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Hello again everyone. I wondered what your thoughts were on the best powder

metallurgy you have used in forging, and where you got it. I have found a couple of non-business distributors, but I'd like to order direct from a knife or tool site, or directly from the manufacturer. Looking for a high-carbon pm alloy. Thanks for all your help!!!

 

-joshua

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Each of those characteristics have a particular number attached per intended use. What powder's best depends on what is best for the job.

Frosty The Lucky.

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3 hours ago, Meridianfrost said:

For toughness, hardness, edge retention. To make good tools and knives. 

Edge retention is closely affiliated with hardness and toughness tends to increase as hardness decreases.  The bottom line is there are a lot of good steels which can have a reasonable balance for blades between hardness and toughness.  However, when you ask for the best steel you have to be very specific as to exactly what you want to make and how it will be used.  Even then you will get different answers from different people, since we all have different experiences and information.  If you are just beginning then you'll probably want to stick with a simple steel in the 10xx series.  If you have the ability to precisely control forge and tempering oven temperatures with ramping capability and/or oxygen free atmospheres and/or cryogenic tempering equipment then some of the more complex alloys may be the best match for what you want to do.

Since we don't know exactly what you want to do, what your skill level is, or what equipment you have access to there is no way for us to give you a meaningful answer to your question.

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So in your "best" price has no limit?  We can probably find some lovely stuff in the hugely expensive end of things...

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1 hour ago, Frosty said:

Each of those characteristics have a particular number attached per intended use. What powder's best depends on what is best for the job.

Frosty The Lucky.

I've heard some fabulously non-answers from you, frosty, but this one takes the taco. I've got a suggestion: Instead of being deliberately obtuse, and jerking people around, why not try and answer a question for once? I mean, it was a simple question. I'm making knives and tools. What do you think is best for powder metallurgy, and where do you buy it? Pretty simple, right? I mean, if you don't have anything to add, why bother typing a response? Of course it depends on what is best for the job. I assume you're a blacksmith. Have you ever forged a knife, or a tool? Have you ever attempted canister Damascus? Do you use powder in your canisters? Wow. Cmon, man. Why not try to be helpful for once, eh?

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8 hours ago, Meridianfrost said:

I've heard some fabulously non-answers from you, frosty, but this one takes the taco. I've got a suggestion: Instead of being deliberately obtuse, and jerking people around, why not try and answer a question for once? I mean, it was a simple question. I'm making knives and tools. What do you think is best for powder metallurgy, and where do you buy it? Pretty simple, right? I mean, if you don't have anything to add, why bother typing a response? Of course it depends on what is best for the job. I assume you're a blacksmith. Have you ever forged a knife, or a tool? Have you ever attempted canister Damascus? Do you use powder in your canisters? Wow. Cmon, man. Why not try to be helpful for once, eh?

 Meridianfrost, you asked a VERY broad question, and Frosty (and others) are simply trying to narrow it down so that they can give a good answer. What you want to know may be obvious to YOU, but we can't read your mind. 

Rather than just broadly asking "What's the best?", give us specifics. You say "knives and tools"; okay, fine. What kind of knives and tools? Machetes, survival knives, and paring knives are knives, but need to perform differently under different circumstances. Hot-cut hardies, mortise chisels, stonecarver's points, and violinmaker's gouges are all tools, but again, need to perform differently and will require different steels.

If you can't be bothered to be specific about what you want to accomplish, don't be surprised if you don't get an answer that makes you happy. Being rude isn't going to help.

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1 hour ago, Meridianfrost said:

I've heard some fabulously non-answers from you, frosty, but this one takes the taco. I've got a suggestion: Instead of being deliberately obtuse, and jerking people around, why not try and answer a question for once? I mean, it was a simple question. I'm making knives and tools. What do you think is best for powder metallurgy, and where do you buy it? Pretty simple, right? I mean, if you don't have anything to add, why bother typing a response? Of course it depends on what is best for the job. I assume you're a blacksmith. Have you ever forged a knife, or a tool? Have you ever attempted canister Damascus? Do you use powder in your canisters? Wow. Cmon, man. Why not try to be helpful for once, eh?

I don't think I can be of any help. I'll take your advice and not respond to you again. 

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8 hours ago, JHCC said:

 Meridianfrost, you asked a VERY broad question, and Frosty (and others) are simply trying to narrow it down so that they can give a good answer. What you want to know may be obvious to YOU, but we can't read your mind. 

