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horseshoer723

Best Steel for Pritchel and Fuller/Creaser

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Hey everyone just found this forum so sorry if this is in the wong section....

I want to forge my own pritchels and fullers/creasers.

What kind of steel is best for this? If I were to use scrap metal what kind of parts should I be looking for?

I am a horseshoer so i would be using these tools on steel in the cherry red to dull red heat.

Thanks in advance

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What is your location? ...for resource advice

As said. H13. Or w304. Or k110 if nothing else...

Or any hot working tool steel, then down the list next best's....



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I've made a number of pritchels of 5/8" round S1, and even demonstrated this at the American Farriers Association Conference, 1977, in Denver, Colorado. S1 is a "shock resistant steel," and it will survive in hot work. It is oil or water hardening. Other steels that are hot-work steels: H13, H21, and S7. Auto coil springs are OK for cold pritchels like removing a burr next to a nail hole, but they don't hold up very well as hot pritchels. Your everyday steel service center will not be handling these specialty tool steels. You'll need to get them from a tool and die sales center. When you order, ask for the forging and heat treatment specifications, so you know the proper temperatures to use.

For hot pritchels, I've found that a long taper of 4 1/2" to 5" works best. I used to flatten my pritchels for their entire length by hitting and flatting one side only...resulting in a Rx capsule cross section. That way, I didn't need to inspect the business end to see which way to hold it. But if you do this, you'll need to anneal the length. You want the striking head softer than the hammer head. By the way, put a slight radius on the striking head. An average pritchel is about 11" long, a little longer for draft horse or toe weight work.

I've made creasers out of old car axles and I've made some out of 01, only because I had a 1 1/4" square bar of 01 lying around. 01 is a cold work steel, but it held up quite well as a creaser. I still have some of those creasers blanked out, if you would like to order one from me. Creasers should not be dead sharp. I dull mine a little bit with a file.

I've shown pictures and talked about this subject on www.horseshoes.com; FORUM; click on
"Farriers Helping Farriers Fabricate Tools;" then, "Any advice on making pritchels and forepunches?"

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My instructor, a master blacksmith, tells me that the water cools slowly (because it creates a steam pocket around the steel and can't cool the steel) and oil will cool fastest as the oil won't boil/turn to steam, thus it pulls the heat from the steel very quickly.

With that understanding, my tools break apart (crack) when I cool them in water. He said I'm cooling it too slowly and the lattice structure is in turmoil and cracks the steel. So, I need to cool in oil. But I haven't tried it yet. I'm so tired of breaking my coil spring steel/flat spring steel tools I have lost interest in making them.

When I heat my pritchels to harden it, how hot do I make it prior to dipping into the oil, providing it is coil spring steel? And how do I soften the stricking end? By not cooling/hardening that part, just the tip/working end?? Or is it best to temper draw the entire tool?

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SReynolds, If you took notes, perhaps you got the quenching speed reversed. There is a vapor blanket (steam pocket) surrounding the submerged hot part whether you're using brine, water, or oil. Brine (salt water) is the fastest quench in a small shop situation, as it throws scale off the workpiece allowing the quenchant to hit bare metal right away. Water is next fastest, as some scale will be thrown. Oil is slowest, because the vapor blanket is prolonged compared to water. In most cases, the quenched tool is agitated in the liquid; I normally swirl it around in a rapid figure eight motion, allowing fresh, new quenchant to hit it from all angles. By doing so, you're shaking off the vapor and allowing non-vaporous quenchant to contact the work.

There are many spring steel alloys. Lots of the older ones in the U.S. are SAE 5160, a silicon-manganese oil hardening steel. In taking a hardening heat on a pritchel of 5160, the small tip wants to get hotter than the thicker taper behind it. You don't want that; you want a uniform heat on the taper. In a coal forge, you can get a hot fire, insert the business end, and let it soak without using the blower. In that way, you'll get a uniform red heat (bright cherry red on 5160) thick to thin. In quenching, hold the tool vertically. Some smiths stir the quenchant to agitate it before submerging the tool. You can bring it out of the oil while it's still a little bit warm. Wipe off the oil with a rag and abrade the taper with a stone down to bare metal. Reheat the thick part of the taper to run tempering colors toward the tip. When the blue surface color (560F) hits the tip, you can quench to "hold the temper."

To reiterate what I said in my above post, this steel is best for cold pritchels. You can use it for a hot pritchel, but it won't last near as long as a proper hot-work steel.

