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I Forge Iron

Chipping hot cut with high carbon steel


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The site's search function didn't turn anything up, and I couldn't find what I was looking for on Google, so I figured I would just go ahead and ask. Recently I aquired a stack of four peanut points (also known as peanut cutter blades) that fit a KMC peanut digger. To the best of my knowledge they are a high carbon steel, most likely 1080 like other ground implements, though I couldn't find a manufacturer to contact and be certain. Here's a link to what I think I have: http://www.agrisupply.com/peanut-blade/p/75502/ No pictures of mine as I kept losing the light while working.

They are very hard, eating up hacksaw blades and all other manner of hand tools. I think they would be a good candidate for experimenting with wood chisels and heat treatment in general. The problem I have had is getting manageable pieces from them. The aforementioned hand tools didn't make a dent and the "hot cut" I have been using, which is a 12lb splitting maul turned upwards chips on impact.

I tried what I consider a normal forging temperature, in the orange zone and it chipped. Cranking up the temperature to yellow produced the same result. Finally, I left the point's tip in to soak until it was throwing sparks and... another chip, this time with a small indentation left in the point.

This has me baffled as I can cut mild steel using that maul without any problem. From an orange glow I can make it through 3/4" round with the hammer blows on the stock keeping it hot enough to continue working. Those points just don't want to move.

Now, I've settled on having to cut them with a grinder if I can even work them at all. I just want to know if chips like that are something to expect with higher carbon steels, or if my hot cut is deficient by lack of design. The maul was never very hard so I doubt that would be the cause of my troubles.

Time to work on my portable hole, I guess, and make some real tools.

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rough rule of thumb the cheaper modern ground engaging tools for agriculture are mostly boron steel, the heavy duty stuff is a wear resistant alloy that is hard faced.

there is a chance that it is 1080 if it is manufactured in india perhaps, most of the stuff I see is south american and they are the kings of boron steel manufacture.

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Boron steel seems like a strong possibility based on what I have managed to read on that alloy today. The hot working properties described match very nicely. The fact that it needs to be worked in a special environment (I want to say low oxygen but will need to double check) dissapoints me, but I guess you live and learn! Thanks yahoo2.

5 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Have you seen if you can forge it?  May want to check that out before worrying about cutting it.

The pieces are rather large so I wanted to pare them down to a workable size before messing with it too much. Holding the blade while hot with one hand was more than a little awkward. With any luck I'll have something I can snip them with by the weekend and can see how they forge. Now I doubt much can be done with them, but I'm hard headed enough to try.

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16 minutes ago, Charlotte said:

Do You have a buddy or local fab shop with a plasma torch? They will cut nearly anything that can melt.

I have several actually. The question I had wasn't so much about cutting those blades specifically as it was about the difference in cutting low and high carbon steel with a hot cut. A proper identification of the material eased my bafflement. 

At this point I'm not worried about the blades specifically. If it is boron steel it will be succeptible to abrasive cutting, at least from what I managed to find on the subject. I will have a new angle grinder this weekend, provided nothing goes terribly wrong, and can work from there.

Thank you for the suggestion though. But now I want to find out if this is worth the trouble with a small scale test before I start shelling out to have them cut. A small piece, just a sample, is what I'm after now.

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As to HC vs low carbon steels, cutting them should be a possibility. In my experience, which has been limited to spring stock and 10XX  carbons steel as well as A36 and (perhaps) a little mild from scrap, is that the spring steels and the high carbon cut like they forge: cutting HC is marginally tougher while hot, althought the better the profile of the cutting tool (hardie), the better it is. 

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How do you know that it is high carbon steel? Is it 100 years old? Why would you even think that a newish part might be high carbon, as opposed to a modern low alloy abrasion resistant steel, which would make more sense in that original application?

Blacksmithing has been around a long, looonng time, and has always had to adapt to the available sources of materials. Bog iron, wrought iron, Wootz, tamahagane, plain carbon steel of various content, meteorites, and now an amazing assortment of ferrous/non-ferrous alloys. 

One thing has not changed in millenia: the first thing a smith has to do with an unknown batch is take a sample and put it thru the paces. Forge down, chisel, quench in various media, break test.

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10 minutes ago, John McPherson said:

How do you know that it is high carbon steel? Why would you even think that it might be high carbon, as opposed to low alloy abrasion resistant steel, which would make more sense in that origanal application?

My research indicated that ground implements were typically 1080. I don't have the thread handy, but there is one here regarding the use of disk harrow blades for knives and I drew my conclusion from that, along with some information from Weygers. Now I think it isn't a high carbon steel, instead being a low carbon boron alloy, thanks to yahoo2.

I don't have the means to perform a spark test at the moment, so I did the best I could with the information available. Some of this is anecdotal, some from old sources, and some from this site. It was a failed experiment that I learned something from. I'm happy with that.

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Weygers was written when? Would you take a cross country trip with an Esso map from 1962?

A lot has changed since most of the blacksmithing texts were written. Like, man landing on the moon. Some, heavier than air flight.

Don't get me wrong, I am the NC state chapter librarian, and own a bunch of old books myself. But I understand that they are snapshots of history, and we live in an age when things are obsolete as soon as they are printed. Because I teach modern welding metallurgy, processes and procedures, up to and including Robotic & Orbital, I have to read a lot of technical journals and articles, take all sorts of training, things change all the time. 

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3 hours ago, John McPherson said:

Weygers was written when? Would you take a cross country trip with an Esso map from 1962?

A lot has changed since most of the blacksmithing texts were written. Like, man landing on the moon. Some, heavier than air flight.

Don't get me wrong, I am the NC state chapter librarian, and own a bunch of old books myself. But I understand that they are snapshots of history, and we live in an age when things are obsolete as soon as they are printed. Because I teach modern welding metallurgy, processes and procedures, up to and including Robotic & Orbital, I have to read a lot of technical journals and articles, take all sorts of training, things change all the time. 

Weygers  wrote in 1962 and was the source that started me on the road.   I appreciate that much has changed in metallurgy since that time.  However, from the standpoint of forging ferrous alloys with hand and  hammer much of what he said and demonstrated is still relevant.  Many alloys that were available are no longer for sale I'm most places.  Alloys used in automobiles have changed radically and so can not be depended on to be anything that is practical for the smith to work with.  However

The point of your post is this as I understand it.  "Don't count on anything you find on being what you expect it to be based on history?"

My point is this Weygers and other "old book"  techniques are still short cuts to learning how to approach our work with fire, hammer, and hand.

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