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  #1  
Old 10-16-2007, 08:43 AM
deane deane is offline
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Removing scale or slag from mild steel

Is there an efficient way of removing the black scale or slag from mild steel? I would like to polish the silver color of the metal after the scale is removed.
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  #2  
Old 10-16-2007, 08:58 AM
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Re: Removing scale or slag from mild steel

there are several option,all depending on what exaclty you are removing the fire scale from,size,shape,ect.You can sanblast with varous materials to get different effects,there is an acid wash,and the there is that good ol wire cup brush for right angle grinders.I spent most or yesterday trying to move scale off a wine cellar gate I have forged with over 200 pieces.I used the grinder,takes awhile,but it works.Still sore this morning.It takes time and elbow power,but there is nothing like polished forged steel,almost like looking at the metals true skin.........IA visual is before scale removal,all hand forged out of 1" 7/8",5/8",and 1/2" mild steel,roses are 11 gauge
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  #3  
Old 10-16-2007, 09:56 AM
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WeiMingKai WeiMingKai is offline
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Re: Removing scale or slag from mild steel

Deane,

Re: Rust/Slag/Crud removal - yes, an angle grinder with a variety of heads/wire brush attachments (wearing full safety gear of course - wire splinters suck) and a lot of elbow grease and your mild steel piece will be brushed and pretty. Lots of people talk about trashing their angle grinders by overheating them - try and be kind to your tools or you'll wind up having to buy new ones.

Iron Ant,

That piece is really awesome.

Out of curiosity - do you find that sort of decorative/functional work is a more 'practical' use of your time (i.e.; that sort of work will sell very well) AND is satisfying to your creative interests OR does spending time on that work represent a distraction from your larger figures?

Said differently:
How do you prioritize your work time in terms of projects? (commerce vs whimsy)

Thank you.
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  #4  
Old 10-16-2007, 10:35 AM
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jOe~ jOe~ is offline
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Re: Removing scale or slag from mild steel

Very, very nice gate.
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  #5  
Old 10-16-2007, 11:57 AM
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evaldart evaldart is offline
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Re: Removing scale or slag from mild steel

Indeed, IA...I've made a fair amount of gates in my day but those are way better. Theres something , dare I say, "Paley-esque" about them.
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  #6  
Old 10-16-2007, 03:20 PM
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suburbanartists suburbanartists is offline
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Re: Removing scale or slag from mild steel

That gate is really nice.... What will you use to finish it?

Also Plain old white vinegar will clean the crap off forged mild steel, if the piece is small enough to put in some type of soaking container. Usually takes a few days. Also leaves metal a bit etched. You can wire wheel it smooth. You sould also neutralize the vinegar soaked piece with? ................crap now i forget. Arm n hammer?...... someone help me here.
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Old 10-16-2007, 03:27 PM
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Re: Removing scale or slag from mild steel

Iron A.

Just took a closer look at gate. Very Nice.....I realy like that you did not replicate each side...... Besides being a PITA to do, it looks much better to me being a matched but not copied set of panels.

Is this 1 door? I saw a slight notch in the top of the photo so not sure if it's 1 door or 2. Either way Great job. I got a long way to go to get at that forging level.

Last edited by suburbanartists : 10-16-2007 at 03:42 PM.
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  #8  
Old 10-16-2007, 07:31 PM
Bill Harsey Bill Harsey is offline
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Re: Removing scale or slag from mild steel

Quote:
Originally Posted by deane View Post
Is there an efficient way of removing the black scale or slag from mild steel? I would like to polish the silver color of the metal after the scale is removed.
Sandblasting with the correct medium is probably fastest and best if your going to continue to finish with files or abrasives.

The black scale on mild steel is a form of ceramic oxide and can be pretty difficult to remove with a wire wheel. Sometimes it looks like you've got it with the wire wheel but haven't yet fully abraded under this heat oxide layer because even the "scale" can be polished.
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  #9  
Old 10-17-2007, 10:09 PM
Bentiron Bentiron is offline
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Re: Removing scale or slag from mild steel

NIce gates. I think that sand blasting is the only sure way to get rid of all of the fire scale however it also removes many of the hammer marks that show that it was hand forged.
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  #10  
Old 10-18-2007, 08:16 AM
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Re: Removing scale or slag from mild steel

[quote=WeiMingKai;47019]Deane,



Iron Ant,

That piece is really awesome.

