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Posts posted by harry_r

  1. Great pic. Looks like a special file as well. I see two prominent ribs. I hear in the past the file was held at an angle to cut with edge....


    I wonder if the thumb guide has a lip on the other side to help anchor it in place?



  2. An update to this old thread.


    I finally got around to testing the pipe and doing the normalize/HT at night.


    The pipe does help a lot. And I can see where doing this in any type of light (late evening) can easily result in overheat. The scale is so much less as well.


    I am not able to see the shadows form while in the pipe. But am able to see them on cool down.


    I normalized both parts of my o1 wak, then heat treated the tip which will become a kridashi or sorts. I had a 1070 tanto that was already clayed, but I assume also overheated when I normalized my old way, so I scraped it off and normalized it again as well.


    Thanks for the advice.




    Edit to add. I tested with an old file first. Did 3 normalization cycles, and I found the file showed the shadows the best. The 01 being the least easy to see. I then quenched the file into cold water and did a snap test. Grain seems reasonable small to me.




  3. I would add that perhaps you can add some clarity about yourself and any related skills/tools you might already have.


    In addition, I would suggest, as a beginner, you perhaps start with stock removal and heat treat. Once you have that working then delve into forging. Or reverse. I just think its extra hard to try and learn both at same time.


    Stock removal can be done pretty low costs. Buy some good steel (or practice on mystery metal first), a hacksaw, some clams, some files, and a disk grinder will get you going along. Start short/small and you can use a brake drum for a forge with lump charcoal for heat treat.... Take it from me, trying to make a sword is painful. The scale of forge and quench tank go way up, as does skill for even heat, and the heart brake is that much larger when it goes wrong.


    Good luck!

    • Like 1
  4. On old thread but seemed the best place.


    I saw a how its made for straight razors, the segment is viewable on youtube:



    At about 1:13 they do this graphite coating dipped into melted lead thing that i believe is for case hardening. I'd never seen this approach and thought perhaps of interest.



  5. Thanks Brian, rather late then never, eh?


    I have been busy with work so have not tried to practice any normalization. The issue I have is a "good bright red' may be too hot and lead to grain growth. I want to see those shadows. I have the black pipe, just need the time.


    And to reiterate, after the blade snapped on the file knife I really heated it, to the extent it should have lost all hardness, yet it was still brittle in that it broke rather than bent when hit with a hammer. I believe that was due to grain growth/lack of proper normalize to begin with. IOW, not a temper fail so much as cooked the steel during forging/heat treat.




  6. Thanks again, Alan. The flattening idea is brilliant. Might relieve some stress also. ;) I believe I noted in another thread that you also cover the top of the pipe in coals. That would help even out the heat as well.


    BTW, some great info from you here watching the shadows and how to do proper descending heat normalize with lack of temp. control. I would love to see those shadows:




    Very kind of you to help us newbs out. I just returned from chopping up some new charcoal, having decided I will try this pipe thing. I like the idea of it helping to protect clay when that is again applicable, as lessens the need for the chopping part as well. ;)



  7. @ George. Thanks. I do believe in this case the brittleness was due to grain size and not just insufficient temper, though that likely also contributed. After the first break I tempered to the extreme with a torch, to the point another file would bite, and the pieces still snapped rather than bend.



    As for the pipe, I suppose 3" might accommodate most long blades depending on their level curvature. A 4" piece 3 feet long is about 50 bucks. I would think the smallest diameter you can get away with is best.


    What is the consensus here as far as capping one end? It would seem leaving open at both ends would cause a draw.



  8. Agree on lack of hamon with O1. Sorry if I was not clear. There was no clay or hamon attempt here. I have tried for hamon in past with some 1080 from aldo in tanto form. The hamon attempts were hot water into oil while these last failed file knife/O1 wack attempts were straight oil (and no clay). I had posted in the past about issues with clay falling off during the constant in/out of the coals to check if at the right temp, which is when the first mention of the iron pipe was made.


    I've yet to get the pipe, so instead I used some rutlands furnace cement (from advice here) which seemed to stick better than my home made clay and I had some success. This is to say no cracks and something that could be called a hamon. The hamon itself has all kinds of mune yaki I did not plan on which I suppose indicates poor temp control (again) or issues with clay coming off in the quench. As such, to think of being able to make a chrysanthemum hamon seems pretty darn tricky. ;) Got to hand it to those old time smiths.



