NOTE ABOUT METAL
Many of the Hot Rolled (generally lower carbon) metal sold at steel yards today is described as 15 carbon maximum. The actual Hot Rolled carbon content allowed to be called Hot Rolled Metal can range from .02 carbon up to .15 carbon.
If using metal that is in the mid to lower range of carbon content, you will find it easier to work with. When metal is at the upper range of the .15 carbon allowed, it will be more difficult to work with versus metal with lower carbon. For example, when scroll bending, if the metal has more carbon it may not hug the scroll bending segments tightly as lower carbon metal does. You can also hear it when punching holes as higher carbon metal will give a loud bang as the punch is made versus a muffled sound when using lower carbon metal.
While some steel yards don't keep good records on the actual metal specifications, at least ask for this information.
After customers have purchased metal locally, we've had some calls saying the tools are not working like they did before. We immediately ask if they just purchased a new batch of steel and very often we hear "Yes" and the customer states buying the metal real cheap BUT "it should be good material as it looks just like the metal I've received from you (Wrought Iron Handicrafts, Inc)". Trust us - metal is NOT all alike and if sold real cheap- run!
- Ask for the specifications.
- If specs are not available, attach the Master Punch/Shear tool to a portable board and take to the steel yard. Measure a piece of the metal you plan on purchasing to see how much extra length is available to cut off. Ask if you can cut off a part of the extra length. Listen to how it sounds when you cut. Next, punch a hole and listen to how it sounds.
- If you like the sounds from the test metal pieces, buy 1 or 2 pieces to take with you to test in your shop. Then after using the metal in all tool functions, go back to the steel yard the same day, buy off the same rack, and buy more than you plan on using.
Tip: When using Pickled and Oiled metal, "finish grind" a beautiful pattern in the metal BEFORE doing any forming. Then protect with a clear enamel spray paint or a clear/translucent powder coat color that will allow the pattern ground in the metal to be seen.