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I Forge Iron

I believe I will try to make a steel faced WI hammer


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I have several 3/4” x 8” wrought iron, round bars. I’ve cleaned the paint off and will be soaking them in some rust remover I bought at tractor supply. If forget the name.

I plan to more or less attempt to copy one Jennifer has done. What should my next step be, forge the round bars to square?

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One piece should be roughly one pound, so depends on how big of a hammer you want. For a general forging hammer, probably want to forge weld 3 - 4 pieces together into one block then start the shaping process. I would think squaring each up then attaching two together (twice) then attaching those together would be the way I would approach it.

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Assuming you can forge weld, here's some quick numbers without actually doing the math. It should be pretty close.

1: forge the 3/4" round to 5/8" square. I often forge round to square for my work. It's actually often quicker than champfering 4 edges on 5/8" square. So I know these dimensions work. And the surface texture you get can't be beat! It will grow in length a bit.

2: forge weld all 4 at the same time into ~ 1-1/4" square. It will actually be smaller because you lose that dimension when forge welded,,, but good enough for a quick estimate.

3: forge this down to ~ 1"x2". Cut half way thru the middle and fold it back on itself to get ~ 2"x2" square.

4: make a hammer however you want.  ;)

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I can forge weld, but am never certain if it is going to actually work. About a year ago I learned a set of tongs I never used because the shape just never suited me is wrought iron. I cut a small piece from one of the reins and folded it over and welded it onto itself several times. That was easy. I am a little worried about splintering when working on the wrought iron body of the hammer, but getting from the rods to a solid mass is something I feel won’t cause me problems, especially once I learned on another member’s recent thread about his hammer and that of JLP’s. I was concerned about cracks and they said what looked like cracks really were not.  My main concern is getting steel to stick to the wrought iron. Jennifer makes it appear easy in her video, but I don’t expect it to be so for me. 
 

I will look into the jelly roll. When I was a kid I used to read a series of books my dad had that belonged to my great grandad. They were basically sort of an encyclopedia of everything someone would need to know how to be able to do in 1910 or so, from building a house to basic blacksmithing. Those books are gone. Dad doesn’t even remember having them. I like that people here are so willing to help. You all are basically those books and more. 

One of the things in the books was punching and drifting a hole in a hammer head. It seemed like almost an impossible thing to do. I have no real need to do so now. I could certainly purchase a custom made hammer much better than one I could make from many people here and elsewhere online. (And at $25 dollars for 7 lbs of wrought iron and likely having to mangle at least 21 - 28 lbs. of it before I get a useable hammer, cheaper as well.)

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It's a good exercise but a little daunting to make any hammer, much less forge welding (laying on) a steel face as a beginni g project.

Joey just recently posted one of his excellent vids where he does this. It's well worth watching. Note how he drives up "rags" on the steel and sets these into the hot wrought to hold it into place for the forge weld. He makes a hardy tool, but how he lays on the steel is the critical step in the whole process. 

I'd suggest giving it a try. Basically iron is cheap and the learning is priceless.

Lol, I seem to remember the jelly roll, but the memory is securely wrapped somewhere in the cobwebs of my mind!  :) 

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I can see the issue with WI being priced more than copper at the scrapyard!  I'm still getting it for 20 cents a pound and I really need to start using up my stash.  Now that I have a screaming hot gasser and hope to have a working powerhammer by the end of the year I need to start using it up!

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is going to be harder than I thought. I came out today to finish squaring up the first rod and hopefully get the rest ready to weld. 

What I had first thought was scale isn’t scale. :unsure:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Forge welded three of the square rods into what is essentially now a flat bar. The rod in the middle I forged out a bit longer so I have something to hold on to.  Was fairly easy. Now to notch and fold it back over onto itself and weld that. 

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Thanks. Burned one a nipple on my shirt. It had gotten quite hot and I didn’t realize it. When I shifted my weight, the shirt brushed my left nipple. No tears were shed, but It was bloody close. 

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Ha!  I didn’t see that. It does look like a dragon’s head. 
 

The first two pieces welded up fine. When I tried to weld the 3rd piece alongside, one end stuck well, the other hasn’t.  Would flux help, or just more heat?

