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I Forge Iron

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Hello,
I just went to get steel for a bunch of projects, and I was kind of put off by the price of steel (18 dollars for 6 feet of 1/2 inch square) so I took a trot around the garden center to get some plants and tools for the summer (post-holer, digging holes for posts) I saw some big plant hangers which were made out of 1/2 inch square, about eight feet of it, and they cost 10 dollars only. Needless to say I got these instead of the plain barstock.

The point of this little story is that it came as a shock to me that it is often cheaper to buy and chop up ready made products rather than buy raw materials. Have you guys'n gals noticed this too?

That's all.
Merry being,
Archie

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buying steel from a hardware store is usually much more expensive then from a steel wholesaler. 5/8" square was $.85 a lb. or $22.95 for 20 ft. The cheapest I've bought recently was the 1" x 3/8" flat stock at $.75 a lb. or $19.50 for 20'

The rising price of fuel is being reflected in the price of everything else you buy.

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Buying the 20' sticks is much more afforadable but still its going up BIG TIME.. There was a 19% jump a couple weeks ago and my supplier told me lat week look for another 17% this week or next. Three years ago I was ordering 10K worth of steel a week on site. Looking at those invoices now it would cost over 20K for the same steel. :confused:

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In the same boat here, ordering steel (6" x 2" RHS) for a portal frame last week. The steel merchant said there has been a 30% price rise since the start of the year, and expect more!:o Market demand, particularly from China, has inflated prices. I'm sure fuel prices have impacted on transport too, as most things are trucked here, and diesel is above petrol (gas) per litre.

Cheers,
Makoz

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along the "expensive at the hardware store" line, I was surprised to find that a 4-foot piece of 1 by 1/8 flat was only $0.20 less expensive than the 6-foot piece of the same stuff. I prefer to scrap and scrounge, but sometimes it is easier to just by the bar and square stock than it is to make it from 3/8 round, of whick I currently have more than my wife likes.

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This last weekend I had a discussion with a person who deals with getting tool steel made and selling to bladesmiths and the like, and he told me that the info that he had received was that it wasn't actually the demand from china that's been raising the prices lately, trade agreements had been made which alleviated the large price jumps due to Chinese demand around the turn of the century. He said that it's been the demand from Turkey and India driving the price lately, with an incredibly huge amount of the steel that those two countries are buying from the US being turned into re-bar and resold to Iran who can not buy directly from the US.

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As with many things, the price of steel is influenced by multiple factors. Scrap, which is the raw material for a lot of steel, is at record high prices. Alloying elements for all grades of steel are also very high right now. The demand for steel both in the US and world-wide is quite high. The weak dollar is pushing the US to actually EXPORT steel and steel product again. The price of energy, not just desiel, is also rising. All these things combined drive up the price of steel. You wouldn't know it to listen to the news, but certain sectors of the US market are doing great. Steel production is one. So is the production of heavey equipment and the production of power generation equipment. Forge shops and foundries serving the heavey equipment market are booming. There are numerous new steel mills or additions to existing mills planned throughout the US in the next few years to meet this increased demand for steel products. I don't expect to see serious decreases in the price of steel at the consumer level any time soon, but for items being sold, the increased prices can be passed on to the purchaser. That is what the steel suppliers are doing to there customers, and that is what manufactures are doing to thier customers. If you don't pass on your cost's as a manufacture, you eventually end up out of buisness.

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When I bought steel a week ago my local dealer was saying that they were seeing a 10% per month jump for the last couple of months and expected it to continue. I was actually buying my steel at below replacement cost as it was a size they don't do much with and so hadn't been "updated" yet. Wish I hd the ready to buy all I needed for the rest of the year like that!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Steel is doing strange things. Since the dollar is weak, steel makers can make more money by exporting their steel than selling it domestically. The Chinese and Indians are sucking up as much scrap and iron ore as possible to drive their modernization efforts. The price of steel is going up so fast we are quoting "price in effect at time of delivery". Now, we can't even get enough steel to meet our production needs and are cancelling orders from our customers. We cancelled 70,000 TONS last week. Much of our rising costs are due entirely to the weak dollar and the need for third world nations to modernize.

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I recently bought cut-offs at $.69/# three weeks later it was $.89/#. Within the last year local scrap steel prices has gone from $36/ton to $98/ton. The fellow at the scrap yard is sending containers of scrap to China as fast as he can fill them. He said he used to send it to Mexico for rebar production but gets a higher price from the Chinese. There is little steel production in the USA anymore what with high labor cost and environmental protection rules. With Brazil, India and China leading the way in production with cheap labor and no or little environmental protection and the cost of fuel going up we are left with paying the shipping. We have opened the door for being held hostage to others for our steel here in the USA.

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I work with a group of artists that i use to keep my store stocked and they have been telling me steel prices are up something between 25 to 60 percent depending. Happily when buying steel art steel is still really cheep compared to the labor, but these things are gonna effect the economy in major ways.

The shocking fall of the doller is the biggest cause, The export of Iron Ore from the US to other countries to make steel doesn't help. Energy prices are hurting it too. Almost 30 years of Supply side economic theory running Washington DC is coming home to roost.

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I just wrote up a proposal on a couple steel tables. Two of them are 16x24 and one is 24 round, all are 36 inches tall. Real simple, four legs, single brace between each of the legs on the perimeter, flat for the edges at the top (hope that paints enough of a visual), and the clients are providing custom copper tops(plywood core copper sheet). Sadly the price of materials was over 25% of the entire quote on the project. If the materials where 1/2 the price they are, I would be well under budget for the clients. Unfortunately with steel prices what they are the proposal ended up well OVER budget and I'll probably lose the project because of it. I can't afford to drop my labor prices to compensate (the projects so simple that I'm not gonna make that much off of it anyways), and people are gettin to where they can't afford the luxury. Sad state of affairs indeed.
-Aaron @ the SCF

Reason for editing: I still can't spell even with a spellchecker....

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Note that the big quake in China will affect prices too as they rebuild. A lot of the old buildings used little steel, rebuilding they will have a lot more to meet earthquake standards!

The top tier folk can still afford their luxury items; unfortunately there are very few of them, the middle and lower tier folks are going to feel the pinch and so luxury items for them will be hard hit and they are much of the market.

When I was at our local Scrapyard Saturday they said they could sell steel at $300 per ton; of course they went and sold some to me at a $200 a ton price; but I didn't point that out to them. Place is getting stacked high as they are waiting for the price to increase4 even more before shipping it out.

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