Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Blacksmith-When To Remove Scale From Work Piece?

What is the best time to remove excess scale from your blacksmithing work?

Is there an advantage to descaling a hot work piece with a wire brush as opposed to just giving the hot work piece a couple of light raps with the hammer thus saving valuable heat? Is hammering the work piece on the anvil that has loose pieces of scale on it detrimental to the work piece?

Sweeping The Anvil Between Heats With Your Glove

You should get into the habit of sweeping your anvil surface between each heat so you are always working on a clean surface. The scale left on the anvil will pit the the bottom of the bar. This is most noticeable on the back of thing pieces of steel such as leaves. It creates a coarse rough texture.

Wire Brushing Hot
A bit different. There are times that you want to quickly wire brush while your bar is hot. Eg. of this would be last couple of finishing heats on things that require an optimum surface such as knives.
The scale comes off well until about bright red then it sticks to the steel.

In general I forge with out wire brushing but with sweeping the anvil between each heat.
If I take a finishing heat I may give it a good wire brushing from dull orange down to black heat to remove the loose scale. Once cold I will use a wire wheel on a grinder or wire cup on an angle grinder to further clean the steel.

I hope this helps.
David RobertsonLink
Ontario Artist Blacksmith