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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 7 (December 15, 1926)

A Blacksmith's Economy

A Blacksmith's Economy

It may not strike one when strolling through a railway smith shop, that the oddments of iron, old and new, could be put to more useful purposes than that of being deposited in the scrap heap. For instance, a four inch bar of iron, also bars 3 3/4 × 5/8 are required for making pile shoes and freight has to be paid by the shop that receives the metal. Why not use some of the disused iron fish plates that abound by the hundred in every depot of the New Zealand Railways? Thus: Take two sets of seven fishplates and two rivets through each let; take welding heat on ends of each lot, also a porter bar and attach all three together. Then take final welding heat and produce a piece of iron 4 in. square that would do for three or four shoes. The same method can be applied to switch rods, etc., and, although rather trying on one's apparel, it has been shown that a considerable saving in time, expense and fire can be effected. When it is remembered that all scrap in a shipyard is forged and transformed into stems and keels for ocean liners, and also that the small country smith, by taking two worn horse shoes and heating them can beat them into one new shoe, it appears that something of the same kind could be done in all New Zealand Railway blacksmiths shops with their scrap metal.