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I'm taking a Metal Working class at the local University. The shop is amazing, but there is little guidance in the class; they have a schedule but the professor clarified at the first class that the eight weeks really focus on what the students want to do (if everyone wants to blacksmith, they focus on that, if everyone wants to cast bronze, they do that). There are two bronze castings I already plan on doing, but the one project I'm iffy on with my time there is trying to at least make a damascus billet, if not a new kitchen knife if time allows. I have a 4 ft piece of 2"x1/8" 52100 steel I got from New Jersey Steel Baron, but I don't really have any other HC steel on hand; I can order some 1084 or something similar, but it occurred to me that my current kitchen knife (that desperately needs replacing) is Stainless Steel, so I was wondering if I could use it with the 52100 for damascus. As far as I know there shouldn't be a problem, but I'm an amateur so I was hoping someone would have experience with this. Thanks for any help!
So I have a little problem and I am kind of stymied... I bought a bundle of various sized 52100 round stock a few years ago at a blacksmithing event, can't remember the details at the moment. I just recently pulled it out and tested a small piece for a slipjoint knife build. I forged the shape, ground it to near the final thickness, normalized and hardened. Low and behold I barely get 50 HRC... Did it a second time and got virtually the same result---------so I see 3 possibilities: I got sold something that isn't 52100, my heat treat process was totally wrong, or I had massive decarb. I don't think decarb is really the issue because I ground away the surface steel and put a wash of satanite on before the hardening (the second round was done without the satanite just in case that had botched the quench, but results were the same). My heat treatment may have been a bit off, but I still wouldn't expect to get such low hardness. Here is the procedure I used: 2 normalizing cycles at about 1475, held for about 2-3 minutes then air cooled. Bring up to 1500 then hold for 10-15 minutes and quench in 125 degree cooking oil--------as quenched hardness was only 50 HRC. My temperature control should be pretty good, I use a thermocouple in my forge to monitor temp during heat treats. I also used a similar process to harden some W1 (with shorter soaking times) at the same time and I got a hardness of 65 HRC. So, any ideas what might be going wrong???
I have made stock removal knives off and on for some time under the guise of MCK. Since I was a child I have wanted to smith and now that the bride, tribe, and I have bought a house I now have a place to do it. I have a RR track stood up in a 5 gallon pail on concrete as my anvil and a rim I found in my woods as a forge. The blower is a hair dryer and it is wood fired. I also got a anvil on loan from a family member that also does a little smithing and knife making but I haven't got a stump for it yet. I have made various hooks and a RR spike knife in the forge but tonight I had got a dozen or so 6" dia bearing races that I'm going to make a few blades out of. This stuff takes a little more to move than the low carbon I've been working. It was about an hour long process to hot cut the bearing and get it straight. When I get to a computer I'll upload some pictures and do a WIP as I make this knife. I'm interested to see how it will compare to my 440c and CPM-154 blades. My wife has a paring knife I made her a few Christmas' ago out of CPM S35VN. I'm hoping to make her a longer one out of this 52100 so she can test it. Hope you enjoy watching this!