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I Forge Iron

Modern Farrier rasp

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I have been forging a couple of farrier's rasps lately. They spark like med-high carbon, forge weld fairly easily and harden nicely. Fun to forge. I made a simple wrap around hatchet out of one and am happy with the results. I use it for kindling and plan to make a froe to match. I'll take a look at the name on them tonight, I don't remember it off hand. 

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I bought about 40 of them at the fleamarket 2 weeks ago; I need to clean the rust off them and check what they were too. I expect they were cheap brand *but* we do have a local race track and so might be high grade.  I bought them to forge rasptlesnakes so cheap would work for me.

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Hi Thomas, can you clarify something for me that I find confusing?

There is a lot of talk about case hardened files, and why they are not as good as they used to be.

File teeth does not seem to be an application for case hardening, as it is more for wear resistance than actual hardness for cutting.

It may be that as the files concerned seem to be/are  made of a more modern spec. carbon steel, that they are surface induction hardened, a cheaper production operation than the older material and hardening and tempering process.

The case hardening process would take longer, and hence cost more than the surface hardening method.

Could it be a misinterpretation of terminology between our English/British language and your US English language.

Would be good to see a video of the making of these rasps which would clarify the process used.

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A lot of Farriers rasps are case hardened now..  Pferred hoof planes for sure. Some are medium carbon and then case hardened.. 

most rasps today made by any top names will forge and even forge weld like butter and can be used to good merit in many projects.. 


The old farrier rasps were made of real tool steel( definition: A steel used to work other steels cold).. Or I should say real high carbon steel.. These need to be forge welded with kid gloves..  You can tell the difference as these old ones are much thicker than the modern ones.. Most are a 1/4" thick or thicker.. 

I've used many different brands.. Pferred, Heller, Belotta, Save egde, as well as a few off name brands over the years.. Save edge are pretty consistent in the steel, but you can tell as the machines start getting worn as the rasps just don't cut as well.. Pferred hoof planes work wonders when brand new but since they are case hardened as soon as you run through some grit they get really dull quickly after that.. 

They used to be solid steel but would break to easily so they switched to case hardening.. 

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It's pretty easy to case harden, just dip them in the hot chemical and your done.  Rasp do tend to be on the lower scale, I have found them that failed the break test.  Even had a Nicholson fail, that one surprised me.  Come to find out Nicholson did use case hardening at one time.  As it turned out, according to a guy who worked for them back in the day Nicholson used 3 different materials in their rasp.  A low carbon steel, something like 1095 and the most insidious, 4140.  I think quite often the latter is where many of those rasp will fall.   Well, it was going to make a good looking knife.  Also found Bellota's that were case hardened.  Here's a pic of that Nicholson, note I had already forged and heat treated when it failed the file test (you can see the notches cut in the edge), so I repeated the heat treat and it failed again.  Went back and tested the tang which bent over.  This is why I stay away from rasps.  lol.  Yes, there are case hardened files and rasp out there.



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