Wrought Iron Farm

What kind should I buy?

Recommended Posts

Newbie here, I’ve been making knives for about 6 years and a glass blower for 20. I’ve been tinkering with a rr track and coal forge made from a brake drum for about 6 years as well. Just messing around with rr spike I get from a scrap yard here. I just stepped up my game and got a gas forge a 100lb and a 200lb arm&anvils. I have bought 1085-1095 for knives. I want square stock for hooks, leaves, keychains and tongs but don’t think it needs to be high carbon. What kind of square or round stock should I buy for basic projects? Any info would be greatly appreciated. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use mostly hot rolled bars that you can get at metal yards or shorter rods you can get at places like Tractor Supply or Attwods. I'm sure you can get it at other farm and ranch stores. Those are just close to me here. Look in scrapyards also. I'm sure someone will be along soon that can tell you better than I can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any basic projects (leaves, hooks, tongs, keychains, etc) don't need to be high carbon steel, if that is what you're asking. If you are asking about size, I usually use something like 1/4in to 1/2in square or round for most projects. I'm a little too tired right now to see if you are near any selling scrapyards, so I'll just say that if you are near any, use those for steel. if you are like me and need steel from either online or over-priced stores, try to find the cheapest place near you. If you are on a budget, rebar at home-depot is pretty cheap, and though some people are just a tad snobby about it, I haven't had any problems with simply squaring off the texture and using it for most mild-steel projects.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed the box stores are expensive. I just got a 72" long 3/8 "hot rolled round rod. 7 bucks.  I'm going to try to utilize every bit of that. If you can find something you can use at a scrapyard, it'll be much cheaper. Plus foraging in a scrapyard is just fun. You never know what you'll find :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t want to use high carbon for my basic projects. I’m wondering what kind of mild steel to buy. I live by Chicago so there are abunch of steel factories within spitting distance. Admiral steel is where I go mostly for 1095cra. I want like 3/8 and 1/2 mild bar stock but don’t know what to look for. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just buy hot rolled, rnd or sq. Unless you specify a grade you'll get the current equivalent of "mild". If you specify "MILD" steel they'll probably have to special order it and shipping will kill you. Modern "mild" steels are specified by performance: 50,000 psi tensile, elongation ?% , modules of ? 15%. I just pulled those numbers out of the blue for the  purposes of discussion. Anyway, most contract users don't much care what's in the steel as long as it's strong enough, flexible enough, etc. enough.

If you order steel by it's analysis say, 1018 mild you're ordering a more consistent length of steel but it's a special order. While it's still being made for the specialty market it's not something steel suppliers keep in the racks.

Make sense?

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of the plain hot rolled is A36 in these parts.  One good way to figure out is to ask what's cheapest!

Another good way is to ask  other local smiths where they are buying their metal; ABANA Affiliate meetings are good for that.

Will you be at the Quad-State Blacksmiths Round-Up this year?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I envy all you guys who get to say, "Whatever you can find at your scrapyard."  Scrapyards around my parts don't allow you to buy anything, they only buy from you.  They say it's because of liability issues.  It really stinks, because every time I take my scrap buckets down there is at least one item I wish I could come home with. 

I am, however, fortunate enough to have a commercial steel supply shop relatively close by.  The stock is cheap, and they don't mind cutting only a couple of sticks at a time for me, which is nice.  Reminds me, I've been meaning to bang out a couple bottle openers to take to them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm still working off a nice supply of 1/2" square stock I got from a demolition job near the college where I work. I knew the guy in charge, and he was more than happy for me to take some stair railings off his hands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scrap yards now are a hit or miss.. Sometmes if you go in the office and mention what you do and if you could look around that you'd be willing to pay extra for the assistance.. 

I love scrap yards but now with time being short. I just buy new.. 

1018 comes in both Cold rolled (CR) and hot rolled (HR)..  CR has a high tensile strength than HR it also works a little bit differently even when hot.. 

CR comes in 12ft lengths and HR comes in 20ft lengths.. CR usually costs more than HR..

A36 here usually fills the Niche sizing types..   

1018 is much more forgiving to heat cycling and improper forging techniques vs A36..   It also forge welds at a different temperature.. 

 

Introduction

AISI 1018 mild/low carbon steel has excellent weldability and produces a uniform and harder case and it is considered as the best steel for carburized parts. AISI 1018 mild/low carbon steel offers a good balance of toughness, strength and ductility. Provided with higher mechanical properties, AISI 1018 hot rolled steel also includes improved machining characteristics and Brinell hardness.

Specific manufacturing controls are used for surface preparation, chemical composition, rolling and heating processes. All these processes develop a supreme quality product that are suited to fabrication processes such as welding, forging, drilling, machining, cold drawing and heat treating.

