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I Forge Iron


vern six

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Be aware... over the last couple of years there have been some problems with 1095 steel, due to the specs being widened on it. What does this mean? It means that in order to make production easier and cheaper, the steel companies are not holding as tight tolerances on the elemental makeup of the steel as they used to. About two years ago I started getting emails and phone calls from folks telling me that they could not get their 1095 blades to harden. After some investigation, I discovered that due to some tolerance changes, SOME batches of 1095 will give you less than one second to harden them....meaning that its physically impossible to achieve. Theres no way to ensure that you get the "good" 1095, which in turn means that you may be able to harden one batch, and then the next order you get, you might not be able to harden it. Personally, I have stopped using 1095, because I don't have the time to reinvent my heat treating process with each new batch of steel.
Be careful of files too. Years ago you could just about count on a file being made of 1095, but today, about the only way you can be reasonably sure is to use a Nicholson file. Their standard files are still made of 1095, and their Black Diamond variety contains the same elemental makeup as 1095, with the exception of the carbon content, which is 1.27%. Most other files these days are case hardened. Meaning they only have about .005-.015 hard surfaces. If you try to forge a blade from one of these, it will not harden, and all you end up with is some forging practice.

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