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Wrought Iron forging advice/questions


C Craft

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I want to use some wrought iron I have to create a guard and the ferule for a knife I am working on!

 

What is the best way to forge the ferule?

Here is my thoughts to flatten to a ribbon about the width I need, then form to a circle around a punch about the right size.

 

To weld the seam in the ferule should I do a butt joint or a lap type joint?

 

Do I need to use flux for to weld the joint?

 

If I get a good weld will the seam show?

 

What temp or color should I be looking for when forging the wrought Iron??

 

Can I let the piece cool in between working on it or is it best once I start to take it too a neat finished state as far as the forging goes?

 

Do I need to do anything to the wrought iron when finished forging, IE quench or normalize..........etc.?

 

This is my first attempt at forging wrought iron so any advice you might share would be greatly appreciated, and I hope the questions don't sound to dumb but, this is new territory for me! Thanks to anyone willing to share!

C Craft Customs ~~~ With every custom knife I build I try to accomplish three things. I want that knife to look so good you just have to pick it up, feel so good in your hand you can't wait to try it, and once you use it, you never want to put it down ! If I capture those three factors in each knife I build, I am assured the knife will become a piece that is used and treasured by its owner! ~~~ C Craft

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Wrought generally need to be forged screaming hot, nearly to white, or it comes apart. How your piece works might take some experimentation. As for welding, I don't know. I would start with a fluxed lap weld and see if that works. You could cheat and mig weld it, and then forge it down so that the weld doesn't show.

 

Pictures, we want pictures,

 

Goeff

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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Thanks Geoff, I will try and remember to take some pics. My problem is I usually start out making pics and just before I finish I remember the camera is still sitting there and I haven't taken a pic through out the whole middle of the process! :o:lol:

 

EDIT:

No one else has any experience with wrought????????????? Come on now I ain't asking for a trade secret just a little advice.help.gif I promise I won't hold you responsible doubleenforce.gif for anything I do wrong! biggrin.gif

 

Alan we need better smilies.........................................................!

Edited by C Craft

C Craft Customs ~~~ With every custom knife I build I try to accomplish three things. I want that knife to look so good you just have to pick it up, feel so good in your hand you can't wait to try it, and once you use it, you never want to put it down ! If I capture those three factors in each knife I build, I am assured the knife will become a piece that is used and treasured by its owner! ~~~ C Craft

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Lets see, I weld wrought with flux, although I've been told you don't need it. Forge it yellow or white hot, usually. The best advice I think I can give you is experiment with what you have. Every piece is different, and I think it's impossible to make assumptions about any piece. It can be very refined clean and work wonderfully, or gnarly, slaggy, and red short, wanting to fall apart no matter what you do. good luck and let the material tell how it wants to be worked.

Dion Grethen

 

D. Grethen Hand Forged Iron

https://facebook.com/DGrethenHandForgedIron

 

"In fire iron is born, by fire it is tamed"

 

"Never touch the blacksmith's hammer . . . or his daughter."

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There's wrought and there's wrought. The structural stuff like the old cage bars from a zoo were hard to work and wanted to crumble if I worked it too thin but that could be also do to heat loss due to the loss of mass in the cross section. I understand that old anchor chain is best but gives the least vivid pattern due to the low slag content. Lower quality wrought gives a great pattern-if you can get it to stick together. I would use borax as a flux though I understand that some of it has enough silicate slag in it to be self fluxing. Work it at a glowing pale yellow to white so it may be heat it, take it out a give it a couple of blows and then return it to the fire, especially with thin parts. It can be a real challenge to work with. You can't let it cool off on you and expect to have much luck.

 

Doug

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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no weld ferrule - forge out a disc of the appropriate size - leave a little thick. Use a punch to form a hole of the right diameter and then forge the disc down and around the body of the punch - it will take a bit of trial and error, but the method is an old one often used by white smiths as well as black smiths

Chuck Burrows

Wild Rose Trading Co

chuck@wrtcleather.com

www.wrtcleather.com

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As Doug has said, there are different grades of Wrought Iron, with the highest grade the most refined, and the lowest grade having the least refinement. The more refined/higher grade of material the easier it is to work with and the less likely it is to crumble. Most of what you are likely to come across will be low grade wrought, thus the need to be worked at or near forging temperature.

 

The answers to your list of questions depends on the grade of wrought, and the preferences of the smith doing the work. If you ask ten smiths one of those questions, you may very well get ten different answers.

 

For me it would take pages of writing to attempt to answer that list of questions.

Edited by David Einhorn
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OK thanks for the feedback this is wrought I bought from a company doing salvage on old grain elevator up on the great lakes it is from bolts and rods throughout the grain elevator. I bought this stuff a while back but have not had a chance to use any of it yet. I have been waiting for the right piece to come along. I am going to guess this to be on the more refined side. It is all in rounds, I have some that is nearly 2" dia. - 5/8" dia. I think!

 

I had at one time thought about drilling out the round to create a ferule but don't have a bit the size I would need and that would require a lathe to turn down the outside to size.

