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I Forge Iron

Types of Steel.


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I have acess to a large scrap area at my job and am wondering if any of what is in there any good for making blades.
In the bin are cylinders made from stress proof steel, 40 Cr, and 40CrA. Not to mention that I have acess to about all of the used table saw blades that I could want. The cyclinders range fron 1/8" to about 3/8" thick.
Woud any of that material work for good blade material? I am very new to this and don't have a much of a back ground in types and qualities of steel.


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For blades I guess yo first need to decide if yoiu want stainless or igh carbon steel..Stainless is basically not for someone new ,,however you can grind the blade to shape and send it out to have heat treaterd. Carbon is fine for someone new and can be done with a minimum of shop equipment. Look first at the carbon content. You need a minimum of about .60 carbon and the upper limit is about 1.0. I would suggest you look up 5160 steel, 1084 and 1095 and learn how they show wot the content is and how they are heat treated. Then yoiu can review the make up of the steels you mentioned and see how they compare in all of the areas. Bp 0078 may help you as a lot of info is in it as well as the knife stickies.
Table saw blades may be a good choice unless they have had teeth added on for cut4ting. When they add they hard teeth it means that the rest of the blade is not of a steel that is likely to hold an edge like you want for a knife...There is simply tons of material on this site that were written with yoiu and me in mind to help us choose. May also want to invest in a book written by Wayne Goddard called $50 knife shop..local library may havve it or be able to borrow it for you. Have fun/

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I am not familiar with the steels that you mention but I once made a blade (long ago) from an old hollow ground planer blade (7 1/4" portable circular saw size) that has been incredibly useful and durable. I only sharpen it about twice a year. It is a woodcarving blade so that kind of edge holding is quite amazing! Carbide tipped blades are NOT likely to be good steel as the body of the blades is not used for cutting edges. I think the blade that I used was an Oldham brand. Tempered to medium straw color. I think any hollow ground blades might be worth trying out.

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Not at all.
I think this site is going to be a really usefull tool.
Learning from other people sometimes saves you time in the long run, you can learn from their mistakes and you can also help someone learn by telling them about your success and failures.

I appreciate that you guys are willing to take the time as well as any help I can get.


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A lot of knifemakers say to buy new steel of a certain type so you know what you have and how to heat treat it. BUT

I like a lot of others are cheap and like to use what ever comes my way.
I would agree if you are making a high dollar knife for sale new stee is the way to go but if you are experimenting or trying to learn the trade and are using the knives yourself or giving them to friends try different steels.

As for heat treating to see what you have pound out a thing piece.
Heat it about 100 degrees above nonmagnetic and quench in oil
wearing safety glasses and other safety equipment place this quenched piece in a vise with just a little sticking out.
With a hammer tap the piece sticking out to see if it breaks
If not hit it harder until it breaks or bends over.
If it bends and not breaks heat another piece and quench in water then do steps 2 and up.
Hardest quench is salt water

Good luck and remember safety glasses as un tempered pieces can shatter sending very sharp shrapnel everywere.

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I sure enough belong to the buy new and make a knife school...However I have used recycled steel in the past and most likely that will happen again.

I put a lot of work in a knife as mostt folks do. and I want that work to represent what I feel a knife should be and do. One of the criterias I use for selecting a steel in the carbon content. I searched a bit and found that 40cr has a carbon content of around .40. For me that is not enough for a blade like I make and I would not invest my time in prorducing a knfe that I strongly suspect would not be to my liking.
Maybe if you think about this it will help you see why I say this. Wot if you use this steel and make a knife that is well beyond anything yu hoped to make a couple of years from now? Yoiu pound grind sand etc fo a lot of hours. You hea ttreat and again sand and finish for manymore hours. Put a nice handle on it and at last sharpen it. Cut some caerdboard. wood etc and find that it does not hold and edge like you wish it would. Sharpen again same thing. CAn you see that by this time you may wish that you had used a steel that has a track record of doing wot you want when done?,,,I would leave that steel out of my knife shop. I may see wot it does for other uses but for a knife I would likely dig out an old car coil spring and go to work. If you do use that steel keep usposted on wot it does and how it comes out..we may all want some of it who knows....

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  • 1 month later...

If you are expecting to break something in your vise, wrap it in some rag like a denim pant leg. Pieces are going to take off like bullets, and the only thing worse than never finding the piece you want is finding that piece IN you.

If you have reason to expect it to bend, and NOT break, then the above mentioned safety should do: Glasses, apron, gloves if needed.


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