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I Forge Iron

An ill wind


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So this is my first post here, outside of the introduction. Hopefully it's in the right place!

I'm still getting my setup sorted out and am very much a beginner, after several false starts over the years. One of the first tasks on my list is fixing down my anvil, so I cut two pieces of scavenged flat stock, punched holes (very ugly, but it worked) and shaped them roughly to fit over the base.

I was driving in the first pair of coach screws and just as the tension started to build, the bar snapped in two with a high-pitched sound. After a fair amount of inventive language, I realised the value of my piece of 'scrap mild stock' had just increased somewhat ;D 

I took it to the grinder and it threw a beautiful yellow sparkler show which looked exactly like what I get from coil spring steel.

This morning I figured out that this piece of steel is almost certainly from an old 'Spark'; a very common means of Winter transport around here, they're a standing kick-sled used on ice. The runners (like long skate blades) are well-known to old smiths in this area as being good for knife blades and flint strikers.

Now the shortest piece of that break is well on its way to becoming my first hand-forged bushcraft knife, my head is filling with ideas of what can be done with the rest and my anvil is still untethered and stupidly noisy !


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I had a similar situation a couple of years ago: I was making a rather complicated, multi-hook pot hanger out of a piece of salvaged flat bar, and on the very final adjusting tap, one of the hooks snapped clean off. As with yours, a touch on the grinder gave a shower of bright bursting sparks. I don't know why anyone would use high-carbon steel as a clothesline support, though....

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Why it was used: "Because it was handy"!  I once was scavenging some metal from an old piece of agricultural equipment as there were two struts of a nice size to work with.  One was wrought iron the other sparked 1075 to 1080.   Same function, just different sides.   Remote areas and/or the Great Depression led to a lot of "creative reuse".

Also why the junkyard rule is: TEST BEFORE FORGING!

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