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I Forge Iron

Scrounging for blacksmiths 101


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When you look for scrap metal, tools, or other items, there are certain rules that apply. 

Just because you found it, it will fit in the truck. An object can be awkward to handle because of it's size or shape. Objects are most always heavier than you estimated.

You can put it in the wife's car to bring it home and she will never know.

Thinking the price will be lower if you just wait a little longer and come back later. The object you just found will be there when you return.

If there are two of something, only take one as that is all you need. 

Passing on an item because you do not need it right now.

 

 

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ASK FIRST! Not only have I generally gotten permission I have often been offered stuff that hasn't made it to the dumpster/tip/discard pile/...

Keep a tarp in your vehicle to protect the carpets.  

Always have rope/other tiedown equipment for your pickup.

As mentioned *heavy* stuff should go up against the front of the pickup bed, often with intervening 2x6"+'s to spread any forward pressure.

ALWAYS tie down stuff in the bed.

Keep a red flag in the glove compartment.

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Safety First! Lift With Your Legs using proper ergonomics. Plan and clear your path. Carry the load low and avoid twisting motions. If it's too heavy to safely load by yourself, get some help from a friend or mechanical lifting device: hoists, boom crane, forklift, payloader. Also, think about how you plan to unload and move it when you get home...

 

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Sometimes the juice isn't worth the squeeze,  know when to pass on things that are more work than good. Then again sometimes a larger bunch of stuff can be profitable if you are willing to put the work into it. 

The usually mentioned scrap yards might not sell to the general public. Learning other places to look for scrap, parts or tools is helpful such as ReStores, second hand shops, mill/ machine shops, even aside from the fleamarkets/ yard/garage sales. It doesnt hurt to stop in, look around, ask and talk to people. 

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3 hours ago, JHCC said:

Keep a supply of bottle openers in the glove compartment as Thank-You gifts. Mechanics like ones made from identifiable car parts; contractors like ones made from rebar.

This is brilliant!  Gonna work up a few rebar openers this weekend.

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One other place I've had very good luck with is my local industrial surplus warehouse, where I've gotten everything from pure mystery metal (the fittings on some old grain silo doors) to jackhammer bits to 42" lengths of 2.5" round 4140 (almost $600 worth for $16). 

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If you do find a scrapyard that allows you free access: Cherish It!  Never try to pull a fast one on them.  Never argue over a piece/price; just *happily* throw it back on the pile if they want an excessive amount for it.  Bring doughnuts every once in the while.  Always have your PPE to hand.  I like to bring copper/brass scrap that's in the ferrous pile and let them put it in the non-ferrous scrap area. Be safe; far better to miss out on a really nice piece than to cause a lost time accident that may get the scrapyard closed to people in the future!  I like to explain what I will be doing with the material I'm getting---it's a small "family" scrapyard and so they generally have time and are hungry for conversation.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I second that PPE suggestion.  The piece I want is almost always on the other side of 12 inches of mud. Learn to walk in 12 inches of mud without falling.  It is harder than you might think.   Also bring gloves.  Everything you touch will be covered in mud, grease, and other questionable appearing gunk  

If they have a dog, make friends with it if possible. If not possible, find a way to make it possible or find another yard. The owner of the yard I go to now that Nemo’s in Purcell is closed has some sort cow dog. She came out to meet me when I first stopped by. I stopped and talked with her a bit before going over to the yard owner. He was pretty friendly toward me after that. On the previous two visits I had made to the place, I was invisible to him and everyone else working there. 

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Dont take things sight unseen. 

Once I was looking for some cat track. I'd learned the pins made good hammers. I asked a heavy equipment  friend to keep me in mind. I was sitting in the coffee shop and he called me. Said he had some track but I had to take the whole load.

Alas, I said yes.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wrought iron is found in the shape of anchors at the coasts, fences in cities and rims in the country. 

I have also found wrought iron tie rods in convenient small round shapes

Mild steel trusts out in random patches, wrought rusts less and leaves a wood like grain behind. 

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Pretty much most iron from before 1880's, (Besemmer/Kelly process dates from 1850's; but it takes a while to get a new process widespread); will be wrought iron or cast iron with a bit of crucible steel, AKA cast steel, thrown in for confusion.

I got over 100' of real wrought iron in 1.25" diameter that was used as mending rods for a cistern after the Socorro NM earthquakes of 1906. Most uses of real wrought iron dropped in the 1930's during the great depression but it was still spec'd for bridges in coastal areas as late as the 1950's.

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  • 3 months later...

If it’s not tied down....  

A couple weeks ago I used the power outlet for the deep freeze in the shed for my angle grinder and neglected to plug it back in.  Mrs MacLeod was raging.

Today I finally got round to taking the refrozen fish, venison, lamb and chicken nuggets to the local skip.

Look what I found!!

Mrs MacLeod is raging again.:(

6569D0E0-6D04-4180-82A7-A5AB1AC7971A.jpeg

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:lol:

I love this forum, great advice on blacksmithing and sound marriage guidance counselling!  Thank you again gentlemen!

We’re OK again :D

23 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

looks to be a difficult to swim with item

I’m still chuckling at that :D

 

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