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Hey all, 

     I was given this old hook out of a old barn. I was hoping it was wrought iron. From the reading I have done it seems likely but never having been around it I am skeptical. What day you all? 

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Not as much a wood like grain in the break that I like to see. BUT. A maybe. Clean up an inch or two section, maybe to 200 grit and acid etch it. If its WI the grain should show. 

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So before I saw your reply I threw the small piece in the forge and hammered it down. A small piece started to fracture off so I hot cut it off. I had it sanded up to 400 already. Rubbed some ferric cloride on it. This is what I got.  

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I'm still new to WI. Mines old wagon wheels. When etched in Ferris chloride for 15-30 minutes it shows more grain.. it looks like its got possibility but I'd give it a longer etch to bring out layering. Low carbon should have come out one dull gray color. 

 

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Given the function, it's more likely to be steel.  If it's old enough it could be shear steel, which would be cooler than wrought.  Try more etching, and try to harden a piece in water.  

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Thanks Velgski I will etch it longer. 
     Alan I will cut the price I forged in half. I will etch one piece for a longer time and quench the other piece. I will thermal cycles the peace a couple times and then quench in water. 

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For the record, it is half a set of log tongs. When logging with horses or oxen, you'd have two of those connected by a loop. Drive the points into your felled log, hook a chain to the loop, and skid the log out to where you want it.

You can even do it with a single one, but it doesn't work as well.

Anyway, that's why I said it is probably steel. 

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Posted (edited)

So here’s where I’m at. I cut the piece in half. Put 1/2 in enchant  for 45 minutes. The other half I thermal cycle three times then quenched in water. Once it cooled I put it in the voice and walloped it some with the hammer. It bent over and then broke. I also included a picture of how I originally found the hook. 
    So what do I have?

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Edited by Aaron Gouge
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If it's wrought, it's really refined wrought.  The fracture doesn't look grainy, but it does have layers...

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Thanks Alan,

     Somewhere I read that a lot of your wrought iron due to the foraging process had much square edges then steel that was produced later that tended to have more rounded edges. Due to the very sharp edges on this particular piece I wondered if it might be wrought.  
     I was wanting some to use as pommels on some elk antler knives. But it’s not looking super spectacular after it’s been etched….. so I’m not sure what to do with it. I agree it certainly seems to have some layers. I might throw it back in the etch well I continue my pursuit of local wrought iron. 
    Let me know if you guys have any other thoughts. Down the road we have a good old Kentucky junk store. He has a lot of old tools and random metal. I might check to see if he has anything promising. 

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Like Alan I thought log tongs. But the picture with the eye makes it a log peavey. 

Clue? What temperature did you forge it at.  In my limited experience I find WI to be hard to hammer/move at mild or carbon steel temps. 

For one last attempt try cleaning off all the flats for about 4 in 5 inches and soaking clean steel in warm FC for 30 minutes. Check ever 10 minutes or so .  A guick 5-10 minute etch might not be enough. And how old is your FC. It might be tired and  not be strong enough to really cut. 

 

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The ferric chloride is some I  bought 3 1/2 years ago. I had 1/3 of a bottle left in the original container. I mixed it 3 to 1 with distilled water. But it’s been sitting out in my shop at below freezing temps. 
      For the most part I was forging it pretty hot. When one piece fractured off it was getting a dull red  at that point.

     I will take it to the belt grinder and etch 4- 5 inches of the hook. For best results how fine of grit should I take it up to on the grinder?

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Yep, it's a peavey!  The eye looks more like wrought than the hook.  Try that and see. If it's not thick enough for you, you can always fold it up and weld it into thicker stock, if it's good grainy wrought.  

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I generally go to 180/200 grit. I want to get rid of heavy grind lines. Maybe its just my eyes but heavy grits leave deep lines that interfere with seeing the patterns. 

