Joshua Taylor

Hot Cut Hardy -- What should I use?

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Hey everyone!

I've done so looking around, and the same person that I'm going to buy my coal and possibly anvil from, also has S7 stock, up to 1 1/4". I heard that S7 is good for punches, as it's durable and hard. I figured why not turn it into a hot cut? I was curious about your thoughts seeing as how I don't know a whole lot about different metal types. Should I run it through normalizing and tempering cycles, or should I just let it air harden?

-Josh

Semper Fi

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S7 is overkill, especially when you're starting out. My hot cuts so far have been made of torsion bar and leaf spring (both 5160-ish), and the most recent was from a heavy jackhammer bit (probably 1050 or thereabouts). You don't need the shock resistance of an S-series steel, nor the expense.

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I'd suggest learning to forge common steel alloys before diving into high alloy steels.

My most used hardy for the last 30 years or so was made from the broken off end of a jackhammer bit, 1050,  not as hard as it could be; but with students it's easy to touch up as needed.

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If it is for the hardy, just a bit of sharpened angle iron with a bit of square tube welded to the base which fits the hardy will make a good hot cut. easy to dress when you belt it with the hammer, and will do the job just fine.

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14 hours ago, Jackdawg said:

will do the job just fine.

Call me a perfectionist, or elitest, whatever have you, but I want to make quality. I want to make a hardy tool by hammering it out by hand, being able to look at it every time I use it and say "Yeah, I made that out of a solid piece of steel." I don't like welding, I want to learn old techniques and keep the spirit of blacksmithing alive as long as I can. Me making a hardy the hard way (heh), will teach me so much more than just making a wedge and welding it to a piece of square pipe. It'll introduce me to making shoulders the correct way. It'll teach me how best to taper, or to square off an end to fit in my hardy hole. I don't wanna make something quick, easy, and effective. I'm getting into blacksmithing to learn the trade, and be able to have something tangible and useful and creative to pass onto my kids.

Don't mistake me for getting frustrated, or holier than thou. I really do appreciate the advice! I just wanted you to know my thought on the matter is all. So thank you! :)

20 hours ago, JHCC said:

S7 is overkill, especially when you're starting out.

I'll be honest, I've read up on all the different types of steel, and I'm still lacking in knowledge when it comes to anything in relation to types of stock... Which is really important. But hey, all I can do is read, read, read, repeat, until I finally get it through my thick Marine skull. :P Jackhammer bits also sound like a good idea... Just gotta find a place that'll have them in a scrap heap!

14 hours ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

I also use sucker rod knuckles and truck axles

Never heard of sucker rod knuckles, but truck axles sound like a good idea! Thanks for the input as always Charles!

 

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2 hours ago, Joshua Taylor said:

Jackhammer bits also sound like a good idea... Just gotta find a place that'll have them in a scrap heap!

Almost all of my jackhammer bit supply (with the exception of some unusual offerings that IFI member Stitch got at the industrial surplus place) were obtained from the tool rental counter at Home Depot for a buck or two each. In the most recent instance, the guy told me that the bits only fit a model that they hadn't carried in years!

FB5526AC-26EA-4B53-8F5E-9907743A484A.jpeg

Here's a bucketful that IFI member Cavpilot2k picked up at a local tool rental place:

F4221230-2764-449E-84DE-3A6BF38AC60F.jpeg

Note the collar around the shaft of these tools. This is great for hardy tools, as it's a pre-made shoulder. Here is a hardy that I just made out of a similar bit:

E380B527-4A72-4092-8AAB-2877E0E6CD33.jpeg

(After forging and heat-treatment, before finish grinding.)

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2 hours ago, Joshua Taylor said:

I want to make a hardy tool by hammering it out by hand, being able to look at it every time I use it and say "Yeah, I made that out of a solid piece of steel." I don't like welding, I want to learn old techniques and keep the spirit of blacksmithing alive as long as I can. Me making a hardy the hard way (heh), will teach me so much more than just making a wedge and welding it to a piece of square pipe.

