View Full Version : Old Old Pieces of Steel, what to do?

06-08-2010, 08:49 PM
OK, here is my situation. Several years back I made new parts for a weather vane, including a new center post. Did another, and another. Cleaning out my shop, I found three 4 foot long pieces of steel dated from 1800 to 1840 in age. One is pretty bent, one is very "pock marked", one has weathering that rusted it almost through in a single point due to "splash back" off the steple of the church it was on.

I am pretty sure these are not really easily machined, but they contain somewhat of a historical value and sentimental value to me as I replaced the work of a craftsman of ages back and my work will stand for as long (or better, I made the replacements out of 4150 and oil color coated them).

Tried to donate them to a historical group, they said "what?". I gave up.

If you had items like this, what would you do/machine out of them?

Doc Nickel
06-08-2010, 09:39 PM
It's unlikely they're steel, and much more likely they're wrought iron. A blacksmith or knifemaker would love to have it for various reasons- if it hasn't been too overworked, it'll show a nice almost-Damascus style pattern once etched.


Dan Dubeau
06-08-2010, 09:46 PM
make a weather vane out of them and stick it at your place. give it another life?

Mike Burdick
06-08-2010, 11:39 PM

Sorry to get away from your question but how about posting a picture of the weather vane?


06-09-2010, 10:09 AM
a few ideas , make some knifes out of it , or something else of good use, like i dont know some tools or jigs,

Tony Ennis
06-09-2010, 10:36 AM
I'd donate it to the local blacksmith, if he'd take it.

Otherwise, craigslist.

06-09-2010, 10:57 AM
BAsed on the age, I too, doubt it is steel. More likely wrought iron. As wrought iron, it will not have enough carbon to make knives out of without additional carburation - like case hardening. Alternately, a high carbon strip of steel could be forge welded to one edge to make a hard cutting edge backed by a flexible, tough backing. From what I've read, when high carbon steels were scarce, lots of large knives and axes were made that way.

It will likely be harder to get a good finish on with a machine tool because, IIRC, wrought iron is soft, tough, and stringy compared to even mild steel. For this reason, blacksmiths love this stuff. Got anyone close to you that does decorative wrought iron work?

06-09-2010, 11:44 AM
Recycle it. Use it or lose it. Unless you love clutter.

06-09-2010, 12:58 PM
Pick the best peice(s), make something decorative out of it that you would like to keep around the shop (even something as simple as a clipboard/drawing holder, pen holder, Shelf bracket, etc) and enjoy. :)

06-09-2010, 01:23 PM
bend it into a big heart shape, stuff behind the lathe and you're covered for next valentines day

06-09-2010, 02:34 PM
I would keep it or make something unique out of it that shows off what it is.
I would not throw it out or just recycle it.

The suggestion of a knife blade is a good one ...

06-09-2010, 02:45 PM
Yard art. I'm currently at the other extreme. I'm trying to quickly weather, acid etch some 1/4" hot rolled steel plate so it looks really rusty for a yard art project. I want it to look 50 years old when done. Nothing like taking $100 worth of new steel and rusting it up on purpose.:(