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I everyone I am knew to forging. I have a gas forge I have almost completed building with 2, 3/4 burners and 20 Psi regulator.

Thanks to you guys I have been able to trouble shoot all the issues I have had with it. I just need a little more guidance on types of steel to make knifes.

In my line of work I have access to several types of steel but I'm not sure what one is the best for Knife making.

These are two of them.

I have hear cable is good to use, but this stuff is galvanized and that is toxic when heated.

I haven't found any specs on what type of steel they are  (Hi/low carbon and if it an alloy).

any insight on this would be a big help and much appreciated.

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Forget about anything zinc plated.  In general you can remove zinc by a soak in an acid bath like vinegar, but to make sure you get every little bit of zinc out of there would be difficult to ensure.  As I'm sure you are aware, when zinc is heated to (before actually) forging temperatures it gives off toxic fumes.  Prolonged exposure or even brief exposure if you have breathing issues can make you sick or even be fatal in the worst case.  On top of that I believe that most protective coatings tend to inhibit good forge welds.

Unless you are already experienced at forging knives I'd recommend getting some good uncoated mono-steel to work with before diving way into the deep end of the pool.  1095, 1084, 1070, 5160, and a few other alloys are good blade steels for starting out as they have reasonably wide forging ranges and are fairly forgiving in heat treatment.

My advice is pick one alloy and work with it for a while before moving to another one.  After you've successfully completed some fully functional knives that are heat treated well and can stand up to some heavy use/abuse then you might want to think about working with pattern welding (damascus to some people).  Even then it would be advisable to practice forge welding a few billets for decorative or non-critical functions before trying to forge a knife.  You don't want any delaminations or slag/flux inclusions in any item that is likely to see flexing or impact in a way that it will possibly injure the user or someone nearby if it fails.

Regardless of whether you take any of the other advice, please forget about anything that has a zinc coating as a source for forging stock of any kind unless you can absolutely ensure you have removed all of the zinc coating - and don't burn or grind it off.

 

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Also, acid bath for zinc can cause other problems, like releasing a large amount of highly flammable (explosive, really) hydrogen gas if you use hydrochloric acid. 

It sounds like you have not yet put hammer to steel at all. Perhaps start out with some basic smithing projects (bottle openers, S-hooks, etc.) to learn basic techniques like drawing, tapering, scrolling, twisting, punching, drifting...

Unless all you are out for is to make knives. In which case, I suggest starting with some old coil spring to learn how to forge a knife. You won't know exactly what you have, but your first few knives will be rough anyway - not something you're going to sell or anything. Write them off as learning opportunities. 

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This really sounds like "I am just about to learn to drive and want to figure out which engine I should use for a formula one race I'm entering next week?"

"I have heard cable is good to use"  It's excellent, so so or terrible depending on the alloy, lay, plating, etc.  You can't even guess if it would be any good until you know the alloy, plating, etc.

Generally anytime someone wants a simple answer to a complex solution space it is: you need to learn more first.

What I start students out who want to be bladesmiths with is: take a low miles automotive coil spring and to cut it down the sides on a diameter to make a dozen to a score of "(" pieces and then to learn how to forge and heat treat *that* alloy.  Once you *know* forging temperature ranges and heat treat processes and can make that alloy obey your will; then look into adding another alloy and read up on it and compare the working range and heat treat to the one you know, (for example some alloys do NOT profit from normalization; others do.)

Bladesmithing is NOT a beginner's project. Failure modes can be quite expensive and nasty indeed!

And: yes cable can be High Carbon, Medium Carbon, Low Carbon and all steels are alloys.

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I knew the zinc in galvanized steel is dangerous and it doesn't sound like there is a reliable or safe way to get it off. That is helpful, thank you. I have taken several classes at Adams forge in LA and have learned to make novelty items, I would like to start doing knives because that was my original intention. I may not be experienced but I have forged before. I built my forge because is at least a three hour drive round trip and I don't have that much free time to disappear for a day to practice. Ill find a particular type of steel and stick with that, make sense and move from there I haven't even thought about trying Damascus, still haven't forge welded yet. Thank you to IronDragon for the link and to Buzzkill for the helpful advise.

Hey ThomasPowers seriously, what is your problem?

