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I picked up what looks like a train car spring at the recycling center today.  (might not actually be, but it's the largest spring I've ever held!)  I've been told it's likely 5160.  I actually have two questions:  First, to Normalize it, can I just throw the whole thing in my fire pit and keep a good fire burning on it until it's good and red and then just let it sit in the ashes and cool off for a day or two before starting with the cutting?  Second, I'd like to attempt to make a hammer head out of it.  Luckily, I have access to both a hydraulic press and power hammers.  If I cut 4 pieces of this spring, straighten them out, bundle them and weld the ends like when people forge weld Damascus, (drawing them out and folding/twisting repeatedly) do you think I would be able to forge weld them (eventually) into a billet large enough to make a hammer?  I know it would be a heck of a lot easier to just buy a larger chunk of steel to start with, but I already have 35 pounds of spring that will work....................I'll just have to work harder at it and, eventually, learn more.  Before you more experienced smiths shoot me down, realize I'm a newbie and think I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. ;) :rolleyes:

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I saw the pic’s from that junkyard from picker’s post. They look like a pretty large stock diameter. How big of a hammer are you planning to make? Or is the picture just misleading?

David

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Before you try normalizing the whole thing try wire brushing dirt, off and taking a hack saw to it, it's heat treated to be springy not hard. I cut spring in my cut off bandsaw regularly and they're not bimetal blades. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Hmmmmmmm.........................I sure hope you're right.  Not sure I could normalize anything that large and be assured it's normalized equally throughout.  I'll give that a try tomorrow.  Thanks Frosty.

Something just hit me.  If I stack 4 round pieces together, I'll have a great big hole down through the middle of them.  Not good.  Would it be better for me to uniformly flatten the pieces so they can be stacked and fluxed just as if I were trying to make Demascus?

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If a hack saw won't bite don't swear it you only want to run the temper out of it enough you can saw it, uniform isn't an issue. You're going to be bringing it above critical to forge anyway. Toss it in a bonfire and let it cool in the ashes, it'll be fine.

Yeah, at least square them up before welding up the billet but flattening them enough there isn't a void down the center is good.

However once you get the hang of welding spring stock to spring stock, consider the interesting pieces of steel you can put down that center void. I like the idea of high nickle tig rod for a nice contrast. You can buy tig rod by the stick at a welding supply.

Just out of curiosity, have you read up on welding spring steel to spring steel on IFI? Not the easiest stock to break in welding. 

Now a boy could square it up and lay strips of mild or medium C steel between the spring to ease the welding. OR use JPH's flux recipe but if you do use a high degree of care NOT to breath the fumes from the flux, a dust mask is NOT enough. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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11 minutes ago, Frosty said:

have you read up on welding spring steel to spring steel on IFI? Not the easiest stock to break in welding.

Admittedly I haven't.  Didn't even know there was such a thread.  I'll check into it.

 

13 minutes ago, Frosty said:

However once you get the hang of welding spring stock to spring stock, consider the interesting pieces of steel you can put down that center void. I like the idea of high nickle tig rod for a nice contrast. You can buy tig rod by the stick at a welding supply.

Would that give me a Damascus type contrast in steels?

14 minutes ago, Frosty said:

OR use JPH's flux recipe but if you do use a high degree of care NOT to breath the fumes from the flux, a dust mask is NOT enough. 

What is JPH's flux recipe?  Where would I find that?

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A search using forge welding spring steel for terms should tell you more than you need or want to know.

Yes, adding any steel that has a different corrosive property will cause contrast in color, high nickle steel very much so. 

I don't recall what JPH calls his flux, steel glue or similar but it should show in a search. He's posted it a couple times and was a little irritated last tie someone asked him to post it . . . AGAIN. 

I'm sure someone copied it and can post or link us.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Why not go with some 2" truck axle to get started and move up to the more difficult stuff later?

And cooling slowly in hot ashes is annealing for most steel alloys.(High alloy steels often required very picky time and temps and cooling rates.)

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Well folks, I had no earthly idea spring steel was so  difficult to weld.  Have to admit you've taken the wind out of my sails.  Thought I had a real treasure!

There was a truck axle at recycling.............but it had everything attached.  Brake drums, etc.  Hate to have to pay for those when I've no need for them.  Besides, I spent all my disposable cash there yesterday.

