The term "wrought iron" can have more than one meaning, but it is usually being used as a description for a type of metal. Metal is metal, right? Not so fast. In the context of garden furniture, cast iron is hard, brittle, and is more fusible than steel. While metal furniture also includes aluminum, steel, copper, and wrought iron, how can you identify them? Unlike cast iron, for instance, wrought iron is not too strong, heavy, nonmalleable (it can't be wrought or worked, bent, stretched or hammered into shape), and is not more fusible.
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Wrought iron is an iron alloy with a very low carbon content (less than 0,1%) and 1-2 % of slag (fibrous inclusions). Wrought iron can be easily worked and weld, it can stand a heavy load and it is corrosion resistant. Because of its corrosion resistance it was a favourite material for making products that were exposed to weather conditions, such as gates, railings, outdoor furniture, etc. All iron-based metals (ferrous metals) corrode, but wrought iron corrode slower than steel. Because of development of cheaper and more effective production methods, wrought iron is no longer manufactured commercially and its usage has been almost completely replaced by using mild steel.
The way wrought iron is made contributes to its durability and long lasting nature. Quality manufactures take the necessary steps to avoid rusting by applying full-circumference welds wherever iron components intersect, and powder coating the exterior. Some outdoor wrought iron patio furniture is a combination of cast iron and “machine wrought” iron, but “hand wrought” iron is still being made by select manufacturers like Woodard. Wrought iron patio furniture sets from Woodard are hand formed by skilled craftsmen to ensure that it’s the strongest furniture crafted in the industry.
Today all the products described as wrought iron (outdoor furniture, railings, gates) are made of mild steel. The description “wrought iron” remained, because these products were formerly made of wrought iron. The true wrought iron is being made in very small amounts and it is mostly used for restoration of historic structures. From the point of view of artists and craftsmen, the end of wrought iron production is a big mistake, because wrought iron was an ideal working material. Because of its cheap production and very good features mild steel has completely replaced wrought iron. Mild steel contains 0,16 – 0, 29% carbon.
The biggest benefit of wrought iron is its strength. Heavy wrought iron patio furniture will never blow away, and can easily withstand the elements. Because the material is so durable, wrought iron style patio furniture will stand the test of time. To make sure your patio furniture lasts as long as possible, take time to clean your pieces a few times a year. Wrought iron furniture is very easily cleaned; you can wipe down your furniture with a cloth dampened with equal parts water and mild dishwashing detergent.
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