Alcueso

Confirming zinc coating

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Starting to get my forge going and a buddy offered me some metal he found in his dad's garage. Before I take it and do anything, I wanted to confirm that theses are plated with Zinc or galavnized and therefore don't use em, or grind it off first.  My instinct says yes  

The ends have rust but not along the shaft. So I wanted to be sure. If I could use them , I would just heat up the metal and pound on it to learn more about how to move metal. 

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They look coated to me, but there's an easy way to deal with it if they are.  Submerge a piece in vinegar for a day or two to find out for sure.  If they are galvanized that will strip off the zinc.  Afterwards rinse well with water and follow up with a solution of baking soda to neutralize any remaining acid.  Once the zinc is removed they are safe to forge, and this method doesn't put a bunch of zinc dust in the air liking grinding would.

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Yeah, I think Buzzkill is right. That looks like hot-dip galvanized all-thread. The hot-dip process applies a pretty thick coating of zinc. Personally, I'd save the rods for other uses, since galvanized threaded rod comes in handy for many construction/fabrication projects, and hot-dip threaded rod tends to cost more than plain unthreaded mild steel rod. I'd suggest buying some ordinary mild steel rod from a metal supplier, which should be considerably cheaper than from the "convenience" rack at the big box stores.

Al (Steamboat)

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With so much scrap metal available, I wouldn't even mess with stripping the zinc off.  If your area allows, just go to a scarp yard and collect good old rusty metal.  In rust we trust!  You can spark test the scrap and get an idea of carbon content in the sense of "this is definitely mild steel and this is definitely higher carbon."  It's not an exact science, but can help you sort it out.  

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I agree with Steamboat & MC Hammer: it's not worth the time and hassle of stripping the zinc. Either save it for something else, or sell it for scrap. I was given a load of galvanized plate a while back, and while I could have used it for some of my bigger welding projects, I realized that I had much more use for the coal, grinding discs, and bar stock that I could buy with the scrap value.

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What diameters? I'd save some for later once you have learned how metal moves. The thicker stuff is good for making snakes, and for that you can cut it into managable pieces and soak them to remove the galvy. 

Till then try to find some uncoated steel to work with. 

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