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John Smith

Old Digging Iron Good Steel or Not

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Ok I have access to several old Digging Irons, and I was wondering what type of steel are they. I spark tested the bar and it sprayed like Medium carbon steel in the 1050 range, and each bar did not spark test the same one looked to have more carbon, than the others. Any thoughts on this and on the type of steel they be. Oh when I say old I mean back to the 30's maybe earlier, they do not have the look and feel of a newer bar.

 

 

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Got a picture? I may know them by another name, "digging iron" isn't familiar to me.

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Rock Bar?

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Got it. My dad has one that's wrought iron, dug from a ditch by a road established in 1786. Still works fine!

 

I would assume newer ones are decent medium carbon steel in the 1045--1060 range, but that's just purely a guess.

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Rock bar, spud bar, breaker bar, super hand callousing make a man out of you tool. I am very intimately aquainted with that tool. Most modern ones seem to come from India and bend very easily. I myself would not want to make an edged tool with it. YMMV. As for the old ones they seem to be better. I say if it is as old as you think it is do some hardning tests on it.

Edited by Mike Sheffield

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I know that it's hard to pass on free steel but it might be the best thing to do here. First of all, as you have noted yourself, they probably not all of the same alloy. That means you are going to have to work out the proper heat treatment for each bar. That means a test blade for each bar. That means that you might well find out that not all the bars have enough carbon to make a usable knife from; at least not without having a high carbon core welded into the blade.

 

Then there's the problem of breaking the bar down into a billet that you can form a blade from which will mean a lot of work before you can even start making the blade. My recommendation is that you save the bars as is and get yourself known steel to work with.

 

Doug

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I have tons of known steel, these were free and I really just wanted to know if any one had any working knowledge of the bars as to whether they are decent carbon steel, Like I said before the spark test says medium carbon maybe higher.

 

I apologize if this thread came off as a noob question, just was looking for a little more info.

 

I actually think I can make a very good blade from it, I even think I can water quench the steel as well. Well worth a try at least.

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