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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.

 

 

John W Smith
www.smith-forge.org

Fire and wind come from the sky, from the gods of the sky. But Crom is your god, Crom and he lives in the earth. Once, giants lived in the Earth, Conan. And in the darkness of chaos, they fooled Crom, and they took from him the enigma of steel. Crom was angered. And the Earth shook. Fire and wind struck down these giants, and they threw their bodies into the waters, but in their rage, the gods forgot the secret of steel and left it on the battlefield. We who found it are just men. Not gods. Not giants. Just men. The secret of steel has always carried with it a mystery. You must learn its riddle, Conan. You must learn its discipline. For no one - no one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts.

[Points to sword]

This you can trust

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John W Smith
www.smith-forge.org

Fire and wind come from the sky, from the gods of the sky. But Crom is your god, Crom and he lives in the earth. Once, giants lived in the Earth, Conan. And in the darkness of chaos, they fooled Crom, and they took from him the enigma of steel. Crom was angered. And the Earth shook. Fire and wind struck down these giants, and they threw their bodies into the waters, but in their rage, the gods forgot the secret of steel and left it on the battlefield. We who found it are just men. Not gods. Not giants. Just men. The secret of steel has always carried with it a mystery. You must learn its riddle, Conan. You must learn its discipline. For no one - no one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts.

[Points to sword]

This you can trust

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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

My life is like shaving with a razor sharp machete. It's a bit awkward and I feel a sting every now and then, but in the end I'm happy with the results.

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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

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

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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.

John W Smith
www.smith-forge.org

Fire and wind come from the sky, from the gods of the sky. But Crom is your god, Crom and he lives in the earth. Once, giants lived in the Earth, Conan. And in the darkness of chaos, they fooled Crom, and they took from him the enigma of steel. Crom was angered. And the Earth shook. Fire and wind struck down these giants, and they threw their bodies into the waters, but in their rage, the gods forgot the secret of steel and left it on the battlefield. We who found it are just men. Not gods. Not giants. Just men. The secret of steel has always carried with it a mystery. You must learn its riddle, Conan. You must learn its discipline. For no one - no one in this world can you trust. Not men, not women, not beasts.

[Points to sword]

This you can trust

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