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BlueWolf-007

metal to use?

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I am wanting to make a machete for my use and maybe make a nice katana. I know not to use mild steel but besides that I know basically nothing about what steel is good and bad. I am wanting to try something besides leaf spring. Any suggestions from the masters?  

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read up on smithing, get with other smiths and learn to work a forge, and read the knife chat lessons too.

 

A working Machette is not to bad in your first year, but a nice katana,  maybe in a few years after that...

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Welcome aboard, glad to have you. Put your general location in the header you'll be surprised how many of the IFI gang live within visiting distance.

 

You can make a machete without blacksmithing skills, cut, grind and have it heat treated. Forging swords on the other hand is an advanced skill incorporating many blacksmith's skill sets just to shape it, grinding and polishing is in art in itself. Heat treating Japanese swordsmith fashion is another specialized set of skills.

 

Make contact with the blacksmith organization closest to you, attend some meetings, get a feel for smithing, take some classes, if you're lucky find a mentor. Once you've progressed far enough as a blacksmith, learning bladesmithing will come more easily and don't believe for a moment swords are just long knives.

 

Don't worry we may sound cranky but you're not the only person to want to learn blacksmithing by making a sword. Think of a quality sword as a goal but be patient it can take the average guy years to progress that far.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I use large saw mill bandsaw blades for my machettes.  Since the saw blades are already heat treated and are at a good temper for that kind of tool.  A sword is a totally different animal and would benefit from a different steel. 

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Well since you don't want to work with a decent sword steel, cheaply and easily available I must suggest Tamahagane as being the best material for you to work with.  Do expect to ruin several thousand dollars worth learning the basics  and expect that you will be several years slower in learning than if you progressed from basics to complexities.

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I've been black smithing for two years and live in murphy nc. I have been to John C. Campbell folk school quite a bit and know what I have to do to work a forge and all. I have mad knives before and am just curious what would be a good steel for a strong blade since im not good with chemistry. Thank you all for the suggestions though.

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You seem to be acting like you are insulted, I am sorry if you feel like you have been.   But you never said a thing about forging before.  For your first post here you just jumped in with a question common from most new kids on the site.  So we gave the canned answer,  which is true and accurate, the information has been posted in the sites sword smithing section. 

 

If you want more details to an answer you need to present more information with the question, else we have nothing to base an answer on.  Many answers are not just simple one line statements.  There are a few good sword steels, some easy to work, others very few people can use well.  When most poeple are ready for making swords they already have enough experiance in the forge to know what steels work well for larger blade, and which do not.  You do not have to be a chemist to understand the explinations of how additions effect a steel that are listed in the knife classes.

 

We still have no clue about what steels you have worked with before.  try 5160 for a start.

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As a gedanken experiment think of how you would reword your original question if posting was free but you had to pay US$10 per line of answer.  Would you have included all the information we didn't know to start to avoid paying for the "I already know that" lines?  

 

If you think about it; asking people to spend time on your questions is asking them for money; many of us do it as a method of paying it forward---not to mention inflating the market for our hoarded tools when we age out of the craft...Anyway it behooves the questioner to make the job of the people donating their time as easy as possible.  Some folks here are very very good smiths but nobody can read your mind----save maybe Frosty: there's been a number of times I would write out a long post only to drop it when I saw that he had posed the *identical* post a minute earlier!  However the voices assure me that he's not monitoring me on the mind control laser satellites he forgot to pay his bill...

 

If you don't like 5160, 1070 or even 1084 can be used.  I would avoid most high alloy steels until you have a proven track record heat treating them.

 

In general the higher in carbon you go the more brittle you can end up with without special cautions.  If you realize that the cutting edge on many Japanese swords is like a shallow hardening 1050 that the clay hardening techniques leaves glass hard and brittle---traditional japanese blades tend not to be "strong".  If you take lessons on their use they will teach you how to straighten bent blades as that is a fairly common occurrence---and look up the role of ashi!

 

Now if you want to use non-traditional methods I highly commend L6 to your attention both for machete and katana---look at some of Howard Clarke's L6 katana blades!!!!

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 Some folks here are very very good smiths but nobody can read your mind----save maybe Frosty: there's been a number of times I would write out a long post only to drop it when I saw that he had posed the *identical* post a minute earlier!  However the voices assure me that he's not monitoring me on the mind control laser satellites he forgot to pay his bill...

 

Come on Thomas quit funnin the new guy, everybody knows the only time I can read your mind is when you forget your tin foil hat. I sure wish you wouldn't forget, reading your mind leaves me wishing I could poke my mind's eye out.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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lol thanks guys. no, i'm not insulted, I just tend to be straight forward when answering or asking a question. I understand where you are coming from and yes I should have put more information on what I was wanting. Happily you answered my entire question and easily more and yes I am not experienced enough to do this but I am going to try anyway so I can learn how hard it can be and maybe learn things that I can adapt to other projects. Thanks for your experience and knowledge... I think :)

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