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I Forge Iron

Failure has been achieved


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You learn from everything...right?  I learn mostly from faliure and have had some very educational sessions.

 

I had one of those sessions yesterday.

 

I was given some planer blades, which I assumed are stainless.  However, they could really be anything.  Assumptions are always dangerous...I know.

 

I have a pile of files laying around so I tried my hand at some San Mai...which is probably spelled wrong, please accept my appologies.

 

I ground the file to knock back the teeth.  I put the file between two pieces of planer blade and mig welded all the way around.

 

I then waited till the next day - after reading the interweb some this may be a problem, but I don't really know.

 

I brought the billet - for lack of a better term - up to temp.  I rotated and flipped and flipped to get a nice uniform bright yellow throughout.

 

I pressed firmly, but not too much, then back to temp.

 

I then attempted to forge under the trip hammer and a bit by hand.  Even at high temp this forged horribly.

 

I burried it in kitty litter for a few hours.

 

I ground a bit to take off the mig weld and to see if I could find the layers.  It was delaminating, so to see if I had welded any piece I put it in the vice and....well tested it to destruction.

 

As you can see the entire works broke.  Snapped would be a better term.

 

So... the take away is, this didn't work!  So I learned something.

 

Does anyone have any experience with planer blades?  Am I wrong in my guess-tamation that it is stainless?

 

Thoughts?

 

Learning everyday....

 

John

 

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Thanks Steve - I made the guess they are stainless.  No real reason, aside from them being shiny after years under my bench.  They are magnetic so that should have told me something, but I didn't test that until after I had tried to forge weld them.

 

This is what you get when you use mistery materials.

 

I have several of these and will test heat treat a piece.

 

I didn't use any flux as that is what I had read online for stainless San Mai. 

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I've seen plainer blades of HSS, therefore high alloy and a pain to weld.  Definitely they would be on the INSIDE of a billet not the outer layers and a can would be a better method by far!

 

Remember that fluxes for high alloy billets have fumes that make "toxic" seem a walk in the park!  Fluorine is NOT your friend!

 

HSS and alloys like D2 are what define hot hardness and may have problems being hot short as well making things even more fun, (doesn't move at low temps and cottage cheeses at high temps)

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no matter what method you wish to use for stainless, (and some stainless is magentic, depending on wether it is austinetic or martensitic) you have to address the chrome oxide layer that forms with in 15 minutes at room temps, faster at welding heat, good luck.

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I had some planer blades given to me several years ago.

NOTHING I did would soften that steel or make it workable.

Never again!

The amount of work I put into trying to somehow use that 'free' steel taught me to never use anything I could not identify and get specs on.

Dave

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I'm by no means experienced in making billets'(have tried several times and failed ). But if you ground the file down and then put it between the blades and welded the perimeter solid.  In my opinion you are trapping air between the layers making it not weld cause no matter how you grind there will always be little divots where air can be caught.

my solution would be just to spot weld the corners or something in that regards. 

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most planer blades I have had experience with were M-2 the M is for miserable and the 2 is for squared.  They are air hardening and have a fair amount of chrome in them but not enough to qualify as stainless.  Also contain some molly and vanadium and are about 1% give or take carbon.  As Steve and Tom said the flux needed to weld this stuff contains fluorite which when heated off gasses Hydrogen Fluoride, you don't want to breathe any of that stuff with a lot of emphasis on ANY.  You can make a good knife out of them just using stock removal being careful not to burn them with the grinder.  You will have to hot punch holes to rivet on the scales for a handle.  I am sure they make drills that will drill this stuff but nothing like that resides in my tool box.. 

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I have ( years ago) experience with grinder blades ( plastic regrind).  They were serialized D2 that was sent back for sharpening until they were out of spec.  I heated them to like George Jetson hot and kept them there for eons.  I then buried them in oil dry for ever and they still were WAY HARD and mizerable.  One did get used for a guillotine top tool ( cutter).  I ain't seen them for quite a while.  I may have buried them someplace.  Lesson learned.

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I spent a week at the forge figuring out how to get 1095 and 416 stainless to stick - wasted a snotload of steel. My solution was welding three sides, waiting til it was cool, giving it a hefty squirt of liquid wrench or whatever oil was at hand, then finish welding the box. I forged in a two propane burner and 50lb lil giant, so I worked quick. I think Nght nailed it with the air pockets though; I had flat-to-flat surfaces so the oil took care of any oxygen, may not work for a file.

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I had some planer blades given to me several years ago.
NOTHING I did would soften that steel or make it workable.
Never again!
The amount of work I put into trying to somehow use that 'free' steel taught me to never use anything I could not identify and get specs on.
Dave


Dave that is great advice. Mystery metal ain't free.
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Without a controlled heat treat oven you won't be able to anneal or heat treat steels like D2. Likewise they are not appropriate for forging, for the reasons mentioned above. Laminating them would be even more difficult.

That said, you can still use them to make knives, just not forged knives. Leave them hard and use stock removal techniques, should make for a servicable knife.

For laminated/damascus blades, I would stick with 15n20 and 1084. They are a good match both for welding them and for heat treating.

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