Jump to content
I Forge Iron
Benona  blacksmith

Small wrought iron steel faced hammer.

Recommended Posts

This piece started as a ¾ inch piece maybe 6 inches long and upset it into a small billet. I had to keep forge welding it back together as it split. I believe the swirling in the pattern is because it was upset instead of cutting and stacking.

Thank you for your reply CGL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also like the pattern. Please post some pictures when it is finished 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love the grain.. whats the weight and was was your bar original starting size..  I love seeing upset wrought iron.. I'm always intrigues by which way the grain flow changes. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You did a great job on punch the eye.. Keeping the wrought iron from splitting that close to the end is tough.  Did you cut the grain first? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice, it really looks like different shades of gray clay smooshed together. Super cool!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This should not be taken to be a criticism on this hammer.  I’ve seen similar in pretty much every photo of a wrought iron hammer I have seen, including one by Jennifer and I don’t believe anyone would try to argue she is not skilled. 
 

In a solid steel hammer the cracks and such would be concerns. What is a small crack now could spread and become a larger crack and eventually result in failure. Is this not a concern with wrought iron?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well it makes a big difference in wrought iron if it's with the grain or against the grain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Which is why Jennifer made the comment about the hole being so near the end?

 

I’ve tried upsetting wrought iron once. It split and it was at a yellow heat. How do you prevent that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Generally they used to forge weld on more rather than upset to build mass. I've seen a mining bolt head on 1" stock where they welded on a wrapped piece of square stock rather then upset the bolt end and that is show in some of the older smithing books as well.

Change in Materials, change in Methods. People often upset to avoid forge welding nowadays and vice versa back then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In one of Joey van der Steeg’s videos, he setup up to punch and drift a hole near the end of a bar by first folding the end over and forge welding it. That gave him a continuous fiber flow around the end of the bar. It seems like a wrapped eye done out of order, but it seemed to work. Anyone know if this was common practice with wrought iron in the past?

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wought iron is much like wood and much like working with wood..  

Grain splitting is a tough one to deal with especially when punched..  there are ways around it like shearing the grain to get a really nice end.. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, DHarris said:

Which is why Jennifer made the comment about the hole being so near the end.  I’ve tried upsetting wrought iron once. It split and it was at a yellow heat. How do you prevent that?

Wrought iron unlike modern steels, the person forging it has to determine the best temperature to forge it at.. 

Super hot is not always the best temperature..  You have to watch how the material is responding do the work being done to it and then modify the technique to get the desired result. 

Making this Hatchax is a great example..  The wrought iron would not really forge at any heat as it was a bar layup of maybe first run wrought iron..   There is no temperature that it would forge at as the bar is..  I could have layered it and forged it down to gain some finer grain and to make it much more forgable.   But did not want to take the time. 

So I what I did instead is to change plans and put the 5160 in sooner than later and use the steel to unify the material so it could then be held by the steel and forged to finial shape. 

With this it's an experience thing and little tricks like this are often over looked or not known. 

If you want to put in a hole that close to the end like in the hammer you can do a layer of wrought iron going to the opposite way to hold the grain in it's proper flow.. 

Bending over wrought iron, often it will just crack at the bend root if the wrought iron is of lower refinement. 

The way to overcome this is to forge it with a longer shoulder that has a huge radius. 

The other huge problem with wrought iron is over working it and not forging it square as you thing larger sections.     

There are a bunch of little tricks that can be used for wrought iron that does not want to cooperate..  But there are a few.     Oh,  work the middle of a bar vs and end if you get splitting..  :) 

20200328_165423.jpg

Thomas..  Yes they would layer for sure..  Kind of a neat way to do it and with wrought iron the seam disappears and is really just all the same.. 

The 2.75lbs hammer build was upset from 1.125" sq wrought iron..   And currently have a dogs head hammer also upset from that same 1.125" sq wrought iron. 

Technique and understanding of material plays in a lot.. 

Here is a shot of the wrought used on the hatchet.  You can see that the seams even in this bar are poorly welded.  You can see this very seem in the pole of the ax and where it wrapped around the sides.. 

And some photos of the 4lbs hammer build which still is not finished as I can not decide what finial shape of want.  It started life as 1.125 sq with the bars notched folded over and welded. 

then these do sections were then welded to each other to get the proper mass. 

