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Drawing out vs cut to lenght


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I should know this but I don't.

 

In a mono-steel blade (long sword length) is there a structural difference between forging a short thick bar to length and starting with a piece of steel close to length, width and thickness of the finished blade?

 

I know in a pattern welded blade, the pattern will change as you draw it out. But does it make any difference in mono-steel?

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there is a big difference...just ask your arm.

 

seriously though, i don't have a scientfic answer to this, but my instincts tell me that if there is any structural difference it is negligable...

In the eyes of a novice, i may be a master...but in the eyes of a master, im merely a novice.

 

 

ichi-go, ichi-e

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I start with a bar slightly shorter, thicker, and narrower than the intended blade. That way I can get all the various tapers and other geometries forged in and still have enough meat to account for deep scale marks at the grinder. ;) Forging in the bevels will widen the blade quite a bit.

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Ed Fowler (ABS MS) thinks that it does, and has written numerous articles to that effect. There was one last year in Blade magazine. Ed believes that both the forging down from large stock, and the multiple normalizings that take place make for a stronger, tougher, and in the end, sharper edge.

 

To be fair, Ed thinks this is true mostly for 52100, but claims objective data for carbon steels as well.

 

I am less sure than Mr. Fowler, but it's hard to argure with his results.

 

Geoff

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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it seems to me that as long as you don't let the steel get too hot while your drawing it out, you would basically be normalizing it over and over (Since your spending more time going in and out of the forge). This would maybe give it a finer grain than just forging a little bit then normalizing ( more normalizing= better blade?)

 

This might be all wrong since i'm still learning, but it sort of makes sense.

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Bar stock, or as ed fowl uses big bearings, it all started out as the same size billets from the foundry! Forging down really means nothing internally to the steel, it just means by buying barstock closer to your finished desired dimensions you are saving yourself the trouble LOL.

 

However, forging from larger stock or even from stock that is in no way the desired shape from your finished product allows you to play alot with finished dimensions and stuff much better.

Let not the swords of good and free men be reforged into plowshares, but may they rest in a place of honor; ready, well oiled and God willing unused. For if the price of peace becomes licking the boots of tyrants, then "To Arms!" I say, and may the fortunes of war smile upon patriots

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I think the idea that forging from short and drawing out giving a better result is a hold over from the days of real wrought iron (and steel) when the slag and impurities gave the steel a marked grain that could be manipulated and could give better or worse results depending on how it ran. (did I make myself clear or just muddy the waters?) With modern steel I doubt it makes a significant difference. But this is largely my opinion.

 

ron

Having watched government for some time, it has become obvious that our government is no longer for the people. If the current trend continues, it won't be long untill armed rebellion is required.

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I always start out with a bar close to the dimentions of the blade and any drawing out tends to run 15-20% all round.But if I need to make a blade out of a certain steel that I have that doesn't fit the bill it's nice to know I can still go ahead with the project. I always normalize when I am done forging so either way I don't think effects the steel internaly

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OK,

 

Consensus

Start with short and thick or long and thin no appreciable difference.

 

Another question/point of discussion.

 

When the Yoshihara brothers where working at the University of Dallas in 1980-after the sunobe was formed they would heat to an orange heat and just wail away at forming the initial shape and the bevels. I mean hammer over their head hard and fast-forming bevels and keeping it straight in all directions. It was unbelievable how fast they went from one end to the other.

 

Then they would take a smaller hammer and settle in for the long haul. Heating sections to just barely red and refining the shape, lines and bevels. This was hours and hours of wrist and forearm work. One of the "learned" professors explained that he was edge packing the grain. Making the grain size smaller. :rolleyes:

 

Their English was not as good as it is now and Shoji (art name Musashi Jyu Kuniie) was working at the time so Yoshindo asked what he said. He smiled when it was explained to him.

He went on to explain that because of the jacketed construction and the immense work that went into making the jacket steel every effort was made to forge as close as possible to the finished dimensions. The lower heat and light hammer meant that the steel did not move a lot making it easier to control. Plus, too much grinding would alter the look of the particular hada (pattern) they were after.

 

Okay-No surprises there. So what's the question?

Does this constant heating and cooling at a relatively low heat contribute anything to refining the grain structure?

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I believe that it does.

 

As an experiment take a bar of carbon steel. Heat the crap out of it, let it cook at 2000 degrees for 5-10 minutes, then quench and break it. The grain should be huge, naked eye stuff. Now take the same bar, same end. Heat it to non-magnetic and air cool (normalizing, in other words) as many times as you can stand. At least 5 and more is better, don't overheat it. On the last cycle, quench and break. THe grain should be nice and fine, very tight. And all without any physical manipulation (hammering).

