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I Forge Iron

Can old cheap flatware be forged?

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This may be the wrong forum but not sure where would be better, and sorry if its been asked before I didn't find it. 

I often see large amounts of cheap old silverware, typical stuff like Oneida or cheaper brands, in junk stores and wonder if that stuff can be forged into something else or used for Damascus or something? I know people make stuff out of it like figurines and what not's, but that's not what I'm talking about. Most of it says its stainless.  Figured ya'll would know.


Edited by norrin_radd
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I have tried to forge some of the older flatware that I have come across and it either melted or crumbled in the forge. In looking at the flatware, it appears it was made of like a white brass then given a silver type of plating. On the old butter knives with the round end blades, the blades are steel, but the fat handles are again this white brass.  Most flatware I see is stainless. If you can find any that is real silver, you can probably bend it without forging it.  Plain steel/iron flatware isn't common, probably because it rusted easily.  I have a few of the three tine and 4 tine forks with the bone or wood handles and those were carbon steel as they rust unless you keep them clean and coated with something like mineral oil (which is food safe).

Ohio Rusty ><>

The Ohio Frontier Forge

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Yes you can forge stainless steel flatware; but it's limited by size and thickness as to what you can make from it.  (To a lot of us "old" silverware predates stainless steel silverware.)  The silver plated items do not forge well as they are often on a nickel silver or other base.


Note that stainless steels generally are harder alloys to forge than plain steels.

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Basically you can forge most metals including silver if you have them at the right temperature. Forge welding stainless cutlery into damascus is another matter. I have always found Stainless steel kitchen utensils a pain to try and repair, it never seems to like to be TIG welded by me. :(

Interesting link between silverware and damascus via Mokume though...200 years ago the silverware industry over here used to make stuff from Sheffield Plate which was a sandwich of copper between two pieces of silver. It was fused and essentially made the same way as Mokume. Made in billet form and then rolled out into sheet before forming.

Then they discovered electro plating and that took over and because it did not have any core display at the edge problems. It also used less silver. As it was much cheaper and more versatile they could also make cutlery easily. They always tried to make the stamps on the back look like solid silver hallmarks put on by the Assay Office. The tell tale is that they usually have EPNS somewhere, either as individual letters like hall marks or as a string like the makers initials. 

EPNS = Electro Plated Nickel Silver.



Edited by Alan Evans
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Any stainless commercial kitchen countertops, plus common measuring cups, bowls, or utensils that you come across are most likely 3XX series (Austenitec) stainless steels, which are food safe when correctly treated and maintained. As such, they are not hardenable to any extent, but would make wonderful decorative items.

Stainless steel knives, on the other hand, are generally 4XX series (Martensitec) stainless steels, hardenable when correctly treated.

Special super aggressive fluxes containing fluorine compounds are used to forge weld all types of stainless steels, so respiratory protection is mandatory. Hot SS moves like cold mild carbon steel, or hot high alloy steels like S7, and will wear out your elbow fast.



Edited by John McPherson
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