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I Forge Iron

Weldong tool steel?

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I was thinking about the rule not to overheat tool steel past bright red otherwise you wreck it. If this is the "rule" then how are you supposed to weld it in the forge? I usually get it up to welding temperature and go for it with no really obvious effects but then I have only ever welded handles onto tongs like this which are not really under any significant stress.

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There are many different types of tool steel, that run the gamet from plain carbon steels to high alloy and stainless steels. There are Air Quench, Water Quench and Oil Quench steels. Each have their own working or forging range.

Check this website, Principal Metals then click on property data and then on tool steel. This will bring up a list of various "tool steels" you can click on any of them to get forging, heat treating etc info. Heathing the metal beyond bright red ruining it, that is not necessarily true. When the "tool steel" was made in the first place, it was in a molten state which is well beyond bright red. I have had a few pieces of steel crumble on me when I over heated them, but I am not sure what kind of steel they were, just some junk that was laying aoround. Generally speaking the lower the carbon content the higher the temperature necessary to forge weld it.

If you are working with new store bought tool steel, it is easy to know what you have, if you are working with junkyard steel, identifying what you have is a bit more difficulat. I have compiled a list of junkyard steels over the years from various websites, here included, ABANA Publications, Machinery's Handbook (which is an excellent reference on various steel types) and other publications. If you would like a copy please email me and I will be glad to send you one.

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