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How to forge (Techniques)


Kurt
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Here is a list of different places to get refractory coating as well as regulators and some informational sites. I owe no allegiance to any of them so don't think I am plugging anybody's site, these are just some I have in my favorites file.

Look no one is trying to be @$$ here. I just hate to see anybody esp[ecially a young man get hurt!!!!!!

 

http://www.dfoggknives.com/forge.htm

 

http://www.zoellerforge.com/

 

http://www.hwr.com/

 

http://home.comcast.net/~eellis2/EllisCust...s-mainpage.html

 

http://www.hybridburners.com/

 

http://rayrogers.com/forge2.htm

 

I see progress but the idea is SAFTEY NOW! :ph34r: Good luck with the forging when you get your problems fixed up! :lol:

Edited by CC Knives

C Craft Customs ~~~ With every custom knife I build I try to accomplish three things. I want that knife to look so good you just have to pick it up, feel so good in your hand you can't wait to try it, and once you use it, you never want to put it down ! If I capture those three factors in each knife I build, I am assured the knife will become a piece that is used and treasured by its owner! ~~~ C Craft

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Until you get a regulator and the coating for the wool, you could just go the primitive route and dig a hole in the ground, put a pipe pointing to the bottom, tape your hair dryer to the other end, and get a big bag of natural hardwood lump charcoal. Sorta how I started out but it was contained in a barbque shell.

 

Can safely forge that way till the other safety issues are taken care of.

Beau Erwin

www.ErwinKnives.com

Custom knives

Bcarta Composites

Stabilized Woods

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Ok, you're making progress. On the blade, you are going to have to even up the shoulders of the blade where it meets the tang. Mark if off with a scribe of a very fine point marker at a right angle to the centerline of the tang. I prefer a scribe because the mark it leaves won't rub off but will be easy to polish out. Work slowly with files, a small round file would be best and sneek up on the line. Then even it out with a flat file, a pillar file would be nice for the job. The reason that you want to use a round file at the corner of the tang blade shoulder is to avoid stress risers, such as sharp angles. I don't know what you are grinding with but you need to work the bevels of the blade back. Don't try to make a fine edge at this point in developement of the blade, save that for the final grind. Slowly change the angle of attack on the grinding belt or file moving the bevels towards where you want them. If you are using a file, draw file the bevels in, don't push file or you'll never keep the bevels even.

 

That's about enough for now. Personally, you look like you're doing better than I thought you would. Please consider getting some book learn'n. It really helps us to help you if you at least know what you don't know. Keep us posted on your progress and let us know when you are at the point of heat treating. That's after the rough grind is finished and before you do your finish grind and polish.

 

On future pictures try to post at least one showing the spine of the blade from the top. That's as important as the profile.

 

Doug Lester

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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I am getting ready to start selling some refectory coatings my self since i ended up with 100+ pounds of a product called laidline. You mix it with water till it gets about the constancy of plaster then pack it on the walls. I was worried at first because it was so loose on the surface but once you fire it get harder than any thing i have used yet and based on the fact its made coating industrial ladles with it supposed to be very flux resistant. I have welded up 5 billets since my reline and there is no notice able damage to the forge.

 

if you want to try some out i will sell it to you at cost + shipping so you are looking at 30ish bucks for enough to line your forge it would be less but shipping to Ontario aint cheap.

 

Let me know if your interested.

 

~~DJ

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I might have too see what it's like DJ. Sounds awesome.

My life is like shaving with a razor sharp machete. It's a bit awkward and I feel a sting every now and then, but in the end I'm happy with the results.

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DJ - Maybe. Probably not, since I can probably get something locally, but I'm not ignoring the offer completely.

 

Everyone - I'm pretty good on my own for now, and have only two questions. First, a cheap quenching medium for 5160 or whatever it is I have. Second, drilling hardened steel for the pin. Or should I leave the tang soft?

So above and beyond I imagine, drawn beyond the lines of reason. Push the envelope, watch it bend.

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DJ - Maybe. Probably not, since I can probably get something locally, but I'm not ignoring the offer completely.

 

Everyone - I'm pretty good on my own for now, and have only two questions. First, a cheap quenching medium for 5160 or whatever it is I have. Second, drilling hardened steel for the pin. Or should I leave the tang soft?

