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What metal do you think this is/wagon wheel.


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It's a little hard to tell from your picture, but an old smith I know says to look for a pattern in the pits on the inside of the tire.  If it's true wrought Iron the pits will line up to follow the "grain" of the striations in the iron.  Of course, the best way is to cut it, notch and break it to look for the grain.  At $20, I'd take the chance.  If it's not wrought, then you have a fairly hefty piece of mild steel to play with.

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I'm with Rich. Never turn down a wagon tire!  And yeah, there will usually be that telltale chain of pitting running parallel to the edges on the inside if it's gnarly wrought.  The more refined stuff may not show as much.  If the join is arc or gas welded and not severely pitted, it's mild steel, but that's still a good hunk of steel for other stuff.

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I am going by hearsay, but I have heard those old saws can be anywhere from L6, 1140, 1090 or even a milder steel.   Best to do spark testing to make sure they are higher carbon before using.  That being said, I have also heard some of those old 2-man saws can be good for just grinding a knife to shape and no heat treating is necessary.  My grandfather was an old woodman.

Edited by Tim Cook
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Those 2-man crosscut saws are going to be a simple straight carbon steel in the 1070-1075 range. Not worth it to alloy them at the time.  Really old ones, like pre-1890, might be shear steel.  Or not. L6 is not an option on those, anyway.  They're good plain steel, though!  And Tim is right, you can cut out a blank with a chisel cold, grind to shape, and as long as you don't blue the edge while grinding you'll have a good knife.

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