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Wire rope heat treating


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I've got one for you...

 

I forged my first blade from cable. Everything seemed to go great until time to harden. I heated a bit beyond non-magnetic and quenched in warmed transmission fluid. It didn't seem to get very hard so I quenched in cold transmission fluid and left the blade in until completely cool. Still not very hard so I water quenched. It still doesn't seem very hard. The cable was either ips or eips (I can't find my original order). I also tried quenching as close to non-magnetic as I could and getting it hotter and letting it soak some. I used a gas forge for this.

 

I may have gotten a few sparks during welding but I don't think too much...could I have burned away too much carbon do you think?

 

I'm leaving the country for a couple of weeks on business and my internet access will be spotty or non-existand...on company computors blades/knives are weapons and these this site is among the forbidden ones but I'll try to check in. Otherwise I'll be back in a couple of weeks and look foreward to your HELP!

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How large was the cable? The smaller the cable the smaller the individual wires that make up the cable are too. Cable sizes 1.5" or so in diameter are probably ideal. Wayne Goddard talks about this in one of his books. His take is that decarb on the small wires may reduce the overall carbon content to the point that the piece won't make it to knife hardness in the quench. The larger wires in the bigger cable experience decarb to the same depth but since the wires are larger it doesn't reduce overall carbon content to the same extent. Just some ideas to think about, may or may not be the problem.

 

Aside from that I'd go with Alan and say you may not have the cable you think you have.

Guy Thomas

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I have some cable that gets REALLY hard. and it is easy to harden, I really like working with it when I can get it to forge. You may want to check the supplier. that sounds like you dont have what you think you have to me as well. I have had some cable that I got from ken mankels shop and that stuff just would not harden. But as soon as I got the right stuff it was pretty easy to tell the diffrence. I have sparked it before as well just messing around to see what would happen and it still hardens like crazy. the place i get it from is AAA sling in grand rapids MI and they seem to be very savy. I could tell the diffrence right off when i got the good stuff. Good luck -ian

 

ps improved is 70% and extra improved plow steel is 85%. the guys at AAA seem to have known that right off the bat.

Please disregard what I have just written,

Ian

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mike;

I think that the most simple test would be to pull some individual strands out of the cable before any heating or welding and bring them up to temp and quench them.

If they get full hard; you have a process problem in the welding. If the individual strands won't harden then you don't have a hardenable steel in the cable, or your temp and quench is way off.

02 centavos

mike

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Thanks every one. I think it's a good idea to take a stand or so and ry to harden it to see if what I have is hardenable. I don't have much invested in the cable of course but there's no sense in investing blade making time and effort into something that can't make a blade (KSO...knife shaped object).

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MIKE FERRARA; If I remember correctly, you are a horse shoer.

We have been fooling with some shoes. I am sure you are familiar with the ST CROIX Evantor shoe. My grandkids have made several knives from these shoes and they will get hard enough to hold an edge.

 

The way we have been doing it. We coldforge them below 1500 and will bladesmith noramlize them several times to draw the grain down. Will take them up to critical and dunk them in oil till they lose their color then take them back up and do this again, three or four times. This is to get the grain down.

 

For hardening, we have been quenching three or four times in 70 to 80 degree water. We will check after the third time with a file, if it is hard, we quit. No tempering, as these things are just used for letter openers and such.

 

No handle slabs or anything on them. We just shine or heat color the handles. Some times we will make a horses head on the end. The kids have been selling these things for 40.00 to $50.00. We can make one in about an hour.

 

Just thought you might be interested.

 

Chuck

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MIKE FERRARA;  If I remember correctly, you are a horse shoer. 

We have been fooling with some shoes.  I am sure you are familiar with the ST CROIX  Evantor shoe.  My grandkids have made several knives from these shoes and they will get hard enough to hold an edge.

 

The way we have been doing it.  We coldforge them below 1500 and will bladesmith noramlize them several times to draw the grain down.  Will take them up to critical and dunk them in oil till they lose their  color then take them back up and do this again, three or four times.  This is to get the grain down.

 

For hardening, we have been quenching three or four times in 70 to 80 degree water. We will check after the third time with a file, if it is hard, we quit.  No tempering, as these things are just used for letter openers and such.

 

No handle slabs or anything on them.  We just shine or heat color the handles.  Some times we will make a horses head on the end. The kids have been selling these things for 40.00 to $50.00.  We can make one in about an hour.

 

Just thought you might be interested.

 

Chuck

26165[/snapback]

 

Interesting. I make some things from old shoes of course but I hadn't thought about a knife although I 've come accross some shoes that would sure harden. Back in the eighties I ran into a few pair of diamonds that were so hard out of the box that you couldn't even tempt them into bending cold...the anvil would have bent first. They don't seem to be consistant. I used to quench shoes and while some seemed un effected others would get brittle enough to break.

 

My favorite "shoe projects are hoof picks with horse heads on the end, door knockers and "Horse shoes" which is a show with a horse head on one heel and a horse tail on the other.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just to update...

 

I finally made it home friday. Other work kept me from the shop on Sat but this morening I took a piece of the cable, heated it and water quenched. It got glass hard. So hard you could snap individual strands in your fingers. So, It looks like I just burned the carbon out of the stuff. I'lkl have to give it another shot when I finish the other one I'm working on.

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  • 10 months later...

 

You said you had the blade forged out right? It depends on what kind of steel it is made out of. You may have the wrong type, which some wire won't harden. Also, a tip, when you get the right kind of wire, try doing an edge quench in vegatible oil. The oil should be room tempurature. I think this will help get you on the right track. If you need any other help ask me or SEGuardian. :D

Edited by metalworksangel
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Just a thought, and it has been touched on a bit before... But I've found it a good idea to be very sure to grind a little to see if you have decarb on the surface keeping you from finding hardened steel beneath. You probably already did that, but at least a few times I've found (on monosteel blades) that I actually did get hardening when I thought I didn't. I just was a little deeper in.... Anyway, that is my random and inexpert thought for the morning...

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  • 2 weeks later...

OK - you indicated that when you quenched in water - it was very hard, and very brittle, but when you quenched in transmission fluid - it did not get hard. It has nothing to do with "burning the carbon out of the rope" - if hard and brittle - you created martensite. If decarburization were present, then it would have a soft surface...Typically wire rope is made from high manganese steel. This is very hardenable and has high hardenability. It is not surprizing that the material was brittle when quenching in water.

 

Transmission fluid is typically a straight mineral oil that is viscous and has some anti-oxidants in it to help it from breaking down at temperature. It is a LOUSY quenchant. It will be slow quenching. Use a good quenching oil that has some anti-oxidants and speed improvers. You could probably go to a heat treat shop and ask for a couple of gallons of their used quench oil - anything would be better than transmission fluid. Brownells has some good quench oils that work well. If you want to go the cheap route - try a heat treater and get some of their used oil.

 

You did not indicate what temperature of the oil. For this type of oil, it will get faster if it is heated up to approximately 160F or so. Hotter than that, it will get slower. The reason is pretty simple. As the oil is heated up, the viscosity decreases, and it wets the part better. But as you heat the oil up, the vapor phase gets longer and more stable. Up to about 160F, speed improves because the improved wetting of the oil dominates. Above this temperature, the oil will get slower because the length of the vapor phase dominates.

D. Scott MacKenzie, PhD

Heat Treating (Aluminum and Steel)

Quenching (Water, Polymer, Oil, Salt and Mar-Tempering)

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