Rather than just broadly asking "What's the best?", give us specifics. You say "knives and tools"; okay, fine. What kind of knives and tools? Machetes, survival knives, and paring knives are knives, but need to perform differently under different circumstances. Hot-cut hardies, mortise chisels, stonecarver's points, and violinmaker's gouges are all tools, but again, need to perform differently and will require different steels.

If you can't be bothered to be specific about what you want to accomplish, don't be surprised if you don't get an answer that makes you happy. Being rude isn't going to help.

I was specific. Powdered metallurgy with regard to blacksmithing is not at all broad. It is broad when considering part material that is manufactured in pressured molds, and die factories. As it pertains to blacksmithing, it is quite simple. It's 1084, 1095, 4600, 4800, and some more obscure pm that is alloyed differently, and much more expensive than the aforementioned steel. If it is a broad question to you, why not try for a broad answer? The reason I posed the question in the first place is to get the opinion of people who do this more often than me. 

7 hours ago, Frosty said:

I don't think I can be of any help. I'll take your advice and not respond to you again. 

That's the spirit. 

9 hours ago, Buzzkill said:

Edge retention is closely affiliated with hardness and toughness tends to increase as hardness decreases.  The bottom line is there are a lot of good steels which can have a reasonable balance for blades between hardness and toughness.  However, when you ask for the best steel you have to be very specific as to exactly what you want to make and how it will be used.  Even then you will get different answers from different people, since we all have different experiences and information.  If you are just beginning then you'll probably want to stick with a simple steel in the 10xx series.  If you have the ability to precisely control forge and tempering oven temperatures with ramping capability and/or oxygen free atmospheres and/or cryogenic tempering equipment then some of the more complex alloys may be the best match for what you want to do.

Since we don't know exactly what you want to do, what your skill level is, or what equipment you have access to there is no way for us to give you a meaningful answer to your question.

Where do you personally buy your powder  steel?

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Hello Meridianfrost,

The two distributors who I know of are Kelly Cupples who sells a bunch of different alloys and K&G who sell 1084 powder.  Who they buy from, and what manufacturer made it I have no idea. I have not ordered from either of those retailers personally but I plan on buying some soon from Kelly, as he is regarded highly in the knifemaking community. My idea was to use 15n20 sheet to make a pattern and then fill the voids with 1084 powder, or take cut offs from other 1084/15n20 billets and pack them in 1084 powder.

Kellys info can be found here as well as a old price list: http://www.hightemptools.com/steel.html

As far as the best powder for blade performance, that will depend on the physical properties of the powder and how they react to what else you put in the tube. I would research each combination.

 

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20 hours ago, CMS3900 said:

Hello Meridianfrost,

The two distributors who I know of are Kelly Cupples who sells a bunch of different alloys and K&G who sell 1084 powder.  Who they buy from, and what manufacturer made it I have no idea. I have not ordered from either of those retailers personally but I plan on buying some soon from Kelly, as he is regarded highly in the knifemaking community. My idea was to use 15n20 sheet to make a pattern and then fill the voids with 1084 powder, or take cut offs from other 1084/15n20 billets and pack them in 1084 powder.

Kellys info can be found here as well as a old price list: http://www.hightemptools.com/steel.html

As far as the best powder for blade performance, that will depend on the physical properties of the powder and how they react to what else you put in the tube. I would research each combination.

 

Excellent. Thanks very much for the comment. 

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Your original post did not specify that you wanted to buy *powder"  just "powdered metallurgy"---which very well could be steel already made up with hot isostatic pressing like is sold by http://www.damasteel.se/  or CPM S30V. How are we to know that you want powdered steel and not steel made using the Powder Metallurgy process from what you wrote?  There are some knife grade alloys that can only be made using Powdered Metallurgy.  The devil is in the details.  I was trying to figure if you wanted a stainless, a pseudo pattern welded, etc and if impact was an issue as well as edge holding and now I find that you wanted to buy powdered metal but did not say so. 

You see anything here that says you want the powder and not the PM made steel?

"Hello again everyone. I wondered what your thoughts were on the best powder metallurgy you have used in forging, and where you got it. I have found a couple of non-business distributors, but I'd like to order direct from a knife or tool site, or directly from the manufacturer. Looking for a high-carbon pm alloy. Thanks for all your help!!!"

I can say that a lot of PM steels are a bear to work with; but can provide an excellent blade.

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22 hours ago, Meridianfrost said:

I've heard some fabulously non-answers from you, frosty, but this one takes the taco. I've got a suggestion: Instead of being deliberately obtuse, and jerking people around, why not try and answer a question for once? I mean, it was a simple question. I'm making knives and tools. What do you think is best for powder metallurgy, and where do you buy it? Pretty simple, right? I mean, if you don't have anything to add, why bother typing a response? Of course it depends on what is best for the job. I assume you're a blacksmith. Have you ever forged a knife, or a tool? Have you ever attempted canister Damascus? Do you use powder in your canisters? Wow. Cmon, man. Why not try to be helpful for once, eh?

