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Bridge post tensioning cable


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So I went by the local scrap metal center today to see what kind of stuff they had.....wow! There was a lot of steel that a bladesmith would find handy...heavy junk, hydraulic rods, forklift tines, truck springs, I beams etc. Junkyard hammer materials! (that's for later).

My question now is: has anyone here used bridge post tensioning cable to weld up for cable damascus? The strands are large so decarburization should be minimal....any idea of carbon content? It should be at least mid to high carbon i am guessing. Anybody work this stuff? I picked up a large coil spring, a truck leaf spring bundle, and a piece of bridge tensioning cable for $3. (I researched a bit and it looks like this cable is 7 strand ASTM A416, but could find no info on carbon content.) Thanks, Steve

Edited by SteveShimanek
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It is probably good steel and I assume that it has no non-steel elements and is not coated with anything but grease. You don't want to be using any plated steel. The only way I know to test it is to weld up some and see if it will harden. You will have to experiment with proper tempering as it may have anything from 60-80 points of carbon in it. I've messed with a little cable. I broke mine down into individual strands. I burned off the grease in the forge, fluxed it, and then twisted it tighter before forge welding. I always seemed to have some individual strands of wire that seem to not want to weld down after everything else was welded up. Those will just have to be ground off. After doing a few strands, I put mine aside until I could build a blown forge that ran a little hotter than what I had. I've built the forge so I'll probably pick the cables back up soon. Good luck with your cable.


Doug Lester

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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