Food for thought. Heated steel is in an expanded state. Your car is 1/2" longer in the summer than it is in the winter (I made that up). When you quench, the steel is rapidly contracting on itself. This can create cracks or stresses. Oil is slower and less harsh than water. Therefore, less chance of cracking.

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The books say that water quench is quicker than oil. But the master blacksmith who trained me tells me oil is the quickest. I have asked him several times and listen closely becasue at first I thought I was wrong or hearing him wrong, but he just told me again a few days ago that oil is fastest of all and pure water is slowest of all with others used between to customize the speed.

He must know what he is doing as he is very popular and does beautiful work, so I have always assumed that the books out there in print have got it backwards.

.........................Another reason that I do not work with carbon steels. I can't get it right because the information is inconsistant.

How can I prove it to myself what is right or wrong?????? I just want to make pritchels.....................

One thing I always thought odd; he claims that hand tools are best made of mild steel. His tools are and the tools he makes me are. But,,,I would like to mess with high carbon and can't get anywhere with it. Perhaps that is why his tools are mild steel.......you can't mess that up!!

His pritchels work. His headers work. Maybe I just need to drop the idea and stick with the reliable mild steel?

I do appreciate your time/help!!

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Water cools fast but unevenly---which is why it tends to crack many steels and yes this is due to the steam jacket which is heaviest for plain water. Slow cooling does NOT "the lattice structure is in turmoil and cracks the steel" Slow cooling is how you anneal steels and make them very soft with a very relaxed "lattice structure" with minimal dislocations. BTW Feel free to discuss this with a metallurgist.


S1 turns out to be used to make pharmaceutical punches for making pills. There was a fellow that had a couple of 5 gallon buckets of them that had finally broken the tips and was asking what to do with them. I advised him to take them to a conference, put a decent price on them and rake in the dough---which he did. I got a dozen of them and forge several punches and a slitter to use in my screwpress from a couple. They have held up well even when I was slamming the slitter through 1" square high carbon steel. I looked up the heat treat in the ASM handbook and was surprised to note that normalization was not suggested for this alloy.

Especially in knifemaking I have run across so many misconceptions and "urban legends" from "skilled" people. Often they start with a grain of truth; but then when folks try to figure out the *why* they come up with something totally bogus and start spreading that around.

The high alloy steels like H13 or the S series make tools that will do stuff that mild won't even come close---like slit though 1" sq high carbon steel in one heat using the screwpress where a mild steel slitter would rivet itself in the bottom of the kerf! You do need to work and heat treat them correctly! (My first go with H13 I ended up cottage cheesing the end by over heating...)

One reason that journeymen used to journey was to learn from different masters who had different viewpoints on things so they could get a variety of views and make their own decisions as to how things work. This forum serves much the same as such journeying.

(However I will say that when someone thinks that all the books written for the last hundred+ years must have got it wrong I'd be wondering about that---Now books older than say 200 years have often some fairly wild ideas---"Sources for the History of the Science of Steel" has some amusing renaissance conjectures on quenchants for examples and of course Theophilus in 1120 had the "urine of a red headed boy or a goat fed ferns for three days" suggestion as a quenchant---which comes down to a weak brine solution---yes a better quenchant than pure water but you don't need to go through all the effort to pen your goat to get it!)

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8.2 Quenching Media and Accessories
"Quenching solutions act only through their ability to cool the steel. They have no beneficial chemical action on the quenched steel and in themselves impart no unusual properties. Most requirements for quenching media are met satisfactorily by water or aqueous solutions of inorganic salts such as table salt or caustic soda, or by some type of oil. The rate of cooling is relatively rapid during quenching in brine, somewhat less rapid in water, and slow in oil."

Reference: "Heat Treatment and Properties of Iron and Steel", National Bureau of Standards Monograph 88, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1966.

Mild steel tools are OK if they are "blunt" like a big half round fuller, but they are not intended to hold a cutting edge.

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Many water hardening steels can be quenched in a fast oil. A fast oil will transfer the heat away from the steel more evenly and somewhat slower than pure water. Quenching in a fast oil will produce a more predictable result than water though you may not get the steel quite as hard. I have also found hardening hammer faces under a stream of water from a faucet produces superior hardness on plane carbon steels like 1045 and 1070 because it breaks through the steam jacket. It works much better than just swishing it around a bucket of water. Frank knows what he is talking about you would do well to follow his advise he has been teaching blacksmithing for longer than many of us have been alive.

