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USN Aircraft Carrier Arresting cable...Has anyone forged

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USN Aircraft Carrier Arresting cable...Has anyone forged a knife using a piece of aircraft arresting cable? It is a mix of differing dia. strands, had a fibrous rope core (now removed). Been degreased. I am unsure if it is galvanized. I assume it is X(XX) grade plow steel. Just wondering if anyone has tried this cable, and would appreciate any suggestions pertinent to this particular cable. It is section of the "pendant" that trapped the first F-35 carrier arrested jet during sea trials aboard USS Nimitz. I would like to give the Test Pilot a nice memento. 

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Because I'm a masochist for this sort of thing I just spent the last 20 minutes trying to find all I could about what spec wire rope is used for arresting cable.  While no one document of all the mil spec PDFs simply name the alloy, (unlike the anchor bolts, which are spec'd as 4130) I was able to glean that the wire rope is to be 1.25" diameter non-rotating wire rope with a strength rating of 130,000 lbs.  Taking that info to the wire rope manufacturers told me the basic spec is IPS wire, not EIPS or XX.  So, pretty much 1060-1070 straight carbon steel.  Although I also found a guy saying they don't list the alloy anymore, they do it by tensile only.


At any rate, it's going to be bright finish, non-galvanized, plain steel with a tensile strength of 64.9 tons/130,000 lbs.


I have not tried non-rotating cable, but I understand it is harder to weld up because you can't do the usual "twist it tighter for the first weld" thing since the inner wires are laid in the opposite direction to the outer wires.  That said, this is a cool enough project I'd be tempted to unlay a bunch of it and then re-lay it into conventional rope form, then weld it up.  I'd say you could stick a bit of W-1 drill rod into the center void left by the fiber core to make a solid billet, but I wouldn't want to introduce anything that isn't the very arresting cable itself to keep it special.


Good luck, and hopefully someone who has welded up a billet of the non-rotating stuff will chime in.

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"Because I'm a masochist for this sort of thing" funny but not surprising!


Way back when Jim P and I were bumming at a local crane yard, we were told all they use was counter-rotating to prevent the load from spinning. We monkeyed around with it some but I can't find a photo. What we got didn't have the fiber core best I remember. I think they offered both and we only took the type without the fiber core. I don't remember any issues twisting to tighten with the outer layer. Seems like the outer kinda contains/crushes the inner that is going the wrong way. I do remember liking the pattern if it is cut/ground into deep enough to expose the core. It will look different than what we are used to seeing. I like your idea of replacing the fiber core with something solid. I'll throw a piece in the truck in-case you show up Sunday.

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Thanks, Matt!  I may well show up, dunno yet.  That crane cable doesn't have the cool factor of being aircraft carrier arresting cable that caught the first F35 to land on the Nimitz, though... ;)

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    thanks so much for the advice, especially Alan for doing the deep dive for specs. You've made this new guy feel very welcome.

   Full disclosure here, I am JUST starting into bladesmithing after thinking about it for ever, and don't want to mess up this pretty unique blade steel. So the finished knife could be quite a ways off yet. Fortunately, there is a very accomplished bladesmith gracious enough to take a group of us Vets under his guidance. I will take pics/video thru out and post those as it progresses. Any help/critique/advice humbly welcomed.

    I am recently retired from NavAir, but a work acquaintance has put me in touch with the carrier deck division at Lakehurst. I will seek info from the engineering desk that manages the cable requirements for help with spec info.

   FWIW...that same division will have someone who manages the tail hook point specs. (That's the part of the aircraft's arresting assembly that engages the cable). No doubt that steel is all about strength and resiliency/wear resistance. They are replaced and discarded (I used to throw worn points over the side in '76, wish I had stashed away a couple F-4 Phantom points) when worn beyond limits, failed NDI, or high count traps. See attached pics of cable piece and a hook point. If you look closely at wear on the bottom surface of the point, you get the idea that they are designed to wear "gracefully" to a final acceptable degradation. They can cut you even in this "pre knife billet" state. That may be a project 2 knife.


Hook 1.JPG


Hook 2.JPG

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