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Zeb Camper

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Everything posted by Zeb Camper

  1. Hey guys! Tried smelting some saw blade yesterday and attempted to consolidate it today. I figure it was l6 or 15n20 (just a guess). It sheared in half despite my best efforts to weld it together. I even added bottle glass at the last part of the smelt to protect the bloom. I was wondering if the chrome in the l6 (.6-1.2%) or the nickel in 15n20 (whichever, if it is one of which) might make for trouble forge welding to itself? I know chromium has a welding temp of around 3400°f, so I'm not sure if that may make for a rough time forge welding. Carbon content on this bloom I believe to be in the .6% range based on spark. This one might be a loss. What do you think? A wasted effort to mess with it further?
  2. Zeb Camper

    Saw blade melt (failure?).

    Whoops! I'll change the title. I have some with "great big nasty lumber mill teeth"! Might try those next. Thanks!
  3. I thought it would be advantageous to have a thread to reference for the benefit of beginners (or anyone under equipt). In this we are only going to look only at our beginner safe steels. Being that I am highly underqualified to direct anyone on metallurgy, correct me at will, and add what you think, or any questions! First up; steel selection . What makes a beginner safe steel? The answer is to keep it simple. A general rule of thumb is the less complex the steel; the less complex heat treatment is (with exceptions). High chromium steels who's carbides require long soak times in order to get into solution are not safe for beginner's. However, Alloys like 5160 with a moderate amount of chromium are easy for beginners to use and are a fan favorite for its attributes such as toughness, wear resistance, and edge retention alongside harder to heat treat steels like 1095. Alloys like vanadium can actually help keep grain size small. Manganese can have an effect on the depth of hardness. Low manganese steels are shallow hardening (use for hamons) and classified as a water quenched steel (don't try water). Higher manganese steels are deep hardening and classified as an oil quenchable steel (definitely don't try water). A lower-high range of carbon content (.75-.84%) can use a slower speed quenchant (such as 120°F canola oil) and are less sensitive to overheating. So our favorite begginners steels are: From the 10xx group: from 1075, 1080, and 1084. Unrelated to those; 5160, 80crv2, 15n20. How to work these steels There is no doubt some will want to try forging a blade. Anything heat wise you do to a blade is a part of its heat treatment. These steels need to be forged at what I see as a high orange color to a mid orange color. To me, red is around 1,100°F- 1,300°F. Don't forge anything more than to straighten a blade at this heat. You want to be at a temperature of around 1,900°- 1600°F for forging. This can be tricky to go by. Some claim the steel is "cherry red" others claim it is yellow or orange. We all see it differently. Normalization It is next, but not until we learn the big word below. Decalescence "De"as a prefix means "to be away from", or "without" and "calescence" means "to warm up" in Latin. So, "decalescence" means (roughly) "to be without warming up". Since energy is matter, and matter is energy; the steel will release light and heat energy When heated. When you heat the steel to a certain point, the steel begins to change its atomic arrangement. Such a change requires energy to accomplish, so the steel cannot emit its light energy, and heating may slow down. This creates a visible "shadow" in the steel that can be used as a waypoint in the normalization and hardening processes. Recalescence is the same thing as decalescence but in reverse. So you see it as the blade is cooling. Here's a video by our own @Wes Detrick (hope you don't mind Wes ). For a closer look, I'm gonna quote the guy who explained it to me in another thread; Alan Longmire. "It's not heat, nor is it grains. It's photons and individual crystal structure. When the crystal goes from face-centered cubic to body-centered cubic it takes energy to accomplish, thus the momentary darkening. It does not cool off (much), and when it brightens again after transformation is complete it is because the photons are being emitted again rather than absorbed. Exactly the same thing happens in reverse when you heat it up. The swirling shadows you see are the crystals transforming from body-centered to face-centered, absorbing energy. This is the dimming via lack of photon release, it is not cooling off. We're in the realm of subatomic phenomena here; where visible light is due to electrons jumping up or down one step in energy level, releasing or absorbing photons in the process. Matter is energy and energy is matter, light becomes solid and vice-versa. E=mc^2 and all that. Grains are just groups of crystals growing in the same alignment, not unlike quartz crystals. You can have big ones you can see or tiny ones you can't, but that make up a large mass anyway." So, if you couldnt make sense of that; the steel darkens or forms a "shadow" at the temperature right before you would be ready to quench. You continue to heat the steel until the shadow brightens until it becomes the same color as the area just outside of the shadow. You want to heat as evenly as possible until the shadow is gone. Heat thicker areas first, and then move to thinner areas. I pull my blade in and out of my forge's hot spot to achieve even heat. Some use a pipe capped on one end inside of the forge to create an even heat. This phenomenon is best seen in low light conditions and is used for both normalization and hardening. Normalization continued We're going to skip annealing as I see it as unessesary and difficult for a beginner to accomplish. To soften the steel for stock removal and drilling as well as grain refinement prior to hardening; we normalize. Using decalescence, we typically (using these beginner steels) run 3 cycles to refine grain after forging or annealing. To do this, you take the first heat a little above "critical" (the point after decalescence) and let cool in still air until no color is left. I typically quench in oil at this point, others like to wait until it's just about cool enough to grab. Then, another heat is taken to right at critical temp and then allowed to cool in still air. Lastly; the blade is taken to a dull red heat and allowed to cool in still air. Note: if this project was taken to welding heat or fully annealed more cycles of normalization won't hurt. I typically do 3 sets of each cycle above. Hardening This is just about the same as the second step of normalizing with the addition of quenching. The above steels can all be heat treated using canola, or peanut oil. You'll need to heat the oil in a metal container to around 120°F. I judge this as uncomfortable to hold my finger in for more than a second. If you wanna get fancy; buy a meat thermometer. Scrap metal can be heated and dunked in the oil to heat it. Have your oil warm and just a step away. Heat your blade to critical, and without lollygaggin, put it tip first into the oil and make slight cutting motions through the oil with the blade. Wait 12 seconds to pull it out. Any warps you have can be fixed in the temper. Tempering This is what softens the brittle blade and should be done immediately after hardening. The right temperature for tempering should be decided with the design of the blade in mind. A blade with a lot of force and leverage applied to a robust edge should be tempered hotter for toughness. A chef's knife might be left harder to maintain an edge longer. This is a compromise between toughness and edge retention. You can temper in a toaster oven, a conventional oven, or even a real tempering oven. If you choose a conventional oven or toaster oven, use a meat thermometer to measure heat. Most ovens are out of calibration, and have temperature swings. To combat this; use a heat sink such as a tray of sand, or a firebrick. Flip the blade each cycle. The cycles should be one hour minimum for 3 cycles minimum. I do three 2 hour cycles. Leave it alone for one cycle, take it out, and quench in water. Repeat that until you are done. The point behind cycles is: When you harden a blade; you heat it to critical which forms a grain structure called austinite. The austinite is converted to martensite when quenched. Some austinite is left. Retained austinite turns into untempered martensite while tempering, so you temper in cycles just to try and get everything tempered. Now you're done!
  4. Zeb Camper

