Author Topic: Making screws  (Read 5683 times)

Offline David R.

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2583
Making screws
« on: March 01, 2012, 12:51:55 AM »
Working on my latest project after searching I just realized I didn't have any side nails or screws to attach my lock to the stock. I could've ordered some and paid shipping and wait. Well I decided to make them. I didn't want to turn them down from large enough stock to get the head size I wanted so I decided to see if I could forge the heads. Any one done this? First I tried to just upset the ends but couldn't get enough metal for a decent head. I tried folding and forge welding but couldn't get them to form right.
I remembered seeing an old blacksmith method for heading large bolts and tried it. I forged an eye in the screw shank sized rod, cleaned it and cut off the eye. Next I put the little donut on the shank leaving a little gap where the two ends of the loop should meet. I let the end of the shank be a little proud of the donut. I heated and fluxed and brought to welding heat (bright yellow almost white) and tapped the little eye closed. I had a correct size hole drilled in a heavy piece of plate and cleaned and fluxed again (borax) and brought the head back to a weld heat and dropped it in the hole and quickly finished and shaped it as it cooled.  A little file work with it turning in the lathe, then I cut the slot. Cut to length and threaded and its done.
Now does any one know if this is how the old smiths might have done it? I havn't had the oportunity to disassemble any 18th cent. rifles but a screw headed this way might show telltale weld marks on the backside like mine do.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 10:52:58 PM by rich pierce »
I would have no quarrel with thee if thou be a friend of liberty.

Offline James Wilson Everett

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 923
Re: Making screws
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2012, 07:07:36 AM »
David,

I most often just use wrought iron that starts large enough in diameter to form the head.  Probably this means that I do more filing and less forging than your effort.  I commend you for this posting, keep up the work, thanks a lot for this.

Here are some very interesting carriage bolt screws, probably 18th c that came with their matching screwplate.  I do not see any weld seam on them.  If forged from a single piece of wrought iron, the craftsman was truly a master.  I could not do this at my skill level.

Jim


Offline David R.

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2583
Re: Making screws
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2012, 06:07:14 PM »
Those are rusty enough that it would be hard to see weld evidence.  If they were chemically etched maybe. Mine look good on outside but I can see weld evidence looking closely on underside. I don't have any 18th cent. screw plates ao I had to cut my threads modern way. I love your posts on these old tools and methods. Where are you finding wrought iron now days?
I would have no quarrel with thee if thou be a friend of liberty.

Offline heinz

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 599
Re: Making screws
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2012, 06:34:14 PM »
I use a block like a rivet swage.  The block is thicker than the bolt length you want and a hole is drilled at shaft diameter.  Cut off a length of shaft diameter rod that allows 1 to 1 1/2 the diameter to stick up over the block height. 
1) Put the swage on top of the anvil,
2)heat the end of the rod blank to red,
3)drop the cold end in the in the hole and peen the hot end over.
4) cut the bolt blank to length and thread (You may need a drift pin to punch it out of the block.)
You have a number of options on the heading end of the hole ,for instance, a coutersink, or a counterbore to make a nicer round head shape with less filing. 
I make copper rivets the same way.
The guy who made James carriage bolts was way better than me.
kind regards, heinz

Offline James Wilson Everett

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 923
Re: Making screws
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2012, 07:17:12 AM »
Guys,

Wrought iron is still around, but not being made.  Several things to look for:

1.  wagon wheel rims and hubs
2.  old barn hinges
3.  blacksmith tongs

Look in old barns for any old iron metal bolts, rods, etc.  Always bring a coarse file with you to file a patch on the metal.  Look for the tell-tale black slag streaks on the clean metal.  The unrefined wrought will have obvious slag streaks, more refined wrought iron will have much thinner streaks that are more difficult to see.  Really great wrought iron requires an etching in muriatic acid to see the streaks or grain of the metal.  A few times I was able to locate wagon wheels used to decorate houses or mailboxes.  When the wood rotted away the homeowners were happy to have me haul the metal away.

Also you can buy the stuff at:

http://www.wisconsinwoodchuck.net/treasures.htm

Jim Everett