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Bill Kirkley

Mystery Steel

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Someone is selling this roughly 42" diameter saw blade that is about 1/4" thick. Any ideas what it would be made of?  Is the whole blade likely high carbon steel or just the teeth. 

 

C1F96B3C-F2E4-4395-929C-B9ED38E59626.jpeg

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If it doesn't have inset carbide teeth it's decent carbon, but there's no telling what it really is.

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Thanks Allen. Here is a photo of the teeth. They look ground into the blade. 

 

22B93885-F99A-4674-87CA-09C043E7101F.jpeg

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Take a wiz wheel to it. Compare the sparks to a piece of metal with a known carbon content. Should be real fuzzy looking sparks that are mostly clustered somewhere in the neighborhood of a few inches long. I'm 80% sure it's got a somewhat high amount of carbon. 

Best to do the spark test in low light btw. 

Edited by Zeb Camper

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If I decide to look at I'll test it. Thanks Zeb

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I've had good luck with those old school  blades, as far as type of steel I have no clue.

If the price was right I would take it, but the call is yours...................B)

 

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He's asking $100. He may take less. If it turned out to be good steel, it'd be a life time supply for me. It's about the equivalent of a plate 33X33X1/4. 

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Once again I'll add my $.02 on this subject.

As much time as you will have in your knives, why would you want to risk using a mystery steel and ending up with variable blade quality?  Not only may this be a number of different steels but may be full of undetectable flaws.  My best advice that I can give you is to ALWAYS and I repeat ALWAYS use a new bar of steel of a known grade.  Also, be selective as to where you buy your new steel.  Unfortunately, many US suppliers will sell inferior grade steels.  Do some due diligence before ordering.

No more than steel costs, it isn't worth risking your reputation by using an unknown steel which will require that you to guess when it's time for H/T'ing.  

 

OK.  I'll step down from my soapbox now.:) 

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Gary, for a serious knife maker I would agree. I have only forged a few blades. None of which are good enough to sell. Maybe one day.

I think mystery steel has a place for beginners and hobbyists who are learning. 

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$100 is way more than I would give for it,  at best a gimmee, at worst,  scrap price .......................;)

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Bill, in the past I have shared that same opinion, and still do to some extent.  I recently attended a presentation by Kevin Cashen and asked him what he considered to be the most important piece of advise that he could offer a new/hobbyist knifemaker.  He barely even hesitated before he said, "Spend the couple of dollars and purchase known, high quality steel.  You'll make better knives and save yourself time and money in the end."  Out of all the tidbits he could have shared given his wide knowledge and expertise, he chose that one.  Couple that with the advise given over and over again on this site and it really set me to thinking.  Even though I am at best a mediocre bladesmith with very little money to spare, the more I think about it, the more I can start to understand the logic behind the opinion. 

Edited by Alex Middleton

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No doubt it's like talking politics and religion!  In the end it's each to his own. 

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Clifford, my guesstimate is it ways about 75#. The last time I bought scrap mild steel it was 49 cents a pound. Based on that it is over priced! 

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Based on the asking price of $100, that would get you plenty of sticks of something like 1080, 5160, or 80CrV2.  No wondering about how to  heat treat those steels; you just have to look them up.  With that saw blade you are going to have to spend a lot of time breaking it down into something you can forge plus all we can do is give you a educated guess as to how to heat treat it.

Doug

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Going by my recent experiences.....

If you have a digitally controlled kiln or any way of reading the temperature the exact steel type matters.....maybe.

I got half a (cracked) saw blade from a friend and heat treated several blades made from it for him, last few using the new kiln.

At this point I started to google trying to find out the steel type, and as close as I could come to an answer was 1070 or L6........ht temp is the same both.

If you do heat treat by eye it matters even less.....

My foray into known steels (SAE-AISI 5160) has not been great, very strongly feel I had better results with stuff that used to live under a Toyota :ph34r: and less decarb in a baffle pipe inside the forge than with the kiln....... 

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I'd offer $50. Test a tooth or 2. If it ain't no good, make yard art. 

That's if I was willing to cut that blade up into usable strips or even worse: do full stock removal :o 

So though I like using junk, I would only use this junk if it was some of the last junk on the planet. I would rather remelt/smelt my own junk. 

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Given the time it would take to cut that into usable strips, I would spend the $100 on new steel.

I have over 100lbs of 15N20 that is in the form of a large sawmill band.  I use it for my pattern welded work because I know the owner of the mill, and was able to verify the steel type based on the manufacturer part number of the blade, and this particular band broke on them early so it has seen very little use and there is less chance of cracks.

Even at that, I question whether or not it would be better just to buy some 15N20 every time I have to break down a section of the band to start a new billet.  It takes a lot of time to cut that band up into 6"x1.5" pieces.

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I think I'll pass on the saw blade. Cutting it up with an abrasive disk would not be fun!

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