Harvey Jr.

Pricing old steel for selling on market

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Hello is there a market out there for old iron  spikes from turn of the century(1900) lengthens from 12 inches up to 20 . 1/2 x 1\2 with some at 3/4 ×3/4.  Collected from abandon mining sites throughout Colo.  I understand that the old stuff is much better to work with.

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If it's legal, there's sure to be people interested in getting some from you.  Whether or not it's worth your time, however, is another matter.

The spikes could likely be Wrought Iron, which is nice to have and forge into stuff.  That you have it in convenient sizes is also very nice.  However, there are already companies out there doing reclamation work who make the wrought iron available to the public.  You'd have to match their prices or lose customers to them.

Also, the quality of the spikes is important.  If they're corroded heavily, or almost in two, that's a whole different thing than a bar that shows only light rust and is sound for the entire length.

I'd certainly be happy to take a few off your hands just so I can say I have some iron spikes from Colorado.  I don't know that I'd ever do anything with them, but they'd be a neat thing to have in the shop.

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All are legal for sure, they are in all states of decay but whole and usable. Thinking of decorative uses . Going to start a few projects myself and use them . Much thanks for the good info and would be happy to send out a few. to ya when I replenish my stock late spring( after snow melt in the mountains) . Let me know how to do that. 

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When the time comes, make sure to check this out:

 

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Collected from abandon mining sites throughout Colo.

Abandon does not mean free for the taking. In many states the rail road police have more power than the states and feds, and you can be arrested and jailed for just walking on the rr tracks, trespassing. 

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While there is a market for real wrought iron; much 1900 era stuff is not---the Kelly/Bessemer Process dates to 1847/1856 after all.

Also it's a shallow market; while most smiths want to try a piece of real wrought iron; few will use it for a lot of projects. A fellow I know sold bridge wrought iron for US$1 a pound at Quad-State for years at a slow but steady rate. 

Knowing if it's very low carbon or high carbon is a help and very corroded wrought iron is less useful as it may need a lot of work to get it usable. 

Knowing the grade helps too---I had a knifemaker friend who didn't want any high grade, triply refined, wrought iron but was fine with merchant bar as he wanted the coarse structure to show up for knife fittings. (He liked wagon tyres)

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Thanks don't really know anything about iron had just heard about wrought iron and how pure the old stuff was. Seems I have a lot to learn on the subject, looking at what I have the artist in me just wants to make decorative utilitarian works. The spikes have great patena just need to learn how to work it in the forge. Thanks for your info. much appreciated.

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Harvey: I don't think there's a state in the union where it's legal to collect from historic sites. There are federal laws against picking up arrow heads in the desert even though they're in a stream bed and the next rain will reduce them to sand, it's still a hefty fine for a first offense. Federal antiquities act I believe it's called.

Then there are the State laws, about the only place it's legal to even collect fossils without special permits are private lands. 

You'd better be very sure you're on legal ground, we'd hate to see you go to jail for saving rust from oblivion.

Frosty The Lucky.

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 I mean xxxx you got the FBI trying to xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. Seems like there are no laws any more. They might try to xxxxxxxxxx from xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx over some old RR spikes. Who knows? But I wouldn't worry about it personally.

We advocate following the law not flaunting it and your language is a violation of IFI ToS as is your political ranting

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Good luck ignoring Parks and Rec. or Forestry, they've been operating like THEY own the land rather than the citizenry for decades. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I will take my chances. I have no faith left xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. The xxxxxxxxxx while the xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. While xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with xxxx xxxx. And I forgot to mention they xxxxxxxxxxx last time I checked.

More political rants you have been warned

 

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This isn't a political forum. :angry:

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My point is if I find xxxxxxx. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx if I wanted to. 

Good bye  Mr CrappieW no more warnings

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Lets return to the proper topic at hand.

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Concerning purity of old iron: That's a bit iffy as even the old books warn about testing for hot shortness, (presence of sulfur from the refining fuel; modern steels add manganese to deal with it) and cold shortness presence of phosphorus from some ores). However as much of it was made directly/indirectly from ore a lot of tramp elements we now see in remelt steel were not present.

Also real wrought iron can contain quite a bit of ferrous silicates AKA slag that by definition is not pure. ("The iron silicate or slag content can vary by 1% to 3% or more"  James Aston and Edward B. Story: "Wrought Iron It's Manufacture, Characteristics and Applications" )

People think it is pure as it was often sold with extremely low carbon content and worked at white heat meaning it was exceptionally soft under the hammer and welded very nicely; as it welds above the liquefaction temperature of the scale and so was "self fluxing".

Also the "greats" like Yellin would specify the highest grades of wrought iron; triple refined or better, and so worked the best stuff.

However anyone who has worked muck bar or even merchant bar that has been buried for many a year or immersed in fresh or salt water may well remember the fight to get the dern stuff to hold together long enough to reweld it a couple of times to refine it.

Wrought iron was also recycled by bushelling---rewelding wrought iron scrap and forging it out into stock to sell. (note certain applications of wrought iron would specify that busheled wrought iron had to contain less than X% steel in it as steel was considered a contaminant---I have a wrought iron rod that has about 1/3 the cross section steel; I use a piece of it as a teaching item as you can see the difference between the green stick fracture of the wrought iron and salt crystal fracture of the steel.)

(On track again Steve?)

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