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quick questions


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as i said in my first post, i have no experience. its all theoretical for me at this stage. anyhow, through out all my reading its is never really mentioned if its possible to over forge a hunk of metal. i realize that you need to leave girth to reduce problems during quenching and that grinding away excess steel is just a fact of life for bladesmiths. but as with painting with oils, if you work the paint too much you end up with what looks like mud. you have to know where to stop. is it the same with bladesmithing? is it possible to render a piece of metal useless by over working it? or is that all resolved in the normalization.


here are some other questions that have been picking away at me


-what kind of oils are used in oil quenching?

-graphs hurt my head, is there an easier way to tell the carbon content in "found" scrap metal?

-how much does atmospheric conditions affect your work?

-and lastly (for now, lol) i read that you can use an oven to normalize blades, my wife already...um..."strongly advised" that i dont do that, is it possable to get something like a toaster oven hot enough safely to do the work?


thank you

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no 1 yes you can destroy metal by burning it badley so it cant be used looks like slag and normaly sits in chunks on the bottom of the forge & not were the blade should be if it sparks and realy gives off big ones your burning the steel as aposed to melting it


no 2 peanut oil / engin oil you will find a lot of info on the forums on oil and salt baths

no 3 again see the forums for Spark testing steel to determin the Carbon value

no 4 depending if your useing a gas forge or a coke /charcoal forge with a blower ( atmospheric conditions )

but if you mean the outside temp not a lot will affect the steel it may cool faster in the cold temp so shortening the working time

as for the oven the norm is around 250 deg for 1 hr or more depending on the steel ( again the forums )



and yup the wife can get a bit on the fragile side with a blade stuck in her nice oven i just bought her a nice new one and stuck the old one in the shed the top ring's were gone anyway so all happy


hoping this helped cheers terry :rolleyes:

Terence.........(today started off perfect now --- watch sombody come and stuff it up ]


if it aint broke dont fix it

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I got a used toaster oven from the Goodwill store for $5 that goes up to 410 degrees. It holds a much narrower temp range than my wife's oven. The temp on the control knob is off from the actual temp by about 40 degrees so a thermometer is nice to have to calibrate it.

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Just to be picky, picky picky...you don't normalize in an oven, you temper in it. Getting your own toaster oven is probably the best idea but you can learn to temper according to color changes on the surface of the blade over a flame or a bed of coals. It's not the best way of doing it but it was done that way before there were temperature controled ovens for the job. I believe that Wayne Goddard address the process in his books and Jim Hrisoulas may have the process in his books also. Looking at my bandsaw, grinder and chop saw sitting in my living room, I guess that there are some advantages in being single.


Doug Lester

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

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In terms of "overworking" you can definitely work a piece until there won't be much that's usable once you've done the heat treat and are ready to grind out the pits and get it to the final shape. You want to forge it to general shape but leave enough that you don't burn the edge and tip during heat treat, too. All that scale that comes off has your precious carbon in it.


There's lots of good info here (less ego than a lot of places on the web, too). Check out all the sections you can stand to read- we're not real good about limiting our tools and how-to discussions to the respective areas :)

Kristopher Skelton, M.A.

"There was never a good knife made from bad steel"

A quiet person will perish ~ Basotho Proverb

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thank you for all the information, just trying to wrap my head around it all without getting my hands dirty, so to speak. a few more months from now and ill be like a kid at christmas again! then the real questions will begin! as for now, im going to read up on other aspects of bladesmithing, handle making/carving, metalurgy, making my own leather (im an avid hunter) all that fun stuff to keep me occupied until i can set up shop.

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