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USA Knife Maker carries a selection of steels.  You can look at Alpha Knife Supply or Admiral Steel.  There's also The New Jersey Steel Baron, but as the name implies, he's in New Jersey.  For a beginner steel that is easy to heat treat try something like 1070/1075 and look for a manganese level down around 0.4% for a good hamon.  You my read that 1095 will give a good hamon but it's a little more touchy to heat treat because of it's high carbon content.

 

Doug

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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simple carbon steels like 1060, 1075, 1080, 1084, 1095 are pretty much just iron and carbon, you heat them up to critical (forget what anyone says about non magnetic thats pretty much useless) the carbon begins to dissolve in the steel, it happens very quickly with most simple steels, the thing about the carbon is that once you go above .84% you then need to hold the steel at critical for some time for things to dissolve. so with 1084 you can heat it up to critical and quench it pretty much right away, it might be a good idea to hold it at temp for a few seconds but nobody ever seemed concerned about that so just get an even heat and quench. with 1095 you need to heat to critical and then hold it at that temperature, without getting it hotter, for 5-10 minutes and then you can quench it. dont think you can hold a blade at temperature unless you have a temperature controlled furnace/oven, you will overheat it and grow the grain in the steel and your blade will break like it was a piece of glass.

 

if you are wondering, all the steels i mentioned are in the 10xx series, they all start with 10 which means its a carbon steel and the next number indicates how much carbon is in them.

 

simple steel could mean a steel with few ingredients or a steel that responds well to a simple heat treatment, simple heat treatment means you just heat it and quench with no holding at temperature. so you could say that 5160 is a simple steel, it has some chromium and other stuff so its not as simple as 10xx series steel but the heat treatment is simple. the more ingredients in the steel the trickier it can be to heat treat, also, plain carbon steels show the best hamons.

 

i just ordered some 1070/1080 from admiral, everyone loves the new jersey steel baron but the website takes a long time to pick through each and every size of steel only to find out that all of it is out of stock. ive never been able to buy 1070/1075 steel from NJSB. any decent steel will make a really really good blade if you treat it right, but if you want amazing hamons you might want something more specific, like low Mn 1075 which is sometimes mentioned. 

 

i dont know much about hamon specifics, others here know that stuff. 

Edited by steven smith
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Holy crap thanks for all the info I am so glad I joined this forum you guys are awesome oh does anybody know anything about the mr volcano propane forge I’m planning on getting the 2 burner one 

Edited by Corey Brown
Forgot to add something
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I have never run across one but from looking at it in the add I would say that I have seen worse forges in that price range.  It looks like it comes with a bottle of rigidizer but I  would recommend not using it.  It cuts down on the insulation from the fiber matting, and being it only has one layer  you will need all that you can get.

 

Doug

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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Looking at the add it seemed like there was a bottle of a blue liquid in the kit.  Just like the name says it makes the ceramic blanket lining the forge a little more rigid, and I mean just a little, it also compresses the fibers and decreases the insulating capacity.  There also seem to be two other jars.  One I would suspect is a mortar to cover the matting with and another works as a thermal reflectant.

 

Doug

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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I had not heard of those, but yeah, they look a hair better than the usual crap you find on Amazon or ebay. Not like a good forge, but a hair better than the Devil's Forge and clones. Like Doug said, do not use the rigidizer, and I'll add do not use the brick. The Satanite refractory mortar is fine, but there are better things out there.  For the price that will get you started, and if you find out you're not into it, you won't be out much.

 

The burners are a design I have not seen before, but they look like they may run a bit oxidizing. This translates to heavy scale and decarburization. 

 

As others have said, for hamon the easiest steel is low-Mn 1075. Admiral's tends to run on the high side. W-1, aka water hard drill rod, also makes a good hamon, and it's available in round bar at any industrial hardware place that has the name "bolt and screw" in the title.  Fastenal can get it as well.  It's a little more picky than 1075 and, contrary to the name, does not like a water quench, so keep that in mind.

 

80CrV2 and 5160 are fine steels that are easy to heat treat, but they don't do hamon.

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Is there a forge anybody recommends I’ll definitely be into it I dabbled in blade making as a kid always wanted to get back into it looking for something at least 20 inches long that will last a while preferably under 400 dollars I plan on buying everything I need within the next week or so if anybody knows of a good belt sander that would be great to I’ve found some on Amazon but they all look like second grade sanders 

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Around here we always recommend making your own forge.  For $150 or so you can make something far better than you can buy for $600.  Look down in the Tools and Toolmaking pinned topics, there's a lot of info there.  

 

As for belt grinders, and you do want a grinder not a sander, those are not cheap even if you build your own.  They're also not a necessity for most things, but they do speed up the process.  The Grizzly 2x72 is okay, and if you have your own motor a Coote can be had for a reasonable amount.  Those are two-wheel grinders and so have a bit less versatility than the three-wheel ones.  

 

When I first started out I used an angle grinder and files for everything, and you'd be surprised how quickly that makes things go.  I didn't get a belt grinder until I'd been making tomahawks and knives for seven or eight years.  And I (and most of us here) still finish things by hand sanding.

Edited by Alan Longmire
clarified I got a belt grinder after making stuff for 8 years.
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You can also get some GOOD files and learn to draw file.  You should be able to find references to it on line and maybe even a video.  I recommend a large bastard file along with a second and smooth cut files.  I don't have any idea why the latter is called a smooth cut, they definitely have teeth, they just leave a smoother surface.  Then you can switch to sandpaper backed by something rigid.

 

Doug

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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  • 2 months later...

Any file that will easily cut the steel you are using before you harden it.

 

After hardening, the difference should be apparent.

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You will break some blades....but w2 is hard to beat for a hamon. The last few I have done clayless in saltwater.

On the above steels mentioned only 1075, 1095 and W1 are decent for hamon's....and I like w2 more than both of those.

Edit;....not a good pic but the blade on the left in this pic was a W2 salt water victim.

w2.jpg

Edited by Kreg Whitehead
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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

Just had a problem my angle grinder just broke not even 4 months old yet need a recommendation for a decent angle grinder that’s a good price like under 50 bucks lol I’m broke learning my lesson and not buying the HT Walmart special one again 

Edited by Corey Brown
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This is what I’m working on it’s my first knife took about 4 hours of forging and grinding to get it here but again grinder quit I was trying to get it ready for a quench critiques welcome lol

ED8F23B4-5E7B-4CEB-9FF2-257E636E5145.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Corey Brown said:

Just had a problem my angle grinder just broke not even 4 months old yet need a recommendation for a decent angle grinder that’s a good price like under 50 bucks lol I’m broke learning my lesson and not buying the HT Walmart special one again 

For a relatively inexpensive grinder, I have been pleased with my Bauer 4.5" angle grinder (high end Harbor Freight).  It has a rat tail, which in my opinon is a great feature.  Especially if you use it a lot.  

Edited by Stephen Stumbo

 

 

Eagleeyeforge.com

 

 

EagleEye_transparent_SM.png

 

 

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