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arkie

Wrought iron lizard

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A friend brought over a piece of iron/steel he thought I might like to have.  I asked him where it came from and he related that it was an old wagon wheel tire.  When I asked him how old he thought it was, he replied that it was his grandfather's.   It was about 1 3/4" wide, 3/8" thick and 3 feet long.  Bells went off....possibly wrought iron??  I had never forged with wrought iron before, so I thought it would be great to give it a go.  I did a spark test and a bend test on a part of it, and it was indeed wrought iron; fibrous texture and all.

In appreciation for giving it to me, I made a lizard out of a piece of the WI for his wife...she loves yard art.  Being an artist, I left the painting and coloring up to her.  I am anxious to see how it turns out.  (That's a placemat under it.)

The wrought iron was a pleasure and slightly different to forge with.  It seemed to be somewhat softer and easier to work. (The legs, BTW, were made from 1/2" mild steel rod, flattened)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lizard.JPG

Edited by arkie

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Thanks.

Feet attached on bottom by 1/4" to 1/2" small tack welds, ground flat.

Edited by arkie

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Oh she's going to love that Arkie, it's a beauty. What else have you in mind for the stock? Oh I'm assuming saying it's 38' (FEET!) is a typo but I've been wronger.

Frosty The Lucky.

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That is a nice piece of yard art. Depending on the paint job, it will probably make more than a few people do a double take. :)

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Oh she's going to love that Arkie, it's a beauty. What else have you in mind for the stock? Oh I'm assuming saying it's 38' (FEET!) is a typo but I've been wronger.

Frosty The Lucky.

​Frosty, thanks.  It was a quick forging job.  Next time, I want to spend more time and take more care with one.  BTW, it's not 38'.  My OP said 3 feet.

"It was about 1 3/4" wide, 3/8" thick and 3 feet long."

Wish I had more.  He's gonna look to see if there is more.

Edited by arkie

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Thanks, all.  The scales were a quicky.  I really need to use a small chisel or gouge for nicer scales.  It's about half abstract anyway. ;)

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Very nice forged lizard just wondering what size stock you used for the main body would have been fairly heavy? 

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Update on the lizard.  The lady, an artist, took some artistic liberty and went wild with paint.  Made a psychodelic lizard out of it.  Even had glitter on it's toenails and rhinestones for eyes...really off the wall on that one!!!!

Lizard painted 01.JPG

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looks like one of those geckos that change colour to suit its surroundings :)

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Well, THIS one has LOT'S of colors!!!!  Just not of the natural camo type. ;)

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It looks nice the way she painted it. Personally I liked it better before it was painted, but it is hers to do as she wishes. Great job on forging it though.

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It looks nice the way she painted it. Personally I liked it better before it was painted, but it is hers to do as she wishes. Great job on forging it though.

​Thanks for the compliment.  I kinda liked the unfinished one also, but it's her's now and she likes bright colors.

If you ever have a chance to get some wrought iron, try it out.  Pleasant to forge with.

 

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That is a very neat bit of forging, Arkie. And I like the crease lines between the legs and the body. The underbody weld is a good idea. You have got the proportions just right and the stylish sweep to the tail is excellent.

I have done hundreds of junk lizards but never actually forged one. You have inspired me to give it a go. I have loads of wrought iron like the stuff you used but it always seems to split on me. A tail like the one you drew out would finish up like a toothbrush. I do like the texture though so I'll give it a try but I think I'll end up using mild steel which is much more forgiving.

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ausfire, one characteristic I found out about forging wrought iron (and this was my first) is that you need to forge it hot...hotter than you would mild steel.  I let the tail go to red while tapering and it split badly.  Cut off the split part and only forged at yellow to orange...no more splits.  Thicker pieces might still undergo some splitting if forged too cool.  Somewhere I read that wrought iron needs to be forged somewhere between just below welding heat and orange, but I can't place it.

It might help you if you do some searching on the forging of wrought iron, maybe you can run across some more experienced information than the limited amount I have.

Here is one link on a blade forum I located:

http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/892197-Forging-Wrought-Iron

 

Edited by arkie

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Thanks for the link, Arkie. They all agree it has to be forged hot. I've been told that before. Hot as in really hot, nearly melting sparking hot. I'll give it another try.

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Hey Arkie,

I have even more respect now for that lizard of yours. Gave it a shot today, but failed miserably. 

I didn't take note of what size steel you started with, so I grabbed a length of 7/8" square bar. Thought I would try using mild before getting into wrought. Drew out a half reasonable tail after a lot of effort, but the body didn't work out at all. That heavy bar is hard going. Need a power hammer!

I'll try again using flatter steel like your lump of buggy tyre. The thing is, your lizard looks fatter in the body than 3/8". Maybe it's the camera angle. Did you compress the flat steel to give the body a raised appearance? Perhaps it's concave underneath?

I think I'll try a miniature version next, before tackling the heavier stuff .:(

 

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ausfire,

The blank WI tire was about 1 3/4" wide, 3/8" thick in the middle and rounded off on the sides from wear on the wheel, making for a tapered edge.  I partially flattened/rounded the sharp edges for the sides.  It cupped a little on the belly, but gentle hammering took out most of that.

Using flat bar, one would have to taper the edges, sorta like forming a knife edge, but not as extreme...leave about 1/16" to 1/8" reveal around the edges.  You might try starting with 1 1/4"" or 1 1/2" wide stock and the edge taper would probably draw the final width to what you want.  As opposed to tapering the edges, as with a knife blade it wants to bend in an arc, but if you work both edges simultaneously, it probably would stay straight.  A little curved body would still be natural.

I guess I got lucky on the shape.  Just take your time.

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OK, thanks for the advice. I think I'll have a better chance using iron of the dimensions you suggest. I have loads of buggy tyre stock so maybe that's the go, even if it is WI. Watch this space! 

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Arkie, thanks for the PMs - very helpful.

OK, so I thought I would try a wrought lizard. I grabbed a wrought bolt about 3/4" diameter and chopped a piece out. Did the cut and break to make sure it was wrought, although the woodgrain look made it pretty sure.

I knew I had to keep it really hot and managed to forge a reasonable head, but the body wanted to crack into layers, even when very hot. I persevered with it and was starting to draw the tail out when it became obvious it was going to break across the middle. So I stopped drawing out the tail and it finished up with a stumpier tail than I would have liked. It also has a bend in the body which I was too scared to straighten out, so it's sitting up rather than flat. 

I decided it looked more like a gecko than Arkie's skink lizard so I forged the feet as floppy pads that geckoes have. 

This is a rough lizard and I am not proud of it. However, I will keep it on the shelf to remind me of how darn hard it is to forge wrought iron successfully. I'll use a bit of buggy tyre next time and my next lizard will be better.

 

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