Is my metal gate or balcony wrought iron or steel?
True iron is very rarely used in the fabrication of ornamental structures in the US today. Most new pieces of true wrought iron are found in restoration work.
The fences, window grilles and balconies you see typically are more accurately called ornamental 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 tendency 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.
A product derived from hammering iron or steel is forged or wrought. 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. Most blacksmith work today is done with steel. Cold Forging requires far 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 ready-made, less expensive designs are not available. Hot forging is beautiful and time consuming. Now days, all of our work uses steel though if a customer is willing to pay for using iron, we are more than willing to acquire some.
At Ironside, we often use both together. Combining hand forged scroll work with pre-maid tubing and cast designs saves our customers money without compromising beauty.
Ironside is your studio for designing the unique fabrication people will comment on for years to come.