Mcan

RR knife hardening

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Howdy y'all. I've been reading up on hardening the spike knives for a good while now and something has come to mind.... I've noticed how the carbon content is nowhere near decent knife material, tbh I started only making them for practicing my hammer control. A buddy of mine runs a chrome plating shop for "growing" oil field parts. Submersing different shafts in chrome acid and the parts get bigger. And hard. Would this make a better knife blade if I made the knife completely then give it to him for plating? Of course it means I have to re polish it but o well.... any thoughts?

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Are you saying that this process makes the steel harder all the way through? Or that it adds a hard layer on the outside? The latter seems much more likely, and isn't going to be of much help in a knife. Think of putting a layer of varnish on a stick of butter: the outside might be hard, but the inside isn't going to stand up to heavy use.

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I believe it just adds a hard layer. I just wish I knew how thick the layer would be. My thought process is that the only thing really wrong with it is that the origional metal won't hold an edge so if you could add a hard outer layer maybe that would help? Of course it would never be good for heavy duty use but sharp knives are better for showing off than dull ones

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Mcan,

I suggest that you Google "case hardening" and "carburizing". They work but it will take a long time of continuous heating, (in an airless container) in order to get any significant carbon penetration to be used as a knife.

Starting out forging with a higher carbon steel is a better and more economical idea.

Keep forging.

SLAG.

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Use it for what it is, a knife shaped object. Opening envelopes, gardening, buttering your toast, forge welding practice by welding a file to the side of it, etc....

Are you sure about the chromic acid? We used chromic acid to eat copper connectors down to size, and remove burrs. Hard chrome is a process used to build up surfaces with a very hard, and slippery surface. We used hard chromed dies to swage down tubing. 

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Yes that's what it is. The company uses that for certain oil field parts to build up the hard surface then they polish it down and it is slick like you said. Typically for the giant drill shafts that do the actual drilling. They also flame spray and other things. Thanks guys for all the input. It saved me from wasting hours polishing when I should be focused on my much to be improved hammer skills

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