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Will W.

Shear Steel; The Experiment Begins

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What is "double sheared diamond steel"  and where was it made? I have an old heavy rasp ( hard to lift and almost impossible to use with one hand ) labeled "diamond" steel but no reference to double shearing.

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Thanks guys. Alan, i would imagine you are correct, the bone charcoal being used mainly to do something with leftover scraps. Interesting, nonetheless. 

The charcoal powder i have is from the charcoal i make, which is mostly maple, oak, and ash. Little bit of hickory every now and again. Not sure if wood type has any effect, but like you said, carbon is carbon. 

I wonder if you could fill the pipe with ground up graphite? (Not going to try it lol)

Jan, i believe he was just making a jest. But if my memory serves, Nicholson used to make "diamond" files (i believe the diamond part is just as an homage to how hard they are) and they are VERY high carbon, something in the 1.3-1.5% C range. Not sure about rasps, however. 

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Yes, it was a joke, Nicholson Black Diamond files and rasps were a reference to their hardness, as industrial diamonds used to be called black diamonds (see for example of other hard things called that the song of that title by KISS :rolleyes: ).  Double shear is just twice-refined shear steel.

Graphite can work, but the carbon is not as soluble.  Some have tried it in wootz melts, and it doesn't seem to work as well as plain old charcoal powder.  Willow charcoal is supposed to make the best gunpowder, softwood (pine, fir, larch) the best iron.  

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Interesting. Thanks for the info, Alan.

Didnt get around to doing any forging today. Hopefully tomorrow. 

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Three things Will,

Don't over think it.

Keep notes.

Try to see what is really happening rather than what you think is happening...and keep at it.

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Thank you, Ric. 

I tend to overthink and undershoot everything :lol:.

Today has been a right $&%@ show. I dont believe much in luck, but boy there seems to be a dark cloud above me today. Good day to put the hammer down and crack a few cold ones. 

On the plus side, got another billet welded up, the second one pictured above on the anvil. Nothing special enough to show a pic of.

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Posted (edited)

So i got the two billets cut up and was cleaning them and preparing for re-welding earlier today. While grinding everything to bare metal, it occured to me that the iron looks very homogenous. The sides no longer show large inclusions, they are still there, but are very small. Ill attach a photo.

Point is, im not sure i need to refine them anymore. The small amount of impurities remaining should be worked out while welding them together later. So im going to forge them out into thin strips and go for the carburizing (still need to make a third billet, not quite enough iron here to make what im planning.)

Also, i did a cut and break on a piece of the billet, and the grain looks interesting, a result of being welded with alternating grain directions, i assume.

Apologies for the bad photos, only had my phone on me. 

 

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Edited by Will W.
Added content

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I think you're on the right track.  Carry on!

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Posted (edited)

So in keeping with the relatively primitive theme i seem to be going with, i headed down to the river near my abode in search of clay for the pipe. The iron is not ready yet, but i figured i would start experimenting with the clay before i need it to work and not explode lol.

Walked a good 1/2 mile along the river in search of an exposed vein. Wish i had my camera on me, it was a nice walk. Saw a few geese, tons of ducks, and a great blue heron. Would have been able to get a great shot of it, if i had the camera on me. Oh well.

Anyway, i eventually stumbled upon a good looking section around a bend in the river. The banks were very steep, but i had already gone knee deep in the river a few times, investigating not-quite clay, so it didnt bother me in the slightest. 

There was a very sharp line between soil and clay, and thats what tipped me off to it. The first picture shows it best, on the left side of the river. One would assume that this is just a line from the level of the water, but the river is actually very high as is from all the melt off.

The stuff on the surface was dry and flaky, but digging in a bit deeper revealed some nice looking clay. It was quite hard to begin with, but after getting it wet and kneading it around, became nicely pliable. Seems to be of quality, i can bend it around a lot without it cracking and breaking apart. I grabbed a large coffee can full of it, dry.

I will experiment with how it takes heat, when time allows. 

