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ZBarrett

My first knife

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Well this is my first knife.  Still need to heat treat it. Doe anyone know what rail way spikes are usually made from?  I think it"s a medium carbon but I'm not sure.  Oh and does anyone know any good reading or videos on grinding blades?   I know I could use some help.

first knife.jpg

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It won’t harden. Even the HC spikes are only higher carbon, maybe 0.3%C, but HC spike seem to be pretty rare. From the intended use the are designed to never have a brittle fracture. Would be pretty bad for the train:)

You might gain a very little with a super quench, but spike knives are more novelty items than useful ones.

I can’t really help with the grinding, not really a blade smith.

Good job though! For constructive criticism only, I would recommend drawing the handle down more to give more mass for the blade, might give better form.

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Looks like Steve beat me to it...

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For what it is... it looks like you've got a fairly decent grind on it. I like the profile, and I can't really tell what your bevels look like.

I'm new-ish to smithing, but I've made a few blades over the years by other methods.

The biggest thing about grinding a blade- is to watch your heat. You don't want to see bluing or coloring in the metal... that means you're taking out what hardness, and tempering you may have done to it. Frequently dipping in water to cool while grinding is common for heat control. If you haven't hardened it- you dont want to go too thin on the blade, especially the edge. The thinner the blade, the more prone to warpage from what I've seen.

Long periods of grinding, keeping the blade in contact with the wheel or belt- will cause over heating. It's best to be patient, and make slow progress over time... than to try and hog it to shape quickly.

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As has been said: "RR Spikes are NOT knife grade alloys!"  Now this is a bit rough but---Good thing you checked before you put any work into it; right?   Any time you work with scrounged metal for a blade; you need to always TEST it before wasting time on it.  What I suggest for folks starting down the bladesmithing path who don't want to buy known good alloys to work with; is to take an automotive coil spring with as few miles on it as possible and cut down a diameter to get close to 20 ( shaped pieces all the same alloy to  make a bunch of blades from that you can test forging temps, various heat treatments and then abusively test them to destruction.  Keep notes so you will know what works best for *THAT* alloy!

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Thanks for the feed back guys, I'm glad I asked before putting in the work.  I now at least have a kinda cool very sharp letter opener that just needs to be cleaned up and hand sanded just to make it pretty.

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Don't sweat it; it sure looks a lot better than my first attempt around 39 years ago. Of course I did use coil spring; but I hadn't learned how to straighten the bow you get forging bevels in.  I call it my "Water Melon" knife.  Rougher learning without the internet and far fewer affiliates around back then!

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Hello:

Looks better than my first one...that's for sure...On the RR spikes..According to Union Pacific..the ones marked "HC" means Higher Carbon..(which isn't saying much) and these are used on the curved sections of track due to the toughness that the small amount of additional C imparts..As it is.. spec is about 35 to 39 pts C which is right at the cusp of almost being able to be hardened..however if you are a bit crafty you can get these to do a wee bit of hardening (I do  it and they do cut pretty good given what they are made from)..almost to the point of being a  semi decent edge but it sure isn't anywhere near a 1050/60 and or even in the realm of my fave..  1095..

I make mine a bit different from most folks as well...

At least yours LOOKS like a knife and for a 1st attempt..that is a very good thing....Keep at it you'll get there...

JPH

 

DSC03865A.jpg

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16 hours ago, JPH said:

According to Union Pacific..the ones marked "HC" means Higher Carbon..(which isn't saying much) and these are used on the curved sections of track due to the toughness that the small amount of additional C imparts..As it is.. spec is about 35 to 39 pts C which is right at the cusp of almost being able to be hardened.

AREMA changed the standards on RR spikes in 2005; there's some good info HERE.

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Check out Burt Foster's how to videos. He's about the best bladesmith around, and has the teaching background necessary to Actually teach people some things. Jason Knight also has videos on YouTube that are very informative, and he's crazy good, too.

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On 5/20/2020 at 11:07 AM, ZBarrett said:

I now at least have a kinda cool very sharp letter opener that just needs to be cleaned up and hand sanded just to make it pretty.

I'm working on a cleaver for a friend right now. It's just a stock removal blade- as it's cut from a piece of a large industrial saw blade. I tested it awhile back at work with a rockwell tester... it reads out at 113-115 rockwell hardness.:o

For my finish on it- I clamped it down to a piece of hardwood mounted in my vice. I then took a DA sander set to full spin, with progressively finer papers. Got it down to 800 grit for a pretty fine polish, hand polished with some 1500 grit, then took to my bench grinder with a cloth buffing wheel and polishing rouge.

Just takes some time! 

Picture is obviously before polishing, shaped to my friends drawing- size and dimensions he wanted.

20200522_002901.jpg

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Which Rockwell scale? Sounds like it was Rockwell B rather than C.

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Posted (edited)

I honestly dont know...:blink:

It's been over six months ago when I worked in a steel processing plant. I worked on what we called the pickle line. We processed hot and cold rolled steel coils through a hydrochloric acid wash line. We had a rockwell tester on the line that we ran sample tests of coil steel on for each customers coil.

It impressed me that it was that hard of steel... I knew it was pretty tough, as I'm unable to drill through it with anything I have to include carbide bits.

I remember it being 113-115, because I had taken a oxy/act torch and heated two small spots to just about melting- on the tang of a blade I'd made... hoping to soften it enough to drill pin holes through.

After it cooled down, I tested the spots I'd heated. 101 on the same rockwell machine.

Had my co worker who ran the line daily repeat the tests in case I messed up. Same results.

Our average readings on the mostly mild steel averaged 40-50 reading, and an occasional high of 60-80 range of rockwell.

Edited by Welshj

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Which scale you used matters, sounds like you were using the B scale, can not imagine why a mild steel plant would use C scale for anything

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Yes having a "steel" blade that is harder than the various carbides does not compute!

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Zbarret- sorry for the thread hijack!

Looking forward to seeing how you finish that blade out- I think it'll look pretty cool anyways. Please update when you get her done.

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No worries Welshj, this is how we learn and share B), I'm always open to conversations being expanded on.

Hey Bob,  thanks for the info, When I get some time I'm going to check it out. I've seen some of the stuff Jason has done and it's cool, Kinda wish he would do some more judging on forged in fire.

 

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