Papaw forge

What happened

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Hey was gonna try and shape a cross pien but as you can see I got it hot hit it a little and it came apart . I think its just the wrong kind of metal but what y'all think ?

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OK this Going to make me sound stupid I'm all new to this but how do you tell what is what in a spark test . and I have a break drum coal forge I just got it hot and put it in till it got cherry red

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Now when you said cherry red you meant a high orange colour like pie cherries and not a dark red like bing cherries---which date comparatively recently and were NOT the cherries mentioned in the old blacksmithing books right?  Or were you forging hundreds of degrees too cold?

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I've messed around with some cast iron in the forge and it crumbled kinda like that. But a cast iron hammer. That doesnt seem right. Should be much to brittle for a hammer. 

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My uneducated guess is cast iron, and my uninformed supposition is that someone in the past was trying to make a quick buck off of inferior merchandise.

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First, the disclaimer:  These are all guesses, but I don't have enough info to provide anything more than that.

It could be the "wrong" kind of steel, but that seems a little unlikely for a hammer.  A lot of old used hammers are some combination of mushroomed, chipped, and cracked.  Any cracks will most likely open up a lot more when you forge, so it's best to grind any cracks completely out before forging.

Lastly, and this will seem odd at first, it is possible to be both too hot and too cold at the same time.  Here's what I mean:  If your fire is raging hot and you put the piece in, the outer portion will heat up and start glowing fairly rapidly.  However, the center of the steel may still be at black heat.  You could have a situation where you are burning the outermost part of a thick piece of steel, but be below forging temperatures in the middle.  The thicker the piece, the longer the "soak" time should be.  This comes back to fire management.

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Going the other way it could be cottage cheesing from overheating a high alloy steel; but I know of nobody wasting money on high alloy hammers!

I have run into cast iron ball peens before and there did make cast iron mallets for pounding wooden fence posts in, (shown in the 100 year old sears catalogs and seen at fleamarkets---usually rather crude looking.)

I'd like to see the spark trail off the other end please!

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my guess is it is a cast iron hammer made in a foreign country. I got a shingle hammer from a garage sale, which has a chipped edge. I was going to forge it into a tomahawk. It did the same thing as your hammer when I struck it the first time. I took it out and reground it so at least I had a little ax for splitting kindling.  

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I am just guessing just like everyone else. It could be just like everyone says or it could be a little more modern and made of JUNK steel. I have run across a very similar thing trying to re-forge modern splitting mauls and cheaper type axes. I have been told that these are often made of whatever steel can be had and cast into tools for a cheap price.

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