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I Haven't posted anything for quite awhile. This chopper is once again made from bed frame steel. 

Oal: 22"

Blade length: 15"

quenched in canola oil and tempered at 400F or maybe 425F twice. I don't recall. I wanted it to be flexible and tough. It is. The scales are pallet wood. Smelled like oak. Stained with vinegar used to de-scale the blade. I also wiped on a layer of Japanese ink then wiped it off. A couple of layers of linseed oil and eventually, bowling alley wax.

Robert

p.s. I'm having trouble uploading the pictures from my phone. I'll just post the text before I lose that as well.

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Very nice, but my guess is that bedframe steel isn't any better than  1018 MILD STEEL, Did you test it with a file before tempering.

I have used vinegar for descaling, but the stink is awful. Pallet wood is very very tough stuff,  

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Bed frame; particularly the older stuff tends to be high carbon; I've made some very nice corner chisels from it with minimal work.  You; of course; would want to test a piece of each frame you use for carbon content with the spark and heat/quench in water/break---wearing PPE!!!!! just like you would want to do with any junkyard steel you want to use for a blade.

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Looks really good, and while I haven't used it myself, I know I've seen a number of fellows who really like bed rail steel for forging blades. 

What's the approximate spine thickness?  Looks like maybe around 1/8"?  Have you given it a workout yet?

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21 hours ago, dickb said:

Very nice, but my guess is that bedframe steel isn't any better than  1018 MILD STEEL, Did you test it with a file before tempering.

I have used vinegar for descaling, but the stink is awful. Pallet wood is very very tough stuff,  

It was through IFI that I first learned of this potential steel source. After reading about it here, I suddenly started seeing the occasional bed frame being left curbside in my area. They were probably being discarded the whole time, but were never on my radar.  I can understand your assumption, but so far, every section I've tested has proven to be High Carbon Steel. They also make fine kitchen knives.

21 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Bed frame; particularly the older stuff tends to be high carbon; I've made some very nice corner chisels from it with minimal work.  You; of course; would want to test a piece of each frame you use for carbon content with the spark and heat/quench in water/break---wearing PPE!!!!! just like you would want to do with any junkyard steel you want to use for a blade.

Thomas, every piece that I use is tested. I guess that they are mostly old bed frames. I am a big fan of PPE! I've experienced the snapped piece riccochete and bounce off my protective lenses. I start with the oil quench, and haven't yet had to try water. I'll have to try making some other tools besided knives. 

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14 hours ago, Stormcrow said:

Looks really good, and while I haven't used it myself, I know I've seen a number of fellows who really like bed rail steel for forging blades. 

What's the approximate spine thickness?  Looks like maybe around 1/8"?  Have you given it a workout yet?

Stormcrow, you are spot on about the thickness. It is 1/8", but towards the tip it narrows to 1/16''. It is about the same thickness as the machete I got while in the Army. That blade has very little distal taper. This chopper works well. It chops as well, if not better than my machete. I could just be biased in that estimation though.:lol:

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43 minutes ago, Robakyo said:

It was through IFI that I first learned of this potential steel source. After reading about it here, I suddenly started seeing the occasional bed frame being left curbside in my area. They were probably being discarded the whole time, but were never on my radar.  I can understand your assumption, but so far, every section I've tested has proven to be High Carbon Steel. They also make fine kitchen knives.

Thomas, every piece that I use is tested. I guess that they are mostly old bed frames. I am a big fan of PPE! I've experienced the snapped piece riccochete and bounce off my protective lenses. I start with the oil quench, and haven't yet had to try water. I'll have to try making some other tools besided knives. 

Alexander Weygers recommends old bed frame for large carving gouges: flatten the sides together to form the center and tang sections, and either leave the V as a V or round it to the desired radius over the horn of your anvil.

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1 hour ago, JHCC said:

Alexander Weygers recommends old bed frame for large carving gouges: flatten the sides together to form the center and tang sections, and either leave the V as a V or round it to the desired radius over the horn of your anvil.

I have followed Alexander Weygers suggestion my self and forged good working chisels my self.  BTW Weygers or another writer made the statement that bed frames were often made out of re-rolled steel railroad rails. 

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Charlotte, that is exactly what I heard, regarding the manufacturing of bed frames. Both You and JHCC have motivated me to revisit that valuable book. What kind of chisels did you make, and how are they holding up?

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Here are Weygers's illustrations, from pp. 70-3 of "The Complete Modern Blacksmith" (Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, 1997):

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"High-carbon angle-iron bars salvaged from steel bed frames, garden swings, or dishwashers all make good tool material for larger gouges because these articles are as a rule light in weight but very strong." (Ibid, p. 70)

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Charles, as I'm now learning, this is a versatile resource. Do you roll a socket for a handle?

JHCC, thanks for this visual reminder. The drawings are better than photographs in certain circumstances. He was able to clarify content with these images.

High-carbon angle-iron bars salvaged from steel bed frames, garden swings, or dishwashers all make good tool material for larger gouges because these articles are as a rule light in weight but very strong." (Ibid, p. 70)

Oh, great, now I'm going to start considering whether or not to throw discarded dishwashers in my truck. ;)

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Weygers' work is truly informative and inspirational.  Some of it is dated, though, as the sources of scrap metal have changed.  It would be hard to forge car bumper these days!  So follow his guidance, but check for yourself before getting too far into a project.

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Thanks Stormcrow, I guess many of the resources recommended as carbon or high carbon steel from his day, are oftentimes case hardened mild steel today. Old bumpers? I'm intrigued. Were they HC too? I requested it through my library. I can't wait to read it again with fresh eyes.

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Thomas, I had no idea they used to be made of spring steel, but considering that older cars were more stoutly built, I can see why a substantial bumper would be paramount.

Robert

Charlotte, I am truly sorry that you experienced such cruelty. I also apologize for dredging up unpleasant memories. 

Robert

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2 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

We're talking 20's and 30's as I recall way before the "modern" bumpers...

I guess that would be out of the question for me. They are a rarity here, but as always, thank you for sharing your knowledge.

Robert

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When car brakes didn't stop you as quickly, you had more bumps with your bumpers.  :)  Yep, some of them from the early days of automobiles are essentially springs.

 

I'm trying to remember what example he had of making something from a bumper, seems like perhaps shears?

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Stormcrow said:

When car brakes didn't stop you as quickly, you had more bumps with your bumpers.  :)  Yep, some of them from the early days of automobiles are essentially springs.

 

I'm trying to remember what example he had of making something from a bumper, seems like perhaps shears?

 

 

Shears and light duty tinsnips.

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