Do you feel better now?

I don't. In fact I am at a loss for words. 

You come here and demand specific correct answers to questions you clearly have already answered in your mind.

What makes you think we owe you these answers? 

Frosty's comments were correct as well  as appropriate. 

You don't like them or don't understand then then ignore him.

Frosty has forgotten  more than you will ever learn with such a close minded attitude. 

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59 minutes ago, arftist said:

Do you feel better now?

I don't. In fact I am at a loss for words. 

You come here and demand specific correct answers to questions you clearly have already answered in your mind.

What makes you think we owe you these answers? 

Frosty's comments were correct as well  as appropriate. 

You don't like them or don't understand then then ignore him.

Frosty has forgotten  more than you will ever learn with such a close minded attitude. 

I do, actually. Some people decided to answer the question, and others decided that being antagonistic about their answers was the right way to go. I'm sorry you don't feel better. Perhaps if you attempted to answer my question, you would. I did not make any demand of anyone. Reading comprehension is important. If you read my question as a demand, you'd be entirely wrong. I made a request. No one owes me anything. This site is a collaboration with and by people who are sorting through this magnificent trade on their own. There will be stupid questions, and you get to decide how to handle those. You could be charitable, and just answer, or you could be a jerk, and not do anything but further frustrate people who are genuinely looking for answers. Frosty's comments were of no help whatsoever. This is not a new development. He's often antagonistic, and short/rude in his responses to various people who have posted here. They may be just fine with being kicked around in the dirt. I'm not. If that is a foreign concept to you, perhaps you should analyze how people communicate with one another in a civilized, helpful way. Because if you think his comments were "appropriate" or "correct" you've got a thing or two to learn about how people should behave. I don't like them? Or don't understand? Are we five here? Is everyone with a little seniority beyond criticism or rebuke? I'm not just going to slunk my shoulders and walk away when someone is poking me in the eye. That may be YOUR way, but it isn't mine.

Lastly, you have no idea what I am capable of learning, especially when the people teaching are helpful, and provide useful insight. I understand that it is natural to you to come to the defense of your friend, even when he's clearly being unhelpful, and petulant, but it isn't a good look. We all need to look at how we treat each other. Especially when we are all working toward the same goal. Be well.

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Meridianfrost.

If you cannot behave you should keep out of the forum. This is not a place to show off an agressive attitude. Good Bye

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2 hours ago, gote said:

Meridianfrost.

If you cannot behave you should keep out of the forum. This is not a place to show off an agressive attitude. Good Bye

I agree. Your utter lack of understanding is, frankly, amazing, Meridianfrost. Have you considered the possibility that you are, in fact, wrong?

Your question was not specific. There is no magic steel that is best for everything. Frosty was trying to help you, and like an insolent child not getting what it wants in the store, you threw a fit. Did you read the forum at all? Figure out what steels work best for certain situations? And did you Google "powdered steel for sale?" 

Point is, don't come here, to a site dedicated to education, and direct your anger at those who wish to teach you. 

Oh, yes, and don't expect my help. Among several others as well. 

Good luck. 

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30 minutes ago, Will W. said:

I agree. Your utter lack of understanding is, frankly, amazing, Meridianfrost. Have you considered the possibility that you are, in fact, wrong?

Your question was not specific. There is no magic steel that is best for everything. Frosty was trying to help you, and like an insolent child not getting what it wants in the store, you threw a fit. Did you read the forum at all? Figure out what steels work best for certain situations? And did you Google "powdered steel for sale?" 

Point is, don't come here, to a site dedicated to education, and direct your anger at those who wish to teach you. 

Oh, yes, and don't expect my help. Among several others as well. 

Good luck. 

30 minutes ago, Will W. said:

I agree. Your utter lack of understanding is, frankly, amazing, Meridianfrost. Have you considered the possibility that you are, in fact, wrong?

Your question was not specific. There is no magic steel that is best for everything. Frosty was trying to help you, and like an insolent child not getting what it wants in the store, you threw a fit. Did you read the forum at all? Figure out what steels work best for certain situations? And did you Google "powdered steel for sale?" 

Point is, don't come here, to a site dedicated to education, and direct your anger at those who wish to teach you. 

Oh, yes, and don't expect my help. Among several others as well. 

