Looking for Scrapyards in Minnesota

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Calmb4tehpwn
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:30 pm

Looking for Scrapyards in Minnesota

Unread post by Calmb4tehpwn » Sat Mar 28, 2015 1:00 pm

I've been to a few, and called many more, but each scrapyard I've found doesn't sell to private parties. Does anyone have a line on a scrapyard in central/southern MN that lets you peruse and pick?

I've decided that I'm going to set up a wood stove to heat treat and temper larger pieces, specifically blocks of steel that I can grind down the corners and edges of, and temper for makeshift sawyers anvils, but I need some steel blocks!

Any leads appreciated,
Thanks folks

Martin Pansch
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Young America, MN

Re: Looking for Scrapyards in Minnesota

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Sat Mar 28, 2015 1:53 pm

Michael,

A lot of scrap yards don't let individuals in anymore due to both liability and business reasons. Liability wise if you get hurt on there property it could easily be a lawsuit. As far as business goes it costs a lot more in effort to sell a little each to a bunch of people versus selling truckloads to a recycler.

You might be better off finding a manufacturing company that has drops of stuff you are interested in. Many don't get much for their scrap and might let you have some for cheap if you explain what you are doing. If so make sure to express your appreciation beyond the money they ask (donuts, hand forged bottle opener, etc). It takes a while to cultivate good sources like that though.

How big of block of steel and what alloy are you looking for? I may be able to help. I also have anvil like objects to loan to Guild members.

FWIW, heat treating an anvil sized piece of steel with a wood fire might be difficult. I don't know if you could get a focused enough fire to heat that kind of mass. If you do it please let us know how it goes.

Calmb4tehpwn
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:30 pm

Re: Looking for Scrapyards in Minnesota

Unread post by Calmb4tehpwn » Sat Mar 28, 2015 3:10 pm

Oh, I'm not planning on using wood to heat it, just the cast iron wood stove. Take the doors off, line the whole thing with refractory brick and cut a hole in the side for a propane torch and let it sit for a few hours while it cooks.
My concern is cooling it. Would a 55g drum full of water cool it enough?

On the I Forge Iron forums, I hear scrap yard success stories and it's got ideas in my head, but if there aren't any places in MN that still allow picking, then I guess manufacturing companies might be all that's left.

I'm actually interested in offering these as poor man anvils. There isn't much in the way of anvils reliably available in the $100 range, so I'd love to be able to offer scrap anvils. So I'd take any size that's larger than about a 6 inch cube, and any steel that will harden to a good range. I assume 4140 is preferable, but I plan to take what I can find, heat it to orange, quench it best I can, and then beat the hell of out it. If it holds up to some torture, I'll make a few more and see if people are interested. If not, then I've got backups!

Calmb4tehpwn
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:30 pm

Re: Looking for Scrapyards in Minnesota

Unread post by Calmb4tehpwn » Mon Mar 30, 2015 4:04 pm

Well, I've reached out to (and gotten responses from) a good number of local steel fabricators, and all have told me they don't work with any steel or bar stock thicker than 2 inches, which doesn't really help me, even for swage blocks.

Any suggestions on where specifically I might be able to find some thicker cut offs?

Martin Pansch
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Young America, MN

Re: Looking for Scrapyards in Minnesota

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:01 pm

If you don't mind a drive you might think about playing phone tag/Google hide and seek around Duluth and along the major rivers. Maybe look for places that work on or scrap tugs or other bigger boats. I have to imagine their shafts are girthy and probably something better than A36. You might also look into any place that works on anything with BIG axles (heavy earth movers, big trucks, etc). I know there are some shops around making stuff with bigger steel. I have some 4" round 4140 drops from my brother's shop and have a few couple inch thick slices that are 8" diameter or better. It is out there if not common.

It may take a lot of propane to get a 50lb block of steel up north of 1450 degrees. When doing some anvil repair it took a lot of fuel and about an hour to get an 80lb anvil up to about 400 degrees. Make sure to use a big tank (100lb or so) or maybe a number manifolded together.

I might not try to retrofit a wood stove. I am thinking hauling that much hot steel out horizontally may be tough without a shop crane, 3-legged tongs and a handling hole in the anvil. If I was going to do it I would probably make something like the Speed-i-melt Marty has for melting bronze. Then the anvil could be picked up straight out and brought to the quench. You could probably knock the housing together with a 1/2 of a 55 gal drum.

You are right to be concerned about cooling it. I am not sure if 55 gallons of water would get it cool enough fast enough. Charles McRaven mentioned either tossing it in a river or having a volunteer fire department hit it with a hose. I seem to remember stories that anvil factories had tanks with thousands of gallons of water which would come rushing down a chute onto the face of the anvil. They would hit it with enough to harden it with just enough residual heat to inch back in and temper it. I suppose after doing a bunch they were probably a pretty good judge of how much water for how big of anvil.

You might want to price out comercial heat treating before embarking on this yourself. If you are only doing a couple it might end up being cheaper and with a better result.

Given the price of hardenable steel, the fuel, the tool-up and the learning curve to figure out what one is doing there might be a reason there are not a lot of good $100 block anvils to be found...

Calmb4tehpwn
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:30 pm

Re: Looking for Scrapyards in Minnesota

Unread post by Calmb4tehpwn » Tue Mar 31, 2015 10:05 pm

"I might not try to retrofit a wood stove. I am thinking hauling that much hot steel out horizontally may be tough without a shop crane, 3-legged tongs and a handling hole in the anvil. If I was going to do it I would probably make something like the Speed-i-melt Marty has for melting bronze. Then the anvil could be picked up straight out and brought to the quench. You could probably knock the housing together with a 1/2 of a 55 gal drum."

The plan was to knock the wood stove on its back, and use a hydrolic engine hoist (about $100 on craigslist), a 4 inch hole drilled into either side (dependant on total size of anvil), bolts inserted for lifting.

"It may take a lot of propane to get a 50lb block of steel up north of 1450 degrees. When doing some anvil repair it took a lot of fuel and about an hour to get an 80lb anvil up to about 400 degrees. Make sure to use a big tank (100lb or so) or maybe a number manifolded together."

This trail has been blazed before me, and apparently it takes about 3 hours of forces air propane to reach appropriate temperature.

"You are right to be concerned about cooling it. I am not sure if 55 gallons of water would get it cool enough fast enough. Charles McRaven mentioned either tossing it in a river or having a volunteer fire department hit it with a hose."

Yeah, this is the real trick. Aside from the financial investment of getting this set up, and sourcing blocks of steel, I think this will be the actual roadblock. The one person I've seen whose documented this simply let it air cool after getting it to temperature, and didn't temper it. Apparently, a file still bit it a little, but the rebound was superb. Even if it's not a manufactured anvil, it's still better than the majority of the crap people out there on a budget can actually afford to put in their shop.

Maybe I could get a horse trough or something for it, or a kiddie pool. It may not be a perfect heat treat, but it's something for newbies to beat to hell without worrying too much about their anvil.

It's not something I'm pushing to do right now, or this year, or at all. But if the pieces come together (including a cheap or free wood stove, which I've missed a couple of already) then why the hell not, right?

Cheers!

Martin Pansch
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Young America, MN

Re: Looking for Scrapyards in Minnesota

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:38 pm

Oh, I do a lot of things in the name of "Why the hell not?" ;). Good luck and if you do it record the event for posterity.

Calmb4tehpwn
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:30 pm

Re: Looking for Scrapyards in Minnesota

Unread post by Calmb4tehpwn » Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:43 am

Well, I found a place that can do it for me, they quoted 6 inch cube at $260 though, so that one is out

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