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I was looking through one of my books and it mentioned the three popular medias for quench and lists room temp water as fastest, brine as middle of the road and oil as slowest. I never used brine and not really worried about that .

One other odditie I was informed of by my trainer is that you must dip the work piece and never swish it around in circles. I never thought that sounded right, but to each his own I suppose. He said it must be dunked in and pulled upwards.

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Let me toss my two cents in: You have already heard it from a couple of the best that are around. I made all of my shoe making tools when i worked on horses, and I taught at the local school until it closed. i taught the metal work portion of the school and coverd a LOT of students. Each made a center punch, two or three pritchels a forepunch and bottom stamp. Some of them stayed after hours and we covered creasers. All of the required tools were forged from S-7 5/8" round stock. They were forged to finished shape and size, and only if they had to did they see a grinder. Heat treat was simple,,normalize x 2, then back to critical and into a bucket of vermiculite overnite. Next day the working end was brought up to a good red heat and let air cool. This left struck end annealed. In use the students use Forshner hoof packing as a coolant. a small can next to anvil and dip hot end in while shoe was back in forge. These tool held up really well. S 7 is an air hardened steel. It also tolerates hot work really well and if you think that through a bit that means it resists deforming while hot. You will gain working knowledge of that when you try and forge it! H13 has most of the same properties but keep it away from water as a quench. Scrap metal not meant for hot work will fail in use for your tools, The heat in punching will remove your efforts at heat treating and the ends will deform til useless. This includes spring steel. If yoiu cannot find a source for S 7 send me a note and I will give youi contact in PHx AZ they may be able to send you a length.

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Let me toss my two cents in: You have already heard it from a couple of the best that are around. I made all of my shoe making tools when i worked on horses, and I taught at the local school until it closed. i taught the metal work portion of the school and coverd a LOT of students. Each made a center punch, two or three pritchels a forepunch and bottom stamp. Some of them stayed after hours and we covered creasers. All of the required tools were forged from S-7 5/8" round stock. They were forged to finished shape and size, and only if they had to did they see a grinder. Heat treat was simple,,normalize x 2, then back to critical and into a bucket of vermiculite overnite. Next day the working end was brought up to a good red heat and let air cool. This left struck end annealed. In use the students use Forshner hoof packing as a coolant. a small can next to anvil and dip hot end in while shoe was back in forge. These tool held up really well. S 7 is an air hardened steel. It also tolerates hot work really well and if you think that through a bit that means it resists deforming while hot. You will gain working knowledge of that when you try and forge it! H13 has most of the same properties but keep it away from water as a quench. Scrap metal not meant for hot work will fail in use for your tools, The heat in punching will remove your efforts at heat treating and the ends will deform til useless. This includes spring steel. If yoiu cannot find a source for S 7 send me a note and I will give youi contact in PHx AZ they may be able to send you a length.


X2

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Think of it like the difference between a push mower and a riding mower, yes you can cut 2 acres with either one; but *one* will be a lot faster and easier on *you*!

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On the heat treat on 5160 (not necessarily what you are making, just the material) A used automotive coil spring is cheap or free. Cut one up and try different heat treat schedules on it making the same profile. See what the results are for yourself.

Even if you have to buy new, a few inches or feet of tool steel to experiment with is fairly cheap.

Phil

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The books say that water quench is quicker than oil. But the master blacksmith who trained me tells me oil is the quickest. I have asked him several times and listen closely becasue at first I thought I was wrong or hearing him wrong, but he just told me again a few days ago that oil is fastest of all and pure water is slowest of all with others used between to customize the speed.

He must know what he is doing as he is very popular and does beautiful work, so I have always assumed that the books out there in print have got it backwards.

.........................Another reason that I do not work with carbon steels. I can't get it right because the information is inconsistant.

How can I prove it to myself what is right or wrong?????? I just want to make pritchels.....................

One thing I always thought odd; he claims that hand tools are best made of mild steel. His tools are and the tools he makes me are. But,,,I would like to mess with high carbon and can't get anywhere with it. Perhaps that is why his tools are mild steel.......you can't mess that up!!

His pritchels work. His headers work. Maybe I just need to drop the idea and stick with the reliable mild steel?

I do appreciate your time/help!!


You think he might just want to keep charging you for lessons and selling you tools?

