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avoiding dips in steel

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I've been reading about sword forging for a while and have been working with AISI 1050 steel. But i just can't seem to get these black dips out of the steel. Is it because I am heating the steel wrong. these black specks are all over the steel after i sand all the scale off. If some one has aney info or solution I would appreciate it thank you.

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Have you crowned your hammer (ie radiused the edges?) The 'sharp' angles can leave those annoyng crescent shaped marks.  On my third attempt I've finally got a blade that I considered worth finishing up and heat treating; still some of those cursed hammer marks though.  You might want to try draw filing- it's a much quicker and more controlable method of removing that quantity of stock, and you can true up the bevels in the same process.  Those black specks look much worse than they are- they will disappear!

 

Have fun!

 

David.

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Draw filing is a technique that uses a normal flat file- I prefer to use a double cut file (the type with a cross-hatched surface).  Clamp your blade flat surface down on a sturdy piece of wood, and secure the wood so that it sticks out from the edge of your bench with the point of the blade towards you.  Then grip your file at each end, hold it across the blade, and draw it towards you along the length of the blade.  You'll find that it removes metal at a fair rate, and the angle is very controllable.  One tip; make sure that every few passes of the file you brush the swarf from the blade and give the file a quick rub with a stiff wire brush.  This prevents the build up of metal particles between the teeth which can score the surface of the blade.  

 

Good luck,

 

David.

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Draw filing has helped me a lot. Things I learned? Well, use a wide file and long strokes. Narrow files and short strokes can put massive dips into the surface.

 

Also, if you are pushing the file away from you put the tang in your right hand. If you are pulling the file towards you, put the tang in your left hand. Feel for the bite and clean the file often...bang it on the bench after every stroke.

 

Some of the finer, single cut files can leave a very fine and level surface.

 

Filing is good. The sword blade I am currently working on was nearly wrecked by my lousy grinding and has been saved by careful filing. Things can get away from you with 40" of steel on the bench.

 

Brian

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I like to wear a pair of fingerless gloves when draw filing, like weight lifters gloves or bike gloves, just because the file bite into your hands after a while.  Better hammer skills, and a well crowned hammer will help the other problem.  I find that if I'm leaving a dimpled surface on a piece, it's time to rest and do something else for a while.

 

Geoff

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Good stuff. I'm working on the basis that as my hammer skills improve I'll be doing more forging and less filing per blade... hopefully.  One other thing, I've found that there is a 'natural' pressure to be applied when draw filing.  Too light and it doesn't feel like I'm doing anything, too hard and I can feel an undue resistance from the steel... like fingernails on a black board, only very different ( ??? ). It's pobably best described as a 'positive' feeling.  

File away, Mr (I presume) Bad Sword Maker! (can you tell us your real name? it feels kind of silly calling you that!)

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Draw-filing is a skill all smiths should learn, and it's one I know I need to use more often.

Joseph Whitworth, who started off the big British armaments factory, began life working as a mechanic in the early 19th century, and apparently kept doing machinist style work well on. An old-timer described him as being adept with any sort of hand tool, but especially marvelous with a 14" file.

Draw-filing does give you a degree of control no grinder can. On the downside, if you have joint problems in your wrists/fingers, this is not going to make them better...

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If the 'dips' you mean are like pits that are corroded into the surface, you sometimes have to remove quite a lot of metal to get through them. Don's Japanese 'water on the anvil' technique pops off a lot of scale before it can get hammered into the surface and cuts down a lot on this kind of pitting. Not sure that's what you were asking about, but it could help. And like everyone said, draw filing is a great technique. I find it helps locate quite a few arm and back muscles you probably didn't know you had :o

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thank's for the info. Im using the filing now and it is helping alot.The dips seem to be really deep but i'll get them. As i said thank you very much, all of you are helping me alot.I hope you will be ready for the questions that my mind has not yet ponderd.

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