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Quench and temper tent pegs/stakes from garage door spring?


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Hi everyone,

I've recently acquired some garage door springs from my parents-in-law. I want to make some small tent pegs (I think you call 'em stakes in the U.S.) out of some of it because it will be a little harder wearing and won't bend so easily for the same diameter as cheap mild steel ones.

Should I quench and draw a deep blue temper for toughness, or is this still likely to crack from being struck with a hammer?

Would "as-forged" still be strong enough compared to same diameter of mild?

I know in practice this is a real "it depends..." kinda question but I'm interested if anyone has any first hand experience of this or a similar sort of scenario.

TIA!

Jono.

 

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Yes, "it depends."  The main variables are the steel in the garage door spring and what kind of terrain are they likely to be driven into.  My experience is that some garage door springs harden and temper well and some do not.  Only experiment will tell you the properties of yours.  If the camping terrain is soft I doubt that you will see much difference between tempered and untempered stakes/pegs.  If the ground is hard and rocky then tempered stakes may resist bending.  On the other hand, you may not be able to pound them straight if they do bend.

Also, the suitability of the garage door spring for tent stakes will depend on the size of the tent.  If it is a small back packing/pup tent they should be fine.  If it is a larger and heavier tent then I would say that you need larger stock.

I suggest experimenting with tempered and untempered examples and see if you can tell the difference.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."   

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Thanks George. I have previously quenched the spring in oil and confirmed that it does it does harden. I've been able to draw different amounts of temper and used it for small gravers and punches etc.

The pegs/stakes will be for a small tent and a swag/bedroll, so yes, fairly small. The pegs that came with them are about half the diameter of the garage spring and useless!

Yep, I guess I'll just have to pull the finger out and get testing!

Cheers,

Jono.

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Depending on how many pegs you need. You could normalize say 5 and quench then draw out to blue another 5. That will tell you which work the best in the soil you usually camp on. My wife is the camper and I have made her about a dozen of each around 8 inches long and for her they both work well. She uses them for her 10X10 easy up canopies.

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I've never hardened any of the tent pegs I've made. My thinking was I'd rather them bend than break. They were all made from rebar though. Using garage door spring I'd probably just normalize them. 

Pnut

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Normalize and make extra while you have everything all together.  For the little "pin" stakes; make a packet of the extras and put them under your car's seat or in the trunk.

  Where I am at we get strong winds so I make a tent stakes  out of  1/2" sq stock 22 inches long with blunt points and offer to straighten any bent ones brought back to me.  (There is a 5 day SCA  campout, Grand Outlandish, held in the spring that I take all the stakes I have on hand to. *WHEN* the storm blows up I lend out all my extra stakes to anyone that needs them; telling people to just return them at break down time.  Never have had to take any of them home.  Folks come up and throw money to me. I've had folks come up and buy the "Outlandishly Large" tent stakes I leant them; and try to buy the ones I loaned their neighbors as well.  I generally have to tell them that their neighbors tried to make the same deal with me for your stakes...)

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I used 22 penny spikes, (BIG nails) for my 10" x 10" cabin tent and it took a lot of peg/stakes. Just the tent required 8 and another 8 for guys. The fly required something like 16 but the tent was tied to the fly and didn't require guys. BIG nails worked a treat in high wind areas I double staked everything. Drove them at different angles. I liked the nail heads, it made them easy to pull with a crow bar. I did NOT pack this tent on my back farther than truck to where I set it up.

The spring should work fine. As suggested I'd try a couple different heat treatments but normalized is probably going to work without extra work. And yes, make extras, unless you put a LITTLE head they'll be hard to pull sometimes. 

If you can't pull a spike, drive it flush with the ground so someone won't trip or fall on it and be injured! 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks for all the replies, everyone!

I've got a particular hook/head shape I have used before on ones I've made out of mild so I'll make some in this style and then quench and temper some and normalise some and compare. Hopefully some of the old mild steel ones I've made that are the same diameter. It will be good to get a bit of an understanding of the difference in characteristics of normalised spring and mild steel of the same diameter as a bit of a reference.

Cheers,

Jono.

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I have always used 3/8"-1/2" square stock and put in a twist.  For small tents like Hefty's I used 3/16" square stock.  All mild steel.  I use a 180 degree loop on the top.  Hammering side to side has always been enough to loosen them, even in rocky ground.  the only one I've ever had to leave behind got hammered into a big root and I didn't have anything with enough leverage to pull it out.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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I aint been camping in many a year but until i started smithing i had never dreamed of steel tent stakes. We always made ours of wood. 

When i was in Saudi during Desert Shield we had a storm brew up one night that blew done the GP medium we were all sleeping in. So during a raging thunderstorm we had to get the tent back up, the ground became so saturated that we had to burry the tent stakes 2' in the ground. When we left we tried getting the stakes back out but the ground had become solid again. We may just as well have sunk them in concrete. So we just cut the ropes and left them. 

Cast iron skillets do not make a good hammer for tent stakes. When i was a boy scout one of the other kids used our skillet to drive in a tent stake. Busted the whole bottom out and we had to go the entire camp out with no skillet.  

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