Do both. Weld a wedge to a hardy post and you have a hot cut ready to use in just minutes. Use that to get the job done. Then research the steel you want, design and configuration you want, and spend the time to make your ideal hot cut. 

Using the wedge on a stick will be a learning experience that will influence your ideal hot cut. It will also put you ahead by being able to play in the fire. 

There is no perfect tool, but there ARE tools that are better than what you used to use. 

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Well it looks like we are running up against your inner beliefs about blacksmithing; many of which I would consider "not supported by evidence".  That's OK, they are your beliefs.  I am not shy about mentioning my own....

Welding:   Forge welding was quite common "back in the day"; and easier with the alloys used back then.  Blacksmith shops were "early adapters" of modern welding techniques as smithing was a *JOB* and any tool that made it easier was considered a good tool! The spirit of blacksmithing was to accomplish what needed to be done! (Funny this much like my Grandfather said about the Marines after his stint in them at a little dust up called Iwo Jima...)    It is *modern* times when anvils became idols and the method can be seen to trump results.

If you are a bit of a perfectionist I know you will want to spend a year or two getting your forging of mild steel alloys just *right* before worrying about going on to the more complex forging used for higher alloy content steel---right?

 Generally jumping ahead to a difficult project is NOT A WAY TO LEARN as the number of mistakes crowds out the lessons.  If you were to take up parachuting; after a couple of "simple" jumps would you then tell your instructor that you wanted to make a night jump into heavy forest during a thunderstorm so you can learn a lot? 

If you really want to do it pefectionistically--plan a progression of projects based on learning say a single part of your final project and get to where you decide to do the final project because all the intermediate steps are now "easy".

A hard task done poorly does not indicate *QUALITY* more than a simple task done excellently.

I would suggest starting out with a jackhammer bit and using the built in collar to provide the shoulder and work on forging the stem and cutting section as nicely as possible.  I would try to source a simple steel bit that will work well with blacksmithing heat treat techniques.  Go for elegant simplicity!

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Sucker rod is used to actuate the pump in an oil well, the knuckles are the treaded ends, one particular size has 1” flats and collars. They are typicaly cut off to produce round stock but if one forges down the non threaded end to match the 1” square flats one can forge the threaded end down into tooling. 

Thommas makes an exelent point, don’t be reluctant to use a welder to make tools (or spot weld scrolls together on a grate that will be hidden) their are times we need a tool to make a tool. As your skills increase your tools can become works of art that reflect your skill but in the beginning a get ‘er done attitude will serve you better. Hand forging 1 7/8 truck axle to a 1” shanked hardy tool is a chalange fo any Smith with out a striker, much less one just starting out. 

If you still don’t like the idea or don’t have access to a welder that’s fine, either find stock that already has the hard part done (sucker rod knuckle or breaker bit) or use a design that doesn’t need as much work. Such as a piece of leaf spring diagonally in the hardy hole. Now when you start to make a “beter” hardy tool you have a hot or cold cut hardy to use to cut your heavy stock, same goes for your bottom fuller, a piece of 5/8 round can be bent double at one end, stuck in the hardy hole diagonally and then the long branch bent down to form a bottom fuller to assist in drawing out your heavy stock. Once theses simple.and unappealing tools have served their purpose they can be recycled or discarded.

 

 

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Yes, Thomas Powers makes a wonderfully insightful statement..   As a long time traditionalist and purist...  There is a time to take short cuts....  The time for short cuts is finding the best instructor you can to learn the fastested way to do something..   Then practice, practice, practice..   

My first set of Hardie tools,  cold, hot and straight were made from Wood Wedges.. These worked well enough while I perfected my skill set and eventually I wanted a set of tools that would cut drill rod and other alloys cold.. This lead me to make new tools with the alloys that would do that.. Only problem is now if I cut through the bar,, the hammer face will get damaged.. 

Making hardie tools like cutoffs can be fun.. I still prefer the older styles of these but.. If you really wanted..  you could find some wrought iron, and then forge weld on the face with high carbon or allow steel... I'll be posting a video for just such a thing in a few more weeks.. But in the mean time getting skill sets perfected will pay off about the best.. 

