ausfire

What to do with these things ...

Recommended Posts

The problem is that I have a bunch of these quite decorative joiner pieces (do they have a name?) that join the sections of 3/8" wrought iron bar on those old Victorian era bed ends. I had ideas of forging some hooks, using the decorative bits as part of the design.

Problem 1: Drawing that wrought to a point to make a scroll end on the hook is a nightmare. It wants to split, and if the fine point is scrolled at anything less than yellow it likes to break off. As you can see from pic 3, that double hook was not successful. Well, a learning experience anyway. It also split in the main section.

Problem 2: The joiner piece is obviously cast iron, as the cast lines are quite clear. I'm wondering how the wrought and cast are secured. Under forge heat I thought they may separate, but it seems not. Perhaps the wrought bar is deformed and the joiner cast around it?

And are there any other creative uses for these pieces? People seem to like items that are recycled, especially with some historic connection.

bed wrought1.JPG

bed wrought2.JPG

bed wrought3.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ausfire,

I have seen a couple of bedheads and gates with joints like this that have cracked and in most cases the bar or pipe has been cut with a mechanical shear which distorts the end of the material and provides a "key" into the casting. They were made by cutting all the pipe/solid to length, bolting molds around each joint and then pouring in the cast iron to make up the joint. You won't have much chance getting them apart short of melting the cast iron.

I've restored a heap of the cast jointed gates over the years and there was a period just after WW2 when a heap were made with pipe that didn't have the seam welded. As soon as I see that I tell the customer to junk it because it doesn't matter how many coats of paint are on the outside it is guaranteed to be rusted out internally.

Your best bet might be to grind the ends smooth and then bend them up cold as the wrought should be fairly ductile compared to steel the same size.

Regards

Andrew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Andrew, from Birdwood, SA, (nice country there, and I liked the National Car Museum) for the information about those joints. Some of the ones in our collection have the unwelded pipes and you're right - most are rusted through. I have no use for the pipe ones anyway, and all the others are solid wrought. I wish they were mild, as it's easier to forge.

I could bend them cold as you suggest, but I do like the small scrolled finials which are decorative and,  more importantly,  avoid the sharp points on hooks that are intended for clothing, hats etc.

We have a great many of those old bedheads with a variety of cast joints. Our gardener at the museum has used some on walls for the roses to grow up. But there are lots of smaller pieces too, like the ones in the pics. I saved quite a lot from the scrappie in the hope I could find a use for them.  I hate wasting stuff.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aus, if you are working with wrought iron then you just have to adapt to the beast you  are working..  Or move onto another project.. 

Anytime you are working it.. You are mechanically refining it..  Watching how you forge it becomes more important vs steel which doesn't care if you are actually twisting the metal while forging it.. This is a common problem I see with many people.. 

They don't even realize they are doing it.. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, wpearson said:

fishtail final ?

Perhaps. But I fear it may be more like a toothbrush finial with this coarse wrought. As Jennifer points out, it's either adapt to using the stuff or give the beast best and move on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Part of the fun for myself is figuring out how to make it workable.    Dont give up..  coal and time experimenting can be fun...

 

Besides it for me is a crucial learning time..  I've never really learned anything that is easy...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, ausfire said:

Perhaps. But I fear it may be more like a toothbrush finial.

you already discovered the answer. forge it at a yellow.

 

wrought is what is called "red short". this means, tongue in cheek, it gets shorter if forged at a red.  ;),,, and to be safe, dont forge below a yellow.

The cool thing is, if is very forgiving at a yellow and above. if it splits, or turns into a toothbrush, just forge weld it back and you are good.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aus,

Perhaps try turning it around and flatten the wrought bar and put holes in it for the screw mounts and use the casting as the detail on the coat hook. Not as fancy as a nice scroll finial but you get to use the piece anyway and the casting definitely won't punch through a coat or hat.

Andrew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all. Andrew, that might work, although some of those castings are a bit bulky. I'll give it a try with the smallish ones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/11/2018 at 9:20 AM, Farmweld said:

I have seen a couple of bedheads and gates with joints like this that have cracked and in most cases the bar or pipe has been cut with a mechanical shear which distorts the end of the material and provides a "key" into the casting.

