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There is probably no recognized "knife steel" that makes a bad blade and W1 has been used for years. I have managed to turn a piece of it into a paperweight trying to make a blade and I'll probably try using it again if for no other reason than I have some sitting downstairs. What I don't like about it, and the other W series, is that the carbon content tends to be all over the place. The carbon can run from 0.6% to 1.4%. That can make a large difference in how it forges and heat treats. Depending on the carbon content of what the dealer has, it is basically 10XX steel with just a touch of chromium to aid with hardening. However, one dealer I ran across listed vanadium in the mix, which according to my references, should make it W2. If you want to use it, check with the supplier as to it's makeup. They should supply this information, however (ever notice how "however" keeps popping up <_< ), I have read more than one comment that what the dealer states is in the steel and what a lab analysis shows can be two different things. If you find a source of W1 that you like, stick with that supplier and hope that the mill that supplies them stays with the same formula or you may have to relearn how to forge and heat treat each separate batch that you buy.


As for forging, start in the bright orange to yellow range. Harden at 1400 to 1550 degrees and 400-450 degees for tempering to around 58-60 Rockwell. You may have to play a little with hardening and tempering temperatures because it's hard to tell what % carbon that data was based on.


Some of the advantages of it is that it is reasonably priced and can be easily found in round, hex, and square bar to make intergral knives from. Actually, it's easier to find it in these forms than flat bar.


Doug Lester

Edited by Doug Lester

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

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