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D2 ans O1 steel


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Hi guys, 

I have a question I'm only getting D2 and O1 steel in Mexico where I live to make knives has anyone made knives with this type of steel?

Is it good?

Do you recommend them?

Should I keep looking for other types?

What are the pros and cons of these types?

If they are good which one of these would you use?

Any other info you'd like to share? 

Are they any good for damascus? 

If they are good for damascus Do they work well with 1095? 

Thanks! 

Edited by Paul Checa
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Both are commonly used as blade steels. O1 is a carbon tool steel that can get a very keen edge. D2 is a stain resistant tool steel (not stainless) and is also a pretty good performer as long as you don't need a true razor sharp edge. D2 is very hard to forge and most smiths use stock removal only with this steel. Also, an electric kiln should be used for heat treating this steel.

As far as I know, O1 will weld to 1095 fairly well but it may be a bit harder to get it weld to itself. D2 will weld to 1095 if you mig weld the entire billet seams but it makes a very poor choice of damascus steel because it's hard to forge and weld. 

Edited by Joël Mercier
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O-1 is one of my primary knife steels. I have not used it for Damascus, but I have see some from folks who have. I would not use it with 1095 as they both have similar carbon content and the contrast would not be great for pattern welding. Try using O-1 and the standard 15N20 and you should get a great combination. If you have access to 1095, that and 15N20 is a very common Damascus combo. 

Some things about O-1 that you should know if you plan on forging this steel. It likes to be forged HOT (900-1100*C). Do not do any serious forging below 850*C. It is deep hardening and not ideal for Hamon production. It is hypereutectiod and kind of difficult to anneal without a controllable oven and long (several hours) soak times. When normalizing, heat it fast and cool in still air. Slow cooling forms carbide sheets that will ruin drill bits, saw blades, and other machining tools in an instant. It finishes well and will keep a very good edge.

Edited by Joshua States

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Just keep in mind O-1 will air-harden in thin sections, so drill any holes you need before forging if possible.  It is notoriously difficult to anneal without a furnace, as Josh said.  If you must forge before drilling, and you don't have access to a good furnace, your best option is to over-temper it.  As in, heat it almost to glowing (but not all the way to glowing hot!) and let cool in still air.  

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No, you do have to quench it once it's ready to harden, it just tends to harden enough to be very hard to drill or file after forging.  I have ruined a couple of files and drill bits learning this.  What I mean for you to do is forge it to shape, then heat it hotter then normal tempering heat to soften it back up.

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15 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

It is notoriously difficult to anneal without a furnace

Hehe yeah I learned that the hard way!  5 times trying to anneal it, and it was just barely soft on the surface. 

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