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Hey guys, quick question. I've been forging some blades out of 3/4" - 1" cold chisels, due to lack of anything better being readily available... does anyone know what type of steel they're likely to be? And any recommendations for heat treating them?

Not sure of brand, just some regular old cheap ones.

I figured if nothing else, surely they'll be nice and tough, and I like starting with the roundish stock.

Thanks,

 

Alex

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They're whatever was cheapest for the manufacturer at the time.  1045, 1060, 5160, 4140, reconstituted powdered toast mix...  You can get a three foot bar of 3/4" round W1 for $5 or so, then you'd know exactly what you have.  And we'd be able to tell you how to heat treat for best results.  Using scrap for blades is false economy.  It's fun, and you're recycling, but you'll never know what the best heat treat is without a lot of experimentation.  If you want to do that experimentation, that's great.  You need to be able to see decalescence so you can tell when it's ready to quench, and you need to try oil and water quenches to see if it survives, hardens, or kind of hardens. Then experiment with tempering heats until you find out what is needed to get the hardness and toughness you want.

 

That's what we do for homemade steel, and within reason that's what you do with scrap.  The original use tells you a little, but not much, about what the alloy may be.  

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i just do a simple heat treatment on mystery steel and if it doesnt work i dont bother with it any more.

 

i harden the blade and temper, then do my regular edge tests, you should be able to carve mild steel a little bit without damaging the edge.

 

its a good idea to do a break test with mystery steel, first harden it and then try to break it. higher carbon will make the blade snap easier, low carbon like %.4 would bend and then have a slower crunchy break whereas 1075 would just snap.

 

 

if you share your location other people here will likely be able to point you to some good steel. i have had good luck with, files, springs, and there is plenty of rail road material that is nice steel if you can get any. the RR stuff tends to be big weird stock though. 

i too understand the allure of round stock, its anything thats not a flat bar really, thats one reason i like using mystery steel. you could look for drill stock at a place like fastenall or other hardware stores.

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The "best" beginner steel has been the subject of many debates.  That being said, if you're already thinking about 1084, go with it.  It's one of the easiest steels to heat treat using basic equipment. 

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2 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

They're whatever was cheapest for the manufacturer at the time.  1045, 1060, 5160, 4140, reconstituted powdered toast mix...  You can get a three foot bar of 3/4" round W1 for $5 or so, then you'd know exactly what you have.  And we'd be able to tell you how to heat treat for best results.  Using scrap for blades is false economy.  It's fun, and you're recycling, but you'll never know what the best heat treat is without a lot of experimentation.  If you want to do that experimentation, that's great.  You need to be able to see decalescence so you can tell when it's ready to quench, and you need to try oil and water quenches to see if it survives, hardens, or kind of hardens. Then experiment with tempering heats until you find out what is needed to get the hardness and toughness you want.

 

That's what we do for homemade steel, and within reason that's what you do with scrap.  The original use tells you a little, but not much, about what the alloy may be.  

Hey Alan, I'm trying to order some steel now. I've looked at 5 or 6 big knifemaking websites, trying to buy some round 1084, but all I'm seeing is flat bars no thicker than 1/4".

Do you guys have a recommended source for some thick round stock? 

I'd like to get some 3/4" round 1084 probably. I enjoy forging it out, and I need enough material for integral bolsters.

Thanks, 

 

Alex

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Yeah, 1084 doesn't come in round.  W1, O1, and 5160 do, of the relatively easy knife steels.

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5 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

Yeah, 1084 doesn't come in round.  W1, O1, and 5160 do, of the relatively easy knife steels.

Ah. Well it all makes sense now. Good to know!

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I have received pro gratis, a sheet of 3.00 cm thick X 8" x 10" D2 tool steel, is 3 cm too thin for knife blank to start with?  would it be better to cut coupons, stack and forge weld and draw out a more robust knife blank? If I understand correctly D2 is air quenched or aloud to cool in a box of vermiculite.

 

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I'm assuming you mean 3mm, 3cm is 1.2 inches. ;)

And 3mm is thick enough for small knives, but D2 is not for the faint of heart. Somewhere around here there was a guy from Israel asking about heat treating it recently.  Find that thread and see what you think.

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3 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Somewhere around here there was a guy from Israel asking about heat treating it recently.  Find that thread and see what you think.

 

16 minutes ago, TerryWay said:

Thanks Alan I will search for it.

 

Here it is.  

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McMaster has W1, O1, D2, S7 and A2 in rod form as well as flats.

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Thanks Jerrod, there is so much information to absorb and process. I think the D2 will have to take a back burner for a while.

 

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2 hours ago, Al Dolney said:

McMaster has W1, O1, D2, S7 and A2 in rod form as well as flats.

 

Yes, but you really don't want to play with D2, S7, or A2 without a heat treat kiln.  Air-hardening steels are great fun to forge since they harden as you're forging them.  And a bucket of vermiculite is of no use with them.  

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