webbrs

re HT a blade (Newb Hello from South Texas)

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webbrs   

Hello all. Great forum, great art! I am a fan of the forging show, and while I don't make blades, I sure enjoy buying them. I have noticed at the gun shows that there are many more hand made knife vendors around which is a great thing! Blacksmith revival!! On to business, I recently bought sight unseen the ( try not to cringe) budk jousting sword. item 44 bk2304 and I post that because the description is all I know about the construction.   It is an India blade that has grain, does that mean it was forged?  30" long  3/16th inch thick, and the edge is the size of a dime. I do have some hand forged katanas and the grain on my 1060 blade looks very similar under magnification. (25x) My 1095 is much finer grained.  The jouster seems to be in a state of anneal rather than treated as it is soft with no obvious (to me) cracks or gaps in the grain, which, to me looks really nice. All of the qualities I would look for if I were scouting a blade for purchase. Very fingerprinty, long and consistent. It is also polished and barely beveled.  The pommel is threaded, on a half tang welded to a threaded rod and the hardware isn't bad, albeit the cross guard is too heavy. It was forty bucks with engraving so I'm losing nothing. I read up on Steve's heat treat and the posts on the subject. This is a one time thing as I meant to buy a treated blade but misread "high carbon" to mean treated. nope. I want to attempt to treat it. 

  I plan to dig a trench and use charcoal to normalize, I've re purposed a bench grinder stand as a quench tank and then use the hood of an old grill to cover the trench to treat. I will be using heated used synthetic motor oil as this is a one time thing and I have it on-hand for free. I have a respirator and will be outside upwind.  I read that 250* gives a good durability and I was thinking maybe 275 or 300 for some better edge retention? Provided that some flaw in the blade doesn't cause it to explode in the quench, does that happen? So my expectations are that I completely burn this thing to cinders or it explodes in the quench. I am not out to destroy it, but I do not like having non functional blades. Any hardening would be an improvement  I would like for it to preform around that of a machete, moderate cuts such as layered cardboard, mats, 1/2" dowels etc. I still have to read more on how to preform the tang. Do I heat the tang to non magnetic and do I quench the tang? I'm sure the answers are there and I will find them. My question is this, is there prep or anything I need to do that will help not destroy this blade, short of just hanging on the wall? I could leave it alone but I know myself... I wont. Replacements aren't that bad so again no loss. It would be nice to pull this off. There are some waves in it and I am guessing I need to remove those before heating? I have welding experience and fire extinguishers plus I will be doing this far away from my house with thick welding gloves. safety first. I would rather not get a fire peel. Cosmetic surgery is best left in the doctors office. lol

 

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There is no telling what it is, if it was intense for a wall hanger, it may well be spring stock if it was intended as a stage blade. 

My suggestion would be to learn to forge, then learn to make knives, then deside what to do.  

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Not sure where you are from, but your numbers don't seem to add up.  If the steel has enough carbon to harden (unlikely) you will more likely than not need to bring it above the nonmagnetic range (eutectic point for many high carbon steels) before you quench.  This is around 1450 deg. F.  The temperatures you are looking at look closer to the tempering temperatures, which happens after the quench.  If you really have read through Steve's posts on heat treatment, I think you need to go back and review again.

Heat treating a sword is not an easy thing to accomplish for a novice, especially if you have no idea what type of steel was used in blade manufacture.  You are more likely than not only seeing the surface finish of the steel, rather than the grain.  I suggest you take a look at Kevin Cashen's site for better information on blade steel metallurgy: http://www.cashenblades.com/metallurgy.html.  Without a decent quench tank, skill at getting the blade up to an even temperature,  knowledge of normalization processes, and final method to get your blade tempered you are in danger of not just destroying your blade, but hurting yourself or others when it is used after you treat it if you don't trash it.

The manufacturer left it soft and blunt for a reason: safety.  Note even a blunt, soft blade can kill someone, so still be careful when using.

I really don't recommend a backyard heat treatment for a wall hanger any more than I would recommend "upgrading" a model rocket with a black powder charge.

 

5 hours ago, webbrs said:

I read that 250* gives a good durability and I was thinking maybe 275 or 300 for some better edge retention? Provided that some flaw in the blade doesn't cause it to explode in the quench, does that happen? 

Do I heat the tang to non magnetic and do I quench the tang? I'm sure the answers are there and I will find them. My question is this, is there prep or anything I need to do that will help not destroy this blade, short of just hanging on the wall? I could leave it alone but I know myself... I wont. Replacements aren't that bad so again no loss. It would be nice to pull this off. There are some waves in it and I am guessing I need to remove those before heating? I have welding experience and fire extinguishers plus I will be doing this far away from my house with thick welding gloves. safety first. I would rather not get a fire peel. Cosmetic surgery is best left in the doctors office. lol

 

 

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Mr. Stevens is right on all counts. However, if your heart is set on using a piece from budk, I would cut off the end of the Tang (not the bolt, the actual Tang) and get it analyzed, then try and find a heat treat shop once you know the composition.

Budk sells some real weird things (I used to resell them in HS) and you really don't want to get hurt. If it didn't come factory hardened and tapered, it's most likely not a blade you can make into a functional thing. Your 40$ would have gone better towards a camp machete or something.

Budk also tends to favor the "rat tail" Tang with big hollow handles. After a couple of whacks the little bolt breaks loose and it comes apart, which can hurt you. Their blades are poorly set for actual contact and tend to leave you with quite a bit of vibration, adding to the danger of spontaneous disassembly with every swing. I looked up the piece you are talking about, and you would need to remove a considerable amount of stock to get it to be more sword than club. 

Really... Put it back together, hang it up (especially if you sprang for engraving), and go buy a machete, or read around, pick up the craft bug, and work your way up to making your own awesome things.

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Will W.   
2 hours ago, Randell Warren said:

Really... Put it back together, hang it up (especially if you sprang for engraving), and go buy a machete, or read around, pick up the craft bug, and work your way up to making your own awesome things.

I second this entire paragraph. 

Properly heat treating a small knife is a challenge for novices, to say nothing of a sword. 

If you want a blade that will function like a machete, conventional wisdom would say: go buy a machete! If you want a properly heat treated functional sword, then contact one of the experienced swordsmiths on this site and have them make you one. 

 

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Grain refers to the crystalline structure of the steel; if your steel does not have grain it is 1: molten or 2: a metal glass (which are freaky stuff!). For blades you want a fine grained steel for better properties. This is usually dealt with in the heat treat. Now Wood Grain refers to a pattern welded blade and the differing layers of steel in it giving a pattern like you see in wood.   The terms are NOT interchangeable!

"The jouster seems to be in a state of anneal rather than treated"   so you are saying that your blade is heat treated rather than heat treated?  Both annealing and hardening are heat treat processes; there are several others too and so saying "treated" makes no sense.

Things I would look for in a blade would include: good alloy(s); proper heat treatment for that style, proper weight for that style, proper balance and COP for that style, no stress concentrators, strong well made tang, proper hilting and a good sheath.

Are your temperatures in Centigrade, Kelvin or Fahrenheit?    The proper tempering temps depend on the alloy(s) used in the blade. If you don't know that you are just guessing. However they sound very cold for a sword blade in most high carbon steels---meaning the blade may end up very brittle and be a hazard to use.

Finally "functional and Bud-K" is rather an oxymoron.

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