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I Forge Iron

Need help with basics


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The title says it all. I am a new member and new to bladesmithing. I am learning by doing but.....I need to know alot about carbon levels and hardness I have made a few knives so far out of railroad spikes, of which i have 30. I am unclear on queching/tempering process. Any and all knowlegde is apreciated. here is a picture of my latest (3rd) knife still rough and not so good looking.

As for equipment i have been working with a pair of channel locks, a hammer , a rail road track segment which i took to school to mill and shape horn, and a forge i made from a brake drum, rebar and and some 3 inch pipe. once again any and all advise is appreciated. =)


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There are lots of good books out there, and a little search through the countless posting will probably get you where you want to go. I'll tell you my experience with RR spikes. I had never worked with them, mostly I forged either 5160 or mild steel. With experience you will get well aquanted with the fact that differing cabon/alloys forge differently. I heated that spike gave it a few whacks and through it to the side. I wanted to make a superior knife, as such RR spikes just aren't good enough. A friend gave me some really old ones, so I made him a knife as a thank you. They acted totally different from anything I'd ever forged before. After some research I descovered that RR spikes before 1926 were wrought iron, between 26 to the '70's low carbon after that they were marked HC (high carbon) but the carbon content was still relativly low. As far as equipment goes, you are using pretty much what I use. I don't make the prettiest stuff but they are functional.

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Did yoiu relad the post abovfe youirs abouit New knife maker? good place to start.And did youi look at the stickies about heat treat as suggested above? and if you do all of thatg and have looked deep into the threads in this forum and still have a question,,I for one will help when I can

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