Jump to content
I Forge Iron
Benona  blacksmith

Forklift fork or railroad track?

Recommended Posts

I'm going to start my first sword and I dont have and leaf spring and I really dont wanna buy and steel for it because it's all in fun and I really like working steel under the power hammer!!! So my forklift forks are somewhere in the 4140 range and my research has brought me to a 1084 range with added manganese for the railroad track? I've made a draw shave with the top of railroad track and I'm going to try and get it heat treated tomorrow if I can get some propane for my gas forge and see how it heat treats. I've made a lot of hammers from the forklift fork and know the heat treat pretty good but never with anything that flexes any. What would you recommend between the 2 steels?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The name, "Blade Shaped Object" doesn't care what material you will use. Trying to create a sword is an exercise in frustration and futility. I would not be in a rush to create small pieces (which will happen). Learn more by making Positive Carma, a project that you can start and see a finished project without failure. Negative Carma is the world of swords, tons of work and frustration, to be shattered at any point during the exercise. Start by putting your piece in the scrap pile, before you create Negative Carma.

just my $0.02

Neil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, swedefiddle said:

"Blade Shaped Object"

I have no intentions of making a "blade shaped object"!!!!!!! My intentions are to make BLADE!!! If I was going to make a blade shaped object I wouldn't be here asking which of the 2 steel types to use. I would just make it from the first suitable piece of material I found!

42 minutes ago, swedefiddle said:

Start by putting your piece in the scrap pile, before you create Negative Carma.

So basically I should just abandon the idea that I can make a sword?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not at all, if you have the desire to forge a sword great. It takes a lot of skills working together to do it right and if you’re willing to learn and apply them I say go forth. You have certainly found the right place to find the information you need as well as a number of members here that do make swords (and write books about it). 

I would think that the fork tine is some what lower carbon content and may prove a bit more forgiving than the 80 point manganese rail steel.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why not just get a leaf spring?  Check with a place that raises or lowers vehicles to see if they have any discards with low miles.  I'm in a small town in New Mexico and it still would probably be faster for me to source a leaf spring than to type this in....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do have a leaf spring but it is saved for my shop built power hammer. Even though I dont use it anymore but a friend is supposed to get it soon. Another reason to use forklift fork or railroad track is because who has a sword made for either of these materials

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well a lot of the Japanese WWII gunto swords were forged from chinese rail so hundreds if not thousands of people.  I do not consider 4140 to be a decent blade steel; so no chops for using it for a sword!

I have it on good authority that people are allowed to own more than one piece of leaf spring and it's a good forging alloy for swords for people starting out.  Please remember that a good weight for a FINISHED sword is around 2 and a half pounds; both for European and Japanese blades!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

as an addendum; smithing has been going on so long and in so many places by so many people that trying to be FIRST at something may not be a good goal----trying to be BEST at something is a goal that can fuel your work for the rest of your life.

As an example back in the 1980's I met a knifemaker at one of the guild shows who was going to make a "gun blade" to shoot the blade tip (from some movie I believe)---he was going to be the first one to do it!  Except that I had read the article in "Arms and Armor Annual, vol 1"  "A Wheelock Dagger from the Court of the Medici" and so knew that it had already been done and centuries ago!  If he couldn't be first he said he didn't want to do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forging the sword will be easier than the heat treat and keeping it from warping in the quench. I'm going to make a couple long thin test blades and see how my heat treatment is on a leaf spring and on the railroad track and do a flex test on both before I go on to making a sword.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Classically each was was handled by an expert, so one team forged the blade, another ground it close, then either the first of a third heat treated it, then it was final ground and polished, fallowed buy the guy who bolted it and the guy who made a scabbard. A modern smith who dose it all has a lot to learn to do right, even down to shape, balance and harmonic residence. 

