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I Forge Iron

Bob Brandl

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    Western North Carolina, North of Asheville.

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  1. Generally, you want to grind the swedge in first, like grinding the clip on a bowie. But with you grinding it completely out, you may want to at least rough in your bevels before grinding the swedge in. I usually grind a little more material off than what I want to end up with, then chase everything up the blade to where I want it as I grind the bevels. But, I forge my stuff really close to done so I don't have to grid so much, and this changes the approach by a lot.
  2. Those King water stones are good starter stones. Just soak them in water until the air stops bubbling from them. Never wash them, don't keep them soaking in water when not in use, and buy a DMT plate or some other kind to keep them flat. Also with those, try not to wipe the "mud" off. It helps in the polishing.
  3. While I have only had a blade shatter once (52100) after waiting too long to temper, my comment was specifically regarding a stainless san mai. Several bladesmiths I know have had the stainless peel right off the core. I normalize no fewer than three times, but with stainless I don't mess around and wait.
  4. If I'm reading Lee's question correctly, you don't skip the quench. You HAVE to get to temper as fast as possible afterwards, though. Like, immediately fast.
  5. Hello all. So, I have a new power hammer that needs a few things made. It's a 150# Bradley Upright Strap Hammer, and the only things missing are the tensioner wheel, dovetail keys, and the strap itself. I'm pretty sure I have the tensioner wheel covered, so really just the keys and strap. My questions are: what's the best alternative to leather for the strap, and could I get away with just buying keys/having them made from LG instead of making them? I could make the keys, but I've never done it before (been lucky like that), and it seems like something that needs to be done proper the first time. And it's not that I have anything against leather, I'm just curious. Thanks very much!
  6. Damascus Steel: Theory and Practice, by Gunther Lobach. It's a killer book, and comes with a super cool poster.
  7. Just use a less diluted solution of the ferric. May not get the best results from cable as stated, but a stronger solution will etch just fine.
  8. Looks pretty solid. Well done. I generally do a thicker core vs outside bars when doing any kind of cladding or whatever, but didn't see this post before now. Sorry about that. You'll be fine for sure, but it helps to have the extra mass for the core of the billet. That's how I look at it, anyway. It has a lot more to do with what steels you're using than anything. I've done several stainless "san mai" blades, and with the stainless you have to account for it wanting to move less under a hammer at temp vs. your high carbon core, so you can get away with thinner stainless and a thicker core than you would think. With similar steels that move about the same, though, the thicker parts will have thinned out less than the thinner parts, so that's what you have "more" of when you're done with forging. As far as a ratio, I always go with a 2:1 ratio core to cladding, and flip it if I'm more concerned about the cladding than the core. That said, I don't do a ton of precision forging when it comes to patterning, so take all this with a grain of salt...or three.
  9. Railroad clips fall in the dead mid-grade carbon content to the low end of high, so water works alright, but oil is generally better. It's not as hard on the steel. Go buy a few liters of canola oil. And like we had talked about before, free steel is great, but it's always preferable to work with a known alloy if you're making a tool out of it.
  10. As an addition to the three pins, you might also think about this: depending on the alloy you're using, as well as what you're quenching in, you have a small window after the initial quench to straighten the blade while it's "hardening." No, that's not at all the technical term, but I'm trying to keep this relatively simple. And by small window, I mean something in the order of 6-10 seconds, if you're Super lucky and careful. I usually leave a blade in the quench for a 6 count, check for straightness, and if it's warped I'll stick in a vise, or if I haven't gotten rid of them again, I'll put it between sections of angle iron (I like aluminum for it, but steel works quite well) and clamp it somehow. I've also just lightly hammered it straight on a stump or other block of wood, but I don't recommend that unless you're feeling froggy...still don't do it. The angle works better on longer blades, but it's effective regardless. It's a little sketchy and takes a lot of practice to get down, but I've yet to crack a blade, let alone break one doing it that way. Using the pins during a temper cycle is less sketchy, but doing it the way I described gives you a little more plasticity with regard to the metal. Ideally, conditions would be ideal enough for warping to not be a problem in the first place, but that isn't the case as often as anyone would like, and most would admit. I don't do a whole lot of differential hardening, but it shouldn't make a ton of difference doing it that way with something knife to big knife sized. At least I don't think so.
  11. I've heard of people using steel from heavy duty and older bed frames for all kinds of tools and such, but having never done it myself, I can't attest to it one way or another. Don't know that I'd fool with it, even if it were. You do you, though, haha.
  12. No worries at all. Always glad to help.
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