    Heat treating for beginners and the under equipt

    Yeah, probably is. I saw that W2 chefs knife (mighta been Hitachi white) cut through rope like a bazillion times in one video. I can shoot it to you in a pm if you're interested.
  5. Zeb Camper

    Heat treating for beginners and the under equipt

    @Joël Mercier Here ya are!
  6. Zeb Camper

    Heat treating for beginners and the under equipt

    I have seen testing by another maker alongside 1095 that showed it was a great steel for edge retention. I'll see if I can find it.
  7. Zeb Camper

    Heat treating for beginners and the under equipt

    Thanks Jerrod! I might modify this post a little.
  8. Zeb Camper

    Heat treating for beginners and the under equipt

    @Ben HooverYeah. After each cycle while the blade is still hot. And as for why, I couldn't begin to tell you. I look at it as a rapid cooling to try and coax any retained austinite into martensite for the next cycle. But I really dont know.
  9. Zeb Camper

    Hardening a throwing knife

    Your answer varies based on your steel. If judging by eye, you need to look for "decalescence". A visible change in atomic configuration that is used as a waypoint to know when it's time to quench. A shadow will form right before you reach the critical temp for quenching. When this shadow has disappeared, you're ready to quench. I really need to write some kind of thread on heat treating for beginner's to reference when I have more time.
  10. Zeb Camper

