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Mountain Man Folder Spring Question


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I want to make a "Mountain Man" folder - you know the ones, antler handle with an external spring. I have Gene Chapman's book of instructions, but he doesn't mention how to heat treat the spring. Should I harden and draw at 425 degrees F like a knife blade, or what?


Also, I have 1095, 1075/1080, welded cable, and mild stel available - which would work best for the spring?


Thanks in advance.

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im thinking the 1075/80 and run it a little soft but 425 might be to soft but then a 350 gets steel to 59-61 rockwel around my shop so try it at what you whould use for a blade and you can always drop it some if you want a little more flex

Brandon Sawisch bladesmith


eagles may soar but weasels don't get sucked in to jet engines

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I saw Gene do a demo on this, probably 15-18 years ago, so my memory is a bit hazy.


What I remember is that he formed the spring, and it was likely garage door spring, or some other light coil spring, hardened it in oil and then tempered it one of two ways.


1) Hold the spring, still coated in oil, just out of the direct flame of the forge or a torch, until the oil ignites. Let the oil burn out, dip the piece back in the oil and repeat 3 times.


2) Immerse the spring in boiling water for about 15 minutes.


The springs on Gene's external spring folders are pretty stiff, they fall into place with a satisfying pop.


Just my .02



"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."


I said that.


If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton


So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.


Grant Sarver

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