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Seax from Shear Steel

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Lately, I have been experimenting with carburizing wrought iron to make shear steel. Here is my first successful result.


It is a simple seax in san-mai construction. The cutting edge is medium-phosphorous shear steel made from wagon tires and the jacket is high-phosphorous iron from the Wisconsin globe elevators. Brass, copper and stained hardwood for the hilt. The tang is peened over.







OL: 17in/430mm

BL: 9.75in/250mm

BWAH: 1.5in/38mm


The photos are poor since I just snapped them in my office.


Let me know what you think.




Ps: By high-phosphorous, I mean 0.45% and by medium-phosphorous 0.15%.


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Nice good work, Neils, the steel is amazing.

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The only "cold" work was straightening around the tip. I used a scrolling fork (with sharp corners) and those left some visible impressions on the blade. Straightening is so much easier when you don't have to fight against hardened steel :-)


BTW, I had forgot to mention that Jim Austin was visiting and so we used his carburizing mix for this experiment.

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Very cool Niels.


I've been working with actual historical shear steel lately and have been amazed at how hard it gets. The stuff I've made has never been anything like some of this real stuff that I've been using. I was talking with Randal Graham about that and apparently there is a ton of variation geographically.. and a lot of it has to do with the alloys in the wrought iron used for blistering. I've made some very high carbon stuff that barely hardens.. so apparently I need to find a better parent material.

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that is really lovely. I always like to see shear steel, or its refined progeny.


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Wow - it's beautiful. The textures and colorings hang together so well. The star is obviously the blade, but I think you did an excellent job with the brass/copper/stain complimenting but no competing with the blade.

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