I have every confidence you can do all of this, it will just take time and patience. Research and practice doing all the steps will also help. Go forth and learn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sooooo......I went and did it. I forged a sword from the railroad track. It still needs the bevels forged in but the structure is there. I will get some pictures of it in a bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The dog seems unimpressed, but I think it looks good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks good so far. I'm eager to see how it turns out. Have you done some test quenches with other pieces of the same rail or quenched and tempered your draw knife yet? 

Pnut

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not yet but I'm going to do some extensive tests. I have a nice size chunk I cut off before forging for that exact purpose. I also have a big knife I've made out of it that needs finishing so I have a few things to play with before quenching this. I also need to make a quench tank tall enough to fit the blade so it will be a bit before I get to heat treating the sword. 

 

Thank you for the kind words guys. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just make sure that your quench tank is stable enough that it will NOT fall over. The last thing you want is a workshop full of flaming oil!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It will have a 12"x12" base plate bolted to the shop floor. I have most everything I need to make it I just need a new chop saw blade to cut everything. I'm also in the middle of putting together my 30hp rotary phase converter so I'm in no hurry to do this. I may have too many irons in the fire!!!:lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, JHCC said:

Just make sure that your quench tank is stable enough that it will NOT fall over.

Or can get a hole poked in it easily like PVC (I recently seen someone on Reddit quench a sword in a PVC pipe) or something that has walls that are thin. I would say nothing thinner than a 55 gallon drums walls. Safety first. I took some flak on Reddit for calling out the person using PVC. I seen PVC crack with my own eyes because it got bumped on the inside while quenching a sword shaped object. It spilled flaming oil all over the ground. Luckily the guy was outside. I haven't been back to his place since. That was unfortunately my first experience with blacksmithing that wasn't a demo or historical society function or reenactment at the state park. I even mentioned that I thought it was a bad idea and was pretty much told, what do you know. I've been doing this for four years. How long have you been making swords?  I let it go and haven't returned. It's been almost ten or twelve years probably. I wanted so badly to use that forge and start learning how to blacksmith but I am stubborn when it comes to getting hurt due to stupidity and ego. 

Pnut

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That was smart of you, pnut. Think of it this way: you DID learn from that smith one of the most valuable lessons of all -- that this was NOT someone you should be studying with!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought it was the best thing to do but, man it was hard not to go back. I really wanted to. I wonder what ever happened to that guy. I haven't seen him in about seven or eight years. I don't think he's smithing at all anymore. Probably safer for him,his family, and his neighbors as this was in the middle of a city. 

Pnut

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good move pnut! There is a lot to be said for folk who show us what NOT to do but that's only true within reason. Some things are just too wrong to need much instruction or demonstration to know they're a BAD IDEA.  Quenching in too small a volume of oil is right up there too. Did you see the episode of FIF where the guy almost burned his garage and house down when his quench boiled over? 

How many times have you seen the oh so flashy interrupted quench send a ball of flames 8'+ into the air? You can watch guys send fire balls into the rafters of their garages on Youtube. 

If there weren't so many guys out there who just don't know any better I'd think the gene pool was just chlorinating itself. Then again, maybe anybody who believe what they see on TV?

Frosty The Lucky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I quench long blades vertically. I use the bottom section of a welding gas tank, (NOT ACETYLENE!), I find them cheap at the scrapyard, been through a fire or failed hydrotest and sold at scrap rate.  Then I build a mounting frame for it so it can't fall over.  I also get a hefty chunk of steel on a piece of rod that will put it near the bottom of the tank with a hook to hang on the edge so I can preheat it. I suggest a vegetable/fry oil starting out as the professional stuff is pretty pricey in large quantities; but fry oil is replaced on a regular basis at fast food places.  (Here in the USA there is often gallons of good oil available after people deep fry their turkeys for Thanksgiving or Christmas.)

I knew a guy in SOFA who once tried quenching a blade in a plastic bucket with too little oil and ended up burning down his smithy, (just finished restoring a Blacker power hammer!), and got severe burns as well.   His example certainly helped guide me to being overly cautious.  (I also have a cover for the tank so I can choke off flames.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...