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Giant Springs and Sash Weights


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First the springs. They are roughly a 2" wide coil that is very tightly coiled together and is roughly 3' long. If I had to guess at the thickness of the metal, I would say maybe 1/4"? Looks comparable to 4 gauge wire. No idea where the neighbor got them, or what they were used for, so figuring out what kind of metal they are might be tricky. If I had to guess what they are from, they look comparable to the springs you would see on a trailers tail gate, although they seem much to heavy duty for that unless it was quite the heavy gate. Maybe something akin to a toy hauler camper? Will have to get pictures.

The second item I was given are what appear to be really old window sash weights. In the research I did on them, they can supposedly be pig iron which from my understanding isn't forgeable as it splatters. They are very hard without any kind of annealing having been attempted as my drill bit nor sawzall blade could even remotely cut through them and the friend who gave them to me said his large table metal saw had issues cutting through them as well.


Can anything be done with the weights? And what are some projects I could do with the springs? I read about making small chisels and such for woodworking out of the coil springs, but wasn't sure if there might be other interesting things I can do with them. Length wise, there is a whole lot of metal to be used from them.

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Think they are garage door springs? They seemed a bit large for that, but it has been a minute since I have actually looked at a spring for a garage door lol. That is what I initially searched when trying to find a project for them though, and a lot of things I found (even here) mentioned making woodworking tools out of them. 

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Garage door springs come in two varieties: tension springs and torsion springs. It sounds like you have a torsion spring there; they're about that size.

Here's some "chainmail" made of rings cut from a torsion spring:


And here are some tension springs on the back of my treadle hammer:


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I’ve made really good scribes from garage door springs, and you can make nice small, strong S hooks from them. Basically anything you make larger with mild steel can be made from the spring steel, but smaller (strength wise). Just remember not to isolate heat by quenching.

Scribe (water quenched just the tip with no temper, really hard but brittle):


Small strong S hook (normalized only):2BADD74B-DFB4-457B-A4E6-1DB4E7F5B7D8.jpeg.0c1c8c3f6fb3a6677ed8c9c02bbdf11f.jpeg

It’s all in what you can imagine!


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Garage door spring is just excellent stock to keep on hand. I've made lots of small gage tools from it. I made the mistake of straightening an entire overhead door spring by heating it to high red in a trench forge and pulling it with the pickup. I didn't have enough distance and had to do it in two pulls. I cut lengths and gave them to club members. 

I kept the other coil intact and cut what I need. 

The list of tools is too long to go into but a short list includes but is not limited to: more chasing tool a crazy person needs, lots of blanks ready for finishing, scribes, punches, chisels, etc. carving chisels, hook knives, wood chisels, etc. and the coil is still more than shoulder high leaning in a corner.

Frosty The Lucky.

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17 hours ago, SinDoc said:

JHCC, those springs on your hammer look like what they are. So does the metal tend to be that of a higher C content in those springs?

Springs are generally around sixty points (0.6%) carbon. That’s enough to harden them for greater stiffness, but not so much that they work-harden too quickly. 

As for the sash weights, I just wired a trio onto the legs of the stand for my student anvil. Together with a wrap of heavy chain, their mass makes it much more stable. 


(Shown here with Gandalfgreen making his first S-hook.)

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Most of these are made from a spring with 5/16” wire. this spring has 1/4” wire  

Quenched in oil and tempered in my toaster oven at 475

i have made a bunch of S hooks but give them away or use them.

I pick them up at the scrap yard but I have a bunch and they are plentiful. 

have fun!



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Rojo, that is what I had in mind for it. Downside is, it doesn't fit in my forge :lol:. I am going to have to try to chop it up into smaller bits, or try to heat it up in the JABOD to straighten pieces out.

Also, I did try to forge those weights. They went splat, almost like jello.

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On 8/8/2021 at 6:11 PM, SinDoc said:

Finally remembered to take a picture of one of the springs.

Yep, that’s a garage door torsion spring. They’re not designed to apply force lengthwise — that is, either in tension or compression — but by twisting. The spring is mounted on the shaft that drives the mechanism that raises and lowers the garage door and twisted to pre-load it. As the door goes down, the spring twists more, countering some of gravity’s pull on the door’s mass.  As the door goes up, the spring untwists (returning to its pre-loaded state), assisting to the mechanism raising the door. The spring essentially stores energy from gravity pulling the door down and releases it as the mechanism pulls the door up. 

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