True iron is very rarely used in the fabrication of gates, fences and other ornamental structures in the US today. You will find most new pieces of true wrought iron is found in restoration work.
Most often, what you see is fabricated steel. Iron has to specially imported and is much less strong than steel. It does however, last much longer in ornamental decorations. Its low carbon content lowers it propensity to rust and the hand working and softer nature requires the iron to be naturally thicker and therefore less likely to break through compared to the more common steel tubing.
The product derived from hammering iron is call Forged iron. We picture a blacksmith with his anvil near a fire, holding a glowing orange rod and hammering it into a usable shape. Forging can be done hot or cold though most blacksmith work today is done with steel. Cold Forging takes a great more pressure than hot forging and is often done with huge machines though not in smaller shops. Hot forging is more common among the smaller fabricators and Ironside San Diego is no exception.
We hot forge when readily available (and less expensive) designs are not available. Hand hot forging is beautiful but time consuming. All of our work is done in steel though if a customer is willing to pay for using iron, we are more than willing to use it.
The term Wrought in metal making refers to hand or machine formed manufacturing as opposed to cast formed. Ornamental tends to refer to decorative manufacturing and can be used interchangeably with wrought iron. The only difference is the wrought is thought of as hand made rather than machine made.
At Ironside, we use both and often together. Combining hand forged scroll work with tubing and cast designs as needed by our customers.
Call and come see our hot forge in operation. See a one inch thick piece of steel bent like putty into a spear point, scroll or leaf.
Ironside is your studio for designing the unique fabrication people will comment on for years to come.