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Finishing a wrought iron blade


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OK, I've got a wrought iron wagon wheel forged down to what I want for a camp knife. What's the final finishing, like harden and temper would be for a carbon steel blade? How about either cold forge hammering the edge or hot forging the edge and then filing.....

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Is there any steel in this thing, or is it just plain wrought iron?

If it's pure, low-carbon wrought, it's not really going to respond to quench hardening. I'm certain you could work harden the edge, but that's not something I've done. Maybe one of our reenactors/hardcore history buffs can help with that.

However, it's not uncommon to encounter wrought with enough carbon in it to harden noticeably in a fast quench. If you have a leftover piece of the same wheel, I'd try heating it to a dull red, then letting it air cool. Test it with a file to see how resistant it is to filing. Then heat your test piece to around 1600 F and quench in light oil, followed by a file check. Repeat with water, then brine, with file checks after each of them. If any of those quenchants increases hardness noticeably, then it might be worth quenching your blade. As to whether you should temper afterward, that'd be a guessing game. It'd depend how much the thing hardened in the first place.

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wrought iron will work harden but not to the extent of modern steel . In order to get it to harden significantly it needs to be deformed to around 50% of its thickness .....
what you get is a material that is still around 20 rockwell which is a lot harder than un work hardned wrought ( which does not register on the rocwell C scale) but by modern standards soft.
It is worth remembering that our modern standards of 58 rock well (give or take) are modern!! Iron will cut flesh and chop wood till it blunts (which will be quick)............... If you want a harder material chose a harder material.
Historicaly blades were seldom made of wrought IRON as we know it but were of bloomery Iron/steel . its not the same thing as post puddled wrought iron.

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