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I Forge Iron

Show us your forged wrought iron items (Old and new).


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Jennifer, thanks for the info.  I suspect now that some of us who may run across some WI we might have thought was "trash" and beyond help may now turn it into "treasures", LOL :)

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Arkie, Wrought iron is the only material I know of which was bundled,. welded and sold commercially as superior to first run wrought iron..  

What this means is that scrap made into new bars were a better quality.. 

I save every rusty old scrap I can find and now that I own a rolling mill machine I can repurpose the items super fast. 

Besides welding wrought iron can be seamless unlike steels. 

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"Busheled/Busheling" IIRC was the term for reprocessing scrap Wrought Iron though the term is now used for steel in a different manner.   Each time wrought iron was forged out, cut, stacked and welded it was considered to have been refined more:

Ore => Bloom => Muck Bar => Merchant Bar => Singly Refined => Doubly Refined => Triply Refined

Of course each time there was a loss in materal due to scaling and expression of ferrous silicates and a substantial fuel cost so the cost of the material went up too!

Note the specs would sometimes state how much steel could be included in busheled Wrought Iron with more being considered bad.

As I recall The Saugus Ironworks was an early adopter of rolling and slitting of wrought iron "One of only a dozen such mills in the entire world at the time"---Wiki

(Saugus Ironworks  site of the first integrated ironworks in North America, founded by John Winthrop the Younger and in operation between 1646 and approximately 1670---Wiki)

(MICTYA:  "Ironworks on the Sagus" for more info...)

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I didn’t know wagon parts are made from wrought iron that’s kinda cool! I bought a solid metal wagon axle back in the spring and I just been using it as a lever bar lol, I’ll try an figure out were I put it an get som pictures tomorrow. 

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that’s good to know jlpservicesinc! 

In That case I’ll bet the one I got is steel, because it doesn’t look like something I imagine that came off a heavy cargo wagon, but I’m no expert on wagons lol

I’ll  get a picture on here tomorrow 

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It didn't work for me either.

WI = short dull red-ish sparks with essentially no forking

Steel = orange/yellow sparks with longer trail and forking/sprigs depending on carbon content

Based on your picture that's steel not WI.

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If I remember (and my phone can capture a semi-decent picture) I'll try to post a WI spark test later today. Once you see the difference it's pretty clear.

Not that the spark test is fool proof. Sparks from some cast iron and tools steels can be deceptively similar to WI. I've been fooled once before by a block of mystery steel I found in my house when I moved.

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Thanks y’all, I kinda figured it was Steel after jlp said lighter axles were,

but I still wanted to check it out, ive got a lot of old farm odds an ends laying around the property, and some old handmade stuff too. So maybe I’ll start practicing doing a spark test on stuff so I can kinda get a better understanding of what’s made of what, 

Frazer, thank you! I’ll watch out for your picture later 

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Two fairly similar RR spikes. Based on size, where they came from and how they were made (as opposed to "modern" spikes) they are from a similar time period, one obviously being slightly newer.

IMG_2021-09-02_17-51-24.jpeg.3a5c96593196a818ed6f67294885e52a.jpeg

I apologize, my ~3 MP phone makes the sparks a little deceiving, but here is the WI spike:

IMG_2021-09-02_17-50-32.jpeg.64eb29d82917bd54c2e75d3c4ab0b43c.jpeg

IMG_2021-09-02_17-50-41.jpeg.d9ae895f61f0b482758e81c11adc3c22.jpeg

Here is the low carbon steel spike:

IMG_2021-09-02_17-49-59.jpeg.79a7ed4e1e6a7d14f86b4bd0d6fb1114.jpeg

In the pictures the sparks from the WI spike appear brighter than they do in person. The big give away (based on these pictures) is the way the sparks look as they are just coming off the wheel. You can see from the WI spike the sparks are very dull and weak as they come off the wheel and take some time to ignite. They also end in appendages rather than forks.

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No problem. Happy to help.

I'm with TP, it's nice to have a selection of known materials laying around to compare sparks to.

(pssst I'm sure you have a few post vices and/or anvils that are primarily made of WI.. They might not miss a few mg shaved off from time to time for comparison :ph34r:)

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/19/2020 at 10:24 AM, Detectorcon said:

I've been trying to identify this item for most a week now and all the facebook groups I'm in have had guesses but couldn't give me a definitive identification. So i thought I would try the experts! Guesses so far are shutter peg, a tine guard for some kind of machinery, oh and some kind of ground peg for marking areas with string...  

I thought some might be interested, confirm or reject my ID of piece.  Look's like a knife guard from a hay mower sickle bar.  I cringe when I recall how much stuff I saw go to recyclers post wwII as tractors replaced mules. I wagger that wagon wound up in the water when boys pushed it off the hill just for entertainment.  Not that i have first hand knowledge of such mischief.:unsure:

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To resize a quote after it is posted click on the three dots up in the right corner. Then select edit which is limited in time to do. Then highlight the portion to remove and hit backspace or delete. If the time has passed and you can't edit hit report post and ask a mod to edit it. Generally pictures should be removed, unless one is needed to make sense of the post. In a quote with a lot of pictures I remove all but the pertinent one(s).

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Carbonized steel wrought iron can have some interesting sparks depending on the depth of the carbon migration. 

For wrought iron there is a snap test done cold, a file test, a cold forging test, spark test, acid test..  

Frazer the railroad spike test is a great example.. Splendid..   I have found the small spikes from the narrow gauge tracks are wrought iron having never found 1 that was steel. 

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JLP, I got a whole tote of spikes ranging from small and relatively old to large and reasonably modern (MC, HC stamps etc.) from a rails to trails program by me. The small ones all look the same, but I've found roughly half of them are WI and the other half are a very low carbon steel. The latter group are (almost) equally fun to forge. Very soft under the hammer, but less of the "red short" that comes along with WI.

These must have been taken from a line that was built with WI spikes, but over time they were replaced with steel ones of the same size.

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