Now i am certainly no geologist, but i believe this is "blue" clay. A friend of mine who owns a quarry in the same valley says the earth around us is loaded with it. What i found interesting was how much rust there was in it, and therefore, iron. Not knowing much about it, maybe this is common. 

Much to my enjoyment, this is starting to feel less like a project, and more like an adventure :).

 

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Edited by Will W.

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Looks like a fine stoneware clay!  It should fire pale grey with big reddish-black spots from the iron.  And more importantly, it should hold up to far hotter temperatures than you will be using.  It should be good to at least 2200 degrees F without slumping.

Sorry, it's the historic archaeologist in me talking.  I collect local stoneware and claypit sites...:rolleyes:

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Thanks, yet again, Alan.

No need to apologize! I find it interesting myself. Please, divulge. 

I was actually hoping to make some stoneware from this, now that i have a good supply (#6,752,901 on the "to do" list, as a matter of fact.)

 

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50 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

Looks like a fine stoneware clay!  It should fire pale grey with big reddish-black spots from the iron.  And more importantly, it should hold up to far hotter temperatures than you will be using.  It should be good to at least 2200 degrees F without slumping.

Sorry, it's the historic archaeologist in me talking.  I collect local stoneware and claypit sites...:rolleyes:

Alan, some day you and I should talk. I live very near the site of a 19th century brick works and some of the clay is present on the banks of the creek on my property. The area has long been inhabited, in fact a textbook specimen of a Clovis point was found here but oddly the inhabitants, of at least three different migration groups left no sign of using the clay. One singular fired clay animal figurine was found in an excavation of the site of (what we surmise/guess) was the largest trade village.

I know that "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" but this area is strange in many of the things that are specifically, and uniquely missing yet present in the surrounding "neighborhood".

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Will, were I you I'd make the clay box and lid and let it air dry until hard, then carefully fill it with iron and charcoal before sealing with fresh wet clay.  The Sheffield guys would fire the boxes and lids before packing and sealing them, but it's not that necessary.

Vern, lack of pottery is a West Coast thing.  Who needs it when you can weave a watertight basket you can cook in, after all?

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I was actually wondering exactly how i was going to do it, Alan, so i appreciate your advice. A box would certainly be easier to pack than a cylinder. Many thanks.

Would firing the box and lid before carburizing help, even by a slim amount, in terms of strength of the clay? I would like to increase my odds of success by as much as possible. 

And prevent a BOOM. Seems rapid temperature increase with potentially trapped water in the clay could result in a steam explosion. But honestly, i dont know much about working with the stuff, just speculating. 

Maybe drying in the sun for a few days would be enough?

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Firing would certainly help, but unless you have a kiln that's gonna be tricky...

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I know you can do it in a wood fire, but thats about as precise as a shotgun lol.

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Not much progress lately. I got another piece of iron, similar to the what i had before, and am going to follow the same procedure with it. Hoping to do some forging tomorrow. 

Its probably unwise to plan a blade before i even have any steel made, but here goes :D.

Im planning to make a langseax, a "true" one, not a broken back. It will be a combination of historical and modern construction. 

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Allow me to apologize for my horrible artistry, its out of proportion, but its a rough preliminary drawing. Im shooting for an 18" blade and a 5" hilt (45cm and 12cm, respectively). So more of a war knife  than anything. Probably ~2 inchs (5 cm) wide at its widest point, and 0.125" - .1875" thick (3.175mm - 4.75mm) tapering to 0 at the tip. Full flat grind with no ricasso. Maybe some file work on the spine, undecided as of yet. 

Bronze for the "guard" and "pommel" with ebony and bone for the handle. Peened tang to hold it. I want to try to do some simple scrimshaw on the bone (barely visible in the drawing) and maybe some ornamentation on the bronze, though i have no plans as to what yet. I think it would be cool to inlay silver bands into the bronze, but ive never inlayed anything :wacko:.

Im also debating about whether to use iron with a shear steel edge, or all shear steel. I will (hopefully) have enough to for the blade to be entirely steel. 

Also wondering; to fuller, or not to fuller. 

Any thoughts, comments, or critiques on the design are welcome and encouraged. 

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