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Adam C.

Mystery metal Madness

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Help! Newbie possibly in over his head

A good co-worker of mine passed on to me a handful of steel rods. I "spark" tested them and was content with the results. I lack welding equipment so I improvised by using rebar tie wire and wrapping it in twisted knots. It's more to hold in place than anything.

Tossed newly wrapped wad of 1/4" steel rods in my home made charcoal forge and heated that bad boy up. I tried to simply forge weld the ends but to no avail. Boraxed it to hell and back and re heated. 

Now to the over my head part.....I through the wad into the vise and started twisting them into a cable looking...thing. I've heated till it started to spark and continued to slap it with my 4lb hammer to no avail.

So bear in mind: newb! Minimal equipment, lots of ambition, and willing to listen and try. Thanks for any input. 

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Sparking hot it too hot but it is definitely hot enough to weld.

There is a point were to much flux will prevent it from welding.

Did you grind off the mill scale or rust from the steel?

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In hindsight I didn't clean them off. There was a light green to yellow Hugh to the rods as they were being heated, but looked like the rest of the steel I have worked on after cooking for a while.

Please don't tell me all that hand twisting was for naught (knot for the pun)

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So am I better off scrapping this, or for fun, spreading her back open and hitting it hard with a wire brush attachment for my grinder and giving it hell again? 

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Toss it.  That light green to yellow you saw was some kind of plating burning off.  If you're not dead it wasn't cadmium, but it was most likely zinc from old galvanizing.  Which can also kill you, it just takes longer.  It's good you have a lot of ventilation.  Do you have any flu-like symptoms today?  Achy joints, run down,or coughing?  If so, take it easy for a few days, look up "metal fume fever," and remember to never heat up anything that looks plated.  If not, you got away with it. 

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I work mostly with mystery steel :) primarily : axels, leaf springs, fork lifter spears, plows or insert any farm equipment.  My advice : test the steel with acid first -> if it hizzes and fizzes alot, it has some kind of nasty metal on it (zinc lead, or what not) normal steel when exposed to acid doesnt fizz that much.

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Nah I feel fine. I forge outside open air in a charcoal forge with a decent blower. Plus I constantly walk away while forging. I'll look into getting some acid. 

What type of acid? Muriatic, ferrous chloride, hydrochloric? 

Now, minus the non pre cleaning of the steal, was the methodology of trying to get the rods forge welded a good idea? Be mindful that I don't have any welding equipment at all. And really want to try to make something along those lines.

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Muriatic and hydrochloric is the same acid :) technically they consist of 12-32% weight by weight chlorine gas dissolved in water. But yes they would make great as testing acids :).

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Yes it was a good idea check this out from the 2016 KITH

 

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The main thing with welding is the steel must be clean, you do need flux, and you need a reducing fire.  That means keep the steel high in the fire, don't stick it down where the air is coming in.  Get it bright yellow hot, not quite sparking, and set the weld GENTLY.  A big whack right off the bat will just blow it all apart. Just tap on it until you feel it solidify. 

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Appreciate all the help guys! Lot of info that I didn't know and I like the thought of using stainless steel hose clamps to hold everything together instead of rebar tie wire I'll do that in my next look up and I'll start looking for a piano wire cuz I like the way that knife turned out. Thanks again!

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