 

I have no evidence that hammer planishing at a low heat helps anything but the surface, but I'm sure that many low heat cycles refines the grain. I've performed the above experiment my self in front of witnesses, and I've had performed for me by a man who I believe to be one of the best bladesmiths in the world. It's good enough for me.

 

Geoff

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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Every thing I've read indicates the temperature and times used have much more to do with the characteristics of the finish product than the physical manipulation. These treatments cause changes in the grain size, and shape, solution of elements, formation of carbide, etc.

CUSTOM KNIVES BY JL RHODES

JLRKNIVES

 

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

God bless you. I thank God every day for the freedom to spend time with those I love, and time to pursue this craft.

 

"Adversity is a test for strong men."

"What one man can do, so can another."

"NO excuses, just do better next time."

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Loads of variables, no pat answers that are always or never going to be true.

 

If the steel has any non-metalic inclusions, or traces of copper, or chunky carbides, then there may be benefit because you will stretch them out longer and thinner along with the steel if you start with short pieces. They will remain almost the same if you move things little.

 

If your steel is first class clean already (like most anything made by tool steel melt practice, or 52100) then I doubt if there is much to gain by lots of forging.

 

Grain refinement can be done just as effectively with thermal cycles as with forging, but it will not affect non-metallic inclusions or sulphides or copper traces and their unless there is forging involved.

 

So then, if more forging is better, then everything I make is automatically better than everything most others make because I start from 35mm round bars in short pieces? And my pattern weld would be especially better because the feed stock is all the same 35mm rounds that I have to forge flat first?

 

Y'all don't really believe that, do you?

 

Oh, and for what it's worth, I buy 35mm rounds because it was what I could get, in the alloys I wanted, and I really like forging with my power hammer. :)

Edited by Howard Clark
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Along the lines of forging in a modern and simple steel, I'd actually think its more likely a bad thing, BUT when you go back and thermal cycle it without a hammer, anvil and other odd/inconsistant stresses, you get rid of all that.

Translating myself: When you normalize, the steel will "forget" all the awful things you did to it and the grain will improve and become more uniform and consistant.

 

When I've made forged blades, the main focus in details is heat-treating.

When I've mad stock removal blades, the main focus has been on heat-treating.

They seem to perform about the same. ;)

 

 

 

One of the "learned" professors explained that he was edge packing the grain. Making the grain size smaller. :rolleyes:

 

Their English was not as good as it is now and Shoji (art name Musashi Jyu Kuniie) was working at the time so Yoshindo asked what he said. He smiled when it was explained to him.

 

 

I wish I would have been around for that trip, but alas, I was not born yet. Another argument for me being born in the wrong time.

-Joe

 

"If you do not pursue a genuine path to its consummation, then a little bit of crookedness will later turn into a major warp." -Miyamoto Musashi

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I wish I would have been around for that trip, but alas, I was not born yet. Another argument for me being born in the wrong time.

Yes that would have been quite amusing ,edge packing. I've heard that alot over the years. I can see it possibly working for a low carbon steel after all heat treating but I would call it work hardening.

Edited by Christopher Makin
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I have been told that only three things reduce grain size: Quenching, Normalizing, and Plastic Deformation (forging >10% difference in any axis). If your grain size is good in your starting bar, and your normalizing is on, grinding from bar should produce as good a product as forging. The multiple thermal cycles from forging, though, may also have an effect on carbide segregation, carbon content at the skin (depending on atmosphere), and of course pattern manipulation in something other than factory monosteel.

 

 

 

Good luck!

Edited by Christopher Price

The Tidewater Forge

Christopher Price, Bladesmith

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I think, as Howard and Chris pointed out, that the main benefit from forging is minimizing the inclusions problems and reducing the grain size (as Chris mentioned you really have to be moving steel for that effect).

The moving steel for smaller grain size is not such a big deal in most modern sword steels BUT if you are tring to recreate a Ulfbert type sword (1.5-2 Carbon) it be comes a huge deal in getting the grain into a reasonable size (so I have been told by people who work with blat (can't remember the spelling) steel which is something like grey ductile iron from what a metallurgist friend told me. But with that material you have to forge it to shape VERY quickly moving a lot of metal each time.

 

Doc Price, use to say that you wanted to fold and reforge the steel to purify it.

Ben Potter Bladesmith

 

 

It's not that I would trade my lot

Or any other man's,

Nor that I will be ashamed

Of my work torn hands-

 

For I have chosen the path I tread

Knowing it would be steep,

And I will take the joys thereof

And the consequences reap.

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Ed Fowler (ABS MS) thinks that it does, and has written numerous articles to that effect. There was one last year in Blade magazine. Ed believes that both the forging down from large stock, and the multiple normalizings that take place make for a stronger, tougher, and in the end, sharper edge.

 

To be fair, Ed thinks this is true mostly for 52100, but claims objective data for carbon steels as well.

