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I Forge Iron

What did you do in the shop today?


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Not directly related but with winter on its way and the accumulation of tools and material, its time to build the blacksmith shop. Last year we took 5 sick trees down. This year the last tree comes down. Just so happens to be the perfect spot for a small shop. Taught myself a few rope techniques and I'm off to the races. Larger branches will go to prevent erosion. And I will mill the trunk into planks for the shop build. My future Anvil will sit on the stump. I also made a wall hook out of a 12" nail and an ice pick out of a chisel.   not sure how to load pics in order

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On 9/20/2019 at 10:22 AM, JHCC said:

Like Glenn II, I don’t think those are made from two spikes, but one split through the head.

Correct.  They are all single spikes. All mild steel too, except for the dog spike top right which is wrought iron. A real pain to work but I do like the texture you get.

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I love working with wrought iron.  I'd rather that than any other material other than carbonized wrought iron.   Its what I grew up on,reading about and nearly all the skill sets I have acquired, which lots of it can be forgone with mild steels. 

It's funny how the difference in time for many and wrought iron vs steel vs carbon steel takes place.    Wrought iron will not work like modern mild steels as it will just laugh and split up at you.  :)   This being the channel for many today. 

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I've not had the chance to work much wrought iron but the few times I have  I had to resist the urge to pull it out of the forge and when I forced myself to let it get hot enough it was a pure pleasure to work with. I did run into some that seemed to be of a lower quality which I had problems with. The good WI was much different than 1018 or A-36. I liked it much better. Everyone should try to get some and give it a go just to see the difference between mild steel and WI if for no other reason than to try something different.

Pnut 

 

 

 

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People often miss understand wrought iron and just say you have you work it hot.  this is not the case.   I've worked wrought iron right down to a dark cherry red with no fracturing or splitting. 

Wrought iron comes in 2 main varieties of hot or cold short. As well as different grades or refinement. (Thomas can define these) and different origins. (Swedish, British, Domestic stocks) though is less talked about or known now that it is all scrap. 

 Each of these works better at a different temperature. With this said they also need to be worked evenly in a square cross section unless using a compaction method like roll forging, closed die forging (swages). or the like.  It can indeed be die forged to good merit and it can also be held in dies and then punched without the splitting seen in hand forged and punched items. 

Unlike mild steels, Wrought iron can be welded in any given direction with very little thought given to scarfs and such. (will be covered at some point in the future).  Scarfs are still very important but differently and can be forgone in some methods completely. 

Wrought iron will splinter if it is worked off angle or worked a round instead of a square because of the shearing factor that happens internally.  This basically pulls the fibers apart internally shearing them against themselves. 

Anyhow,  proper hammer control, proper forging, proper corrections when it starts to delam,  etc, etc.   All things modern steels are less than caring about. 
 


Today Wrought iron is really a dead material and other than from a historic aspect or for a contrast when doing laminated blades. I would not even bother other to try to see what everyone is talking about.   It really is time wasted. 

I use wrought iron for certain builds from a historic aspect or for weather endurance but for the most part i wouldn't even bother to try to convince others to use it. 

 

If you want to try a really unique material. Get some pure iron.  It will change your perception of forging. 
 

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JLPSERVICES, Maybe what I thought was lower quality WI was the hot short variety you mentioned. I haven't been able to get much wrought iron. I would definitely like to try to forge pure iron and I'm curious about nickel iron meteorite material also. I don't plan on making anything in particular out of any of those materials wrought iron included, I do like trying new old things though. Wrought iron was such a big part of smithing for such a long time that I wanted to see what it was like first hand. I guess it's kinda like trying a new to you food or listening to a new kind of music. You don't know unless you give it a try. 

I did notice quickly that WI liked being square better than having a round cross section. I thought the fibrous grain had something to do with it. I guess I got lucky. Thanks for the info. I didn't know nearly any of it.

Pnut

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Pnut:  I have never tried it but from what I have seen and heard meteoric iron generally does not forge well because of various alloyed metals and impurities.  There may be some that have the sweet spot in composition but material from the next meteor will be very frustrating.  Also, by forging you will lose the willmanstadt crystal pattern which shows up on polished and etched faces of meteorites.  Any knives, etc. that you see with that pattern have been fabricated with stock removal, not forging.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Meteoric iron is like Wrought iron in the fact you have to try it to establish the best way of forging it, and it will depend on from whence it came. Some give up because they do not have the relevant forging experience to reach a successful outcome.

When using wrought iron on a job, each bar was usually tried and tested before putting it to an application.

Genaralisation is very misleading, Its like saying doing it the proper way, There is no proper way, so long as it works for you, and done safely, then I can go along with that, some ways may be easier or quicker than others, but that is usually developed as you go along the learning curve, and that is why you can learn faster being with someone in a hands on tutoring situation than trying to learn from scratch.

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Good job on the tongs.

I made a couple of changes on the forge. First I went to 12 inch pipe and that helped and using a section of barrel to block off ambient air. It especially helps on windy days. The vise that followed me home turned out to be an Indian Chief, so I forged a spring and fabbed a mount for it. Forged my first horseshoe heart, I think it is easier to start with square stock. I will keep working on it.

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Good job on your first tongs. Gooseneck tongs are not easy to get right for a first try... congratulations.

Laynne, you did well going with the 12 inch flue pipe. I hope you are planning on venting it outside, otherwise your shop will be full of smoke!

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Laynne, my forge was originally under a metal carport, 10 ft. ceiling, 8 ft. eave, 12 in. flue pipe, 5 ft. tall with a 2-3 ft. clearance. Open on 3 sides. The smoke under the carport was so bad I finally ran a 12 in. extension out to the far end peak to get the smoke out. Now, no more smoke! 

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Arkie, thanks for the input, the only time I had that happen was when I fired up with coal. It ran me out of the shed and it is 20x40 and 18 at the peak. I don't know the particulars of it but the smoke from charcoal must be lighter. Should it become a problem I will definitely get the flu up and out. 

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