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Zeb Camper

wrought iron???

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I found a pile of metal off the railroad tracks. It's a pile of L shaped 3/4" bar bent to 90° a hook cut into one side, and a D ring welded onto the other. They look to be plenty old and clearly haven't been used in ages. I picked one up and used it to make a fullering tool, I had some left, and thought "wonder if it's wrought". Here are my results in a spark test comparison with other steels. I think it's probably wrought judging by it's clear lack of carbon in the spark test. Can anyone ID this by spark? 

From the top we have possible wrought, mild, 1075, 1095

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Hmmm...  the sparks don't look orange enough to me, but it's hard to tell from a picture.  A better test is to saw 3/4 of the way through one of the bars and then bend it open.  If it's wrought it will leave a fibrous tear, if it's mild it will have a granular break.

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Well, yesterday I spent the last few hours of light in the "junk field" (the place my family has been parking their farm junk since forever) searching for more old metal that could be wrought. This morning I did the break test. this is the result of an old wagon wheel rim, and the railroad metal (top) compared to a modern railroad spike (bottom). While the railroad metal broke a tad cleaner, it still seems to have a fibrous structure. What do you think? 

 

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Looks like triple-refined wrought to me!  That means it won't etch all gnarly like the wagon tire will, but sometimes you want really clean wrought.  I have some anchor chain that when etched is just barely wrought-looking, but it also has a big welding flaw in the very center.  You get what you get, in other words.  Work it in the white to yellow range if possible.  Wrought tends to fray or crumble forged in the red-orange range.  Really really good wrought can be forged cold without cracking until it work-hardens, but it's rare to find that.  Most of it is cold-short.

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Thanks Alan! How can I expect it to weld? I imagine I will have to get new firebricks and get my old coal forge running again to get this stuff real close to melting temp right? I gotta weld it into a bigger billet to make a tsuba.

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If you can weld mild to mild in your gas forge you should be able to do wrought.  If you can't turn mild into a sparkler in it, don't bother trying to weld wrought.

If you want a pronounced grain effect in the tsuba use the wagon tire.  Just be aware it might be too grainy.  Just like your refined stuff might not be grainy enough.  That's where wrought shines, though:  you can always refine the gnarly stuff by repeated folding and welding.  Remind you of anything, like, oh, tamahagane and hada?;)

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Yeah it all makes sense. I'll probably use the coal forge. My propane job just barely gets any sparking. It hardly gets to butter yellow. I may never make any tamahagane though. looks intimidating and stressful to say the least :lol:

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It's times like these I feel like the luckiest man alive. I just rescued 4 more wrought iron wagon tires, and I'll be headed to collect the railroad iron shortly :lol:

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Reviving the thread for the same exact question. I got some round stock and wanted to know if it might be wrought. It has some interesting things going on in the flat and thought it might be like the grain on wrought.

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From the outside I would have suspected it is cast iron, but I can't explain the structure in the cross section.  I'm eager to hear what our resident experts have to say...

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I suspect mild steel.  The "structure" on the one end is the result of an old torch cut with a few years of weathering.  Dunno about that hole on the other end, but it's worrisome...

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Darn, I don't know what the hole on the other side was for I got it like that. Anything you think I could do with it, Alan?

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I strongly suspect it's just junk, but if you cut off the ends with a chop saw or band saw (hacksaw if you're a masochist) it's a nice sized lump of mystery steel.

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