Author Topic: "Any Old Iron?" - A Reminiscence from Forty Years Ago!  (Read 3201 times)

Offline Pete W.

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"Any Old Iron?" - A Reminiscence from Forty Years Ago!
« on: February 10, 2016, 06:19:28 AM »
Hi there, all,

There's currently a listing on eBay for a 'Small Lathe Stand, Home Made from an Old Bedstead'.  The picture shows it's a bolted construction.

That too me back about forty years to when I was establishing my workshop.  I collected all sorts of raw material including 'angle iron' cut from the frames of old bedsteads.  One common brand was 'Vono' - if I remember correctly, the adjacent sides of the frame were joined at the corners by a cast in-situ piece that included a sort of cone on a stalk that fitted into the mating fittings on the head-board and foot-board.

The story at the time was that this angle iron was re-rolled from the tram rails when the tram-tracks were taken up from the streets of London.  It was very tough and stringy, as though the metal hadn't been cleaned before re-rolling so all sorts of grit and other inclusions got incorporated into the metal.

It was quite un-cooperative with any attempts to cut or drill it.  My neighbour had a stick welder but neither he not I were welders so our welding difficulties might have been due to the material or to our incompetence or to some combination of the two!!!    :scratch:   :bang:   :scratch:   :bang:   :scratch:   :bang: 

Did anyone else experience this material?  How did you fare? 
« Last Edit: February 10, 2016, 12:25:06 PM by Pete W. »
Best regards,

Pete W.

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you haven't seen the latest change-note!

Offline awemawson

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Re: "Any Old Iron?" - A Reminiscence from Forty Years Ago!
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2016, 06:46:25 AM »
Pete, it's not an urban myth. Tram rails were high in manganese so that the rolling surface 'work hardened' in use. Loads were re-rolled and not just from London - Absolute bugg @@ to drill through - rather like some stainless steels.( I used to go to school in Leeds on a Tram.)

As for Vono beds - my bed as a young child up to the age of 9 was a Vono - there was a cast (really rather too tapered) spanner to tighten the nuts. I re-met the Vono's when I went to boarding school and most of the beds in the dormitories were the same style except in the Sanatorium where they were ex army tubular ones.
Andrew Mawson
East Sussex

Offline DavidA

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Re: "Any Old Iron?" - A Reminiscence from Forty Years Ago!
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2016, 06:46:45 AM »
Pete,

Ah yes, the dreaded 'bed frame iron'.

It is indeed hard to saw and drill, but also seems to be quite strong. I have used it a lot, but things became easier with the advent of the angle grinder and 1mm slitting discs.

Dave.

Offline hermetic

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Re: "Any Old Iron?" - A Reminiscence from Forty Years Ago!
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2016, 10:53:22 AM »
Still got some Vono bed frame angle, built a grass racer chassis out of it in the seventies, very springy and as everyone has said, an absolute sod to drill or saw. I thought it welded pretty ok, I was using a stick welder cobbled together out of a "welders mate" DC welder, and a matching transformer producing AC........but it worked  :D


Offline mcostello

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Re: "Any Old Iron?" - A Reminiscence from Forty Years Ago!
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2016, 11:33:11 AM »
Same story over across the pond. Some say not weldable, the rest of us just get it done with no problems.
High Speed steel in a Carbide world.

Online philf

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Re: "Any Old Iron?" - A Reminiscence from Forty Years Ago!
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2016, 11:48:09 AM »
..... I was using a stick welder cobbled together out of a "welders mate" DC welder, and a matching transformer producing AC........but it worked  :D

Snap! I made my car trailer from bed angle using an XP Welder (which I believe is the same as a "Welders Mate") and a transformer out of a scrap piece of equipment. I tried using a car battery with the welder first with little success.

I made the trailer about 35 years ago and it's still going although the Mini tyres are about shot and they're not as easy to get hold of now as they were then.

The welders are still available made by KelArc. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Car-Body-Stich-Welder-for-Arc-welders-made-in-the-uk-/121884411838?hash=item1c60e087be:m:m8iRR1Y48b87__LE_Q68M9A

I don't know what happened to mine.

Phil.
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Offline hanermo

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Re: "Any Old Iron?" - A Reminiscence from Forty Years Ago!
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2016, 12:10:43 PM »
Never had any of the rail bed iron...
But never had any problems drilling anything, wither.

All stainless is just like butter, 303 is grabby, and drilling 14:1 l/d needs technique..

Suspect it just needs good industrial drill bits, and suitable f/speed.

Online mattinker

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Re: "Any Old Iron?" - A Reminiscence from Forty Years Ago!
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2016, 12:49:54 PM »
Bed irons needed to be tough or they would bend! Lousy to weld!

I'm interested in he tram rails story, as "rebar" is supposedly made (at least here in Europe) from railway track also high in magnesium, it's about 1080 and it can very often take a temper. Rebar is usually more weldable than bed iron though!

Regards, Matthew

Offline mcostello

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Re: "Any Old Iron?" - A Reminiscence from Forty Years Ago!
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2016, 12:47:58 PM »
Bed rail WILL give a person an education about using slow speed and slightly more than moderate feed.Still use it. Same story about used railroad rail and it seems to hold true about machining qualities. It used to bring a premium price in the scrap yards as it is so light and strong. Far Eastern cheap drill bits will not last only a revolution or two. Still has it's place.
High Speed steel in a Carbide world.