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Jack Wheet

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About Jack Wheet

  • Birthday 07/04/2000

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Interests
    Self-taught fire eater and breather, jewelry making, TIG welding, whitewater rafting, rock climbing

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  1. Since I first decided I wanted to get into bladesmithing, making damascus steel has always been a far-off goal (yes, I was watching Alec Steele). Now, it will be quite a while until I have even remotely enough experience to attempt to forge damascus, but since it will likely be even longer until I get my hands on a power hammer or hydraulic press, I decided to ask for advice early. I know it's possible to forge-weld billets by hand, but despite the research I've done, I have yet to find any sort of guide on how best to do it. So, to all the smiths who are vastly more experienced than I, are there any methods, practices, and/or tips you can give for forge welding and making damascus by hand?
  2. Yes, it's true I have nowhere near the forging experience of most other members here, and mainly have just worked with mild steel. However, I have a feeling that the pitiful experience and lack of progress I made with this steel means that the statement " hardest steel I've ever forged" will remain true for quite some time. If it would help, I can give as much information as I am able to provide those needed details. Also (and this will truly showcase my naivety), isn't any steel from leaf springs HC, meaning that it would make at least an acceptable blade, regardless of the specific grade? I would much rather buy and use a better, non-mystery material, but don't really have the means to do so atm, and the spring steel was me trying to make-do.
  3. So, what would you suggest for my situation, cutting the piece narrower and/or grinding it thinner?
  4. I can assure you, I am not trolling, simply trying to learn how a chunk of spring steel managed to best me. As for hammers, I did work up to the 4 lb cross-peen that I used to attempt to beat this spring into submission. I first started with a one pound ballpeen to make a simple mild steel coat hook, then moved up to a 2.5 pound mini-sledge for larger projects. Due to the thickness of the leaf spring section, I opted for the 4 lb hammer to give more force behind my swings. When you say "DO NOT QUENCH," I assume you, like the other comments, mean don't quench when the steel is still glowing? Whenever I did dunk it, it was after there was no glow remaining, just to cool the steel before storage.
  5. I had found that, but was unable to find out specifically what grade my leaf was, so it's currently a mystery material. Like I told Jeroen, I am confident I was forging hot enough because I was hammering at forge welding temperatures, which, even with my amateur knowledge, I know is hot enough to make nearly all steels workable.
  6. The cutoff saw was in my high school's metal shop, so yes, it was for metal. My best guess is that the disc had just seen quite a bit of use from several classes of machining students, making it quite worn down. I can guarantee that I was getting the steel hot enough, I was heating it to a bright yellow, almost yellow-white. I can't give a weight for the anvil, but it was heavy and secured enough that it never shifted, and the hammer I was using was a 4 lb Kobalt cross-peen. When I did quench it, there was always little-to-no glow. Is it possible that the steel could've retained a high enough temp inside to internally harden? When I did shear it (yes, I realize there's some risk in that, but I had the piece double-clamped on the input side, and the output was pointed towards a wall 10 feet away), the internal grain was huge. I would've cut it with the cut-off saw, but this was on the last day of the school year, coming up on when I had to catch a bus, so I was looking for a quick option. Sorry if it seems like I'm trying to rebuke all your advice, I'm just expanding on my original information so I can find out why the steel was acting so weird.
  7. I've barely gotten ahead in my bladesmithing experience, but after a while, I knew enough to realize that continuing to use mild steel to make knives just wasn't gonna cut it (no pun intended). Having heard that nearly all types of spring steel make decent blades, I contacted a friend, who gave me the thinnest and thickest leaves of a leaf spring. When I decided to try out the material, I cut off a section of the thicker leaf with an abrasive disc chop saw. Due to its thickness, I expected a long cut time, but not anything like the ~15 minutes I spent holding that saw to the steel. "Whatever," I thought, "Let's just see how it forges." The only time I was able to forge was for 25 minutes or so during my lunch in my high school's forging setup, and I quenched the piece after every working period to cool it enough to store. To me, that daily hardening explained why it would initially be hard to work. However, I can't explain why, after hand-hammering it for a grand total of about 7-8 hours, the thing was only 0.5" wider and 0.75" longer than when I started. At the end of the school year, I wanted to cut the piece smaller in line with a crack that had formed, so I took it to the shop's 3.5 ton hydraulic shear. The blade lowered, touched the steel, and nearly instantly, a section of the steel shot 6 feet out the back of the machine; almost no deformation whatsoever, just a straight fracture across the piece. So my question: Am I doing something wrong, or have I just found myself in the possession of extraordinarily hard stock that is impossible to work without a hydraulic press/power hammer?
  8. I'm from Northern Indiana, but am going to college in Tulsa, Oklahoma. To my dismay, my college does not have a forge and sadly, will not allow me to build one. I had created a post asking if anyone knew about a public smithy in Tulsa, but so far, only have one lead.
  9. I wish I could make another one at the moment. However, I'm about to head to college and am currently trying to find a smithy open to the public near campus so I can continue forging. I had made another one that had much less pitting, but unfortunately lost that one while boating... sad. I've got two leafs from a leaf spring, so hopefully I can find a smithy (and hopefully they have a power hammer, because those leafs are hard as nails). Luckily, I'm not too worried about a superb appearance, it was my first ever forged blade and it's not even high quality steel. For future reference though, what would you use to "fill the pits up with something else."? I've done a good amount of TIG welding, but don't have access to one of those since I graduated.
  10. I just found the first knife I made that I had lost. Since I was just starting, I didn't really get the idea that I need to remove scale before hammering, so there is quite a bit of pitting. Since you had mentioned removing pitting, is there a way to do that without turning an already-narrow blade into exacto blade thickness?
  11. I got into forging in the past year, but this coming fall, I'll be going to college in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I'd really like to be able to continue this hobby, especially since I have two entire leafs from a leaf spring that I have available to use. Is anyone aware of a public smithy in Tulsa where I'd be able to go and hammer some steel? Preferably not a class that's only open for a month or two, but a place open year round?
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