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I Forge Iron

odd steel


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My father was a machinist. He died in 1986.  Most of the stuff in his toolbox was his. I dug out a piece of steel he had and got to beating it into a bar. It really didn't want to become a bar but I kept hitting it until it had become one. When it cooled I got to looking at it and the end had started to crumble. It was hard like it had been heat treated. It barely gave off any sparks when I tried to clean it up a little. I've read quite a bit about spark tests and such but this didn't seem to fit in with the other descriptions. Am I correct in thinking this may not be workable? I wanted to try to make a knife out of it but the end crumbling seems to say it won't work.

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Few sparks & from a machinist's stash: could be high speed steel and so NOT an alloy suitable for working in a forge; especially with not a lot of experience

Crumbling when forged: could be high alloy steel like H-13 again not a good alloy for the smith without a lot of experience.

Both would be hard to work under the hammer.

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High speed steels can be fun to work. Air hardening steels are all advanced steels,  working them by hand is like having a root canal even if you do know what you are doing but here is  some information to help you along. 

M2 is a member of the HSS family, (high speed tool steel) very red hard and prone to cracking if forging too cold. Will crumble if forged too hot.  Commonly used to make drill bits. Must be worked above austenizing temperatures, unless ausforging. Either way do not expect it to move much when hit with a hammer.  When ready to harden, heat at 400°F (222°C) per hour to 1100°F (590°C) then heat to 1500°F (815°C) air quench. expect as quenched hardness to be around HRC 63

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