    Forging in the wind

    Forging in windy conditions... It's either been raining or windy almost every weekend this year. Haven't been able to get my smelt on since January I think , but there have been days that were questionable about the possibility of forging indoors. Is it safe to forge in an enclosed but ventilated area when it's dry and windy? I would imagine not, but wanted to see what you guys think. Today is very gusty and I think out of the question, but tomorrow it will only be half as bad. Does indoor forging count as "open burning"? Just looking at local burn laws.
  11. Zeb Camper

    Forging in the wind

    Charcoal briquets will work for forging and JJ Simon even melted nails down into a bloom with some but I'm not sure they are the best. Wal-Mart sells natural oak charcoal, I use it for smelting; not sure how it compares in price and performance, but you might look into it. You might also look into making it yourself; be it Viking style or in a barrel with a lid. I know it's safe to forge indoors and do it often, but not sure about when it's 10-15-20 mph winds outside. Part of me thinks "it'll be fine" and the other half is like "dont even try it".
  12. Zeb Camper

    Forging in the wind

    Howdy neighbor! Not quite, Im a little further west. But yeah, its been brutal aint it? Went to Lowe's last Saturday (first dry one in a long time); the place was so full there were no carts and hardly any parking to be had!
  13. Zeb Camper

    Portaband question

    14 tpi should do best. The portable bandsaw I know and love (DeWalt) cuts very fast on its highest speed. Should cut 1095 without issue so long as it is annealed or at least normalized and then taken to a dull red heat to over temper any hardness out. Keep the 24tpi for cutting titanium at the saw's lowest speed.
  14. Zeb Camper

    What did you do in your shop today?

    @Conner Michaux that's a good looking little blade! I really like the profile. @Gerhard Gerber nice blacksmith's knife! They look more handsome in my opinion the thinner the handle taper gets. Around 1/8" toward the end with the edges domed looks really good, uses a little less steel and keeps plenty strong. @Joshua States thats an impressive bunch of blades!
  15. Zeb Camper

    Damascus razor

  16. Zeb Camper

    Early medieval spear ... about 50 cm long

    Seems pretty magic to me... When the moon is full, the smith walks down to his shack into a plume of smoke; out of view from the exterior. After hours of clanging steel and flash of flame, he emerges with a finely crafted spear in hand. You've got a good thing going Ibor! I'm a big fan!
  17. Zeb Camper

    First knife finally finished

    Looking good man! Like everyone else said; it needs refinement. But, you shoulda seen my first "knife" that I made maybe around 15-16 or so Trust me, at your age and tools, you've done very well here! Looking forward to seeing the next!
  18. Zeb Camper

    Thought fer the day, / add yours if you like

    "Life's like a box of choc-lates. You never know what you're gonna get." ~Forest Gump "Life is a garden; dig it." ~ unknown
  19. Zeb Camper

    Fit for a Riverboat Gambler?

    Looks awesome!
  20. Zeb Camper

    Beer = better forging?

    Loook at that fine Gato!!! That bourbon looks expensive I need to go to the alphabet store myself. It's dry as a bone over here
  21. Zeb Camper

    What did you do in your shop today?

    Not today or in the shop, but stayed up late last night trying out some new carving chiseles. Made this eyeball.
  22. Zeb Camper

    Little Edc WIP

    Yeah, it's best to shape these at this stage (especially on hard chippy woods) with a belt grinder, angle grinder, rasps, files, sandpaper, coping saw, band saw etc. Stuff that doesnt risk it splitting on you. Part of the allure of a hidden tang is the ability to shape the handle before putting it on the knife and sliding it on and off for fitting it before pins or glue. I don't do many full tangs but I imagine you could do the same thing by using the pins to check fit before glue.
  23. Zeb Camper

    Little Edc WIP

    That silver clamp is gonna be a lot stronger than that pistol grip wood clamp.just be careful that silver one isn't putting so much pressure on one side that it causes an opening on the other. Looking good!
  24. Zeb Camper

    Evil Tacticool Folders

    Very cool!
  25. Zeb Camper

    Does size matter?

    In this case, I don't think it matters how I use my hammer! I guess size does matter