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I Forge Iron

It followed me home


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There have been some folks selling very low carbon steel as a replacement material for real wrought iron, "4 ought", "Pure iron" IIRC and while it does work very soft under the hammer it does not contain the ferrous silicates that are definitive of real wrought iron.  Much more so than carbon content!  I'd ask and be sure if you plan to etch and show the "wood grain patterns".

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I have found WI in old hitching posts. In my small town it is quite common that there is a concrete post in peoples yards. There are usually 2 eye bolts through the top that are many times WI. 

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In Ohio I used to find it in the spoil piles around the rivers in the old industrial parts of the city.  Also wagon tyres; (a Florist threw one out a block away from my house in Columbus and was happy for me to take it out of their dumpster!) and finally some wrought iron wrought iron: the Historic district a couple of blocks north of my house had a lot of wrought iron fences made from real wrought iron and narrow brick streets---I used to find real WI in the scrap bin of a local "ornamental iron company" who replaced the real wi with A-36 after car/fence interactions in German Village...

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I picked up a trio of wagon wheel tires (free!) some months back from a family the next town over who were stripping their late father’s house of his possessions and decor before selling it. Keeping an eye on FB Marketplace pays off again. 

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I once picked up several at our trash transfer station, (we're rural, you take your trash to the station or to the dump.) They used to have a place to dump metal and someone dumped the remains of an old wagon all the metal on it was real Wrought Iron---the supervisor of the site said I could have all I wanted from that pile as he would have to take it to the scrapyard which was a lot more work for him... (It was odd as the scrapyard was right across the street and folks could have gotten paid for the same amount of work as dropping it off as trash...)

 

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12 hours ago, pnut said:

I found a guy selling some half inch round that's 19'. With shipping it would be about 67 dollars. He even has a picture of a broken and bent piece so you can see that it's fibrous. I can't exactly remember the length. I'm thinking about pulling the trigger on it. 

Pnut

How many pieces?

Shipping included, I was paying about $4.50/lb for round bar. About the same for the flat. For the misc sizes of flat bar (sort of like the boxes of bacon ends and pieces my parents used to buy when I was a kid), I was paying about $3.90/lb. 

 

But mainly I was buying the story. Iron made in the same foundry that made most of the iron used by the South in the Civil War had a certain appeal to me. 

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10 23 1/2in pieces for 47 dollars plus about twenty bucks shipping. 

I got some goodies in the mail today. A Mark Aspery book, a tomahawk mandrel and handle. I'm going to try one tomahawk out of a rasp and another with just the cutting edge made from high carbon steel. I don't know how it's going to turn out because I am out of 1018 and only have A-36. I've had problems welding a few individual pieces of A-36 in the past. This is from a different batch though so fingers crossed :DIMG_20210317_141353.jpg.3e287c9b5bc89ddf574a453769f18474.jpg

Pnut

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1 hour ago, ThomasPowers said:

 (It was odd as the scrapyard was right across the street and folks could have gotten paid for the same amount of work as dropping it off as trash...)

 

Odd,yes.  Uncommon,not at all.  We are taking''throwaway socity''to new hights.  Every disposal site in my area forbid's taking anything out and code inforcement in every town and rural area require jumping through so many hoops,a community exchange site like mentioned earlier is impossible.  Tons of recycliables go to landfills every day and more is dumped on roadsides.   Were you to ask my family what they most disapprove about me,90% would say buying used,repairing obsolete and dumpster diving.  

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I actively seek out illegal dump sites. That's where I've made my best scrap discoveries. All the scrapyards in my area are single buyer facilities so there's no browsing and buying anymore. I've gotten some good scrap from the mechanics around my neighborhood after they found out I really wasn't going to use whatever miscellaneous piece as a car parts or going to sell it to the recycling center. They were especially hesitant about springs. Luckily I've shown them what I'm doing with the steel. 

Pnut

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I've had almost twenty four hours to go through the Mark Aspery book. In my opinion It's hands down the best blacksmithing book I've ever read. I feel like I kinda plateaued. Hopefully it's the thing to get me over the hump. 

 

Pnut

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My small town has a transfer station that serves another town as well.  The pile of scrap metal gets quite large but we are not allowed to take anything!  I find this annoying as right next to the pile are some tables that are there for the purpose of put and take - you can take stuff if it is left there but not from the metal pile!  While I rarely throw anything in that pile I do check it out to see what I'm missing and several years ago, I saw a Haybudden anvil in the pile that was in very nice shape.  I knew I couldn't take it but thought maybe a bribe would work so I offered the dump guy $50 for it - no way he said, if I did it for you I would have to do it for everybody.  Later that day as it became dusk and the dump was now closed, I returned and bushwhacked my way through the backside of the property.  There was an ancient stone lined gutter hidden in the undergrowth that I found with my shin and I left a few square inches of skin behind.  I persevered though and made it to the anvil.  Sitting in the pile next to it was a wheelchair so I loaded the patient on and off I went avoiding the stone lined gutter but not the poison ivy which I could not see in the  darkness.  I had my yearly physical a week or so later and my doctor got a good chuckle over my scabs and blisters.  In a fit of financial desperation some time later, I sold the anvil for much less than I should have.  