 

So I will try either try a ribbon or perhaps the process that was described by Wild Rose as that is kind of intriguing. I have done something similar as to what Mr. Burrows refers to, by using a cold process, hammering on copper and aluminum. But with a cold process you can only stretch the metal so far before it begins to crack and fail.

 

I am beginning to get anxious to work on this! Either way I go I will try and remember to take some pics! Thanks for the words of advice everyone!

C Craft Customs ~~~ With every custom knife I build I try to accomplish three things. I want that knife to look so good you just have to pick it up, feel so good in your hand you can't wait to try it, and once you use it, you never want to put it down ! If I capture those three factors in each knife I build, I am assured the knife will become a piece that is used and treasured by its owner! ~~~ C Craft

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Yes, that's a little like saying " I've got a piece of wood, how do I work it"- all depends on the species, doesn't it? That's the challenge and the joy of working wrought.

 

But there are straightforward answers to a couple of those Q's though. You and let it heat and cool all you want, and quenching and normalizing heats are unlikely to do anything, because there's not likely to be much carbon in it.

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The globe wrought is decieving, it looks great, but actually is high P and very unrefined. Work it hot and you will be spending alot of time sticking it back together. Once it's worked down some it's got a nice pattern/grain.

Dion Grethen

 

D. Grethen Hand Forged Iron

https://facebook.com/DGrethenHandForgedIron

 

"In fire iron is born, by fire it is tamed"

 

"Never touch the blacksmith's hammer . . . or his daughter."

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When I etch my wagon wheel wrought iron, I polish the metal yo 400 grit, then etch in warm white vinger.you we'll need to take it out wash it off to see how much grain showing, then I use a green scotch bright pad . The I get some gun metal blue and blue it . The buff it with with green pad. Next I heat with a propan torch tell hot and spray with wd40. Yes it will flame up on you.let cool a rubb it with a clean rag, for me I fill the holes with job weld potty , that away the hole does not get bigger, ask me how I know about that.

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The globe wrought is decieving, it looks great, but actually is high P and very unrefined. Work it hot and you will be spending alot of time sticking it back together. Once it's worked down some it's got a nice pattern/grain.

 

OH, you are very encouraging Dion! jawdrop.gif:D

 

Once again thanks to all for the info. I will post results when I finally catch time to do this. The grass is growing and I am still trying to clean up the 1 3/4 acres we live on. I don't have many trees left after the hurricanes but my neighbor still do, so still cleaning up there leaves!

 

Alan I still say we need better smilies! :)

Edited by C Craft

C Craft Customs ~~~ With every custom knife I build I try to accomplish three things. I want that knife to look so good you just have to pick it up, feel so good in your hand you can't wait to try it, and once you use it, you never want to put it down ! If I capture those three factors in each knife I build, I am assured the knife will become a piece that is used and treasured by its owner! ~~~ C Craft

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I wish you the best, honestly I've had relatively good luck with it and I only have hand hammers. Other people with power hammers or presses have had a horrible time with it. Take it slow and get to know it and you'll be fine.

Dion Grethen

 

D. Grethen Hand Forged Iron

https://facebook.com/DGrethenHandForgedIron

 

"In fire iron is born, by fire it is tamed"

 

"Never touch the blacksmith's hammer . . . or his daughter."

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Take it slow and get to know it and you'll be fine.

Yes, wrought sometimes needs to be coaxed and not forced... beguile and flirt with it... gently convince it with much flattery that it wants the same end results you do...:) Just like in dating, bold confidence and dogged determination go a long way. I should have been in bed hours ago....

George Ezell, bladesmith

" How much useful knowledge is lost by the scattered forms in which it is ushered to the world! How many solitary students spend half their lives in making discoveries which had been perfected a century before their time, for want of a condensed exhibition of what is known."
Buffon


view some of my work

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Yes, wrought sometimes needs to be coaxed and not forced... beguile and flirt with it... gently convince it with much flattery that it wants the same end results you do... :) Just like in dating, bold confidence and dogged determination go a long way. I should have been in bed hours ago....

 

s12137.gif Love that post!!!!

C Craft Customs ~~~ With every custom knife I build I try to accomplish three things. I want that knife to look so good you just have to pick it up, feel so good in your hand you can't wait to try it, and once you use it, you never want to put it down ! If I capture those three factors in each knife I build, I am assured the knife will become a piece that is used and treasured by its owner! ~~~ C Craft

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I have used some super cruddy wagon rim and had good luck folding it back and welding it double before trying to forge anything out of it (no flux).

 

Also, if you're forging a really flat blank, shoot for over-sized and allow for clean up. A lot of the splitting will occur on the ends.

 

As already mentioned, forge it hot (at or near welding heat), and resist the urge to hit it too hard as it cools.

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Yes, wrought sometimes needs to be coaxed and not forced... beguile and flirt with it... gently convince it with much flattery that it wants the same end results you do...:) Just like in dating, bold confidence and dogged determination go a long way. I should have been in bed hours ago....

That is quite possibly the best advice for working unknown wrought I have ever seen! Especially the high phosphorus stuff.

 

High P is double the joy, as it tends to be both hot AND cold short...etches beautifully though.

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