Aidan Bowman

Clam shell rapier guards!

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Hello there, this is my first post to the I forge iron forums. Thank you for any help you can give me in advance.

I'm working on forging some rapiers and I have run into an issue. I cannot find for the life of me a website that I can buy some thick sheets or plates of steel for forging out these large clam shell guards. I'm really bad at finding anything on the internet and up until recently I've only ever used salvaged steel in my work. If there are any of you out there that could point me in the right direction of where I could find something like quarter inch thick steel plate I would be very happy. Also, any recommendations on what steel I should use for this guard? It shouldn't be taking much of a beating so I want to be able to do detail work to this to pretty up the piece. 

I live in Jacksonville Florida so if any of you live nearby and could offer some name up of areas where I can a quote materials that would be very helpful as well.

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Is there a fabrication shop or steel supplier near you that will sell you a drop? My local place often has chunks of sheet and plate in a variety of thicknesses for about 75 cents a pound.

That said, Welcome to IFI! If you haven't yet, please READ THIS FIRST!!!

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If it were my project, I’d probably use an old rotary mower blade for material.  Most of mine (mostly from high end commercial mowers) are about 1095 or 1080... something like that.  At 1/4” thick they’d be pretty heavy!  I’d probably thin them to no more than 1/8”... by forging.  

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Try the "Metal Supermarket". There is one in Duval road.

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I believe He wants to start at 1/4" and end up much thinner.  (Of course I don't start considering plate "thick" till it gets to 1" or so but if he's coming out of an armour background 14 gauge is usually considered "heavy"...) As for the steel; the originals were generally made from real wrought iron and so a good quality mild steel should do fine.  If you want to over do it a bit I'd go with a nice medium carbon steel like  4340---known for it's toughness and so go with a lighter guard that is still strong. Still fairly cheap and easy to find.

Follow all welding directions for the alloy of steel you use and think about using thinner stock waterjet or laser cut closer to the final configuration and then forge the final step---in Renaissance terms this would be having the apprentices or journeymen doing the set up for the master to complete.

Small Machine shops may be willing to sell you their drops at reasonable prices---call around or even better visit them and show them what you are wanting to do.

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11 hours ago, JHCC said:

Is there a fabrication shop or steel supplier near you that will sell you a drop? My local place often has chunks of sheet and plate in a variety of thicknesses for about 75 cents a pound.

 

This is what I do when I need any sort of mild steel.  Look for either a "structural steel" company, or a "steel fabricator" in your area.  They always have "drops", and I have found many are happy to sell them pretty cheap since all they will get otherwise is the scrap rate.   This is actually how we buy most of the plate steel and aluminum at the place where I work.

Once a local shop had a pile of 1/2" square and round bar stock that they wanted to get rid of.  They had about 400' of the stuff when it was all said and done, and asked if I wanted it.  I asked the guy how much he needed and he told me $7.  I just shook my head, gave him a twenty, and told him lunch was on me today.

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Welcome aboard Aidan, glad to have you. This is a good example of something the internet isn't a good place to look, all the marketing and suggestions of what you MIGHT want to buy plus not being able to talk to people makes it find things you aren't familiar with. You want the phone book, no NOT online, the real paper one. Look for what you need, steel sheet, if you can't find specifically what you need pick any steel supply and talk to the person who answers the phone. If they don't carry what you need they will know who does and even give you the phone number. It's really rare to find a supplier who won't send you to the competition if they can't fill your order. It's good PR.

Frosty The Lucky.

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