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I Forge Iron

Bronze AND Iron?


Jake Pev

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Hi Everyone!

My name is Jake and I'm very new to working with metal. However, hearing of my new hobby, my family has showered me with more scrap than I am able to even use. One interesting piece that I was given however is pretty special, and I'd like to make something out of it, but I just have some questions about my limitations. I have received an old trunnel pin made of what I have been told is Rose Bronze. This pin was salvaged from a wooden shipwreck that had a good deal of bronze and copper metal work that was provided by Paul Revere's foundry, possibly during his lifetime. As a sailor myself, I thought of making a knife and marlinspike set out of the pin. I was not sure if a 100% bronze knife was the best idea. I also had the thought of potentially pattern welding and then forging a knife from both Iron AND the piece of Rose Bronze to hopefully achieve an interesting patterned/ Damascus-esque look . Would this work? Would the two metals accept one another? What type of forging and working qualities would this pose as the heating temperatures of the two metals are quite different? Has anyone tried this? Would annealing or quenching create a catastrophic result? Would this be a lasting tool, or a waste of an antique? 

I have not tried anything yet as not to ruin this item. But any feedback would be most helpful as neither YouTube, nor Google can really direct me down the right path. Thanks!

Jake

 

 

 

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Welcome aboard Jake, glad to have you. If you put your general location in the header you might be surprised how may of the IFI gang live within visiting distance.

Yes, bronze and iron can be diffusion welded but using a Mokume Gane technique rather than "forge welding". Both are diffusion welding but done differently.

James Binnion has done a lot of very interesting diffusion welded combinations. I haven't visited his website recently but he did have an iron and gold mokume gane tea pot displayed. If you can fuse and forge two such different metals into such a complex and outright tricky form I'm sure bronze and iron can be made to work

Bronze isn't a beginner's material to forge, it's tricky stuff it work hardens abruptly and requires frequent annealing or it goes bad, sometimes quickly with little warning if you don't know what to listen for.

Frosty The Lucky.

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http://youtu.be/LQaaS71yfvM

Above is the video I made mention of in my previous reply. The process I referred to starts roughly 8 minutes in. Really cool video for anyone who hasn't seen it.

It seems like the first reply I made didnt post, so I'll try again.

Frosty, thanks for the response! I'll be sure to give James Binnion a look and see what he's got. Luckily I've got quite a bit of scrap copper and bronze to mess around with for a couple years before I give this a go.

Another thought: someo e recommended me a video (the one in the comment above) where Jim Austin makes a bearded Viking axe. In the video, he is shown splitting the edge of the axe, and inserting what appears to be a better steel for holding an edge. Is this common? Is this done with knives? It seems like something I should look into if I want my knife to be a functional tool, as well as retaining some of the pattern appearance. 

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Insted of going in for the wild and crazy exotica, i would look at either knife and spike firniture or making the knife out of steel and the marlinspike out if the bronze pin. Matching/complimentory hilts of corse. 

 

Steeling an axe was common practice, and was done on knives. Today it is more bragging rights and astetics. Many forms of patern welding were used to mary steels together to take advantage of their properties and strech the avalability of others.

Now, from a purly funtinal standpoint, a steel sutible for an ax bit as well as the entire axe is relitivly cheep and redily avalable. But their is nothing wrong with using historical methods and materials or patern welding up a billet to creat an interestig patern for your work. 

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Thanks Charles! That was another idea I was toying with, and certainly would be more feasible to do; that is making some decorative accents for the knife and the spike from the bronze. I guess I ought to hit the drawing board and map this project out with some pros/cons on the materials and difficulty of the different paths I could go down. 

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Historically even as late as the ACW steel could cost 6 times the cost of wrought iron and so it was economized and only used for edges on edge tools; in fact some of the methods of cataloging historical finds of knives are based on how the steel was applied. (Knives and Scabbards, Museum of London).

As alluded too using rare historical materials is better for your hundredth piece not your first!  (and you might google dambrascus and see if that guy is still around)  My opinion save the bronze for guards for the blade and not as part of the blade for the blade.

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