20200327_144643.jpg

20180902_120124.jpg

20180904_132355.jpg

20180927_152311.jpg

20180830_172018.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. That helps.  I waited too long to go buy tyres from a guy in Duncan, Oklahoma who restored wagons. He shut down and sold all of his stuff. I had wanted to do exactly what the OP had done, but from the little I have worked wrought iron was afraid I wouldn’t be able to punch and drift the eye without turning it into a splintered mess. 
 

It sounds as if some of that is just unavoidable, and I assume due to the grain, a split is not as apt to continue splitting and fail upon use. I wish it were more available. Like the “smushed clay” pattern in the OP, you can really get interesting and quite beautiful things from it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Working wrought iron,  just like forge welding  is not mysterious, once understood..  Its just another item to work with.   

I'd rather work wrought iron than mild steel any day.   Each batch has its own character and its own "best practice"..  but wrought iron "IS" the blacksmiths material.. several of thousands of years of use.. 

It moves 3x faster, welds seamlessly, cuts super easy even on larger section and besides can be challenging to get the desired item forged.     All high up on my list of what I call a good time. 

DHarris.. As far as a split..   It all depends where it is..  Also a knick in the side of wrought iron (like a cut that was started and left even a small one) can lead to failure.  Wrought iron depending on quality can be very strong and ductile but certain things it just does not like.  Depending on the material  A 1.25" square  bar notched about 1/8" on each side can be snapped pretty easy by hand. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember a SOFA meeting once where someone brought in a piece of merchant bar WI that had been broken and you could see each individual bar that had been welded together to make it---5 of them!

We're used to homogeneous steel; bland as it may be.  Wrought Iron is very "individualistic"; especially in the lower grades. When you get to the highest grades it's almost spooky what you can do with it! As I recall Yellen always specified triply refined wrought iron for his ornamental work. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, true  and well said Thomas..

Pure iron can be found once in awhile  and many of the older smiths I know on east coast seemed to have fell into a group deal years ago.. 

It does not care how it is forged but moves like butter.. Almost to fast if one is not used to it.  Leading to over strikes/over forged cross sections very quickly. 


Years ago I had always assumed that wrought iron would always retain it's grain structure and would always be acid etch-able to see the grain structure.  I learned the hard way, this is not the case at all..  That Wrought iron when worked thru many cycles will indeed shed nearly all the inclusions and work itself very pure.. 

Pure iron and/or wrought iron is crazy how it forge welds and I also used to think that Hot short and cold short wrought irons would retain these attributes but was proven wrong with that assumption as well. 

It is an interesting material for sure..  

Yellen was at the right place at the right time.. 

I was told a story by a Gentleman down in DE a few years back..  He knew Mr Bill Moran and had a Buffalo reverb /smoke eliminator forge I wanted to buy but was 4 days to late as it went to the school..   (His grand pappy forged this item in the photo).  

So, he told me this story that. Back in the 1920s -30's there was a bunch of projects taken on with the "New deal" and one was to hire Appalachian smiths to make unique works of art.. 

He wanted to know if I could forge a copy of this..   I said, " Yes, if the same materials were furnished"..  

What many don't really recognize today is the fact that old wrought iron literally welds, shapes and smooths 3 to 4 or more times easier than mild steels..  Stronger, cleaner joints,  flowing bends, etc, etc.  While possible in mild steels there is a harshness of mild steels that one must adapt to if one wants to copy work of the time when wrought iron was a primary material. 

I'm not complaining its just something of interest for myself. 

imagejpeg_15 (2016_05_28 00_56_34 UTC).jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow this thread took off fast!! :)

I agree with and have encountered many of the things mentioned above. The small delamination twords the back of the eye is actually quite minor

 I started an axe like Jennifer's today. Made from built up wagon tire. Here is where I got to before my striker had to head out for the day and we are climbing up over 90°f today and I figured chilling in the air conditioning was better than next to a raging fire. There is one spot of concern at a set down but I think I can bring it back together.Resized_20200630_143641.thumb.jpeg.defd35596386d008d2dfa22d6b0906c3.jpegResized_20200630_143659.thumb.jpeg.4a56a038a89aaab17236f6662c12a030.jpegResized_20200630_143650.thumb.jpeg.bf1a8f47d8c4235ae2852f9f4f26af39.jpegResized_20200630_143738.thumb.jpeg.8aa26c381c2591a240913353ea072864.jpeg

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.


×
×
  • Create New...