Jump to content

Cast Iron into Wrought Iron


Recommended Posts

Hi everyone.

 

My little Tanto project is drawing to an end (pictures soon), and my mind has wondered on to the next project. I would really like to make a Bowie next, and it will be my first forged blade.

 

I have been lurking around and drooling over the beutiful Wrought Iron fittings that some of the makers use on their knives. So off I went to find some wrought iron that is 100 years old or older. No luck. I did find some on an old wagon, but it's owner got really upset when I tried to take one wheel of his beutifully restored Ox Wagon while he and the oxen where still busy with it. Damn selfish I say.

 

I was wondering, if I break up some Cast iron, layer it in a Lasagne type arrangement, wire it all together, get it really hot in a Gas Forge, (Not a charcoal one, so that it doesn't "carburise,") and then gently beat it into a billet, will I get wrought iron?

 

I have read somewhere that the cast iron is very brittle and doesn't lend itself well to forging, but I figured it must be similar to working a bloom into usable steel.

 

We get cast iron from many different sources in my job, so I figured if I mix the different types up I will get the same effect as the old WI. We also use two different types in the pumps: SGI and Std CI, so they should look different when etched.

 

I figured that if this works, it'll be good practice for making Damascus one day.

 

Please feel free to tell me if you think I have totally lost the plot here.

 

Regards

Wayne.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would think though that if you were using modern cast iron you'd end up with grey or ductile iron with little resemblance to wrought because of the lack of silaceous impurities. I wonder if decarbing cast iron from the time when wrought iron was made would work. Sounds like it might be more work than trying to root out a source of wrought from somewhere.

Link to post
Share on other sites

OK so I've lost the plot.

 

Thanks guys. I have been doing some homework and have found a place that sells old farm equipment as antiques. Go figure. Anyway, they tell me they also have a few Anvils lying around, so I'll be going down there soon. Hopefully they have a few of the old Wagon Wheel Rims lying around. From what I saw, one rim should keep me busy for a few years, considering I only make about one knife every 4 to 6 months!

 

Thanks again.

 

Regards

Wayne

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just make sure those old wagon wheel rims are forge welded together. I have seen some over here that are just mild steel and arc welded together, they make those for the people who decorate there yards with old stuff and they don't know any better. Happy hunting.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought there might be something like that.

 

I will try to pick out the ones with rotting spokes and no arch welding. Short of running around with a grinder and spark-testing everything, that is my only option.

 

Thanks for the heads-up!

 

Regards

Wayne.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would think though that if you were using modern cast iron you'd end up with grey or ductile iron with little resemblance to wrought because of the lack of silaceous impurities. I wonder if decarbing cast iron from the time when wrought iron was made would work. Sounds like it might be more work than trying to root out a source of wrought from somewhere.

 

Back when they made wrought from cast in the puddling mills, the silica slag was added to the cast iron in a reverberatory furnace and stirred in with long rods as the cast iron decarburized, a procees oddly enough called "puddling" ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Back when they made wrought from cast in the puddling mills, the silica slag was added to the cast iron in a reverberatory furnace and stirred in with long rods as the cast iron decarburized, a procees oddly enough called "puddling" ;)

 

Thanks Alan, I was trying to remember that term for the decarburizing process. I was unaware though that the silica slag was added at that time! Makes sense though, the large smelting furnaces that produced cast iron must have been tapped from the bottom and the slag would all be riding on top of the melt wouldn't it?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Darren Ellis should still have some wrought iron anchor chain. It is still listed on his website:

Link

Link to post
Share on other sites

Whoa, I wonder what it would cost to ship an anchor chain link to South Africa? Probably make your hair stand on end!

 

On that note though, old wrought anchor chain is some of the best stuff to look for. Wagon wheel rims were usually pretty low quality but that varies. I'm sure you'll make good use of whatever you find. I have some anchor chain here I need to work down for fittings and such myself.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If this is any help here how wikipedia says it made.