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Speaking of shedding your clothing, I once ran over a fire ant mound with my mower. Everything was fine for a bit, but then I felt something crawling on me and saw a few ants on my pants. I jumped off the mower and stripped down to nature and began brushing the ants off. My wife wasn’t too happy about it. “What must the neighbors have thought!!!”  The last thing on my mind was the neighbors.  If the neighbors had had fire ants roaming around down there, I expect they would have stripped down and danced too. 
 

Finally got the rods welded yesterday. The first two were easy. The third one was a bear. It finally occurred to me I could just tack weld it in place and then forge weld it. Much, much easier. 

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The old ants in your pants dance eh? I've never met fire ants but have had old fashioned red and black ants let me know I was trespassing. 

Some years ago before my older Brother ALS took him offline he was playing "Farm Life" or something similar all the time and kept signing me up. I kept unsubbing but darned if I wasn't back almost immediately. I was informed by a game moderator that it was open to signing other folks up and couldn't be blocked. I think you just included folk's email address and they were in. I'm pretty sure that was stopped officially.

Anyway, I figured if I HAD to play I'd PLAY. Not only was there quite a list of animals you could farm but you could develop a farm for almost anything. Soo I started a Fire Ant, farm and gifted everybody with a couple tons of swarming fire ants from my special crop duster. You'd be amazed what an effective crop duster a C130 makes. They finally let me unsub or at least took me off the list. 

I never told Dennis how annoying it was getting subbed to whatever game he was playing at the time. He was miserable enough, heck I might've played if the farm thing wasn't such an intrusive game. Truth is the farm thing WAS fun played my way. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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The only Facebook game I’ve found worthwhile is a Pool game. Fairly realistic physics. I can’t play it any better than the real thing. 
 

Not sure where to go next.  Each file is less than a megabyte, but for some reason they total up to 4MB.  Sorry. 

The pictures are not the best quality, but maybe people can tell enough from them.  Do I need to continue taking it to a welding heat and hitting it to make sure it is solidly welded?

 

What about the “proud” area along one side?  Grind it flat to avoid a cold shut?

If it is actually solidly welded, I will cut off the piece I drew out of the middle rod for something to grab onto and disrupt the blank lengthwise to get it a little thicker. 
 

The three bars I began with weighed 2.818 lb. As it stands now, they weigh 2.269 lb. I lost quite a bit of mass due to how many times it has been in the fire. 
 

It is to thin and too long at present and not even remotely square. 

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It's a good practice to bring it to a light welding heat most of the time with wrought.

Now is the time to start bringing it to the cross section you want for your hammer. Don't worry about specific dimensions for a specific weight. Just keep the proportions (lxwxh) what you want. The weight is what ever it will be.

It looks like, not positive, that your 1-2/2" dimension is thick. Use your crosspeen to draw this area out to 1-7/8" and with a little luck, the thickness will be pretty close from end to end and it will be a rectangle. That's what I'd do next, and yes, to repeat, do this at a light welding heat. 

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It will be a few days before I’m back at it. I was working on a handle and the knife slipped and cut a 1” gash in my wrist. No nerves or tendons cut. It bled quite a bit. I just held it till it quit bleeding and then taped it closed. I thought about super glue, but decided against it. 

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I shoulda left well enough alone, but went out anyway. The cut popped open and began bleeding. I felt the cuff of my shirt was wet, but assumed it was just sweat. When I finished and removed my glove I could see it was blood. I went in the house to redress it.  Some fat was proud of the skin, I trimmed it back. It is hard to tell from the photo, but it is at my wrist. 

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Should leave a nice scar as a reminder not to reopen past wounds! Super glue and/or butterfly bandages and/or some neosporin and a few days off and you'll be good to go! (Disclaimer, I'm not a doctor). I can however say that things heal much faster when allowed to heal. 

But of course we all know that... 

At least this can be a good lesson to others to sharpen your knives last. Less risk of it slipping and cutting things it isn't supposed to.. Regardless, hope it heals up soon and you can get back at the hammer! 

 

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It could probably benefit from a stitch if you really want one... otherwise super glue/butterfly strips and resting it for a few days to let the wound closure heal up enough to stay closed will work... but yes, there will be a bit of a scar. Moreso than if it gets a few stitches, but from the photo it does not look deep enough to really cause any issues. Keep it as clean and dry as possible for the next 5-7 days if you don't stitch it and it should be ok.

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