 

Quenching oil: Canola Oil is cheap and works well.

 

Drilling: Don't harden the tang. Or, if you do, draw it back to light blue/gray with a propane torch.

-----------------------------------------------

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly." -- Theodore Roosevelt

http://stephensforge.com

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Drilling: Don't harden the tang. Or, if you do, draw it back to light blue/gray with a propane torch.

 

And find a source for cobalt and/or solid carbide drills. You'll need them with 5160. ;)

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I have tungsten nitride bits, but I broke all the little ones drilling successively larger holes to mount the anvils. :lol:

So above and beyond I imagine, drawn beyond the lines of reason. Push the envelope, watch it bend.

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invest in some cobolt or solid tungsten.

they will serve you much better.

 

personally im a fan of the cobolt ones ..

mainly because i cant find the dang tungsten ones without having to order them in from a specialty shop ...

so i much prefer to be able to go to a place local and pick up a drill bit asap when im half way in the middle of drilling a hole or such.

 

mind you ... most smart people (who have money) gather mulitples of drills so that they dont need to go through the painstaking wait or trip out.

deeDWF4.jpg

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Don't quench the tang and even then you might experience some hardening of the steel. I don't know about 52100 but some of the more complex tool steels, such as L6, can sometimes be air harding in thin cross sections. That leaves one with the problem of selectively drawing out the hardness in the tang. I've had the best luck with carbide bits but cobalt or tungsten coated bits can work if you use cutting oil with them. Eather way, don't force the bit, follow the recommendations on max speed and let it do the cutting with light pressure. Carbide bits have a habit of breaking if forced and the others can overheat and loose their hard edge, especially without any lubricant.

 

Doug Lester

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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Solid carbide single-flute or cobalt twist drills are it for drilling if you've hardened the steel, and 5160 does air-harden a bit in thin sections. Drawing it back afterwards with a torch helps a lot, but won't soften it all the way.

 

Any of the nitride coatings are just so much pretty-colored junk on anything harder than mild steel.

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I guess I need to go drill bit hunting too.

 

I normalized today, and was curious if I did it right. I kept the thermocouple's reading around 850 - 930 C, and the steel was a dull orange inside the furnace. In bright afternoon sun, it was barely glowing at all. The temperature for quenching is even lower than this. Is it properly normalized? Should it be hotter for the quench?

 

Right now I'm going by facts and gauge that is potentially off my several hundred degrees because my furnace isn't evenly heated, even though I'd like to think it is.

So above and beyond I imagine, drawn beyond the lines of reason. Push the envelope, watch it bend.

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That sounds about right, although I can't promise anything without seeing it in person. ;)

 

Most folks are utterly amazed by the color the first time they pull a blade from a properly temperature-controlled forge/kiln/oven. There's a reason the old books talk about hardening temperature as " a bright cherry red in a DARK room." Any extra light throws off your perception, and sunlight is the worst. Dull orange in a forge is hotter than bright cherry in the dark. In full sun, bright cherry looks black.

 

That's why the magnet trick is so popular, it doesn't depend on visual perception. Another trick often recommended is to keep a box or bucket beside the forge into which you can stick a hot blade to judge the true color in the dark. In my own studio (okay, it's a garage... :rolleyes: ) if I leave the overhead fluorescent lights on I can tell a big difference doing that. Orange under the lights is yellow in a dark box.

 

All of the above is why I now use decalescence to judge critical temp. Working indoors or in the dark, with the forge just barely going at all, watch the steel as it comes up to heat. If your forge is running cool enough, you will be able to see the phase transformation as a line of swirling shadows that appears to be inside the steel. That's because it is! :blink: The dark bits are where the energy required to accomplish the transformation is being absorbed. When all the shadows are gone from the part you want hardened, you're ready to quench or normalize. If you pull the blade and (still in the dark) watch as it cools, you'll see a bright line(s) move across it. This is the reverse transformation, and the blade is now starting to become normalized. The bright line is energy being emitted during the transformation. Same thing as ice to water to ice, except of course it's all in the solid state. It's just a phase change in the crystalline structure.

