Cast Iron vs. Wrought Iron

cast-iron-vs-wrought-ironYou may hear the terms cast iron and wrought iron thrown around a lot when you’re looking at custom welding work. You may think that the two terms are interchangeable, but they re actually quite different. There are numerous differences between cast and wrought iron, but the main difference is how the product is prepared. We’ve broken down all of the differences for you, so you can be better informed in case there comes a time when you need some welding work done!

Cast Iron

Cast iron is pretty much exactly what it sounds like- something made from a cast, or mold. This process begins with iron being melted down, and then poured into a specific mold, depending on what is being made. Cast iron isn’t actually really iron. It is made up of iron alloys, or often gray iron. There are typically traces of other elements, like carbon, manganese, and phosphorus as well.

In order to actually make a cast iron product, iron ore is smelted and mixed with scrap metals. The mixture is then poured into a mold of the desired shape. The product is extremely hard, and tougher than wrought iron, or steel. However, since cast iron is so tough, it can’t be worked with. This means that the product that comes out of the mold is what it will be forever, unle

ss it breaks. Actually, this is one of the few drawbacks of cast iron. Although it is extremely dense, th

e addition of multiple elements with different melting and solidifying temperatures means that the product is solidified while its components are in different phases, creating tension points within the cast. If enough pressure is added, the piece will fracture rather than bend. However, you would have to add a significant amount of pressure to achieve this.

Wrought Iron

Wrought iron is very different than cast iron. Rather than a liquid being p

oured into a mold, the actual metal is “wrought” or worked on to create the desired shape. Unlike cast iron, wrought iron is composed of primarily iron, with about one or two percent of impurities like phosphorous, sulfur, or aluminum oxides.

Although it is still extremely strong, wrought iron is much more malleable than cast iron. This means that the iron used for one project can be reheated and used over and over again to adapt to your needs. Actually, the more a piece of wrought iron is reheated and worked on, the stronger it becomes. Since wrought iron is more malleable, and less heterogeneous than cast iron, it lasts longer in most cases. A piece of wrought iron would have to be exposed to a serious amount of pressure, or extremely high temperatures in order to break or become damaged.

Although both cast and wrought iron have their advantages, they’re not often used in present day. They are typically only worked with by artisans or extremely skilled welders. Both are great for making unique, beautiful pieces!

Wrought Iron Welding: Why it’s Best Left to the Pros

Wrought Iron WeldingThe welding of wrought iron is sometimes promoted as an activity for any old do-it-yourselfer but this is both an incorrect and somewhat dangerous idea to promote. Every type of welding comes with inherent risks and each should only be performed by people who’ve been properly trained. Why anyone would think wrought iron welding is easier or safer than any other type of welding remains a bit of a mystery, but the idea is out there, like sugar in the gas tank of logic, and so it needs to be addressed. In this post we’ll talk about why wrought iron welding in Toronto should be left to the pros.

Wrought Iron Welding in Toronto: More Than a Hobby

There are a number of different processes that can be applied to wrought iron welding in Toronto. These include seam, spot, thermite, forge, oxyacetylene and more. All of them however, carry risks and these risks should never be minimized. The most common welding injuries occur to the eyes, ears and nose.

  • Eye injuries include welder’s flash, flash burn and arc eye and can result in intense pain, cataracts and worse.
  • Ear injuries are caused by airborne debris penetrating the canals of the ear and attacking the soft tissue within. Hearing loss is not uncommon.
  • Inhaling chemicals and particles resulting from the welding process can lead to Welder’s Parkinson’s which is debilitating illness with no known cure. Disorientation from inhaling toxic fumes is also common and many inexperienced or poorly trained welders develop chronic respiratory disease.

The Importance of Protective Gear

Unfortunately many DIYers who’ve been convinced by some unaccountable writer on the Internet that welding is a fun, safe pastime wear little more than their standard weekend casual wear when they spark up the welder and wind up paying a terrible cost.

  • Hot sparks rain down on their unprotected arms or come to rest on their cotton shirt and quickly burn through.
  • Others don’t wear appropriate boots and wind up with hot sparks in their shoes which can be extremely painful.
  • Some neglect to wear flame-resistant gloves and pay an awful price in cuts and burns. Others suffer heavy electric shocks.
  • Still others neglect to use side shields on their helmets exposing their eyes to damaging arc rays and hot particles that fly through the air.

Professional welders are also fully aware of the larger environment in which they’re working. Something DIYers often overlook. Working in confined spaces calls for extra care and mindfulness. Proper maintenance of the work area is also crucial as tripping and falling while welding could lead to serious injury. A pro will also take time to inspect their equipment thoroughly before beginning.

The Bottom Line

Wrought iron welding in Toronto is not like re-facing your kitchen cabinets or hanging a door. Welding is serious business which, if not performed correctly, can lead to debilitating injuries that change the course of your life. It’s just not worth the risk. Instead leave it to Pro Weld and rest easy knowing it’s done right.