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I've got an old busted chisel that I have been considering turning into a hot split, and my question is should I forge it into shape or just grind it into a hot split? (Going to be used for RR spike split crosses. The people of the town I live in are primarily Catholics and all tell me they would absolutely love stuff like that.) Also, after forging or grinding or whatever you guys suggest, should I reharden and temper it or leave as is? The chisel is 1045 


I also have a cape chisel made from 1045 that I am considering turning into a pritchel. 

P.S. The angle. What is a normal hot split bevel? 30 degrees? Or perhaps a little more narrow for the application I will be using it for?

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Pritchel for??  Do you make horse shoes? 

A slitting chisel or hot cut chisel is narrower than a cold chisel.  Depending on whom you study with or follow determines the shape of the chisel.. Some prefer a rounded cutting edge forged from roundish stock,  with it fanned wider than the shank.. I like them made from flat stock and tapered very thin from striking end  to tip with a very narrow cutting edge with just a very slight curve..  

For angle between 25-45.. Smaller chisels usually have a narrow angle as they are not used on large materials so the edge holds up very well.. My largest Hot chisel is nearly 2.5" wide and it's probably around 30°..  

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My first question too: "Splitting Chisel" is this a hot cut or a slitting chisel?

1045 would be better for a hot cut and I would expect to use it just normalized and not hardened and tempered

For a splitting chisel I would strongly suggest one of the high alloy steels like H13 or S-7 as slitting chisels get buried in red hot steel and have a much thinner cross section, I would expect a 1045 slitting chisel to upset the tip inside the cut.

I make my H13 slitting chisels quite narrow and pretty sharp, My hot cuts are much much thicker and with a broader angle on the end.

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If you want to use your own terminology, that is fine; but we can't help you if we can't tell what you need. So Hot Cut or Slitting Chisel?

Otherwise I would simply darf it until it gets blatten and then heat treat it schizoid.

I don't think 1045 is a good steel for pritchels. I looked at over a dozen commercially made ones and the steel when listed were S-7 (most hits), S-1 and H-13

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OK, especially with the smooth face I would use a slitting chisel as the hot cut puts more of a bevel into the sides of the cut.

Working RR spike I would suggest a high alloy steel so you can working with it hotter longer.  (and probably most of these are cut with the bandsaw and then opened at the forge...)

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4 hours ago, 19Branden86 said:

I would like to start making horseshoes at some point. 


I would say a split I guess as I want to be able to split railroad spike split crosses

Nearly all of them are cut on a band saw before being opened up..

You will want a slender bodied hot cut like in the picture..  I use them for all hot cutting or slitting..  

While an alloy steel like S7, H13 will give you more hits without cooling it off.  Plain old medium or high carbon steels work just fine.. I am using an old leaf spring for the big one and its 35 years old.. was used for nearly 20years day in and day out..  still has another 50 years left in it..  just keep a cam of water close by and cool it off every 3-5 hits..

While commercially made pritchels are also made out of alloys.  You should be fore punching the shoe for the head of the nail..  pritchels are used once the shoe is nearly cold and this knockes the burr from the fore punch out from the back side of the shoe (hoof surface)..

Again all the ones I have are plain old carbon steel.. 

I've included a shoe fuller, and pictures of a fore punch with 2 pritchels..  I also have hardie swedge tools for making racing and training and polo plates..  Guess what they are made out of?? 

All the farrier tools were made in 1990 maybe have seen several hundreds shoes on them..








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47 minutes ago, 19Branden86 said:

Wow!!! That's awesome!!


Leaf spring steel or any spring really is usually, what, 5160 I believe? Correct me if I'm wrong 

yes on leaf springs and 5160.. Some springs are other alloys coil springs especially can be other alloys..  4140 is also a good candidate if you have some hanging around.. 

Here is a hot chisel for making pockets for welding. Here is a picture of my punch holder and punches and chisels all plain old carbon steel including my Makers makers.. 




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