Out of curiosity - do you find that sort of decorative/functional work is a more 'practical' use of your time (i.e.; that sort of work will sell very well) AND is satisfying to your creative interests OR does spending time on that work represent a distraction from your larger figures?

Great Question.I like the challenge of doing commision work,and it funds the art gig.I use what I learn on these cutom jobs,and then I aply it to my sculpture.After working in Stainless for twenty years,it is a nice break to work it hot steel.I am a self taught blacksmith,and I am just learning how to really manipulate hot metal.This client gave me free range to do what I wanted,which was nice.They are two doors,about 6.5x4',and about 300 lbs together.My first wine cellar gates/doors,and my first piece on my little power hammer.I cant say it is more practical use of time,but it does motivate me to get back into my sculpture.I use wire brush on these,so when I aply my antique finish I will get a nice range of black to silver tones.I actually use the polished scale to my advantage,gives it that old world look.thanks for the compliments everybody,as this is new teritory for me,I will follow up as I am taking them to a winery this weekend to do photogaphs......IA
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  #11  
Old 10-18-2007, 08:33 AM
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Re: Removing scale or slag from mild steel

Power hammer will save your elbow & shoulder.

Can't wait to see pic's of instal.

Maybe a detail one too?
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  #12  
Old 10-18-2007, 11:49 AM
deane deane is offline
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Smile Re: Removing scale or slag from mild steel

Thank you all for your suggestions. It is great to get such prompt and knowledgeable feedback.

Deane
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  #13  
Old 10-18-2007, 12:12 PM
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Re: Removing scale or slag from mild steel

This is the hammer I have. don't use it too much (great for craftier project that might involve flattening 2" solid bar) but when you need it you need it. Ten years old, I make my own dies, runs off a 7.5 horse Ingersoll Rand.
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  #14  
Old 10-27-2007, 05:50 AM
Rick Clise Rick Clise is offline
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Re: Removing scale or slag from mild steel

Hi Deane, I used to always use an angle grinder with metal grinding wheel to remove mill scale and welding/cutting slag, but was introduced by a fellow sculptor to sanding disks on an angle grinder for removing slag (or metal in general - seems to be as fast if not faster to do so than a grinding wheel when using a 36 or 60 grit sanding disk!); and a plastic or composite abrasive disk for removing mill scale. The latter is generally sold for removing paint but it is 'a little ripper' for getting rid of mill scale or rust before welding. It also works nicely 'polishing' those grinding or sanding marks from earlier operations.

I know 3M makes an abrasive disk but the ones I get here in Adelaide are of Italian manufacture. I can't remember the name.

Caution: make sure you don't brush-up against one when running - I expect they would remove a lot of skin a very short period of time!
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Old 10-28-2007, 12:40 PM
Bill Harsey Bill Harsey is offline
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Re: Removing scale or slag from mild steel

Deane,
Keep us posted on what works.

Iron Ant,
Nice work!
Your right about the polished blue finish on forged steel. One of the things I've done in the past is to use the wire wheel while the steel is at red heat and keep working as it cools off to black.

Rick Clise,
Yes the abrasive coated discs can cut good. If one is running into tough grinding try the Norton SG Blaze products which come in discs for the angle grinders. I think 3M makes a comparable product. These abrasives cut hard materials longer and sharper than any other abrasive I've used. Yes these are premium price products but are cost effective in hard jobs. Large flat surfaces are hard jobs even in mild steel.

Slow cutting or dull abrasives just wear out both the user and the machine.

I use the Norton SG Blaze abrasive belts here for grinding steels that are fairly abrasive resistant with tested Rockwell "C" scale hardnesses of up to 62.

Google up "Norton SG Blaze". It's worth it for tough jobs.
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Old 11-07-2007, 04:57 AM
Rick Clise Rick Clise is offline
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Re: Removing scale or slag from mild steel

Thanks Bill - I'll look for the Norton SG Blaze disks.
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  #17  
Old 11-08-2007, 08:17 PM
Bill Harsey Bill Harsey is offline
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Re: Removing scale or slag from mild steel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Clise View Post
Thanks Bill - I'll look for the Norton SG Blaze disks.
Rick,
Your very welcome.
If you have any difficulty locating them, try TruGrit.com
they are great folks who are plugged in at the top of the industrial abrasive field and specialize in selling in the smaller (less than a container load) amounts we might use. They have much more stuff than advertised.

Life is too short to use dull abrasives.
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