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Pure metallic iron -- what form?


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As I have mentioned in recent posts, I am developing some products for knifemakers.  I REALLY appreciate the input I have received from members of this forum, and I am hoping to get some good advice on this question.

Friends of mine who are into old-fashioned blacksmithing, bladesmithing, ironwork, steel-making and whatnot have suggested that I offer pure metallic iron in the form of ingots, bars, pellets, or powder.  They have said that some people might want to use it to make their own steel via various forms of carburization.  They might even want to use it to make bloom steel (tamahagane, oroshigane).

So, I just thought I'd ask the members of this forum.  If you could have pure iron in some form, what would you want?  Please give me your top three choices and explain your reasoning.  I really am VERY interested, and I take your input seriously.  Here are my ideas, but if I'm off-base, please tell me how and give me your improvements:

1)  Iron pellets -- Iron pellets could be used for making bloom steel, and probably better than iron laden sand that is only about 60% iron and produces a bunch of slag.  I know that Japanese bladesmiths make oroshigane from iron nails, broken up iron implements, and other scrap iron.  I would think that pure metallic iron pellets could be very useful for making bloom steel.

2)  Iron bars -- You could make iron items and then carburize them using old-fashioned methods.

3)  Iron medallions -- You could carburize them then stack them and forge weld them and make layered blades

4)  Iron ingots -- Again you could make iron items and then carburize them.

If you had access to pure metallic iron, what form would you want it in?  Iron powder, pellets (what size?), bars (what dimensions?), ingots (what size?)?

I look forward to your input.  Thank you to everyone who has been contributing to my threads!

Edited by Dan C
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It is still early.  The forum is generally pretty dead on the weekends (I almost never check it on the weekends).  I'd give it another 24 hours.  I wouldn't think it would be worth the expense though.  1020 would be a lot cheaper and pretty close to the same result.  Also, starting with sand is part of the cool factor to smelting, not really a down side.  

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Personally I have zero use for pure metallic iron.  I suspect that's the case for most of us.  It was tried several years ago by a guy in Virginia as a replacement for wrought iron in architectural smithing, and was both too expensive and too weak to be of much use.  I made a hatchet out of it and it mushroomed behind the steel edge just shaping some walnut.

And Jerrod is right, the fun of smelting and oroshigane is starting with either ore or a pile of nails.  

I do appreciate the offer, though!  

I seem to recall a few years ago that Tom Maringer was looking for pure iron discs to make coins from.  You might try him.  And Jake Powning wanted some thin iron sheet for a La Tene sword scabbard.  Both of them are members here, but haven't checked in for a while.

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Well it already exists, pure iron is available in bar form from two companies (lots of sections) in the Uk at least I have made quite a few knives with it in as cladding. It has a lot of limitations and is almost more like copper than steel., it rusts easily but the rust does not stick so it cleans up easily as well.  flaked electrolytic iron is available Too. good as an ingredient for wootz.

forging soul in to steel

 

owenbush.co.uk

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Now if true wrought iron was to be brought back into production that would be a good thing to provide to the community. There is one company that repurposes wrought and hot rolls it into bars or just about any size you want within reason. Here is a link to the company that provides the repurposed wrought but to bring back the production of wrought iron would be cool as hell.

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So, w

7 minutes ago, Jeremy Blohm said:

Now if true wrought iron was to be brought back into production that would be a good thing to provide to the community. There is one company that repurposes wrought and hot rolls it into bars or just about any size you want within reason. Here is a link to the company that provides the repurposed wrought but to bring back the production of wrought iron would be cool as hell.

Thanks for the input!

I can also get iron sand, which is about 60-70% iron.  I'd think that would make some fine tamahagane, but I don't know if there's enough demand to bother.

I'll look into true wrought iron and see what I can come up with.

Edited by Dan C
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5 minutes ago, Jeremy Blohm said:

And i need a source of iron. Maybe this is where you can come into play.:D

I would think that if someone were willing to throw scrap metal like nails and whatnot into a bloom, hoping that the scraps don't have some alloy that will ruin the bloom, they'd be much more interested in pure iron pellets that will definitely make a high-quality bloom.

I've read posts where guys have used nails to make a bloom, only to discover after all their hard work that the bloom wasn't good for anything because the nails were full of alloys.

Edited by Dan C
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