Which way would you approach this?

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Martin Pansch
Posts: 314
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Young America, MN

Which way would you approach this?

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:19 pm

I was forging a fire poker for someone last weekend and was having one of those days where everything seemed to go wrong. Among other things was a weld that just didn't want to stay stuck. The person wanted a scroll at the end of the poker and I wanted to add a little fish tail on the other side to balance it visually and, more importantly, to keep the user's hand from sliding back into the scroll making it awkward to use.

Here is a shot of the finished poker along with the first failure I cut off:
Poker with failed scroll.JPG
Poker with failed scroll.JPG (130.32 KiB) Viewed 6992 times
On the first effort the faggot weld of the fish tail onto the parent bar I kept having trouble with the weld splitting. The 3/8" by the scarf stayed but the rest kept opening up. After 5-6 welding heats I thought I had it, rolled the scroll, and went to twist the handle area and the weld popped open again. In frustration I cut it off and did it again. Second time worked a little but if you zoom in you can still see a bit of a split. If strength was essential there I would have drilled and riveted it just to be sure but for the force it is going to take it should hold.

It made me think though if part of my issue was how I was approaching the weld trying to do it in one step with just a faggot weld on the middle of a bar with a convenience bend to let me get that area deep enough into the fire. I starting thinking maybe the better way would have been a two step where first I weld the ends of the fish tail and the tapered bar destined to be the scroll together and then lap weld that to the rest of the stock for the poker? Here is a quick sketch of what I am talking about as my words don't always paint a picture.
Scarf drawing.jpg
Scarf drawing.jpg (78.91 KiB) Viewed 6992 times
I can see advantages for both methods. Technique 1 seems to be quicker as there is only one weld to do but is also more of a pain both in getting it to sit in the fire well and to get the two pieces out and together in time without losing the welding heat, the convenience bend of 10" of stock made it want to do a 180 and put the weld surface down when I brought it to the anvil.

Technique 2 would let you get those pieces nice and deep in the fire. I could probably even have them clamped together by tongs with a rein clip while heating so I didn't waste time lining them up. Might let me work the weld better and get it stuck better further, maybe. However, then I would have to do a lap to join that to the rest of the poker stock, which while it would be fairly easy as the pieces are long enough so you don't have to "drop tong" it, it would give another opportunity to mess it up.

How would you folks go about it, #1, #2 or something else? Rivets? MIG? start with a 1/2" x 1" and just split and draw?

For an idea on how the day was this happened:
Broken ha'penny scroll.JPG
Broken ha'penny scroll.JPG (124.78 KiB) Viewed 6992 times
Wasn't the first time I broke something but what got me is it fell of when I was forging the far other end of the poker. I much have just forged a little cold shut in there and the vibration of me forging down the whole rest of the bar, a very slight taper from the parent 1/2" to just shy of 3/8" on the pokey end, must have been enough to propagate the crack and it fell off. I am a little embarrassed to say I oxy/acetylene welded it back on as I just didn't have time to restart a third time. I hid it with some filing and reforging though. You guys might be able to pick out the cheat but the owner shouldn't be able to (nor would they likely see it as a cheat either).

Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Jun 09, 2017 2:46 pm
Location: Rogers, MN

Re: Which way would you approach this?

Unread post by ZachC » Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:29 am

My first instinct was to do a split from a larger piece of stock, thus avoiding the weld completely. I'm not sure if that would have made the scroll work more difficult though, or if there would have been more work involved to get the rest of the handle (toward the poker) to be smaller, if that's what the customer wanted.

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