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Some one locally (Amarillo, TX) posted some 30’ sucker rod in 1/2”, 5/8”, 3/4” diameters. It looks like most types are around 4130/4140 steel and makes great usable steel. He wants $8/piece which seems not to bad for 30’ plus the end could make a good hardy. However, I did some reading and it looks like we have sour wells around here so there’s a chance they could be from that. Is there a way to tell for sure? And do the fumes only get released when heating? Would it be fine if cutting it down with a bandsaw or reciprocating saw? And if my forge is in my open driveway would that be ok, or best to just avoid at all costs? 

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I don't think you have any risk from H2S per se. When heating, sulfides may result in the release of small amounts of sulfur dioxide which is nasty stuff as well. Unlike H2S which starts with a rotten egg smell, but if the concentration is strong enough, it deadens your sense of smell, sulfur dioxide is an irritant that creates a sulfurous acid when it comes in contact with water. It will probably make you stop what you are doing at levels before becoming immediately dangerous to life or health.

You could manage this with good ventilation (which you should have anyway) but I can't guarantee the metal will be worth messing with. The addition of sulfur tends to make alloys more susceptible to cracking. The reason they change it out (and its so cheap) is because after long exposure to H2S, it becomes susceptible to H2S cracking, a form of embrittlement similar to stress corrosion cracking. 

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That would take a long time with VERY high pressure. Sucker rod is solid rod. The question as I understood had to do with safety of something coming from sour service (high H2S). As I said, I don't think there is a safety issue, but, and I should have added "theoretically" because I've never tried to forge metal from sour service, sulfides MAY be present that degrade the steel quality. Does anyone have any practical experience with this?

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After a quick review of Lee's link, (thanks, LeeJustice) I would guess that IF it came from sour service you would still be suitable as long as you ground it down to bare, smooth metal before forging. If you don't see any black powdery deposits (iron sulfide) in heavy pitting then it was probably in sweet service and you are good to go. 

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And where do those grindings go?     I agree that absence of pitting would be a good indicator to go with; though you may exclude some old sucker rod pitted by weather exposure.  Again generally sucker rod is easily found in areas it's used and so "missing" some is not going to be a problem.

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On 7/21/2021 at 7:45 AM, jrmysell said:

And do the fumes only get released when heating? Would it be fine if cutting it down with a bandsaw or reciprocating saw? And if my forge is in my open driveway would that be ok, or best to just avoid at all costs? 

The Hydrogen Sulfide is long gone.  What would remain is the products of interaction with the H2S, Iron Sulfide and perhaps hydrogen embrittlement.  You could grind/sand with a dust collector and respirator.  (Should always use respirator/mask always anyway).  Or you could wet sand, provided that you don't introduce harmful by products into your waterways, environment.  Search link here:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Iron+sulfide+interaction+with+water&oq=Iron+sulfide+interaction+with+water&aqs=chrome..69i57j33i22i29i30.12136j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

You are welcome Purple Bullet.

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The only safety issue I am aware of is that iron sulfide is pyrophoric. When I worked in a refinery we had periodic "Turn Arounds" when repairs and cleaning that couldn't be done while running was performed. When piles of wet iron sulfide were left out and started to dry you could see smoke coming from the pile. I never saw it ignite anything but if it is disbursed and not allowed to accumulate it shouldn't be a problem.

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That was the big reason I was interested in sucker rod was for the shape/size/material for hardy/bottom tools. I'll need to make some tongs though to hold it. I'll probably make a pair out of a piece of it where I can leave it long enough to not need tongs for it then from there can start making smaller things with it. 

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Jrmy, I made a set using two lug wrenches as they have the ends almost "premade" and are usually of good medium to HC steel---don't quench!  Lug wrenches are on my "always buy" list when I'm at the scrapyard.  Though I have found it very difficult to get two of matching size of lug nut and length.  I keep piling them up thinking that the *next* one has gotta match one I already have!

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