As a side note.. I have been a long time smith and I still will do practice runs if I haven't made an item in awhile so the item is up to my standards.. 

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Hi Joshua, I  make my hot working tools out of W1 tool steel. The key is to use water hardening steel because you have to cool them down as they get hot during use. If you use anything other than water hardening steel you can cause the chisel or punch to develop crack as you cool them down. Also if you use something too high carbon you'll have harder time forging it. W1 is easy to forge. I normally fully harden them after forging (just dip them in water until they totally cooled) then temper that to blue. You can buy W1 at places like MC Master and Hudson Steel. They are pretty inexpensive and ship to your door. I just bought 2 pieces of W1 3/4" round x 3' long. They cost me $44 + change. I hope this helps. 

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Hot cut made from an old truck axle. Probably 20 years use as a primary tool.

This profile enables me to separate material from shaft and shoulder for anything g from small rivits to hardy tools. 

Plus I can cut off a bitter end and leave my drop with a square edge, or cut a piece when I'm going to do a taper.

hot cut 2 small.jpg

hot cut1 small.jpg

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Many stores that rent jackhammers will routinely discard used jackhammer bits, even the ones that have little or no noticeable wear. 

They make excellent hardy tools and the price is right. Check Home Depot, I have gotten enough jackhammer bits from them to last a lifetime and usually for free. 

I just let the work air harden after forging, That leaves them softer than the face of a hammer, but much harder than the hot material you are cutting. A missed hammer blow will put a dent into the hardy, but it's easy to dress it up with a file of a grinder.

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I'll second the jackhammer (pavement breaker, really) bits. THat bucket pictured above was indeed mine. 

I got those for nothing. I stopped by a tool rental place and asked if they had some spent ones. I offered to pay, but the guy said no - he'd rather give them away than bother making the trip to the scrap yard for the pennies he'd get for them. I am going to make him something from one of them and give it as a gift. 

The only downside is that they are a pain to hammer, but it's a good lesson. If you have a 1" hardy hole, they don't even require that much hammering to square up the shank. he built-in collar is awesome. 

Here is the hot cut I just finished yesterday from one. I left the shank long so that if it gets stuck, I can tap it from the bottom. It fits snug, but not "tight". 

 

IMG_1793.JPG

IMG_1790.JPG

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Plus, in addition to the hot-cut, you’ll have enough steel left to make some other fun tools. 

F36A4E99-907F-428A-81F6-C0C0A139175E.jpeg

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On 5/25/2018 at 9:04 AM, JHCC said:

Almost all of my jackhammer bit supply (with the exception of some unusual offerings that IFI member Stitch got at the industrial surplus place) were obtained from the tool rental counter at Home Depot for a buck or two each. In the most recent instance, the guy told me that the bits only fit a model that they hadn't carried in years!

Here's a bucketful that IFI member Cavpilot2k picked up at a local tool rental place:

No wonder why i cant find any hammer bits local, you have them all JHCC :P Do you have one you could sell or spare me? i need to make a hot cut something awful

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TeH, you tried one of the many auto mechanical/body repair shops for a bit of axle shaft or ReStores or resale places for the hammer bits?  Has to be one body/mech. shop in about any area that would hook you up for the price of asking nicely or a box of doughnuts. 

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2 hours ago, TeH_Chach said:

Do you have one you could sell or spare me?

Trade you for some of that S-7?

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I actually took jhccs’ advise and called a Home Depot, got 3 for 9 bucks! My uncle works at one near me and he snagged them. 

 

22 hours ago, JHCC said:

Trade you for some of that S-7?

What do you have in mind for the s7?

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Tools for the treadle hammer. 

(Not to be confused with Tea for the Tillerman.)

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Just now, JHCC said:

Tools for the treadle hammer. 

(Not to be confused with Tea for the Tillerman.)

Teach me how to make a punches and you can have the left over

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