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I Forge Iron

Butcher Steel

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I know some sharpening steels are rather soft...there was a bent one in the workshop stuff cleaning out from grandpa. I think it was mild steel (we bent it further). They are sorta like a razor strop so the required hardness is low, material is not removed by the steel, instead it is merely aligned. What your steel is made of is a good question, and can be completely different from this single example.


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I don't know about all sharpening steels but most new ones are single cut files made of appropriate steel. Some are for kitchen knives and mostly unroll the edge and aren't particularly hard and may be milder steel.

That's all I know about steels and if I had some I'd just see what I could forge from them. Maybe start with a little impirical steel ID testing, spark and heat treat testing.

Frosty the Lucky.

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The method of making a steel is in the old book, "20th Century Toolsmith & Steelworker." The author, Henry Holford, makes his of high carbon steel. After forging and smoothing to shape, the steel is annealed, and Holford draws a single cut file lengthways with the file cuts parallel to the tool length. This makes the small longitudinal grooves all around. He mixes half salt and half flour into a pasty mixture by adding water and applies it to the tool to protect the grooves from scaling away. The steel is quenched to harden.

Post Script.
I just spark tested an old knife steel, maybe dating from around 1950. It was high carbon steel.

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Interesting. I always just assumed they were a sort of round file. Well, that's what happens when you (ass)ume :lol:

I'll test them. If they're high carbon, I'll make something useful - if not, I'll make something pretty. I just wanted the stag handles anyway.

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