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I Forge Iron

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It's just another arrow in the quiver.   I use it especially on one off or limited run tooling.  That saves me both material cost and time needed to produce the tool.  As an architectural smith I often make a tool for one job and then never use it again, and making that tool involves welding and machining more often than not.  Doing it in an easy to work steel saves a tremendous amount of time, and then superquench gives it a shot in the arm.  Taking a mild steel tool from being able to survive a few heats to a few dozen is very valuable to me.  

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Well said Judson..    

I have used it for years and years now on swages and they still hold up just like the day I made them..  

I too have found that working with mild steels saves so much time and cost.. 

From a working stand point.  The only time I use any other steel for my hot tools is when they will have to work in a hot state.   Swages barely get warm.  and once they are hardened with the carbon uptake method they stay pretty hard..   

I really should do a video on it, but then nay say'ers feed the trough and dismiss it as useless.   

In the Swage video I use the method and for just over 3minutes in the fire I end up with just over 32HRc averaged.    A longer time or adding more green coal to the hot fire would have raised it another few points..  On thin stock.. I've gotten to over 50HRc..     It's not a method I would use for knife or such unless it was the only thing I had in a survival situation and knew it was going to be throw away.. 

It does work.. 

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  • 4 months later...

I personally find this a very interesting topic. Clickspring demonstrated this process and I always wanted to try it but didn't have a forge or heat treatment oven. I thought it would have several applications when machining certain parts to be able to carburize and harden them, and I can see the use for blacksmithing too. Isn't it quite ideal for many tools to have a soft body and hard striking face for instance? 



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Quite clear instructions on doing this are in "Divers Arts" written by the German Monk Theophilus around 1120 CE.  A good translation from the latin into english by Cyril Stanley Smith, (Noted figure in historical metallurgy studies), is available from Dover Books at a very reasonable price.

Not providing any sources how are we to know if the materials used and amounts are anything but modern guesses?  Use of hardened steel at that period should be documented rather than "guessed" as well.  As the bloomery process produces pretty much the range of carbon in wrought iron from zilch to cast iron use of case hardening instead of selection of higher C material should be proven as well.


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