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Wrought Iron


Robert Mayo
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I aquired a 14ft piece of wrought iron chain the links are 3" x 4" by 7/8" it is from the old log booms on the ottawa river so it is realy rusted and corroded badly. Should i clean the rust off first by grinding, acid? Or can it be forged as is. Any help would be appreciated thanks.

 

Bob

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If you hace access to an acid tank then I'd advise you to remove the rust, especially if you intend to make damascus.

 

 

Thankyou I should have said it will be probably used for fittings and hawks and i will clean it as its needed.

 

Bob

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If you hace access to an acid tank then I'd advise you to remove the rust, especially if you intend to make damascus.

 

 

Use pool acid. Let it soak for a week or so and see where it's at. You could also set up reverse electrolysis in water with TSP. Takes time, but that is how they remove corrosion from artifacts.

 

Dan

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The rust is iron oxide and will not be a problem when heated, forged or in damascus. I have forge welded lots of rusty iron and steel. I have also forged fittings from very rust wrought iron with no problems.

Edited by Don Hanson

Don Hanson lll My Webpage

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Since it's iron oxide ( I've also wondered the same about fire scale) when you flux it, so it's protected from oxygen, does the oxygen then burn off cause it to revert to iron, which can then be welded in without problems as the carbon will diffuse back into it making it back into steel? But maybe not since you'd need a higher temp to weld the iron?

Beau Erwin

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Scale can be a problem in forge welding if not enough flux is used to desolve it. Flux desolves the scale and then is squished out of the layers when welding but trapped flux or scale makes a bad weld. Rust just gets absorbed back into the steel.

Edited by Don Hanson

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Yeah, I was just kinda wondering how it goes about dissolving the scale. Thought maybe it had burnt out the oxygen making it back into iron or something. But I guess it just acts as a strong acid as I had read somewhere else. Interesting stuff.

Beau Erwin

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The rust is iron oxide and will not be a problem when heated, forged or in damascus. I have forge welded lots of rusty iron and steel. I have also forged fittings from very rust wrought iron with no problems.

 

 

Don thanks that is what i was hoping to here. I will forge some down and etch it to see what it is like. I already ground down a small piece and dropped in fc for a few seconds to check and make sure it was wrought. It seems to have nice coarse lines or layers. Thanks to all who have posted.

 

Bob

 

Use pool acid. Let it soak for a week or so and see where it's at. You could also set up reverse electrolysis in water with TSP. Takes time, but that is how they remove corrosion from artifacts.

 

Dan

 

Dan i have no idea what pool acid is could you explain.

 

Thanks Bob

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Bob,

I agree completely with Don. Just forge as is. As for pool acid I think Dan is referring to muratic <sp> acid which is used in pools for what I don't know. It’s a highly diluted form of a hydrochloric if IIRC. It’s great for etching and de-galvanizing.

Adlai

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the HCl acid works well but you have to keep an eye on it..... or it'll start to eat on the iron....

- acetic acid ( vinnegar ) will do the same job quite well.... just leave it in a bucket for awhile.... and scrub the rust off.... then back in bucket..

 

your gonna love working with wrought.....its soft like butter...

 

if its too slaggy.... you may have to fold it a couple times....

 

 

Greg ;)

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There is no need for strong acids. If you want it relatively clean, just heat to red hot and use a steel brush to semove rust. That makes a nice graphite-like color on wrought iron. To make it very clean, degrease and soak to phosphoric acid (diluted) Wash after with hot water and some washing powder(or something) and brush with steel brush.

Just brushing, when hot, should be fine for most applications, including pattern welding.

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Yeah just forge as is! You've already discovered it was made in layers, the links were once a rod of wrought iron that was built up from strips forge welded together. Keep the orientation of these strips in mind while you are forging it out for fittings since you can manipulate this already pattern welded material for different effects.

 

I meant to add that's a nice size to have, I have some 8" links and they are a royal pita to forge down since they are well over an inch thick. I'm going to have to make it a point to get to someones place soon where I can use their press!

Edited by Guy Thomas

Guy Thomas

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I been playing with wrought iron this morning, matter of fact. I like it a lot for fittings and stuff that does not have to be hardened. It is very different material than modern steel.

 

Never bothered to clean anything before forging unless it had a real problem or I was trying to see how much crud there was with a quick polish and etch. Chain tends to be the better quality iron, in my experience.

 

Have fun, work it HOT, and don't hit it real hard until you develop a "feel" for the material. It is fun stuff if not full of sulphur and phosphorus, and chain is usually clean. Good score ! :)

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Rust just gets absorbed back into the steel.

 

This means that I don't have to grind away rust before forge welding...

I have some old rusty nails and other small stuff made of wrought iron, and I thought that I could can weld them to make an unique piece of usable WI, filling the gaps between the nails with iron and steel filings.

Do you think that it could be done without problems?

Mourir pour des idées, c'est bien beau mais lesquelles?

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Shit I was not expecting so many replies on this! First i would like to thank all the folks that have replied to this. I have read all the replies and have gained a wealth of info over night. If anyone has anything to add concerning wrought iron feel free to share your knowlege believe me it will be obsorbed.

 

Thanks again Bob

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Rust is not a problem in a closed weld (can weld) but all mill/forge scale must be removed. Rusty nails and iron will be fine.

 

Thanks :) !

Mourir pour des idées, c'est bien beau mais lesquelles?

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Please note, the term "rusty" is not quantitative.

Daryl

Could you please go into a little more depth.

Bob

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Remember that wrought must be forged very hot, close to yellow or it will split. Spliting happens very easy when you are upsetting (thickening). If you do get a split just flux it and bring it up to yellow heat and gently hammer the crack together again. It forge welds real easy and there will be no sign of the weld afterwards.

 

The advantage of forging it at yellow heat is you will get grain growth which will enhance the natural silica grains. The grains will look more pronounced after forging. I just made an "S" guard for a Bowie and I purposely forged it out just to get some grain growth vs just cutting and grinding it to shape.

Everything I need to know I learned from the people trapped in my basement.

 

 

I'm out of my mind but feel free to leave a message.

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Please note, the term "rusty" is not quantitative.

 

I think what Daryl is saying is a large quantity of rust is bad in a forge weld, I think.

 

The rusty steel and iron I have used in forge welding was surface rust. If the material had a thick coat of flaking rust then I would clean it up before using it in a closed/can weld. Also deep pits from rust can trap flux and scale in an open weld so clean flat stock is the best to use.

 

Also, I would agree with anything Daryl Meier has to say about the forge welding damascus process. He is "the man" and has far more experience than anyone else I know of.

Edited by Don Hanson

Don Hanson lll My Webpage

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