Jump to content
I Forge Iron

I found a load of wrought, how best to prep?


Recommended Posts

Way back in the mists of time (1840) a train of scrap metal overturned near where I live. I don't think they picked up all the bits but I wasn't too proud on a five am dog walk to rummage around in the mud and brambles,dog wasn't happy about it. 

I've recovered about 3m round bar and flat that look like they were once fencing plus some rail clips. Looks there's a similar load in the undergrowth to retrieve. 

It's pretty pock marked, I forged the end of a round bar out to rectangular OK and has a nice grain. The flat stuff I'd like to use for a hasp and staple for the workshop and then use some to sandwich good steel for kitchen knives. 

How do I best get this usable? Grind it off a bit or just get it good and yellow and take it to the anvil? 

IMG_20210324_150225-01-01-01.jpeg

IMG_20210324_154624-01-01-01.jpeg

Link to post
Share on other sites

The latter. Grinding will remove potentially usable metal; forging will remove existing rust as scale. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Heat will take care of the rust. If I were planning to forge it anyway I wouldn't go through the hassle of trying to clean it up first. For the san mai knife I would forge it flat, then grind the face that is going to be welded.

Nice score. I'll just add, be careful about what you take from the RR tracks. It is the property of the rail company (even if they aren't "using" it). I don't know if it's any different in the UK, but in the US you can get hit with trespassing and possession of stolen property if you are caught.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the info It's not from the tracks - I'm pulling this from the river bank and woodland that's public space. The spot gets used for illegal dumping too - got myself the oak beams my anvil sits on that way (and knackered myself carrying it) and recycled mystery steel from garden implements There's what looks like a train wheel in the riverbed - looks next to impossible to retrieve :( half buried in sediment 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Get some friends together with ropes and pulleys for an afternoon's heavy pulling! If nothing else, you can keep it for sedimental reasons.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, LeeJustice said:

And I think that you would be facing federal offenses here.

I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding is that the federal codes regarding railroad rights-of-way have more to do with model legislation and establishing consistency between the various state statutes than they do with criminalizing specific offenses. The exception would be railways on federal property, in which case I believe the usual federal trespassing statutes would apply. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

As US Railroads often cross state lines the interstate commerce statutes may apply. I know "special laws" were enacted back in the bad old days and may have been enhanced with counter terrorism ones more recently.  TLDR: US Railroad laws are weird, avoid being subject to them!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Having just had a snoop at the relevant sections of the Railway Regulation Act of 1840, the Regulation of the Railways Act of 1868, and the British Transport Commission Act of 1949, I'm inclined to say that the UK railroad laws are just as weird, although perhaps in different ways. Under the first of these, for example, a person is guilty of trespass if they are on the railway line, a railroad employee asks them to leave, and they refuse, but possibly not guilty if they are on the railway line, a railroad employee asks them to leave, and they comply. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

That seems quite reasonable. I feel that would be the case here as well. In my youth I was both politely and not-so-politely told to get off the tracks. 

This was long before I would have considered anything I found on the tracks to be useful so I had no thoughts of taking things with me. However, I did find $20 once..

Sorry Scalebar, my intention was not to steer the conversation from rusty WI to the legality of one's presence on the railway. Especially because you were not on them in the first place. I'm interested to see what you make with your haul. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, for metal which has been lying unused and unclaimed for around 180 years it is likely to be considered abandoned and not belonging to anyone.  In the UK it might be considered crown property.  I don't think that it would come under the treasure trove acts because it is base metal but recent variations of the act include base metal objects which are older than X years.  All in all, I doubt what Scalebar salvaged would ever get on anyone's radar.  To use a legal term, it is "de minimus" or beneath notice.

If anyone is thinking of salvaging the RR wheel in the river I'd check with the local archaeology officer to make sure that he/she did not have a problem.  It is larger and could have historical significance.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Note that when using very low grade real wrought iron; the welds to get greater mass can be *very* "juicy" with a *lot* of splatter!  Take precautions!

Link to post
Share on other sites

For the record I know one of the industrial archaeologists from a local site, I asked about iron finds - she said it's fine unless I pull up something truly ancient or notable - the wheel would be probably different matter. Even the very old horse shoes I found were 'cute but no thanks". If I found intact tools of any kind I'd also be rechecking. 

Thomas are we talking slag splattering out or metal? I know I'm gonna have to get this very toasty to weld, probably one where I should remember my apron ( I always wear eye protection. 

I might just seal a section in with charcoal and see what happens after fifteen or so hours at the back of the forge. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Be careful of time and temp; I managed to turn WI into cast iron going way too long at temps, about 30 hours IIRC.  Sealed in a pipe and set on the "off side" of my propane forge, I chalked up the soak times after it got to red while I was doing other projects in the forge. The result would crumble when struck at forging temps.  If you are interested in this "Steelmaking Before Bessemer, vol 1 Blister Steel, vol 2 Crucible Steel"  goes into a lot of historical details with a UK bias!

And yes, the coarser WI the more slag it has in it and the "juicier" the weld can be especially if you are fluxing a lot to try to consolidate heavily corroded stuff.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw your post on that - sent me down some rabbit holes holes! when you say pipe, how thick? I presume treacle tin would just burn up but there's a length of steel tube security fencing in the river  - I'd need get the zinc off first. 

I've no idea how to judge wi quantity but the rail clip looks like bent wood and made cough inducing sulphur fumes when I heated it, smelt like brown coal - my spidey sense is tingling... or is my lungs?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I used a piece of pipe about 1/2" larger on all sides than the piece I was carburizing and one ended flattened and folded. Filled it with powdered real wood charcoal and rammed the piece of WI into the center of it, covered it up with powdered charcoal and flattened and folded that top end too. 

I put it in the gas forge to the side and left it there while I did other projects with the forge and till the pipe had scaled away almost to the inside.  (I recorded how many hours it stayed at red and rotated the pipe each time I lit the forge.)  I guess my temps were quite a bit hotter than the stone chests they used to use to make blister steel!

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Goods said:

What did the sparks from grinding look like?

The discs a little worn but relatively short, some of them with a little fork at the end 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please don't give me a grilling over the cheesy piece. I've done some more playing - sparks longer than a bit of the wrought flat but less than a suspension spring, heated and water quenched it goes ting when hit, the wrought goes clack. So some grade of steel? 

I suppose the thing to do is straighten it, draw off a piece and test it 

Link to post
Share on other sites

A quick go with a file, it's harder than mild or wrought but not as hard as the spring, it had gone a bit cold before quenching - all I was thinking of was getting the crud of. I wonder if the stench was from the concretion formed in a polluted river. 

I'm in half a mind to just go for it with this piece and make a small veg knife - all I've got to loose is time. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...