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Wagon/buggy springs


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Any tips on what look for on sets of old rusty wagon/buggy springs that might give you an indication they are old enough to possibly be blister steel? (Beyond positively knowing they are actually old enough to risk buying on the off chance they might be!)

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If they are obviously completely hand forged, hinge and all, that's a decent sign.  Thin, nice even tapers, that sort of thing.  They'll be more refined than just blister, so no grain lines like wrought.  They are usually shear or double shear.  A known pre-1870 date is excellent, although some places still made shear steel seat springs for wagons into the 1890s.  Personally, I'd have to see them in-hand, I wouldn't necessarily think I could do a positive ID via internet.

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Thanks Alan, that's what I was thinking would be the case (not knowing via internet which is frustrating). I wasn't aware they would typically be shear steel for rough and tumble springs though, that's a good thing. You just don't see them down this way too often to be able to compare really old ones with newer ones, or perhaps I just don't know where to look. This past year has really put a damper on poking around and going to flea markets and such.

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Alan and Zeb, helped me ID a buggy spring that was given me as shear steel after I described how it felt under the hammer and some etching, etc. Although quite pitted from years of being buried in a field, the steel makes and fine edged item. I’m saving half, but knocked out these 2 playthings. Tough stuff and holds an edge well enough.

Gary LT

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Gary, do you have any pictures that show the surface better after etching?

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