Hi Andrew. I have only dealt with 2 of these gates. 

I replaced a lot of wrought with mild steel.

Most of the welds were made with 6011, if I were able to leave enough steel studs sticking out of the cast iron.

If I had to weld to the cast iron,  I used silicon bronze applied with a TIG torch.

Also, where I had to repair the spear points, I welded it with TIG silicon bronze.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I did manage to wrangle the wrought enough to make a couple of usable hooks. I'm not sure I even like them, but it used up some stuff that was otherwise scrap. Perhaps a whole bunch of them with different patterns in the cast would look OK on the wall. Relics of the Victorian era.

bed hooks.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just kept it really hot, almost sparking, and hammered very gently with a light hammer. Scrolled the tip quickly before the tongs took out the heat. And one point was a little raggedy so I cheated and filed it back

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/18/2018 at 12:47 AM, arftist said:

Hi Andrew. I have only dealt with 2 of these gates. 

I replaced a lot of wrought with mild steel.

Most of the welds were made with 6011, if I were able to leave enough steel studs sticking out of the cast iron.

If I had to weld to the cast iron,  I used silicon bronze applied with a TIG torch.

Also, where I had to repair the spear points, I welded it with TIG silicon bronze.

Hi Arftist,

We do a line of replicas of the old cast jointed field gates that used to be available in Australia. I get a local foundry to make the castings up for me (took ages to get enough good old castings to make molds from) and then we tack them together using a pure nickel MIG wire (who says you can't MIG cast iron). Once that is done we use a Oxy/Acc metal powder spray torch to weld the whole lot together using a pure nickel powder. Expensive as but the best way I have found yet to get them to stick together well without melting the castings. Tried bronzing but it took too long and the welds looked too "blobby" when finished. The pure nickel powder tends to wick into the joint really well and actually looks fairly close to the original castings. All that aside these are still not as strong as the original cast joints but I don't have the skills necessary to run my own foundry. Maybe one day, after I finish all the other things I want to do first.

Andrew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice job. I like them. Wrought iron is fun to work with. It's about the only metal I collect for my scrap pile.

Another tip/technique. Back in the day wrought was graded as "once forged, twice forged, thrice forged", or something similar. Once forged was the lowest grade with more impurities in it. Thrice was the highest grade, and used for fine delicate forgings.

The other two were used for wagon tires. If you take a length of tire, double it back on itself and forge weld it back to your starting crossection, you increase the quality.

If you use this for your fine work, you can work it at a lower temp without that splitting problem.  But still, always consider it red short, to be safe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/22/2018 at 4:21 AM, Farmweld said:

We do a line of replicas of the old cast jointed field gates that used to be available in Australia.

Excellent but I question your bronze technique. My bronze welds are left as is and are virtually undetectable after paint.

Sounds like a great product though.

My father used to say, The best still isn't good enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those are the kind of things I heat with the torch. They'd make pretty cool searing irons for a steak house or backyard BBQ.

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, arftist said:

Excellent but I question your bronze technique. My bronze welds are left as is and are virtually undetectable after paint.

Bronze welds are really more like brazing unless of course the article is in fact bronze you are welding together.. 

or if they are pressure welds.. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Frosty said:

 They'd make pretty cool searing irons for a steak house or backyard BBQ.

Never thought of that. You could have rump steak with a flower pattern.

You always think outside the box, Frosty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

it's easy for frosty to think outside the box , cause most of the time he is probably standing on it ! hence the head and shoulders above the rest!:D

WrT. the decorative junctions we used to make silicone molds of those having added a sprue from the standard silicone tube and cast them in lead or aluminium  in situ  for decorative effect.  if you play with recasting in wax cutting in half with hot wire and mounting onto your warmed bars then coating with  gypsum reinforced with a bit of glass fibre mesh(for ceiling joints) melt out the wax and dry with a hot air gun  you can cast them in brass. wich looks really good too.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Head and Shoulder Ian? If I believed that I wouldn't be able to get my head in a box. 

Truth is "normal" folk just think I'm weird. I'm good with living up to weird, head and shoulders above sounds like too much work to me.

Thanks Ian, the beer's on me.

Frosty The Lucky.

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.