 

If that sounds too complicated, insane, deranged, or impossible for application with your current setup, well, fair enough. :lol: That's why folks build heat-treat ovens, you don't have to keep an eye on the steel that way. If you want to do it well by eye and seat-of-the-pants, though, it's a skill you need to learn.

 

In the grand scheme of things it's probably not gonna hurt that 5160 (if that's what it is) to get it a little hot as long as you don't let it soak at that heat, it's a very forgiving steel in that regard. But, when you get to more finicky steels, or especially if you start to want to play with hamon, you will need some accurate gauge for when transformation takes place (be that visual observation of the phase change or a thermocouple-equipped forge), plus the knowledge to decide whether to go for a short hold at higher temp versus a longer hold at lower temp to get the results you want with the steel you're using. I'm still working on that one myself. ;)

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I have to say - a thermocouple is a god-esnd, especially for a newcomer like myself.

 

A question: Is there a reason why I couldn't grind the edge almost all the way down to finished before quenching if I let it soak at temperature?

 

Another question: How do I test a quenched and tempered blade before final grinding?

So above and beyond I imagine, drawn beyond the lines of reason. Push the envelope, watch it bend.

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Generally speaking, you should have the edge down to about the thickness of a nickel (is you're playing it safe) or a dime (if you're very brave) and make sure there are no scratches running across it prior to hardening and tempering. You don't really want to soak this stuff much in thin sections, just normalize a couple of times right before you harden. The edge will come up to temp faster than the spine anyway. And yes, Canadian money works for this too. ;)

 

As for testing, once it's tempered you can whack it across the anvil to see if there are any cracks, and you can try the brass rod test to check edge flex if it's dime-thick, being aware it will flex a lot more after the final grind. You won't find out for sure how good the edge is until after the final grind anyway, so I usually just leave it with the anvil-bashing test. If it breaks into a zillion pieces, well, it was either too hard or you cracked it somehow. :o

 

You can also clamp it upright in a vise (with leather or wooden jaw pads) and test the springiness. Don't try to do a 90-degree bend, just flex it back and forth a little bit, say 15 degrees or so. If it snaps, issue copious profanity unto the uncaring cosmos and start over. If it bends and stays bent, straighten it back out hot and redo your HT.

 

Good luck! B)

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Well I tested the blade. Nothing happened when hit hard on the anvil repeatedly, and a file skates.

 

However, all through the normalizing, quenching, and annealing, I failed to notice that the knife developed a small bend somewhere in the process.

 

So what now? Anneal overnight, straighten it out and try again tomorrow?

 

It's only bent a little, we're talking an eighth of an inch at its absolute maximum. Is there a way that doesn't involve a day's work lost?

Edited by Kurt

So above and beyond I imagine, drawn beyond the lines of reason. Push the envelope, watch it bend.

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Kurt some one in here has the link to Don's knife straightening jog for your vise. I use a crude setup similar to his but I forge Japanese Style blades so I am in a different ball park than you except for the warping.

 

To fix it you need to have it warm almost to the point where you cannot hold it. Put it in the vise with the straightening jig setup, and if anyone has the link with the pictures that would be great. Slowly apply it to the blade, you do not want to over do it as this will most likely snap the blade, which is why you do it at a ver uncomfortable warm. You should be able to fix the warp but remember that the warp you see will not be the only one induced when you try this, so you have to work the blade thru the vise.

 

At this point I will stop until some one has the link with pictures for you so you understand what I am saying.

 

Other wise good luck and let us know if it survives the warp fixing thingy.

John W Smith
www.smith-forge.org

Fire and wind come from the sky, from the gods of the sky. But Crom is your god, Crom and he lives in the earth. Once, giants lived in the Earth, Conan. And in the darkness of chaos, they fooled Crom, and they took from him the enigma of steel. Crom was angered. And the Earth shook. Fire and wind struck down these giants, and they threw their bodies into the waters, but in their rage, the gods forgot the secret of steel and left it on the battlefield. We who found it are just men. Not gods. Not giants. Just men. The secret of steel has always carried with it a mystery. You must learn its riddle, Conan. You must learn its discipline. For no one - no one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts.

[Points to sword]

This you can trust

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Naw, I found that and tried it. I heated the blade to 400 F, and tried to bend it in to shape.

