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  1. So recently I was involved in a debate about steel, more precisely, modern carbon steels used in knife making. This may seem like a bladesmithing topic but I think it applies better to general forging of modern carbon steel. at any rate its a good study of material science. It started as I overheard some general conversation about forging a complicated knife shape vs stock removal to achieve the same shape. the argument was that in a "modern carbon steel" it dosnt matter whether you forge the shape or mill or grind it away, it would achieve the same strength once it was properly heat treated. this went against my general understanding of forging of parts, blades, or whatever. my addition to the conversation was that, all things being equal, a forged shape would be stronger. if two parts were made, one in a machine shop via stock removal, and one in a blacksmith shop via forging with minor finishing as required to achieve similar tolerances. then both parts sent through the same heat treating process, the forged one inherently retains a more cohesive grain strength, making it stronger. the reason for machining is keeping tighter tolerances and speed of manufacturing. the argument back was that, when properly heat treated, original grain patterns do not affect finished strength, they are mostly reset. and that the talk of grain strength was just a carryover in blacksmithing from the wrought iron days of very large grains where it mattered greatly how the grain was oriented. now I don't discount that the difference may be minor, but I find it impossible to believe a forged shape isn't stronger.