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Crap steel or Me ?


thedemoguy
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Today I started to make a letter opener for a guy and I was going to use this 5/8 W2 drill rod I got from Fastenal, it was marked W2 and I think isn't something else.

After forging the blade close to shape, I was going to leave the blade as forged but finish the edges as I started to final shape the blade very light taps to straiten and flatten it snapped off then with plier's I could brake it very easily.

 

If you look at the pics you will see the steel looks like it crystallized it looks like pot metal but very shinny.

I never really got it to hot, maybe welding heat but not for long, gas forge...

What could it be or did I do something ?

Ss.jpg

Ss2.jpg

Ss3.jpg

You're the same dumb pilgrim who I've been hearing for twenty days, and smellin' for three!

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Ouch! :blink:

 

What you've got there is extreme grain growth. Either it got way too hot, or it got held above critical too long. This is probably not helped by the fact that drill rod is sometimes sold in the spheroidized annealed condition, which is a large-grained state to begin with. Try it again with the rest of the rod, but this time normalize it a few times before and after forging. Flatten out a little extra, water quench after a triple normalization (taking care not to get it too hot and not to soak it at temp), and snap the end off. If you did it right the grain should be nearly invisible.

 

Forging does break up the grain, up to a point. Forging below critical literally breaks the grain, causing cracks. Welding heat is not a problem IF you forge it afterwards OR do a few normalizing cycles. If the blue color I'm seeing inside the break is really there, that can indicate the steel was already cracked from forging too cold in that location. It should be a uniform steely gray inside, unless it broke while hot in which case you'll get temper colors on the fresh grain surfaces.

 

Better luck next time! B)

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Thanks Alan

I think I'll try it one more time or maybe a few times...this would be a good way to learn all there is to know about W2 drill rod, the do's and donts so to say...

 

This time normalize it a few times then try it.

You're the same dumb pilgrim who I've been hearing for twenty days, and smellin' for three!

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LOL...... I've burnt my share of steel starting out thats for sure but this is different I was running the forge at about 4 or 5 psi and it would have a hard time getting to welding heat at that psi and I would be waiting for it to get hot so I could forge it I think Alan may be on to something or has been there before...

It bummed me out but it's kinda cool at the same time if you know what I mean... :wacko:

You're the same dumb pilgrim who I've been hearing for twenty days, and smellin' for three!

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If it is the right steel, and broke very easily, it might have been hardened and might want to be drawn back a bunch. If it's a letter opener and you're leaving a forged finish, you might not need to harden it at all.

 

Neat grain, looks like a water quench from way over heated, take care, Craig

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It broke as I was forging never got close to the quench and I didn't think that I would quench being a letter opener.

After reading Alan's post I went back to the forge and after having my forge set at 4 to 5 PSI with 2 or both burners running last time I used it this time I only used 1 burner and the PSI went up to about 8 PSI now that doesn't sound like much but that is way hot for my forge, although the color looked ok I have to say that it got hot to fast...Is that possible to heat my steel to fast...?

You're the same dumb pilgrim who I've been hearing for twenty days, and smellin' for three!

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I like to forge close to welding heat, I would call the color reddish/orange.

That brings up a good point, I have an old Amish friend that tells me that would be to hot, now he makes kitchen knives but mostly ironwork, then there is another, an ugly old Scotsman that would say work it hotter...

 

What say you master bladesmith's,...?

You're the same dumb pilgrim who I've been hearing for twenty days, and smellin' for three!

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Reddish-orange is too cold. Welding is nearly pure white with a touch of yellow in it, and will be glowing such that it hurts to look at. On HC stuff I'll start at a high yellow heat and forge until it just starts into orange. If you continue forging into red, it tends to, well, crack. ;)

 

Not that I'm a master, of course, far from it, but that's my opinion. B)

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Alan, to me you and others on this site are more then masters.

As for the color and things like that, what seems obvious to you is new and mysterious to me.

As you know I read every thing that you and others on this site post and after some time I'm able to copy what you guys do but it's the little things that make the different I find.

I remember reading and seeing color charts but what is yellow to one may not be to another, I guess its just something that will have to come with time and experience.

Edited by thedemoguy

You're the same dumb pilgrim who I've been hearing for twenty days, and smellin' for three!

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  • 2 weeks later...

There seems to be a great controversy over what the proper forging temperature is. Some say never forge over orange, others say never forge under. And according to some, the best you can do for a blade is to forge 900-1300F, or between the "brittle blues" and nonmagnetic. I have tried both, and gotten good results with both. According to my experience, unless you go under 900, it's petty much all in the HT.

Matthew Dempsey
Archangel Blades
archangel.knives@gmail.com
Ironwork
Custom Knives

https://www.facebook.com/archangel.blades

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