"This really sounds like "I am just about to learn to drive and want to figure out which engine I should use for a formula one race I'm entering next week?" *Really?* to use your *analogy* I can already *drive*(swinging the hammer) and I have the *car* and *motor* (my forge and anvil), I'm asking about the *race* *track* (type of steal). If your going to us an analogy to talk down to people at least us a *good* one.

"It's excellent, so so or terrible depending on the alloy, lay, plating, etc. You can't even guess if it would be any good until you know the alloy, plating, etc" I have looked and been unsuccessful in finding that information. Thats why I asked about these types of steel. If you *really* wanted to be *helpful* you could have given me some kind of *resource* or point me in the right *direction* so I can *LEARN*.

"Generally anytime someone wants a simple answer to a complex solution space it is: you need to learn more first."What do you think I'm trying to do here? To unlearn stuff? Again no resource or direction given.

What is really funny is you pretty much gave the same advice as Buzzkill but instead of being normal about it, you were a jerk about it.

 

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First post you said you are new to forging, now you state you are experienced (your statement of already being able to drive)  and are offended some one thinks you are just beginning .(not ready to race yet)   Which is it? 

There is an entire section on knife making here that you could read.   I suggest you read that rather than make personal attacks on people

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Also, not to pile on, but you said you were thinking about using cable. Forging cable is, by definition and necessity, pattern welding, a.k.a damascus, since cable is made up of a ton of strands that must be forge-welded together into a billet. 

So it sounded like you didn't really know what you were asking about, which makes it easy to assume you are a beginner. 

Even that aside, your question makes it sound like you are still a beginner, which is totally fine, but most beginner questions can be answered by some google searches (include the search term iforgeiron.com to bring up more responses on this forum). 

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On 4/16 and 4/17 Edward Kocsis said:

I am new to forging, have taken several classes to make novelty items and want to start making knives. 

The site has a whole section on BLADESMITHING.  

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JHCC thank you for that, I was using the search bar and wasn't having luck with it, also for the pro tips, bonus tips, and protocols for this site. 

Glenn thanks for the direction.

Cavpilot2k I understand that know, thank you. I wasn't planing on using it after I was advised to hone my skills before moving on to the wire rope, which I can't even us because its zinc plated which kinda sucks. Yes I am a beginner with some minimal experience sorry if I wasn't clearer earlier. I literally asked if these two types of steel would be good to use in knife making. The simple answer was no, because of zinc and my skills are not what they need to be for forge welding. I understand that and it is helpful.

Steve Sells Are you serious? Yes I am a beginner with some minimal experience, I'm the newest driver to nascar nationwide series. I asked for some advice and I got pitted into the wall, and told you don't know what your doing. Think of it as if a college ball player moving up to triple A ball. Does that answer your question? "I may not be experienced but I have forged before." are my exact words. So where are you getting that I said Im "experienced"? Also that was in response to "It sounds like you have not yet put hammer to steel at all." which I have. Why don't you go tell Thomas Power to not talk down to the new guys that are asking for direction and advice and not to assume he knows there intentions. If that isn't the definition of a jerk I don't know what is. Also thats the worst attitude to have for a teaching environment. 

"Respect the old-timers. The self-proclaimed curmudgeons of IFI are some of the most generous folks you will ever meet, ready to help anyone and everyone who asks, BUT have little to no patience with people who won't take advice or who expect to have everything handed to them on a silver platter."   I have asked and I have taken every bit of advice given from others IFI members, acted on it and been successful. I am very thankful for that. I also have never want to be handed anything on a silver platter. To assume that is a personal attack, which TP did. Especially to someone that has learned multiple trades helped teach those trades. I did my research and asked for help on it because I couldn't find the answer. I did due diligence and what did I get in response? Disrespect from self-proclaimed curmudgeons because of assumptions made and being talked down to with an over all jerkiness. I will respect those that are respectful to me and I will call out anyone who is disrespectful to me, especially if it is for no apparent reason other than asking a question.

I suggest next time you read what is actually written before you go and but in and act like a jerk.

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19 hours ago, Edward Kocsis said:

I suggest next time you read what is actually written before you go and but in and act like a jerk.

I suggest you take your own advice. The two people who you seem to be trolling have not acted like jerks by answering your questions, but have been honest with you. If you have a personal problem with someone, you can always use the ignore function.

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