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Cable question - need a reply soon


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I just stopped at a yard sale on my way to town to get some stuff I need because I saw some cable for sale. It's large, maybe 2 inch diameter about 10 or so feet long. Looks like a logging cable with the big bolstered lops on both ends. What are the chances that this is useless cable? I'll be headed back by in about 30-45 minutes and need to know I'm not wasting time and money buying it.

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That's what I was thinking but wanted to double check. Thank you Alan for the quick reply. I'll post pictures if I can get it. If he's willing to sell it cheap enough I'll have to figure out how to get it in the trunk of the wife's car.

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Ha! It's right there on the label. EIP WRC = extra-improved plow wire rope cable. 1075 equivalent.

Thank you again for the quick reply earlier, Alan. Thank you for clearing up the rough alloy as well. That saves me lots of wasted time and fuel trying to figure that out.

 

Nice score!

Thanks, I finally manage to be in the right place at the right time instead of a day late as usual.
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How do you plan to clean it up before forging ?

I have a similar cable sling I was thinking of using an electrolysis tank to give it a soak.

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How do you plan to clean it up before forging ?

I have a similar cable sling I was thinking of using an electrolysis tank to give it a soak.

My plan is to cut off a couple sections about a foot long and weld the ends together at work. I'll then soak one in vinegar just to see how much it'll do and how long it takes to get decent results. The other one I planned on doing a run with electrolysis and see how long it takes. I'm also thinking it might be a good idea to heat it up in the forge enough to untwist a little so that the inside can get exposed to the vinegar and electrolyte. I'm going to take notes and pictures from several angles before during and after noting when each picture was taken. Then after all is said and done I'll have a good idea which way to go on the rest of it. I don't see a need right now for a degreaser but when I cut it to get pieces I think I'll know better then if I can skip that step or not.
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You guys are overthinking it by a long shot. Just heat it to red in a reducing atmosphere and the rust will convert back to iron. Flux the heck out of it, bring to welding heat, twist it up tighter until you feel it lock up solid, you're done. Flatten at welding heat, fold and reweld if desired.

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Well I cut a piece off to take to work and weld the ends up. I took the opportunity to look at the insides and it's nasty, greasy dirty and gritty. I'm not sure how much of that will disappear at heat.

 

I'll take your suggestion, Alan, after all you have more experience. I'm used to welding up clean bars not nasty cable lol.

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When Alan suggests twisting, he means not just a little bit. 3 or 4 full turns will squeeze out most of the undesired gunk, and tighten the strands, effectively pinch-welding it all together if you do it at heat. Once they're all stuck, flattening it shouldn't ruin any of the bonds, and folding over a couple times to get the dimensions you want and really eject the last of the impurities will give you something that can, if done right, look very much like traditionally home-made steel with just a hint of "openness" that has a gorgeous character unlike anything on the factory shelf. Most people in my opinion don't work cable enough, and end up with the long strands and large voids still visible on the side of a knife, but putting in a little extra effort creates something much better.

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When Alan suggests twisting, he means not just a little bit. 3 or 4 full turns will squeeze out most of the undesired gunk, and tighten the strands, effectively pinch-welding it all together if you do it at heat. Once they're all stuck, flattening it shouldn't ruin any of the bonds, and folding over a couple times to get the dimensions you want and really eject the last of the impurities will give you something that can, if done right, look very much like traditionally home-made steel with just a hint of "openness" that has a gorgeous character unlike anything on the factory shelf. Most people in my opinion don't work cable enough, and end up with the long strands and large voids still visible on the side of a knife, but putting in a little extra effort creates something much better.

So you're saying most of that junk will find its way out on it own during the process? Don't think I'm ignoring your input but I think I'm still going to knock some of that off just to be sure. I'd hate to waste a chunk that big just because I didn't get it clean enough.

 

I cut a small piece off from one of the outer bundles just to see how easily this is going to work for me. I felt I got a good weld and proceeded to forge out a rather small blade. I cleaned it up some and decided to try to see the pattern so I'm attempting an etch I've heard about using mustard. Unfortunately at this time I don't have any distilled white vinegar (which I have used in the past with decent results) nor do I have any ferric or any other strong acids. If this one turns out to my liking I'll post a couple pictures.

 

I really need to start showing some of my amateur work so I can get feedback for improvement. If only I can get past the embarrassment of it lol.

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Just prior to fluxing it, give it a decent whack on the anvil. A lot will fall out then. Then, do as stated above, flux, get to welding heat, twist, and have a ball!

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I welded up about 9 inches to a handle and have it relatively clean and I'm waiting for a good time to light a fire. It'll probably be a couple weeks since I had to work today and Thanksgiving next week means that weekend will be busy. I'll post some pictures when I get something done.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Done some cable Damascus myself, and Alan is correct. Most of the junk will either convert or come off with the flux. Pics are of the first knife I made out of 1.5 inch cable just expirimenting with the process. It was actually supposed to be about 3 inchs longer. I burned up one end and couldn't get it to weld.

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