Since the covid thing, my local scrap yard no longer allows picking either - it was my favorite place to shop!

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Throw away society irks me.  There is so much that people can do, including "upcycling", that trendy word meaning to take something old and make something else out of it.  My favorite Music Machine is Ampenstein, which is an old Cerwin Vega car amp powered by a computer power supply and the tunes come from my phone or an old mp3 player.  I have a set of bose speakers hooked up to it that belonged to dad.  The on/off switch is an old fashioned 2 blade knife switch, a little brother to the big ones you see in old mad scientist type movies.

I have a desk fan that used to be a fan in an old microwave attached to a different power supply (just to the switch, the rest of the PS is dead.  

I love to do stuff like that.

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Today I left work on time for once and made the journey to Centaur Forge.  Pretty sure I heard ode to joy when I walked in. What I spent in gas and time I easily recovered in shipping fees.  The wall of tongs is what really got me.   Anyway, as a novice I appreciated talking with Becky and her pointing some items out to me s well as giving me information on UMBA up here.  I walked away happy while ignoring my wallet's cry's of horror and pain.  

Either way, I'm set for a bit on tools and coal. 

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Me and the wife went on 8 mile hike over the mountain today.  Checking out old copper mine, found 30 lb 5ft tall leaf spring.  Hauled back on sore shoulders for 4 miles!   Did spark test. Medium carbon steel, good for first knives?image.thumb.jpeg.f4aeb5b3291836d8f4b754a1faa508e7.jpeg

 

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Pretty sure most leaf spring are 5160 or something similar. I used leaf springs for a few bowies this past summer and it work nicely. I figured that a knife that big, 14", i would give up a little hardness on, rather it bend than break. I have also done some wrap eye axes with leaf spring. It is a ... to weld though. 

Somewhere floating around here is a chart of "junk yard steel" that shows what different things are made of. It is not absolute but can get you pointed in the general location. 

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I've been reading the Skills of a Blacksmith since I received it In the mail the other day. Is it just me or does everyone else hear Mark Aspery in their head as they read it? :P

I'm not an expert at reading a spark test but those look like medium carbon sparks to my untrained eye. 

Pnut

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Concerning my above pic of spark test.  Looking at spark chart images my greenhorn opinion would be mild but shouldn’t the spark be white and not straw color?  Since leaf spring was found off old logging/ mining road 4 miles deep from both directions, up 1500 ft in dry cold desert climate, near copper mines.  Mining truck leaf spring over 50 years old?  Ore trucked down steep rocky dusty bumpy  roads.  Then ore put on trains in flat.  More info to help with identification.

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I would think its medium carbon. Give 'er a test quench in warm oil and see if it hardens! The chart does say white, but in my experience I don't really get truly white sparks off of steel. They generally fall somewhere between dull red and bright straw/yellow. Even with known alloys.

Titanium sparks white though

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Glenn, that was not the one i was referring to but man does that have some info there. The one i was meaning was  alist of components and next to each was the alloy:

Ball bearings - 52100

bearing races - 52100

Etc., in that format. Also like i said you can not take that as gospel but it will get you an idea of what you are working with. I know for a fact not all bearing races are 52100. 

I too am kind of spark test illiterate. It seems that logically though if it is 5160 and >.60% carbon is considered high carbon that 5160 is on the lower end of that spectrum so it would not have a burst pattern of say a 1095. Also the other alloys may effect the spark. 

As a side note, some models of Corvette used an aluminum leaf spring. 

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A successful trip to the industrial surplus place: a big steel cart that will become my new welding table; some shafts that I suspect of being 4140; an empty steel tank that will become dishing forms; a bunch of hammers and hammer heads; a box of T-bolts, nuts, washers, lathe bits, milling machine hold-downs, and other bits and bobs; and a rack that I really got for the steel dolly in its base. Almost everything was massively on sale. 

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This was in a bin of press brake dies; with a little cleanup, it’ll make a nice swage.

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And from the office supplies store, a roll of strapping tape for my ongoing grinding-belt-splicing experiments:

8245F24E-F794-4CD7-A51F-452BD57316C7.jpeg

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