 

I knew it was a long shot from the beginning, since I'm working with spring steel. :lol: It's annealing now, I'll just bite the bullet and do it properly tomorrow.

So above and beyond I imagine, drawn beyond the lines of reason. Push the envelope, watch it bend.

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Naw, I found that and tried it. I heated the blade to 400 F, and tried to bend it in to shape.

 

I knew it was a long shot from the beginning, since I'm working with spring steel. :lol: It's annealing now, I'll just bite the bullet and do it properly tomorrow.

 

Did you use a vise?

 

Your spring steel is no harder to bend in the quenched and tempered condition than the stuff most folks here are using.

 

There was no reason to re-anneal. Annealing is primarily to make stock removal easy, and as far as I can tell you aren't planning to do any more stock removal before you harden again. If you did the HT right the first time, you could've gone straight through another quench cycle, withdrawn the blade from the quench at around 500 degrees, and straightened it by (gloved) hand before the martensite transformation started. Now you've reset your grain structure to big and nasty, and you need to refine it back down before you'll be ready to quench again.

 

Of course you can only do that so many times before your grain size gets too small, which will hurt hardenability. But once would've been OK.

Edited by Matt Bower
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Well I tested the blade. Nothing happened when hit hard on the anvil repeatedly, and a file skates.

 

If it skates a file, it's a little too hard. Good call on not trying to straighten it cold. I would have retempered (not rehardened or renormalized or annealed) about 25 to 50 degrees hotter, repeating until the file will grab. Then it's safe to straighten cold. I use the three pins in a vise method for bends, and a twisting wrench and vise for kinks or twists. That's IF they aren't too bad.

 

Are you using the term "anneal" correctly? If you're just taking it up to 500 or so that's still tempering. Grain growth will not occur until you get above critical, so don't worry about that unless of course you do get it that hot again.

 

It's no big deal to redo the whole HT process on a knife, provided you're not trying for hamon.

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I don't want to bend and break this thing. Next time I'll try re-quenching, but to be honest, I don't think starting from scratch is that much harder. Annealing takes overnight, and bending/normalizing takes maybe an hour to do perfectly. Then the quenching and tempering I'd have to repeat anyways.

So above and beyond I imagine, drawn beyond the lines of reason. Push the envelope, watch it bend.

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Kurt

 

Really to be honest, crackinga nd breaking blades makes you a better bladesmith. I am not saying that you should break your blades, but you will never know what your blades can do or what mistakes you make. I find that the more mistakes or issues you have with steel them ore you learn to control it and the better your work gets.

 

Other than that I know you can put a ton of time into a blade and then have it break makes you feel like crap, but it has to happen.

 

So just keep on pluggin and for godsake keep pounding the steel. And I myself and I am sure the others want to see a picture of theblade post heat treat?

Edited by John Smith

John W Smith
www.smith-forge.org

Fire and wind come from the sky, from the gods of the sky. But Crom is your god, Crom and he lives in the earth. Once, giants lived in the Earth, Conan. And in the darkness of chaos, they fooled Crom, and they took from him the enigma of steel. Crom was angered. And the Earth shook. Fire and wind struck down these giants, and they threw their bodies into the waters, but in their rage, the gods forgot the secret of steel and left it on the battlefield. We who found it are just men. Not gods. Not giants. Just men. The secret of steel has always carried with it a mystery. You must learn its riddle, Conan. You must learn its discipline. For no one - no one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts.

[Points to sword]

This you can trust

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Are you using the term "anneal" correctly? If you're just taking it up to 500 or so that's still tempering. Grain growth will not occur until you get above critical, so don't worry about that unless of course you do get it that hot again.

 

Good question. After re-reading, it sounds like maybe not.

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Don't worry, I don't use terms I don't know the meaning to. I didn't do a FULL anneal, but I heated it up to roughly orange, and let it cool in the furnace overnight.

 

Annealing, to me, is the process where you try to eliminate any austentite from the iron structure, leaving you with a body-center cubic lattice structure instead of a face-center cubic structure, since alpha iron is able to be plastically deformed to a much larger degree.

 

I took a course on Materials Science and Engineering last semester. ;)

 

As for pictures, nope! :P You will all just have to wait until it's done.

So above and beyond I imagine, drawn beyond the lines of reason. Push the envelope, watch it bend.

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