Chemical Composition

Element Content
Carbon, C 0.14 - 0.20 %
Iron, Fe 98.81 - 99.26 % (as remainder)
Manganese, Mn 0.60 - 0.90 %
Phosphorous, P ≤ 0.040 %
Sulfur, S ≤ 0.050 %

Physical Properties

Physical Properties Metric Imperial
Density 7.87 g/cc 0.284 lb/in3

Mechanical Properties

Mechanical Properties Metric Imperial
Hardness, Brinell 126 126
Hardness, Knoop (Converted from Brinell hardness) 145 145
Hardness, Rockwell B (Converted from Brinell hardness) 71 71
Hardness, Vickers (Converted from Brinell hardness) 131 131
Tensile Strength, Ultimate 440 MPa 63800 psi
Tensile Strength, Yield 370 MPa 53700 psi
Elongation at Break (In 50 mm) 15.0 % 15.0 %
Reduction of Area 40.0 % 40.0 %
Modulus of Elasticity (Typical for steel) 205 GPa 29700 ksi
Bulk Modulus (Typical for steel) 140 GPa 20300 ksi
Poissons Ratio (Typical For Steel) 0.290 0.290
Machinability (Based on AISI 1212 steel. as 100% machinability) 70 % 70 %
Shear Modulus (Typical for steel) 80.0 GPa 11600 ksi

Electrical Properties

Electrical Properties Metric English Comments
Electrical resistivity @0°C (32°F) 0.0000159 Ω-cm 0.0000159 Ω-cm annealed condition
@100 °C/ 212 °F 0.0000219 Ω-cm 0.0000219 Ω-cm annealed condition
@ 200 °C/392 °F 0.0000293 Ω-cm 0.0000293 Ω-cm annealed condition

Machining

The machinability of AISI 1018 mild/low carbon steel is graded at 78% of B1112.

Weldability

AISI 1018 mild/low carbon steel can be instantly welded by all the conventional welding processes.

 

 

A36:

 

Introduction

ASTM A36 is the most commonly used mild and hot-rolled steel. It has excellent welding properties and is suitable for grinding, punching, tapping, drilling and machining processes. Yield strength of ASTM A36 is less than that of cold roll C1018, thus enabling ASTM A36 to bend more readily than C1018. Normally, larger diameters in ASTM A36 are not produced since C1018 hot roll rounds are used.

ASTM A36 is usually available in the following forms:

  • Rectangle bar
  • Square bar
  • Circular rod
  • Steel shapes such as channels, angles, H-beams and I-beams.

Chemical Composition

Element Content
Carbon, C 0.25 - 0.290 %
Copper, Cu 0.20 %
Iron, Fe 98.0 %
Manganese, Mn 1.03 %
Phosphorous, P  0.040 %
Silicon, Si 0.280 %
Sulfur, S  0.050 %

Physical Properties

Physical Properties Metric Imperial
Density 7.85 g/cm3 0.284 lb/in3

Mechanical Properties

Mechanical Properties Metric Imperial
Tensile Strength, Ultimate 400 - 550 MPa 58000 - 79800 psi
Tensile Strength, Yield 250 MPa 36300 psi
Elongation at Break (in 200 mm) 20.0 % 20.0 %
Elongation at Break (in 50 mm) 23.0 % 23.0 %
Modulus of Elasticity 200 GPa 29000 ksi
Bulk Modulus (typical for steel) 140 GPa 20300 ksi
Poissons Ratio 0.260 0.260
Shear Modulus 79.3 GPa 11500 ksi

Machining

The machinability rate of ASTM A36 is estimated to be 72%, and the average surface cutting feed of ASTM A36 is 120 ft/min. Machining of ASTM A36 steel is not as easy as that of AISI 1018 steel.

Welding

ASTM A36 steel is easy to weld using any type of welding methods, and the welds and joints so formed are of excellent quality.

Heat Treatment

Any standard carburizing and hardening methods of AISI 1018 steel is suitable for ASTM A36.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jennifer, thanks for posting the nice summary of 1018 and A36. Might save some folks time who are unfamiliar with them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As JLP noted, time is a factor and you're most always better off going to your local steel supply store to get full 20' lengths of bar.  

My local Dillon's will sell me any 1018 I could want and it's very nice to forge.  The stuff you get from the big box stores is three times the price, so there's no sense buying there unless you need some stock late at night after the steel supplier is closed.

1/4" round and square.  5/16" square bar is great for making steak flippers and other projects where the 1/4" stock looks a bit too small.

I really like using rectangular stock for a lot of hooks and keep 1/4x1/2, 3/16x1/2 and 3/16x3/4 on hand all the time.  

1/2" round and square is one of the mainstays, too.  For larger hooks, dinner triangle bells, plant stands and such, it's a good thing to have and you can burn through a few sticks in no time flat when you're making something like a table.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My personal preferance is square stock over round. This because I prefer most of my final forgings to be square or rectangular. 

The primary forging difference is that ALL steel twists when worked, you just can't see it in round stock.  You might think that forging round is best/easier because you will never see the twist.

Alas, if I wanted easy, I could have been a lawyer,,,  ;)

I feel its better to learn to deal with twist(and other iron quirks) right off the bat and make their "corrections" be a normal part of my forging time early on.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anvil brings up a good point..   I to prefer sq over round for a given size unless it's a piece that is only round in cross section..   I personally have only seen this is objects like chain as an example as with hardware the shapes are pretty short.. 

The other thing to note.. The cross section of sq is actually more volume of steel vs round for the same given size.. So if one has 3/8" sq and want 3/8" round when the corners are forged in to round, the sizing will be slightly larger as this volume will usually move to the center of the bar..   This is great for someone starting out as it will leave a little room for inaccuracies with hammer blows and such so you can end up with the exact size wanted.. 

Round bars forged square will usually drop down to the next size pr 2 depending on how square or sharp a corner is desired,   as an example: 1/2" will drop to 7/16" sq with rounded corners or 3/8" with sharp corners..  This of course depends on skill set and accuracy of hammer swing.. 

It will just mean a lot of hammer work if you only buy round and you need 3ft of sq.. but this is also true of sq to round..  But practice makes for more forge time.. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.