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First project assistance request


Bob Kirobg

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Brand new to blade making. First project I'm attempting is a 16 in blade made from the handle on a pudgy pie maker. Not the cast aluminum the actual steel handle. Got the steel warm, not hot, in a campfire and beat it flat. It never turned colors but did get soft enough to flatten. My question is: is heat treating and tempering necessary? Heat treating is to make it hard and tempering is to back that off just a bit again right? The work piece has flex to it and I assure you that is one hard piece of metal. So I guess I'm wondering if I can just skip those steps? 

 

After doing what I should have done first and researching I see I should have started smaller with a known metal, used charcoal and blower so I could actually get it hot. Anvil of any quality may have helped too.

 

Thanks for any help. I will begrudge no one their eye rolls and laughter. Kind of the price I may have to pay. Thanks

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Welcome to the addiction, Bob.

53 minutes ago, Bob Kirobg said:

It never turned colors but did get soft enough to flatten.

Depending on what you mean by 'soft enough to flatten' it's probably aluminum and not steel then.  You can forge black mild steel, but it takes a lot of effort.

 

Edited by billyO
RIP Bear....be free!

 

as always

peace and love

billyO

 

 

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On top of that, they're usually plated, and are not hardenable to begin with.  You really don't want to heat up stuff that's been plated.  I understand, though.  Got fire, got metal, let's see what happens...  ;)

 

It's a start, though.  Find a known steel that's hardenable and we can go from there.  Welcome aboard!

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in full sunlight steel can appear black even at 1600 F*, maybe hotter too. in a dark room it should start to show red around 900 F*. thats probably off some but the lighting really makes a difference. in full sun you might think a blade is not hot enough to quench so you heat it up to 1900F because that looks good in the sun and your blade gets 100 cracks from being quenched too hot.

 

unhardened steel is pretty hard and can do a lot but properly hardened and tempered steel is worlds beyond soft stuff, it is also much less likely to take a set if bent. a thin edge on soft steel will bend and stay bent while a hardened and tempered edge will bend and then return back to where it was (there are still limits to that though, a broken blade wont bend back)

 

forge, then normalize 3 times, then harden, then temper. if you dont normalize you will likely have large grains in your steel and it will break if you pry with the blade, large grain makes a blade 1/10th as strong as it could be. 

 

its not difficult to do a good job with simple equipment but you must follow the correct procedures and then you can have a very nice blade that will cut unhardened steel.

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1 hour ago, billyO said:

Welcome to the addiction, Bob.

Depending on what you mean by 'soft enough to flatten' it's probably aluminum and not steel then.  You can forge black mild steel, but it takes a lot of effort.

 

Thanks Billy! I tried heating with a torch first and beat on it with a 3lb sledge until my cheap pot metal vise broke. Barely dented it. Then spent about 2 hours heating and beating to get flat. Had to put it back in a few times because it stopped moving even with full swings. Dont have any experience to know if that is a lot or not. Thanks

Thanks Alan- exactly what was thinking at the time. Will have to work on the known

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32 minutes ago, steven smith said:

in full sunlight steel can appear black even at 1600 F*, maybe hotter too. in a dark room it should start to show red around 900 F*. thats probably off some but the lighting really makes a difference. 

That could be. It was full sun and my vice grips were sure heating up. Will have to look into grains and normalizing yet. 

 

Lot of fun though

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The amount of time you have to forge hot steel varies on both the alloy and your level of experience, but for most of us we can expect to get about 15-20 seconds of hand forging time on a blade-sized object before it goes back in the forge. Hard fast blows keep the heat going longer, which is why an experienced smith can forge longer per heat than a new guy.  

 

 

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Cool to hear you've been playing.  I'd recommend not using that blade for much aside from cutting vegies and that sort of thing.  I'd hate to see you or your's get hurt if it broke under harder chores.  Keep on making and learning.  Don't let failure turn you off.. learn from what doesn't work.  Good luck!

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7 hours ago, steven smith said:

in full sunlight steel can appear black even at 1600 F*

Good point, Steven.  I didn't even think of this.  I have an aversion to outdoor forging for this very reason.

RIP Bear....be free!

 

as always

peace and love

billyO

 

 

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You have to start somewhere! 

 

But don't put coated or painted metals in the fire. Too many coatings can be harmful so its just good practice not to do it in general.

 

There is no reason why if you find some mild steel, that you should not use it to practice with. And maybe start a little smaller, try to make a 3in blade then work up to 16. Your local big home improvement store should have hot rolled 'welding steel' in various stock sizes to get you working on something. It's not blade steel, as it does not harden, doesn't mean you should try to make a shape with it.

 

Once you get a proper fire, then start thinking about going after some low carbon/mid carbon steel.

 

I also don't recommend to begin to forge aluminum.  It's tricky, its forge temp is very low, and very short, and it hardens as you strike it past certain point, you almost have to feel it or listen to it. It also goes from forge temp to puddle in a second, and it is toxic to breath. Most of the aluminum I've worked is either big in order to do that, or you work thin sheets of it cold.  My personal opinion is that aluminum has no place in a blacksmith shop, I've worked it with others during classes for the experience.

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On 7/9/2020 at 3:17 PM, Alan Longmire said:

 most of us we can expect to get about 15-20 seconds of hand forging time on a blade-sized object before it goes back in the forge. Hard fast blows keep the heat going longer, which is why an experienced smith can forge longer per heat than a new guy.  

 

 

Great info thank you! 

My assurance that it was tough was completely wrong and this is probably why. Had it out way too long. It is magnetic. But the file went through it pretty easily. 

 

Did take the advice to normalize, treat and temper. This time I used a shop vac and viewed the blade in the dark.

 

On 7/9/2020 at 3:25 PM, Oberu said:

Cool to hear you've been playing.  I'd recommend not using that blade for much aside from cutting vegies and that sort of thing.  I'd hate to see you or your's get hurt if it broke under harder chores.  Keep on making and learning.  Don't let failure turn you off.. learn from what doesn't work.  Good luck!

Good call. Mostly ornamental for my son, so not too worried about it being that stressed but will make sure that is expressed. 

 

Narsil it is not but I've learned a ton by playing so I couldn't be happier. Its wavy, warped, inconsistent edge and I couldn't be more proud. Will try getting a pic up when I get it all cleaned up and handled.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well here it is. May put another coat of linseed on it but it is done as is. Blade is not flat, heat treatment is not even, still has tooling marks, not straight, tip is wonky, handle is not even. 

 

Blade was WAY too long and thing for me to work with yet. Needed more heat and more even heat. Need to put more work into symmetry and tip. 

 

...all that to say I couldn't be more proud. It's so cool! I did about everything wrong so I learned so much. Super happy and excited to try the next one. Thanks for all the help

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:lol: Do not count that out as a total fail. It gives me an impression of a early "rondel" dagger. Early stuff from the medieval period, and all through out it, have same very simple made stuff.

 

Continue to gather knowledge and tools!

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13 hours ago, Bob Kirobg said:

I couldn't be more proud. . .  I learned so much

That's what it's all about.  :D

 

13 hours ago, Bob Kirobg said:

Super happy and excited to try the next one

Looking forward to seeing it. 

 

Make sure you post pics... 

RIP Bear....be free!

 

as always

peace and love

billyO

 

 

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