on my forge cart...

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Thomas,

 

  I hadn't really thought about what I wanted to do with it other than forge weld a billet of it together.  Everything I have read says it works differently than modern steel and I would like to "feel" this difference for myself.

 

If I could go back in time I would kick my young self right in the butt, back in the 90s there were some turnbuckles laying around our shop that were around 6 ft long with 1-1/2" threaded rods that I'm fairly sure were wrought iron. They had been in brackish water for 100 +yrs. and the surfaces of them looked more like tree bark than steel (deep grooves running length ways).

 

I went back that shop and looked for them last year and found out they went to the scrap yard a coupe of years ago.

Sounds like you had yourself some wrought! Keep kickin ????.

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image.jpg

Edited by Wroughton
Picture upload problem and text error

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Wrought has a grain like structure just like you see in the pics above. Easily noticed if you bend it over.  I recovered a bunch of scrap from remote logging cabins that were built around 1900. They used iron rod with threaded ends and a turnbuckle to tie the opposing walls together so the roof loading woulden't  force them out ward. Primitive truss system. 

Peter 

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Grainy. This is 1880s stock from a timber dam. Here's a 2 1/4" bolt head with wrapped and forge welded head. 

Merchant bar stock. It's very coarse. Almost all wagon tires are wrought. Usually refined so they don't always show the best grain. Spark testing, while not definitive (for the naysayers), can be helpful. Wrought has a duller red spark that usually will not split and sparkle.

It can hard to spot the forge weld on production tires but frontier fixes are fairly apparent. I have one that is quite patched and probably a scrap pile build as it would be hard to believe someone would have bothered to keep fixing it. 

image.jpg

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Thomas,

Out of the river and timbers as the dam was taken apart near my shop (300yds) . A large portion were collected after huge piles of junk timbers were burned by the state to reduce the pile going to the land fill. 

image.jpg

image.jpg

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Wow, smiles all the way on that load.

To the OP as Arftist put it like woodgrain in the bar as though textured.

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Most of the wagon tyres I have seen were pretty coarse.  My biggest haul was several tons of bi-directional rolled WI plate when they demolished the old Ohio penitentiary. They were selling the old WI cell bars for big bucks but the old water tower tank they sold me at their scrap rate. 

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Just saw your post Wroughton, Thanks for the Pics!  that the exact grain structure I remember, and yes my legs getting tired from kicking!

 

Thanks

Russell

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