I had a master bladesmith turn me onto old FC not etching as well as newer. Cold seems to effect its ability to etch. I've etched Blades in cold Fc, 40-60 F and it takes forever.  Warm it 75/80  it halves the time. In winter I wrap my etch container in a heating pad. 

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Posted (edited)

So I put the piece back in the Etch for the rest afternoon. I also move my container inside to the top of a shelf. This is the result. Any thoughts on the copper color? 

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Edited by Aaron Gouge
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Its WI. Strange only one side took copper color. If it was both sides I'd suspect your FC was copper contaminated. As it is I'd suspect something you used to sand or clean might have been  copper contaminated. 

Just a wag. But I think the reason you arent catching alot of WI pattern is cause you cut a cross section and you are seeing the end grain. End grain shows the growth rings but the face of the board is where the real pattern shows. 

 

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Sooooo I cleaned the piece well before I put it in the ferric. The side that is more copper colored is the side that was facing up. Is it not normal for the copper color? 
      When forging the pice I worked the partial eye out. So I had more of a rectangular piece. Then I forged it flat. The side I flattened was the side that was already flat. Prior to working the partial eye out.

      So if this is WI to see the best grain how should I cut and forge this peavey? 
   Thank all!! 

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I'm guessing now. But I suspect the grain runs with the length of the steel. My next step would be cut off a rectangular chunk, clean and etch.

As to copper color its beyond my knowledge and experience levels. I've read if an instance where a person claimed his WI turned copper colored when etched but he claimed it was because his WI had copper slag in it. All I know is that once FC becomes contaminated with copper  and other metals it will etch anything put in it that color. 

Maybe someone like Jarod has more metallurgy knowledge on the types of slag used in WI production 

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So before heading to church this morning I took 5-6” of the hook to the grinder. Sanded it up to 220. Left it in the ferric while at church. So it soaked about 2 hours. 

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Nice and clean wrought for sure!  As for forging, always follow the grain.  It should run the length of the object.  Forge it HOT.  Start at white (it won't spark much), stop at bright orange.  Weld to itself at full white, weld to steel at the temperature the steel is happy with.  Propane may not get hot enough with venturi burners.  

 

I can't explain the copper flash either. :huh:

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Thanks Allan and Velgski!! Pretty excited that I came across this wrought iron so rapidly! We are currently living on a old farm in Kentucky. Renting the old farmhouse that sits on at 120 acres. I’ve become friends with the landlord, It was his great uncles farm.. We’ve done a lot just to make the property nicer. His great uncle had a tool room in the barn. Pretty much sits as his great uncle left it. I found the hook in the tool room and asked the landlord if he could part with it! He readily agreed! For now I will just use some of it for pommels on elk antler handle knives. 
    I’ll try to remember to post some pics when I finish up current knife  I’m working on. Lots of first on this one; first antler handle, first poured plumbers solder bolster, first pommel, first time working with wrought iron. 
    Oh boy!

 

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Hey guys,

    Wanted to piggyback on this post with another question. I tried a pewter bolster today. I wanted to try it on a smaller knife before trying on the bigger one with the wrought iron butt cap. I didn’t have quite enough pewter. After my pore and sanding I’m about 1/8 short of where I want to be. So what are my options? 

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So I took it back to the belt grinder and took some metal off the spine. I also took a little bit more off with the Dremel on the front. It helps the overall look  but I still have a gap! 

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Edited by Aaron Gouge
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You can grind/file/cut it back so there's about a 1/8" difference between the pewter and the antler and then re-pour, otherwise there will be an awkward line between the old and new that will never blend right.  

 

You could try just pouring new on top as it is IF you really rought up the front and edges of the old.  Then take a large electric soldering iron and carefully blend the line.  This is kind of like gas welding aluminum in that you have to back off the second itelts or you'll melt out a big hole.   You will still be able to see the join, it'll just be a muddy zone instead of a sharp line.

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I think I’m tracking with you Alan. Remove enough pewter around the outside edges to leave a core. Then re-pour so I have clean lines on all the outside. 

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