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What Is Garage Door Spring Good For?


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Posed a while back in the "It Followed Me Home" section that I saved some garage door hinges and springs from the alley. However, now that I look at them, they're of course a small diameter wire, so of limited use for punches, drifts, etc.

What other uses are they well-suited for? Forge welding into billets for pattern-welded steel is the only thing that comes to mind.

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Not exactly sure how thick they are but are we talking like 1/3th of an inch or 1/4th, anyway either way if they are 1/6th of an inch I could still use em myself, since i carve wood and other things I would forge carving knives out of it, as well as small chisels and other carving tools, maybe even make a touch mark or two for smaller projects.

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I have used 1/4" garage door spring to make fire steels.  However, I have seen some that are an odd alloy and do not harden well.  Also, if you re making them for sale make sure you give the customer a piece of flint with each fire steel.  It's no fun to buy a new toy and not be able to strike sparks from it.  Also, you can use this size of spring steel to make a nice little bodice dagger.

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  • 2 years later...
On 8/24/2018 at 11:48 AM, George N. M. said:

I have used 1/4" garage door spring to make fire steels.  Make sure you give the customer a piece of flint with each fire steel. 

Can you share the exact cost of getting three garage door springs? Link removed My friend is looking to buy it but don't know from where to get it at cheap.

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Try scrap and salvage yards.  A big box store may have new ones but they could get pricey.

Also, if you are making fire steels, make a test piece first and try to get sparks with a piece of flint.  I have come across some springs which will not spark no matter how I quench them.  The are probably some odd alloy.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."  

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Welcome aboard Rick, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you might be able to hook up with members living within visiting distance. Much info is regional. What a coil of garage door spring costs me has nothing to do with what it'll cost someone living on a base in Antarctica. 

Exact cost? Surely you're joking or very new to the craft. When I had the overhead door adjusted I asked the guy running the crew and had to stop him from unloading half a dozen off the service truck. He said stop by I can have the dumpster load if I want. It costs them more to haul it off than it's worth as scrap.

One spring from my old door would've straightened out to about 350' of 1/4" round. I only straighten out what I need when I need it. We straightened part of one at a club meeting a few years ago. We heated one if an outdoor fire, threaded a bar through it, anchored the bar and IIRC 6 guys grabbed the end of the coil and ran like crazy uncoiling it. They stopped before running across the road. If you're wondering how they grabbed the end, we'd turned a ring and welded it to the end we drew out, they slipped a pinch bar through and took off running. 

It was quite the show and nobody's wanted a repeat, it's too easy to cut off a couple coils and straighten what you need.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Re Steel Availability:
Per Frosty's comment, I have had the same luck getting leaf and coil springs from auto shops.  Take my car in for what I think is an expensive repair and ask them for parts.  I get leaf springs, coil springs, bearings, tie rods.  Scrap prices around here are terrible and the typical shop doesn't care about a couple of springs. I do get odd looks, though.

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And once you get friendly with them you can really get the good stuff! Living in a smallish town means that I have gotten phone calls about "We just did a lift kit on a new car; do you want the *unused* springs?"   Well worth a few doughnuts or bottle openers to get unfatigued springs!

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The off-road mod shops are a great place to look.  They are always swapping out stock springs, tie rods, anti-sway bars, etc. for the guys going all out in the off-road world.  I got a whole set of brand new, straight off a new truck, original stickers still on the springs, not a dab of dirt, out of the scrap bin.  Some shops contract out the scrap, others don't.  No worry about micro fractures or fatigue in those!  As others have said, donuts, bottle openers, or some gratuity goes a long way.

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I like to pull them out into a generally straight configuration so they are in the rack and handy when I need them. they are not perfectly straight so I know what they are. Anytime I need smaller stock I use them, very handy and you don't have to harden it. I have all kinds of small brackets made out of it. I can straighten about 10' at a time by myself in one heat. 

20200503_102122.jpg

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I don't have any torsion springs, but I have been lugging around the extension springs I removed from a garage door over 10 years ago. I always knew they would come in handy. I just hope I can heat them up enough to draw out in my tiny charcoal forge.

T

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Per the OP, I have made some rather nice knife tang hand broaches out of standard garage door springs.  The ones I had hardened very easily, but they weren't a lot of fun to forge since they were such small diameter that they cooled extremely rapidly.  I think mine must have been smaller springs, perhaps from residential garage doors.

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Wirerabbit: I've never had a problem digging a trench forge in my back yard when I needed a larger forge for a specific project.  In fact I used to keep the tue pipe inside the door to the shop for reuse.  Of course I was in the inner city most of those times.

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