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Questions about wrought iron


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Posted (edited)

Does wrought iron need to be forged to bring out the grain? Or will just etching bring out the grain?

 

I have a bowie knife I am working on and the guard will be an S shape and the ferule for this knife will all be made from some wrought stock I have.

 

So I see this can be accomplished in two ways. The guard and the ferule will be made from the same piece of wrought iron. 

 

The first way I see to do this, is to try and forge to shape to rough finish with files and sanding to achieve the final shape!

 

The second way, is to take a wrought bolt I have that is roughly the correct size and skip the forging and shape by stock removal by file and grinding! 

 

So I guess what I am trying to say will wrought that is forged look different, than a piece of wrought were stock removal  has been used to accomplish the shape?? 

 

My thoughts are this. As long as both pieces are from the same piece of wrought, etched for the same amount of time, in the same etching material. They will look the same at finish!! 

 

So anyone got any thoughts on this subject???

Edited by C Craft
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The "grain" effect in wrought iron is caused by the slag inclusions in the material.  So whether you forge it or do stock removal, it will be there, with the stipulation that the more you forge the wrought iron the more refined it becomes.  I know you're an experienced smith but if you've not worked with wrought iron before, especially lower grade wrought iron, you need to work it at near welding heat.  I have some wrought that was harvested from some old zoo cages and that stuff would crumble on me if I didn't have it a bright yellow.

 

Doug

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If you want the grain to flow with the shape of a curve, like an S-guard, you do have to forge it to shape along the grain. Otherwise it doesn't matter, just remember the grain always runs lengthwise, and end grain isn't much of a pattern.

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If you are trying to create a textured surface with some topography, I have had good success etching with muriatic acid after forging to shape.  Just keep a close eye on the piece so you don't etch too deep.

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I recently did an S guard and spacer package from wrought. There was very little forging of the wrought other than flattening the wheel rim and gauging the thickness. Most of the shaping was done via stock removal. It did take approximately 3 etch cycles of 15 minutes each to really bring the grain out. I did take care to orient the spacers like Alan said so the sides showed the grain and the top and bottom are still fairly plain even though the curve shows some texture. One thing to consider is heating and cleaning the wrought. It tends to ooze slag and scale out under high heat. This must be cleaned off when hot or it will harden on the surface and be impossible to remove. You can also leave this and it does provide a certain look.

You can see the results here.

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Posted (edited)

Look fellows you don't know how much I appreciate the advice. I have some of the wrought from the 1887 Globe Elevator near the Duluth-Superior Harbor! I have never worked with wrought iron that much.

 

I was advised by one of the members. I think his first name is Niles, he is in Europe, can not think of his last name! He does a lot of videos and is a very knowledgeable knife maker! I hate that when I can't think of someone's name!

 

Anyway he advised that this wrought from the grain elevator had to worked white hot, and you only have a short window because the make-up of the wrought causes crumbling!  

 

Again I appreciate the info. It puts my mind at ease that if I screw this up. It will be on my back!  Embarrassed Emoticon.png

 

Edited by C Craft
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19 minutes ago, Charles dP said:

Niels Provos?

Thanks Charles That is the name I was trying to remember! I forgot he is also the Tech guy!! Now if I just could remember the name of thread where we were discussing wrought! :rolleyes:

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6 hours ago, Charles dP said:

This one maybe?

 

 

Charles you are a super computer or something! First I can't remember the name and you supply me with that. Even with the name I did a dozen searches and could not pop up anything that looked right!!

 

You are amazing sir! respect.jpg

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You are all very funny :-) The wrought from the grain elevator is very high in phosphorous. Makes for great contrast but not so great for forging.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just picked up a bunch of wrought iron anchor chain, roughly 12 feet for 1 to 1.5 in diameter 9ish inch links. Should I clean the rust off before forging, or will it just come off while forging? I'd be happy to sell some of what I have, and am currently based in NH. 

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The rust will come off while forging, unless there are deep pockets.  Anchor chain is usually very clean, well refined wrought.  

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