View Full Version : Wrought iron keel bolts, .... are they the real thing?

05-04-2017, 07:27 AM
Periodically the reference is made to "Wrought Iron keel bolts" and the desire for them. It can be noted that true wrought iron is no longer produced in the world. All real wrought iron in use is actually recycled old (100 yr old +) material that is salvaged and resold.
Wrought iron would be a desirable material for keel bolts because of its ductile and corrosion resistant nature.
When trying to identify real wrought iron you look for a grain pattern in the metal, much like in wood. The presence of striations or a grain pattern is a good indication of true wrought iron.

This is the keel of a cir.1903 Atlantic City cat boat from which I recently salvaged some keel bolts, floors and the mast step. (She was owned by a friend of my family's from the 1930's to her demise in the late 1950's.)
https://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a7db25b3127cceef5d89b1126e00000030O12Bbs3DVuzZA9 vPhI/cC/f%3D0/ls%3D00200375837020170504121745877.JPG/ps%3D50/r%3D1/rx%3D550/ry%3D400/

https://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a7db25b3127cceef5d709b52a000000030O12Bbs3DVuzZA9 vPhI/cC/f%3D0/ls%3D00200375837020170504121747341.JPG/ps%3D50/r%3D1/rx%3D550/ry%3D400/

Here are the wrought iron keel bolts.

https://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a7db25b3127cceef5d0fce125200000030O22Bbs3DVuzZA9 vPhI/cC/f%3D0/ls%3D00200375837020170504120607163.JPG/ps%3D50/r%3D2/rx%3D550/ry%3D400/

https://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a7db25b3127cceef5d47dd935500000030O22Bbs3DVuzZA9 vPhI/cC/f%3D0/ls%3D00200375837020170504120607147.JPG/ps%3D50/r%3D2/rx%3D550/ry%3D400/

Here you can see the indicative striations of the wrought iron.

https://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a7db25b3127cceef5d653f129600000030O12Bbs3DVuzZA9 vPhI/cC/f%3D0/ls%3D00200375837020170504120608399.JPG/ps%3D50/r%3D1/rx%3D550/ry%3D400/

https://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a7db25b3127cceef5d8340129a00000030O12Bbs3DVuzZA9 vPhI/cC/f%3D0/ls%3D00200375837020170504120609381.JPG/ps%3D50/r%3D1/rx%3D550/ry%3D400/

without the presence of this patterning of striations the material is likely simply mild steel.

Peerie Maa
05-04-2017, 09:42 AM
I also find that when wrought iron corrodes, it is so pure that it does little more than stain the wood.
I spoke with an old boatbuilder who renailed a boat fastened with cut boat nails of wrought iron. They had rusted out without damaging the wood, so he was able to bang new nails into the old holes. Not possible with rusted out galvo mild steel nails.