    Best regards

  9. Thanks Alan. I do need to try that pipe trick. I'd considered this before as a way to prevent clay from being knocked off, but can see the general utility.


    It was getting pretty dark when we did the HT, and I also tried a wak that had a 26" blade. To preach to the choir, I can tell you getting an even heat of any level on the longer blade was a trick; To think I could spot shadows along its whole length seems a pipe dream, to use a pun. Once buried in the coals I find I cannot see what is happening, and in trying I get night blindness from staring into the coals, which then hampers ability to see low level colors when I remove it. Having it in a dark-ish pipe would help with this I believe.


    If you think the grain on that file is big..... I clearly cooked the 01 tool steel wak. It too failed. :( I believe it actually cracked in the quench, but not overtly. After temper I was toying with it over my knee and it simply snapped. I don't see any other cracks and was thinking I can perhaps make a tanto of it after some normalization. But, given one crack is rare, I should probably remove oxides and etch as suggested to check for any others. I have so much work into this already I need to cut losses if its toast.


    Edit for spelling and:


    I will post some pics of the wak failure here rather than a new thread. I have one just before it went into the quench that I believe shows a real hot spot in the area of the break. This one is hard to get over. I did it with hacksaw, and files and then on water/diamond stones, and and still have the arthritis to show for it. Way too much work pre-heat treat for sure. Makes me want to harden the bar and just tough out the stock removal on hardened steel given so much stands to be lost in the quench.






  10. Yes, thanks again all.


    Given I have crude tools and not much skill, here is the rub.


    1. Overheat can cause large grains.

    2. To remedy, we normalize 3x.

    3. But each normalize is another chance to overheat.


    As such it seems to get a good HT one has to be able to take to the right temperature 4 times, not just once. Knowing my luck on the 3rd cycle I overheat negating the first two and ending up in same place.


    This blade stuff is hard. ;)


    Best regards, and that pic is great.

  11. Thanks all for the feedback. A few answers:


    1. We did normalize, but just once after forging. Things were rushed so cannot say they cooled all the way to ambient. This was mostly to clear any warps.


    2. We left some teeth to show it was a file. Did not check carefully for cracks before trying to straighten, but as this was near the tang, and all portion broke with similar ease (or I should say with no bending first), I don't think it was quench cracks. The files were in good shape prior to all this.

    Having said this, I do recall the blade in question was dropped a few time per-temper. I suppose that could have started some bad things.


    Am surprised to hear the feedback on the grain. To be clear, that is a mag shot. To my eye with reading glasses it looked a lot like any broken file. Just gray powder.


    Thanks and regards.

  12. Hey all, my sister was in town and I found the motivation to fire up the coal forge to try and make some quick blades out of old files.


    First, the setting:


    take to non-magnetic (brick forge with charcoal), Oil quench, oven temper at 400 for 1.5Hrs.


    One had a slight warp. We wrapped the blade in damp towel and gently heated the area with a torch to ease thing, and then applied a little force.


    Snap. The grain looked like a normal file. Very tight/powder.


    The question:


    This seemed a temper failure, and as the blade was trash anyway I decided to test by reheating with the torch. Each time I was able to snap the blade with very little hammer force. Towards the end I heated the remaining piece to dull red (it was noon/bright but held the torch for long time), and it still snapped rather then bend.


    I could see grain size differences in the various parts (have a pic), but what confuses me is why it remained so brittle. After force heat I confirmed a file would bite, yet still brittle.


    Why did the temper, even extreme to the point of allowing file to bite, not work?


    I might think heat treat went wrong, for example over temp, but the first snap had very small/uniform grain so I doubt this hypothesis.


    Mystery metal? These were old files I got from my father's estate. I believe US made and no newer than 1980s vintage.


    Just the nature of a file based knife? If so, who wants one......



    Thanks in advance for any thoughts.




    Edit to add best pic I have of the grain at first snap.





  13. Other know more, but what the heck.


    I suspect the hole saw will die a rapid death. Unless you can run it very slow.....


    I hand-cut blanks from 01 and 1085. I can use a hacksaw all day long with one blade. Got tired, so went to the store and bought brand-name Milwaukee torch blades for my saw-zall. I figured a hacksaw is a hacksaw... Within 1/4" the blade had burned itself up and was missing its teeth. I did use oil. Clearly the blade could not stand the heat. The same approach works fine on non-ferrous like bronze.


    Do keep us posted.



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