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Another option is to use the tooling for air chisels and air hammers. Many times they are of an s-7 type air hardning steel. Forge to shape, heat to non-magntic and air cool. Air chisels tools come in a varity of shapes and are about 1/2 in in dia. Air hammer tools come in a lot of different shapes but have a large hex shank which an be quite long. check with tool rental places for tools that have been abused and cannot be redressed.

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Almost none of the large jackhammer bits are S series tool steel. Machinerys handbook states that S series would make good tooling for such things and so people started putting that in junkyard steel lists never checking to see if anyone actually used the stuff. As it costs several times more than a simple steel that seems to be acceptable to folks using the things guess which they chose?

We have covered this *many* times before here---look at the date stamp on the following:

"from forgemagic: grant - Sun 09 Oct 2005 00:20:49 #0
JACKHAMMER bits have a hole down the center and go in a percussion drill (jackhammer). Paving breaker bits are solid and go in a paving breaker. Yeah, I know, most people call 'em jackhammers. Having owned a company for 18 years that produced millions of them probably makes me a little pickier than most. For me, if a customer ordered a 1" x 18" jackhammer bit, I had better send the right thing.

As an aside to this, I've had just about every bit made spectrographed and never found one made from a tool steel. The largest manufacturer (Brunner & Lay) uses a modified 1045 for all their bits. Vulcan used to use 1078 (a high silicone 1080) but have changed to a boron steel in the last few years. Most others (Delsteel, Pioneer, Ajax, Tamco) use either 1078 or 9260. I Had good success using 8640. You only have to remember that B&L is water quench and the others are oil when you use them to make other tools."

They are handy piece of good steel to make things from though and tool rental places are the place to go to buy broken ones *cheap* Even Home Despot's rental unit has turned up some decent priced "old" ones before!

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Also have a look at this thread.

What steel are the smaller construction air hammer tools ( chipping hammer tools ) made of ? I use the point and chisel tools that have a shank about 9/16" in diameter, and the workung end a bit larger than 3/4". I use the steel form these tools both as hand held and screw press tooling.

These tools are especially handy for making smaller screw press tooling because they already have shoulders. I use the shouldered end for screw press tooling and the remainder for hand held tools. As reported thy are a available at rental shops.

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I don't know about the smaller stuff---why I did not address it: However some of them seem to be selling for less than I can buy the high alloys tool steels on a per pound basis which makes me suspect....

Anyone have a good readout on alloy content of the tooling for the smaller air powered tools?

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there are 3-4 types of "clips that the rail roads use to hold down the rail any I have mad tools from these that have held up well. here is a picture of three of them that i have found

post-25393-0-94753500-1340429448_thumb.j

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I'm almost ready to give up. Regarding a pritchel, I just went to the shop and measured the working end tip of an average riding horse pritchel. It is a rectangular section, because the nails have a rectangular shank. I get 5/64" x 9/64" and in the metric conversion, it comes to 1.98mm x 3.57mm. Then you have a straight taper behind that of maybe 4" to 4.5" or so into the parent stock of 5/8" round. That's a pretty small tip, and it wants to get hot and distort in the hot horseshoe. That's why we use hot-work alloy steel rather than plain high carbon or junk yard cold-work steel. The pritchel is used after the nail crease is made or after the countersink is made with a forepunch (also called a stamp). The metal therefore gets relatively thin where the pritchel goes through. Mild steel shears better at a faint red into a black heat, so the pritchel is used primarily at those heats.

Hot-work tool steel has a quality called "red hardness." The steel is alloyed so that if the tool turns a dark red incandescense, it wants to maintain its shape. Even so, most farriers do not want the pritchel end to turn red, so they continuously quench quickly in pariffin, beeswax, or Forshner's hoof packing.

Submitted by Frank Turley. I'm in my 49th year of pounding on hot iron, and that includes a few years of horseshoeing

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Frank I am right with youi on this,,I feel like not one of the folks that are recomending springs rail clips or anything else read anything at all posted about the hot works steel needs for a tool of this sort. Those steels they recomend do not work period, the heat ruins the heat treat and they ar e done. and so is the farrier trying to use them unless he or she has a large pile of them made up. Not likely. And before I step off of this soap box, it is just another example of folks posting abouit things they have not done or maybe have not even seen done in person. If anyone of them shows up here at my shop we shall go make a shoe and they can see just wot all of this means. DAng I feel better, anyone else wish to use this soap box step right up.

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