cmoreland

What to do with broken or burned (ruined) project metal?

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Those broken shards from a shattered project, the bent, broken tongs you had to throw out because they were drawn out too thinly, the burnt, melted steel from leaving it in the fire too long...

Is there a good way to reclaim this stuff? A makeshift backyard foundry perhaps? Further, does anyone even bother?

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sell to scrap yard at 20 cents pound, and while there buy more the correct size at 35 cents

 

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Tongs---built them into a gate to the forge area. Or a business card holder---spiral one reign to sit flat on a table and the other in the normal plane to hold the bits closed around your cards.

Melting steel is quite expensive---especially for safety equipment that is MANDATORY! So this would be a "I saved US$14 by spending US$600" type of deal.

The rest---what Steve said!  Steel is amazingly cheap; anything that takes a lot of time/fuel/effort to process "free steel" into usable material is a severe waste of time which is often our most precious resource. (As a corollary; any steel I can source at the scrapyard that is already partially towards the final shape I am producing saves time, effort, fuel *and* money.)  I once got 200 pieces of 1/2" sq stock 22 inches long with one end cut at an angle.  Perfect size for large tentstakes and the angled cut end saves one or two heats toward a point.  They were sold to me at under scrap price too.

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Thanks that makes sense. I hadn't even thought of all the fuel it'd take to melt that little dinky stuff. Forgive my spontaneous posting habits hahah!

To continue the good conversation here - the looks I got going to the local scrapyard in my work clothes the other day were priceless but with the hours this tax firm has me working and the scrap yard hours...leaves me with no time to change before heading over there on a Saturday afternoon. It amazed me how cheap I could get stuff too, put a long plow, a few random 3/4 bars of something or the other, some rebar and an old ball peen hammer head on the scale and all that was only $4 and some change. Incredible!

Tell ya what, hammering thick, high-carbon farm equipment steel even annealed is no joke next to hooks, bottle openers and do-dads with mild steel rods and bars from the big box racks.

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Get a set of overalls you can pull over your good duds.  My scrapyard knows me and doesn't pay attention to my clothes---but my wife sure frowns on me wearing my good clothes there! (Now the fleamarkets down here; you have to definitely dress down for them and be able to haggle in Spanish or the prices are inflated.)

My scrapyard "essentials" include a good cold chisel and hand sledge----rusted bolts are often easier to shear off than removing the nut, a 30" hacksaw made from a bowsaw frame with a section of bandsaw blade, (punch the holes a bit closer to increase the tension), a tape measure,  GLOVES! and my disreputable red hat---easy for someone using the big machines to keep track of me.  Having a pickup I don't need to have a tarp in the trunk to protect the carpet...  Of course I have a couple of ball bearings in the truck's console just on "spec"....

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The riskiest business I've found in my all of 2 trips to the scrap yard is all those nails I see in the dirt driving in there. I need to convince my wife to let me buy an old pickup truck to tool around in..

More on topic though - what if I were to build a small crucible to stick in the forge between some firebricks and melt some of the smaller bits? Might not ever get hot enough while you work other projects. I guess you'd need a proper oven you could close up with mud and brick. I'm just now reading up on the bloomery and blast furnaces. Very interesting! I just think it goes hand in hand with smithing. Kinda like working leather or wood for handles, sheathes etc.

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18 hours ago, cmoreland said:

what if I were to build a small crucible to stick in the forge between some firebricks and melt some of the smaller bits? 

No. It won't. Don't bother.

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You need to be about 1000 degF above regular forging temps to melt steel.

I NEVER DRIVE ONTO THE SCRAP YARD! For that very reason. I may have to make 8-10 trips carrying stuff; but I save a LOT on tire repairs.  My local scrapyard got in some still usable wheelbarrows lately and they make it a lot faster to load.

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17 hours ago, Steve Sells said:

sell to scrap yard at 20 cents pound

Lucky duck. We have to pay the scrap dealer to take away steel.

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I was gonna say, around here the big taste on steel is 5 cents a pound when dropping off, and 30 cents a pound to buy :-/

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The difference is called their profit for dealing with the small guy.

You can narrow this gap a bit by cookies, donuts, or gifts you made from the scrap you purchased.

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6 hours ago, ausfire said:

We have to pay the scrap dealer to take away steel.

we have a local steel mill that buys up everything, only one scrap place will sell to us, the rest are already under contract

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All the yards around here are under single buyer contracts so the gates are closed to us.

Frosty The Lucky.

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We have one yard here that lets you peruse around, it's a smaller one but if they ever close up shop due to insurance reasons my backup plan is to go visit all the rural farmers and offer crisp dollar bills for their bent plows, misc steel and such out there rusting in some overgrown grass etc.

If it's anything like some of the farmers I know of, they'll happily let you clean it off their property so they don't have to haul it to scrap.

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Yes GTTS, go to the source.  A local to me at one time medium sized ornamental iron place used to have to pay to have their scrap removed. and once they found that I was *safe* and *neat*. Used to give me hundreds of pounds of it as I always left the scrap tip more neatly organized and ready for a lot more scrap to be added.  Generally nice clean new steel. Sometimes grid work of pipe or sq tubing---they had a big saw and used to tackweld stuff together to cut it all at once----great chisel holders, punch holders, etc.   Every once in a while I would get REAL WROUGHT IRON as they replaced fence that had been hit by a car in the old part of town. I have the technology to work bent and abused WI!

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Throw them in your scrap pile. You will find a use,,,"someday". 

A friend will wander thru and if you let him, will put it to good use. 

Hang some on the walls as reminders of your roots.

You will notice that your scrap pile will evolve with time. 

And, finally,,, 

Never forget, you can tell the quality of a blacksmith by the quality of his scrap pile.  ;)

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