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  1. I recently purchased some file blanks ( http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=27982&hl=blanks ) which have very little or no carbon , based on a spark test and an etch . The blanks were either intended to be case hardened (after cutting) or were used to tune in the blank making press dies and were never intended to be used. Having multiple pieces of same sized flat stock I thought I would use the method similar to the one demonstrated long ago at a CBA Conference by Phil Baldwin ..very similar to the one Ric teaches ( http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=27487&hl=blister ) in his blister steel making class , minus the blisters . Thoug very familiar with what decarburization looks like, I am totally unfamiliar with what to expect when one adds carbon to the steel. Phil placed the steel in a crucible and added some charcoal , covered the crucible and heated to a yellow. Ric shows his method on a video located on his website...basically they are the same.... iron, heat and carbon. My sample was heated twice (for about 1 hour each time) using a method very close to Phil's . This material sparks as a high carbon steel. Here is what I am seeing under a simple microscope: What am I looking at? Is that cementite? The 3 similar pics show an area of about 2mm left to right, the other is about 7mm. Jan
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