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too bad we dont have an alchemy, formulas and fluxes  section with a pinned thread about fluxes

 

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Not subtle, but thanks, Steve.  :lol: To be honest, I'd never even noticed it before.  It's hard to get into a new hobby and read everything there is to read about it right off the bat.  Seems as if I'm either being told (as you've just done) there is a spot for that info, or I stumble onto it.  It's like stumbling onto a bag full of gold in the forest!  I'll read through it this morning. Thanks again.

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Even the section ways its about fluxes, if that isnt informative enough I dont know what else to do/  We try to label things so people know  what is included in that section

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I'm reading through it right now, Steve.  I'm just a stupid newbie.  I'll make my way through it.  I'm on page 6 right now and one thing I'm realizing is everyone is an "expert".  Nothing I've read so far is saying "To weld spring steel to spring steel, use this".  I still haven't found "the" recipe............but maybe there isn't one!  But I've still the balance of the 22 pages to read.

Steve, I'd like to ask you a question:  I've read many posts in that thread (and several were yours) that post links that suggest an answer to a question.................but they always go straight to the first post of the Flux thread.  I don't understand.  What am I missing?

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Never said you were stupid. merely not being very observant.  JPH list is in there

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many old links are FUBAR after so called site upgrades, same with many lost photos  so some default to 404 error others to beginning of a thread

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Okay, thanks.

On my fourth cup of coffee and page 11. 

Oh, and your comment about my observation is spot on................an admitted short-coming of mine.  Even at this age it's a hard to correct habit.  Thanks for reminding me.

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Chris, If I remember correctly you are new to our craft. This is a daunting first project. However, should you prevail you will have learned a lot.

I would not make a hammer in this manner. You are talking of a tough forgeweld using coil spring. If I were to make a hammer from many pieces, I would make it from wrought Iron or mild steel, Then forge weld a high carbon steel face on it and the cross peen. 

But hey, bottom of the line its jest a lil iron, and experience is priceless. So heres some input.

Lets say you want 4" or so long for your hammer. Take a piece of 16 gage wire or string and mark off 16 inches along the centerline of your spring. Cut this off with a side grinder.

Now straighten this out. I suggest using a scrolling wrench, bending forks and your post vice. If you dont have these, never fear, use your hammer and anvil. Pack a lunch.  ;)

Forge this to a square cross section. If your spring is 3/4", it should be ~5/8" or 9/16" square if I remember correctly.

Now cut most of the way thru the middle and bend it back on itself and forgeweld this. It should be somewhere around 5/8"x1-1/4"x8".

Now cut this nearly in half and fold it on itself and forgeweld her up. You now should have something like 1-1/4"x1-1/4"x4" or so. A nice size for a hammer.

Now all ya gots to do is make a hammer.  ;)

Oh, nearly forgot. plain ole grocery store borax will work as a flux if you cant find the above post.

 

Have fun.

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Thanks, Anvil.

Yup, it sounds as if I'm taking a pretty big bite for a newbie.  I read all 22 pages of the Flux thread this morning over 8 cups of coffee!  :wacko:  Seems as if there are a lot of recipes and they are all "the best". :lol: But I did gather that Boric Acid and Borax will do the trick.  I'll buy and mix some together between now and next week.  At this point, my plan is to cut some practice pieces out of this spring and take them to the Thursday night forge in and see if I can forge weld them together.  If I'm successful I'll go ahead with my plan.  If not, I've got a nice 7 pound slug of 4180 that will allow me to make several hammers.  But I'd really like to accomplish my original goal.

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C.T.C.,

I trust that you are aware that borax is borax, and  anhydrous borax is different.

Some of the posts may be using one form of borax or the other.

Anhydrous borax is borax that has had the water driven off by heat.  It is preferable to 'regular' borax when used as a flux when welding.

Heating borax produces a lot of steam. 

Regards,

SLAG.

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If I remember correctly JLPSERVICES has a video about making anhydrous Borax. If not she has definitely explained how to do It in a post here. I think it's as simple as spreading a layer of Borax on an old baking sheet and baking it at a low setting until it's hard and crusty then you break it up. This is oversimplified but I don't think it's much more than just baking it till it crystalizes and breaking it up. 

Pnut

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Yes, SLAG, of that I am aware.....................though with all the individual recipes in those 22 pages I read, it did not seem that anhydrous Borax was considered all that more beneficial over regular Borax, which has more moisture in it.  Some said "yes, definitely" , others said they'd used regular Borax for years with no problem.

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