 

I am less sure than Mr. Fowler, but it's hard to argure with his results.

 

Geoff

I would be EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS "believing" anything that Ed Fowler writes.

 

Forging in your shop, as with pattern-welding, can certainly ruin a good piece of store bought steel.

Yes one can get smaller gain size and grain flow in the shape of the item and yes that can be very important....but are you sure you are doing it to the benefit of the steel and the tool?

I can forge a bar with the intent of getting a shape, but only guess at the temps and have it yield a poorer product than if I had ground out the item from the commercial bar. I can also, with power equipment, push the steel to micro cracking and not see the effects till it is put to use.

 

Dano..in your case I suggest staying with the method of cutting at an angle and forging the cut piece down...as is traditional. I am a fan of grain flow and you are a fan of tradition. I would think that the strain placed on the tip is such that either method will function adequately.

 

Ric

Richard Furrer

Door County Forgeworks

Sturgeon Bay, WI

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Chris, Ben, Ric, Howard

 

Great information-Thank you. As I have said before I got into this a long time ago but really only scratched the surface before moving into other areas or just flat laying it aside for some years.

 

It is great to be able to come full circle again and have you guys that slogged through the trenches available and willing to share.

 

Nagasone Kotetsu as I understand it came to swordsmithing late in life after being a helmut maker-Never too late. :lol:

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One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the tools used to draw out the bar. Different hammer face shapes will move steel differently. I have a hammer that I reforged from a ball peen so that the face is elongated at a right angle to the handle. This is handy for drawing out the billet width wise more than length wise. A round or square face will pretty much move the steel equally in all directions. If I use my spring fuller, followed up with a square faced hammer, I can draw out the length of the billet without changing the width much.

 

Doug

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

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I use a very flat faced hammer with little crown, flat sides, and small radius on the edges. It is about 32mm X 40mm. When used over (aligned vertically) over the edge of the anvil, it will draw as fast or faster than a fuller in either direction. Line up the edge of the anvil with the edge of your hammer face, and feed the stock in against the two with small bites, and voila, drawing in one direction without any special tools. It does take practice, and means you can't use a round faced hammer. But, when you get competent with the technique, it is very useful. :)

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I am NOT a fan of stock-removal or anything of the sort.

I would prefer (if i had the cash or equipment to acquire) to start with bloom steel.

I want to make swords drawn from bloom steel stock and finished as close as possible with hammer work (much like those brothers)

Personally I believe the reason medieval swords were so great, and still are, is because of the hammer work drawing the steel/iron out to desired dimensions, and not starting in a, as i see it as a simple manner, of 'near dimension' stock as you put it.

These are just my opinions, take them or leave them.

I use a near flat faced hammer as well, just rounded edges to minimise tool markings, with a vertical cross peen, when drawing out my steel, i use the peen to make little valleys, then the larger face to flatten them out, moves stock REALLLY well, and when i go to make the tang shoulders, i use the sharper edge of my anvil with the cross peen. Ive ran into little to no issues like this, like i said in my other post. I made that knife from a spike, start to finish, in under an hour, and it was probably shorter than that, id go to say maybe 30 minutes when the forge is at optimal temps, observers were astonished at what i did in such a short time, as am I.

 

Back on track, I say its a matter of preference.

As many folk here say, its a matter of steel choice and heat treating, like grinding fullers, i dont believe in it, but it works for most.

Edited by Eric Leonard

"Pour Bien Desirer"

Alpha Tester for "Chivalry: Medieval Warfare"

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I have never made a purely stock removal knife, and I never foresee wanting to do it. I usually start with something far away (at least dimensionally) from the final piece. When I work, the hammering is what gives it life, although the HT builds its soul. I have only made a few knives that started out near the final dimensions, and the farther away the better. Yes, it is only making more work for myself, but I smith because I enjoy simthing. Round stock to flat or flat to begin with, I forge the shape and character and finish it with a grinder, but I never rely on the grinder to make the bevels or the shape. Something about it is unappealing to me, but then, it is personal preference..

 

John

Not all those who wander are lost. -J.R.R. Tolkien

-Shards of the Dark Age- my blog
-Nine Worlds Workshop-
-Last Apocalypse Forge-

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I use a very flat faced hammer with little crown, flat sides, and small radius on the edges. It is about 32mm X 40mm. When used over (aligned vertically) over the edge of the anvil, it will draw as fast or faster than a fuller in either direction. Line up the edge of the anvil with the edge of your hammer face, and feed the stock in against the two with small bites, and voila, drawing in one direction without any special tools. It does take practice, and means you can't use a round faced hammer. But, when you get competent with the technique, it is very useful. :)

Thanks I tried this last night drawing down some 3/8" stock for a yori doshi and it worked quite well

:)

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