Good luck. 

Well, in proving my point, yet again, your answer was, well, not helpful. So In future, I will not expect your "help". You have no basis to propose a single thing about my "understanding", let alone that the "lack"of it ibeing "amazing". I suppose my question could have been more specific. If there was a question of specificity, why not try for a broad answer. If you don't have the time to give a broad answer, why bother with the question at all? I never suggested there was a "magic steel", I simply asked people's opinion on what works best for them. Different manufacturers have different quality standards, and different distributors have higher prices for shipping, and better or worse customer service. It is astounding that you can't extrapolate that from a simple phrase. Like an insolent child" lol. Yes. I looked on google, and found very few options. It's, ya know, why I asked the question here. The only thing I have learned in this thread, from those like you, is that some of you are so fragile that the merest breath of criticism throws you into an irrational tantrum, where you throw down all that you have to offer and stomp out like children. I won't expect your help in future, but if you need mine, I'm here for ya. -That is how an adult behaves. 

 

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27 minutes ago, Meridianfrost said:

It is astounding that you can't extrapolate that from a simple phrase. 

Ah yes, ... the "egocentric" world view, rears it's vain and arrogant head.

That's OK, ... most kids outgrow such imprudence , ... once they've been weaned.

 

.

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4 minutes ago, SmoothBore said:

Ah yes, ... the "egocentric" world view, rears it's vain and arrogant head.

That's OK, ... most kids outgrow such imprudence , ... once they've been weaned.

 

.

Lmao!

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Seriously, Meridianfrost, your question was vague.  I came to this thread thinking it was a discussion about CPM steels.  All you wanted, it seems, was insight into buying and using powdered versions of 10xx steels.  It has already been explained to you that tools and knives require very different materials.  

Your line of questioning indicates to those who know a lot about steel that you know very little.  It's okay to not know but it's not okay to be so condescending. 

My answer to you:  you won't be using powdered steel for tool making.  Depending on the type of knife you intend to make AND the equipment you have available there are a number of powdered steels you may use.  Anyone who can spell metallurgy has the ability to use the Google to find sources for those powders.

You would be surprised to know that the way you ask questions and the way you treat people online tells others a lot more about you than you might think.  People reading this thread know more about you and can judge your potential to learn way more than you know.  Over-confidence and ignorance are an ugly combination.

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Asking good questions is a learned skill.  And specifics are important.  Non-specific questions lead to more questions, which is what happened here.  OP could have taken another approach and simply answered the questions and problems being posed with the original post. Instead, offense was taken.  

"Knives" and "tools" alone are huge categories.  

It's why a specific project helps. e.g.  "I'm making a skinning knife, and I want it to hold an edge under field conditions, but the blade needs to hold up generally under rough use so edge retention isn't the only factor I'm keeping in mind." 

Knives plus tools plus powdered metallurgy equals confusion.  OP started on the right track by clarifying desired characteristics. Then it all fell apart. It's frustrating, no doubt, to hear that you still need to dial  in the specifics. 

But I'm restating what's already been said.  

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2 hours ago, Meridianfrost said:

Yes. I looked on google, and found very few options. It's, ya know, why I asked the question here.

It took me almost 10 seconds to find this:

As Thomas Powers explained, you did not indicate whether you wanted actual powder or billets made from powdered steel.  If you spent much time here at all then you should know that asking what's BEST of anything is a ridiculous question.  Unless we know your hierarchy of importance for your wants/needs you are asking people to read your mind when you phrase it that way.  Is price your biggest concern?  Is it more important that your finished product holds an edge for a really long time, or is being able to sharpen it in the field a major issue for you?  Does the steel need to flex a lot and return to its original shape without breaking or is it ok to be very hard and inflexible?  The list goes on and on. 

When we pointed out that your question wasn't specific enough to give you a suitable answer you effectively blamed us for your lack of information and our apparent inability to read your mind - and you're still doing it.

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10 minutes ago, Lou L said:

Seriously, Meridianfrost, your question was vague.  I came to this thread thinking it was a discussion about CPM steels.  All you wanted, it seems, was insight into buying and using powdered versions of 10xx steels.  It has already been explained to you that tools and knives require very different materials.  

Your line of questioning indicates to those who know a lot about steel that you know very little.  It's okay to not know but it's not okay to be so condescending. 

My answer to you:  you won't be using powdered steel for tool making.  Depending on the type of knife you intend to make AND the equipment you have available there are a number of powdered steels you may use.  Anyone who can spell metallurgy has the ability to use the Google to find sources for those powders.

