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I Forge Iron

Tractor Supply Steel Question


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Hi, I was looking at the bar stock at my local Tractor Supply Company. Its labelled from 4045BC up through 4080BC. I have tried looking online for an explaination of the numbers. Couldnt find anything. Does anyone know if this is acceptable grade steel to use? I would appreciate it. Thanks

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If they are anything like the clerks at our local TSC, don't waste your time. They sell tools, farm supplies, etc. but very few of them know much about whatever it is you buy. They just like to sell it to you. I doubt any of them employed there would even know anything about different steels and carbon content.

Most of the steel sold at those places is mild steel. And WAY overpriced, compared to buying a 20 foot stick of whatever dimension at the local welding supply.

But, what do I know, I'm just a rookie.

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Just go and ask for any of the old hay and manure tines (the old broken ones, not the new ones, as they are too expensive) that bolt to the tractor buckets. These make decent hammers and handled- tools. They don't require much hardening and accept a semi-hard to medium-soft temper with only mild deformation when the tool is not used for hot work. Like all higher carbon and alloy steels, plan you time forging well ahead, as you have a limited time to forge with, and above all, ensure that the entire thickness of the material has reached forging temperature; otherwise you will end up with internal cracks that will not show up until the tool is put to use.

Edited by Daryl
added "old, broken ones"
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Go to a farm impliment dealership where they do repairs. Chances are they have a pile of worn out rake tines, etc. This is the good stuff. Forget about most of what they sell inside TSC. W1 is a simple high carbon tool steel made to quench in water. Very useful stuff and can be bought at most industrial supply stores in varying diamters. 3 ft lengths used to cost about $5 but now who knows. O1 is another simple high carbon tool steel made to quench in Oil. If you make thin knife blades out of it, you can actually use compressed air to quench it. Temper about 300F-400F for a decent cuttting edge.

Edited by Quenchcrack
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