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So, you want to make a knife. OR,


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What you didn't learn on "Forged in Fire"  Everyone needs to read, https://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=3328   This thread you are reading is basically an update in

this is what im making my next forge with

If you are going to buy a new tank anyway, you may want to go with a compressed air tank.  Harbor Freight sells them in 5 gallon and 11 gallon sizes.  

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They're both fantastic blade steels that are easy to forge but I'd go for 80CrV2 because it is more forgiving. It can be austenized between 1475 and 1575 without noticeable change in grain size (I've tested it). It's pearlite nose is also longer so you got more time to make the blade full hard during the quench. 

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16 hours ago, Joël Mercier said:

I'm sure Jerrod will chime in if I'm full of shiz 

Only thing I'd change is that the Cr is not much of a toughener, so much as making it more responsive to HT (changes austenitizing temp, martensite start temp, and pushes out the nose of the TTT curve).  As far as beginner steels go, I would say 1080/1084, 80CrV2, and 5160 are the three best.  A beginner isn't likely to be able to tell the difference in final product.  It is a very small difference anyway.  

Edited by Jerrod Miller
Edited to add: The improved HT response tends to lead to better toughness.
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@Jerrod Miller Do you think RA could be problematic when we use the upper range of aus temp? Where would be the mastensite stop temperature at for this steel? Could it possibly be below ambient temp? I'm asking because I've heard those advocating the lower temp with longer hold(Ed. Braun for example recommends 1475 with 20 min hold if I remember well) saying using higher temp leads to an increase in RA hence reducing toughness. 

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For our purposes, retained austenite is always a bad thing, so it is always worth thinking about.  The pedantic metallurgists will say there is never a practical way to achieve 100% martensite, but I think we can say anything over 99% conversion is fully martensitic.  1080 has a Ms at around 425 F, and M90 at around 275 F.  I think it is pretty safe to say we are pretty much completely transformed by room temp.  It is pretty much the same for 5160.  As far as the steel is concerned, time at temperature in excess of a couple seconds doesn't do anything except allow for diffusion related processes:  atomic movement (what we generally mean by diffusion), grain growth, and carbide dissolving are the big ones.  Iron carbides dissolve remarkably quickly, others not so much (and all temperature dependent).  The biggest benefit to holding for longer time (for simple steels) is the improved evenness of heat in the steel.  But this is getting a bit off topic for this thread.  

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