 

 

Modern Production of Wrought Iron

 

Wrought iron is relatively pure, and normally contains less than .15% carbon and other impurities. But the process of its manufacture is laborious and tedious. Following are the four distinct operations involved in its manufacture:

 

(1) Refining (2) Puddling (3) Shingling (4) Rolling

 

 

Refining

 

Pig iron is melted and a strong current of air is directed over it. It is being well agitated or stirred when the current of air is passing over. It is thus thoroughly oxidized. It is then cast into moulds. It is cooled suddenly so as to make it brittle. This is known as ‘’refined pig iron’’.

 

 

Puddling

Main article: puddling furnace

 

Conversion of pig iron into wrought iron by stirring in a molten state is known as puddling. It is carried out in a reverberatory furnace. In this type of furnace, the metal does not come into contact with the fuel, and flame from the fire is reverted or sent back on the metal in the hearth.

 

A reverberatory furnace, which is of rectangular shape, is built with refractory materials such as firebricks. The combustion chamber and the chimney are situated at opposite ends. Grating is provided in the combustion chamber to collect ash in an ash pit. Next to the combustion chamber is the hearth portion with shallow depth. Hearth lining consists of molten slag or rich iron ore. It is supported on steel plates, which in turn are supported on dwarf brick walls. Water jackets are provided for circulation of water to cool the furnace. Various doors or openings for fuel feeding, working and slag removal are provided. The roof is given a peculiar shape so that flames of gas produced are concentrated on hearth.

 

The refined pig iron is broken into lumps and is melted in the hearth of the reverberatory furnace. The hearth lining acts as an oxidizing agent and, in addition, oxidizing substances such as haematite ore, oxide of iron, etc., are added to the refined pig iron. It is subjected to intense heat and a strong current of air. It is kept well stirred by long bars through working doors.

 

During the process of puddling, most of the carbon content and other impurities of the pig iron are oxidized. Slag formed is removed through a slag removal door. The purified iron becomes thick and assumes the form of white spongy iron balls, known as puddle balls, the weight of which is about 50 to 70 kg.

 

 

Shingling

Main article: Shingling (metallurgy)

 

By this operation, the slag contained is removed. It may be achieved by forging the balls under a power hammer or by passing the balls through a squeezing machine. In the case of the power hammer, the balls are placed on an anvil and a falling hammer forges them. A squeezing machine consists of two cylinders, which are placed one inside the other. The smaller cylinder has corrugations on its outer surface and the larger cylinder has corrugations on its inner surface. The balls are placed in between the cylinders and then the inner cylinder is rotated.

 

Shingling also helps in binding or welding the particles of puddle balls. The material obtained at the end of shingling is known as bloom and it is still in red-hot condition.

 

 

Rolling

Main article: Rolling mill

 

The bloom is passed through grooved rollers and flat bars of sizes such as about 4 m × 10 cm × 25 mm are obtained. These bars of wrought iron of poor quality are called muck bars. To improve the quality of wrought iron, these bars are tied together by wires, and they are heated and rolled again. This process may be repeated several times to get wrought iron of desired quality.

Edited by Andrew
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi again guys.

 

I've been away on another business trip again. Thanks for all the info. After seeing Andrew's post, I think I may just consider biting the bullet and importing some of that anchor chain. I thought that Mr Ellis had put it on hold for a while. Something about having to transport it from a storage facility.

 

I will give the farm impliment place a bash first. If I cant find anything worthwhile there then I will have to start saving for the transport charges.

 

If I remember correctly, Mr Ellis is in California somewhere, and the Company I work for in South Africa regularily imports goods from that area. I'm sure we could organise that a few pieces of anchor chain find their way into our next container. :ph34r:

 

Thanks for the information so far.

 

Regards

Wayne

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jim

 

It's not that easy. What passes for "Wrought Iron" work here, is usually mild steel. They bend it, twist it and weld it together, then label it as wrought iron. I went to a few places asking around. Most of them get a really confused expression (the same one I get if I ask for 1050, 1085 and 52100 steels) on their faces and the next question is "Why don't you just use mild steel?"

 

Mirror Pond Ale huh? Sounds good! I don't know if it would make it to the supplier as a full six pack though. :rolleyes:

 

Regards

Wayne

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...