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Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: Anybody know of where to get wrought iron?
Message-ID: <>
From: (Russ Kepler)
Date: Mon, 12 Dec 1994 17:50:23 GMT
References: <ayen.787180091@access4> <3cg86f$>
Organization: /usr/lib/news/organi[sz]ation
Lines: 45

In article <3cg86f$>, J. Kimberlin <> wrote:
>In article <ayen.787180091@access4> (Doug Ayen) writes:
>>I'm talking about the real stuff, here. I've been getting into 
>>historically-accurate mideval knifemaking, and I would really like to 
>>start using historically-accurate materials (or at least as historically 
>>accurate as I can get). I've tried many scrap metal places in the area, 
>In 1962 I got my first job as control chemist in an iron foundry for 
>Link-Belt in Indianapolis.  We had a 110 ton per day foundry there that 
>cast white iron.  Now white iron has about 2.4% carbon and (I'll guess) 
>0.4% silicon, 0.032% manganese, <0.02% nickel, no chrome, etc.  After the 
>white iron was cast into shapes -Ford Falcon door hinges, golf clubs, 
>hammer heads, axe heads, conveyer belt buckets, etc., they put the raw 
>castings in a gas oven (these were huge) for 8 days at some temperature.  
>When the whole thing had cooled (and we had 8 of these ovens) the iron 
>was taken to the forge and sized using large presses and appropriate 
>dies.  Thus, in my experience, this iron which we called malable iron is 
>the stuff we forged into net shapes after casting into preformed shapes.

White iron isn't grey iron isn't wrought iron.  Wrought iron is made
by pushing around a puddle of mostly molten iron, this iron melted
either from ore or from cast pig.  After pushing around the iron and
flux the iron begins to purify, and lumps form called blooms.  The
bloom is taken out and beat half to death, being stretched and folded
while being beaten. This process drives out much of the slag
inclusions, and forms the rest into fibrous strands of interwoven iron
and slag.  Wrought iron is classed into 3 classes (I'm really dredging
memory here) 1st process, 2nd process and 3rd process.  After first
you have billets of wrought iron, almost pig iron.  2nd process is
cleaned up quite a bit, and 3rd similarly so.  You can reheat and
hammer wrought about 5-6 times before you start losing strength, and
loss isn't full until 12 reheatings.

That's all I recall.  No one makes (commercially) wrought iron
anymore, and the only sources are scrap.  If you could find old scrap
iron, partially rusted, you can recognize wrought by the fibrous look
- kind of like exposed wood grain.  One source of wrought is old wagon
wheels - the rim of old wheels is almost always wrought, and seldom

Russ Kepler posting from home

                      Please don't feed the Engineers

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