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I Forge Iron

Hi! Trying on the blacksmith hat to see if I like it.

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Hey there, I'm trying to figure out specifically how to craft cast iron cauldrons, the bigger the better, but I'd also like to try my hand at forging authentic-style bladed weapons, especially longswords.

Maybe make my own wire for wire-wrapping.

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Note that cast iron cauldrons were not used in western Europe until about the renaissance.  Earlier cauldrons were in bronze, cast or fabricated and then wrought iron, fabricated! If you are still interested in casting them in cast iron; research a cupola furnace probably the easiest and cheapest method of getting cast iron for casting.

Now if you want to make dark ages cauldrons, you will be dishing and raising and riveting pieces together; I did a 2 gallon one for a Y1k Irish Living history group using a dishing form made from the bottom of an Oxy welding tank and using a dome faced dishing hammer I made from a dome headed RR bolt---not a RR spike, a RR bolt!

I, of course, worked hot for the majority only doing a bit of plannishing and adjustment cold.  I used mild steel disks starting about 1/8" thick and mainly did dishing.

dishinghammers.jpg.5f414449736a771420a01c5e018ec617.jpg  dishingforms.jpg.e70f2e5fd733108fb6f0904bdd51d9a5.jpg Note that for large ones a ground forge burning real charcoal and a minion to hold the workpiece what you hammer is HIGHLY suggested!  For some reason the parabolic shape is a great IR concentrator---usually right where your hand is on the tongs.

Now when you get good; stop by; I have some 3/16" real wrought iron sheet!

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37 minutes ago, ThomasPowers said:

Of course you can find some pretty large preforms in the scrapyard:   


Wow! Thank you for the tips! This gives me a better idea where to start for now.

I havent looked into this endeavor a whole lot, but so far I feel confident Id like to make them with iron, even though the melting point for it seems to be really high and I dont really have a place to set up a forge yet! Id like to make them healthy for cooking so I can have real potlucks and maybe do some charity work feeding the homeless or organize events with friends, family, or meetups.

I considered bronze because I think its more authentic to what the ancient celts used, but I read it can be dangerous to cook with.

Im scared of welding right now. Ive heard horror stories. I know its all really dangerous, but it seems to require a lot more precision.


25 minutes ago, Irondragon ForgeClay Works said:

Welcome from the Ozark mountains. Always room for one more member here, especially of the "gentle persuasion". Over the Rainbow is a pretty high place.:)

Hi and thank you. 

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Just for clarification, did you mean you  want to forge them from wrought iron or cast them from cast iron? (Casting iron is extremely dangerous, even in an industrial setting. Welding is quite safe in comparison.) 

Glad to have you aboard!


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Dealing with cast iron, particularly on a hobby basis, is not something to approach lightly.  The size of furnace needed to melt that much metal, personal protective equipment, and the skill and knowledge to do so successfully and safely take quite a bit of time and money to acquire.  I suggest that you take a foundry class at you local community college or vocational school to get an idea of what is involved.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Good Morning Sid,

Find a Foundry near you and pay them to cast what you think you want. Be Safe!! Cast Iron is not where you want to start. The above suggestions should be listened to, not brushed off lightly. These are VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE folks!!


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Let us not forget that cast iron is about 1000 years *after* the ancient Celts in western Europe; So if you are going towards that way, you have already thrown away any historical basis.   Forged mild steel or real wrought iron is much tougher and less likely to crack or break in use.

Have you studied the Gundestrup cauldron?  Even Wikipedia discusses how it was made and ornamented.

Also you may want to ILL "The Celtic Sword" by Radomir Pleiner  for an in depth discussion of the metallurgy of those swords. (ILL at the local public library as it's a tad more expensive than when I got a copy as a Christmas present about 20 years ago!)

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