You won’t find cast iron beds that are as strong and flexible as our hand forged iron beds, as the cast metal is not suited to making something strong yet flexible.
Let’s look at the properties of cast iron and compare them to wrought iron.
Cast Iron Beds – Properties
Cast iron is good in compression but not under tension. This means it will take a lot of weight but will break if that weight is placed in the middle of a bar.
Wrought iron is good under tension but not under compression. For a metal bed, this will mean that weight can be placed between the four legs and the iron bed frame will return to shape after taking the weight off it. Wrought iron is often used in reinforced concrete so the final structure is good under compression and tension.
Cast iron is brittle. If you hammer it, it will shatter.
It cannot be worked or forged even when hot, unlike wrought iron.
Wrought iron as used for our beds, will bend when hammered and when heated up, can be beaten into new shapes.
Wrought iron can be forged more easily than cast iron. This is why it is often used where different parts need to be combined as one.
Cast iron is often heated into a liquid and poured into moulds in the making of Cast Iron Beds (in a process called casting) and can be used to make delicate decorations such as flowers. As with real flowers however, cast iron is easily damaged and is quite delicate when used decoratively.
Wrought iron, being softer and somewhat more malleable, is not very good for cast decorations but can be bent and shaped to create decorations that have the added benefit of longevity and durability. This is one of the facets that blacksmiths love in wrought iron – that it can be worked when soft.
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