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I Forge Iron

Hold-down dog -- what type of steel?


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Hey, all, I recently made an anvil hold-down dog out of some 1/2" round bar I'd gotten from the steel yard. I used it a few times and it seemed to work OK, but then for some reason it stopped working because when I hammered it down, it didn't "stick." I guess it got bent out and had less curve in it. 

My question is, should I use high-carbon (or even medium-carbon) steel for a hold-down dog, rather than mild steel, so that it can be hardened and tempered to have some "springiness" so that it will "stay put" after I dog it down? Or is mild steel OK for this?

I've never really forged any HC or MC steel yet, as I am afraid of overheating it and burning out the carbon. 

Thank you in advance. 

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Shape and how hard you set it can effect mild steel hold fasts. However auto coil spring works a treat and doesn't require heat treat more than normalizing after forging. I've been slowly replacing my mild steel hold fasts with coil spring as they wear out or I decide I need a piece of stock that size and use it as such.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I make a lot of these for sale to blacksmiths and even more for wood workers.  Mild steel works just fine, as long as the proportions are correct and the shaft is just slightly under the diameter of the hole.  Length of the hole affects the action as well, the longer the hole the smaller the shaft can be.  Using higher alloys just lets you flex it further before it gets to the yield point, but get your shape and size right and mild steel will work great.

They were made for a documented 500 years out of wrought iron.  WI will work as well.  

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