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Nick Owen

UK bolts safe to forge

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Looking into buying some bolts to texture and blend into a coat rack I'm making. I keep reading conflicting views on what's safe (even here). Zinc plating is obviously a no-no but are SS bolts OK? Also wary of trusting stores that don't know what they have after reading one of the sticky threads re: castors 

I can strip with vinegar but that's just another step/expense. 

Really I'm just asking if SS is OK and can generally be trusted or if there is a good UK supplier of affordable bolts that I can forge away all day on?

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Just now, the iron dwarf said:

you can buy unplated bolts but you need to go to better places than b+q or screwfix

I get plain bolts for the forges

So is SS ok? 

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you need to back up and read more on IFI and forget You-tube, you keep asking questions a that are very basic knowledge, worried about forging stainless steel, or chrome moly steels?  I find it hard to believe you are really ready for higher allow steels. Slow down and educate yourself, you are moving too fast with some of these things. you learn before you use them

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50 minutes ago, Steve Sells said:

you need to back up and read more on IFI and forget You-tube, you keep asking questions a that are very basic knowledge, worried about forging stainless steel, or chrome moly steels?  I find it hard to believe you are really ready for higher allow steels. Slow down and educate yourself, you are moving too fast with some of these things. you learn before you use them

That's exactly what I'm trying to do ;) Banging a bolt out of perfect machine shape is not  diving in the deep end, I'm not trying to fool around with forging exotic steels large scale, I'd just rather do it safe, the reason for posting on the forum was more specifically asking if there was a good UK supplier of bolts known not to be plated. I had looked through forum posts but found conflicting discussions about whether stainless was fine or not, that's the problem with forums, sometimes someone chimes in and provides counter evidence or 'I do it anyway' type posts. 

I wouldn't post if I hadn't looked, I can definitely see how this would be super fundamental knowledge. It would be the same as someone asking me about ABS plastics or why some people lick rocks. 

You're also welcome to ignore my posts if they are ones you would rather not answer personally for that reason. ;) Not that I would want to lose an experienced person's information/opinion on something.

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If you've read threads with conflicting points of view that have you confused, ask the question there, and phrase it in a way that shows you've done your homework. 

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well I cannot  imagine where you got the idea forging Stainless is dangerous is why I wonder about your reasearch  NO one on IFI would have said that.   Buying bolts is an expensive way to acquire steel but I will drop it, Good luck

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I found one, plus looking through I saw a few comments about chrome plating and figured that SS is a steel/chrome alloy and that might pose issues. Happy to be corrected, that's what I was hoping for, no matter how basic it may seem to someone else. 

Either way, I'll keep my 'very basic questions' to myself in future. Seems like people could just choose to ignore or answer in the time that it takes to slap someone down for it though. 

As an aside I have several quotes from IFI about SS potentially being toxic or not being toxic under normal conditions without expanding on what those conditions are. Hence asking straight up, so I did do my homework by the way, I could do more easily but figured I would ask both at the same time, sorry.

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Here in the US stainless bolts are a heck of a lot more expensive than regular bolts; (as I recall the last time I needed a couple they were on the order of 10 times more expensive),  Consult with the local smiths on where to get unplated bolts!   (I make a habit of picking up bolts at the scrapyard when I find them in OK shape, 20 cents a pound is way cheaper and the older bolts are often made to a higher standard!

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I was not telling you to stop asking questions, I was telling you slow down on your plans for advanced steels

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You may have  to drive farther than you like if you can't buy mild steel close by. Evaluating found steel is a many part skills set, from identifying what it was made to do originally through a list to finally doing shop tests to see what YOU can use it for. Buying bolts for stock is not an economical way to buy steel.

Start off with a stick of 1/2" round or 3/8" square, both shapes are darned close to the same amount of steel per linear inch. It's a good size for learning basic processes proficiency. It's heavy enough to hold heat for a while while being light enough you won't have to kill yourself to finish a project.

Once you're proficient with the basics moving to higher carbon steels is much easier, the only new things to learn are heat management and requiring more force to move. Heat treat is later still. 

Forging stainless takes rather specialized skills sets, some isn't forgable  in a home shop and all of it is pretty temperature finicky. Forge welding requires the use of some darn toxic fluxes to break down the chrome oxide surface layers.

Bladesmithing is another specialized set of skills and is easier to learn after you've developed good general smithing skills.

Make sense?

Frosty The Lucky.

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Chrome plating is a hazard, alloys containing chrome not so much, hence the confusion you may have found in your searches.

A web search will find UK suppliers of uncoated plain bolts, or just contact Iron Dwarf and get some stock from him. I have a growing collection of bolts from all sorts of defunct machinery, my biggest supplyer is scrap cars!

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Thanks guys ;) I only wondered for the purposes of making bolts looks older/more fitting for hand forged items, no way would I use them as a source of steel. I get my known steel from a certain Iron Dwarf ;)

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you want to know about ageing things, that is easy

get 2 rusty bolts and try electrolysis

one will get clean and the other will get worse and deeply pitted quite quickly

also get square headed bolts not hex

 

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Good luck with forging stainless! I've done some basic stuff with it but it's three times the work of mild steel, especially if you start punching holes.

BTW, I think you are starving that poor apprentice in your picture.

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I dont think stainless will match very well.

It will also be about 5 times the price of a Galvo bolt. A Bottle of vinegar or pool acid to burn the galvo / zinc off normal bolts will cost you a lot less than the premium for stainless bolts.

My forge is outside in the yard, I just load my galvo bolts in to a heavy duty dish, drop the dish in the forge and go inside and have a cup of tea while the forge does the job. Works for me.

Where does the zinc go after these procedures?

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Jackdawg, when you say "...while the forge does the job", you're not suggesting burning off the zinc, are you? 

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