You would be surprised to know that the way you ask questions and the way you treat people online tells others a lot more about you than you might think.  People reading this thread know more about you and can judge your potential to learn way more than you know.  Over-confidence and ignorance are an ugly combination.

Thanks very much for your response, Lou.  It's quite true that I know very little about steels. I'm learning. For instance, I didn't know that using powder steel in powder form is not suitable for making tools. I was misinformed about that by someone else. 

Google is surprisingly vacant of options to buy steel in powder form. Jantz apparently used to sell a processed PM steel that they no longer carry, and all the other places you can buy PM steel in powdered form are more for foundries and die factories, and don't seem to be accessible to the general public. So having the ability to spell "metallurgy" doesn't seem to be the asset you may think it is. Unless I am being totally inept in my searching, which is possible.

Look, I never claimed to be a fountain of knowledge when it comes to steel, and what is best to use. I'm mostly pounding away at mild steel, and just hardened my first knife yesterday afternoon. I'm a novice. Worse than that, really.  I have a basic understanding of steel, and have been thus far only been instructed by youtube, my own experience, and an 8 hour course on the blacksmith trade. I have a small shop with a forge, a couple anvils, and all the hand tools you'd associate with someone who was just starting out. My frustration, especially in this thread, does not stem from hubris.  The only thing I am certain of with regard to forging steel, is that I am at about a pre-kindergarten level of knowledge here.

Frosty pushed me over the edge. He's previous replies to me have been terse, and the replies that I have read of his were consistent with the treatment I received. I have him a taste of his own medicine. That turned out to be a mistake.

i understand that there is a way to do things. That how you ask a question greatly impacts the responses that you get. I was frudtrated, and it came out in my response. The more venom I received from other users, the more it aggravated me. I'm sorry about responding to them. I should have just left it alone.

im going to disagree with you about your assertion about over-confidence and ignorance being a weakness though. I am pretty confident that I will be able to sort out my issues, it's true. But I use that confidence to effort an antidote to my ignorance. I will continue to have an insatiable hunger for learning, and try to be a little less combative. 

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

 

6 minutes ago, Exo313 said:

Asking good questions is a learned skill.  And specifics are important.  Non-specific questions lead to more questions, which is what happened here.  OP could have taken another approach and simply answered the questions and problems being posed with the original post. Instead, offense was taken.  

"Knives" and "tools" alone are huge categories.  

It's why a specific project helps. e.g.  "I'm making a skinning knife, and I want it to hold an edge under field conditions, but the blade needs to hold up generally under rough use so edge retention isn't the only factor I'm keeping in mind." 

Knives plus tools plus powdered metallurgy equals confusion.  OP started on the right track by clarifying desired characteristics. Then it all fell apart. It's frustrating, no doubt, to hear that you still need to dial  in the specifics. 

But I'm restating what's already been said.  

All excellent suggestions. Thank you. 

5 minutes ago, Buzzkill said:

It took me almost 10 seconds to find this:

As Thomas Powers explained, you did not indicate whether you wanted actual powder or billets made from powdered steel.  If you spent much time here at all then you should know that asking what's BEST of anything is a ridiculous question.  Unless we know your hierarchy of importance for your wants/needs you are asking people to read your mind when you phrase it that way.  Is price your biggest concern?  Is it more important that your finished product holds an edge for a really long time, or is being able to sharpen it in the field a major issue for you?  Does the steel need to flex a lot and return to its original shape without breaking or is it ok to be very hard and inflexible?  The list goes on and on. 

When we pointed out that your question wasn't specific enough to give you a suitable answer you effectively blamed us for your lack of information and our apparent inability to read your mind - and you're still doing it.

I have certainly learned my lesson about asking about steel. I won't make that mistake again. Thanks for your critique. 

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I just Googled "1080 powdered" and got a number of hits for suppliers.  Apparently 5lbs is about $17 before shipping.  You need to look for the type of steel you want.  The reason you are having trouble finding sources is because "powdered steel" is a HUGE category.  This is exactly what people have been trying to tell you.  Even if the curmudgeons understand a person's misguided questions they, and pretty much everyone here, won't answer it by just listing everything they know.  They will use the Socratic method and force the person to think, read and struggle until they figure out how and what to ask.   That's how teaching works.  Trust me, it upsets my high school students more than it upset you.  But, you know the old trope...give a fish, teach 'em to fish...

 

Honestly, I don't feel ready to do a canister Damascus and that's the only way I know how to use those powders.  Well, you can use them in a small foundry as well...so I know two ways.  The canister has defeated most pros, I'm thinking you may want to put it on hold. 

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