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My first Hot Cut Hardy tool


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I made my first hot cut hardy over the last couple of days. Calling it rough would be an understatement. I’m not happy with the way the shoulder turned out and there is a cold shut right below the cutting edge that needs to be ground out. It is covered in marks from the cross peen that I didn’t get out fully and the shape isn’t exactly what I was going for. 

My biggest mistake was starting with stock that was too small. The starting size of the stock was the same as my hardy. After multiple attempts, I was able to upset the entire piece enough to make it work. The upset wasn’t even though and made it difficult to tell if I had the piece trued up perfectly. As a result, the portion that I drew down to fit the hardy wound up being slightly off center. When I set the shoulder, I wound up with barely a lip on two sides and an acceptable shoulder on the other two.

Looking back, I could have saved myself hours of work and wound up with a better tool by just hunting down the appropriate sized stock. I’m hard headed though and was bound and determined to “make it work.” 

The cold shut was caused by a fish lip that I didn’t catch in time. When I tried to correct it, it folded over instead of flattening out. I was hoping that it had happened early enough in the forging process to not wind up on the cutting edge. I know better now. I’m going to pick up a HF bench grinder tomorrow (people around here on FB market place, Craigslist, etc want new prices for “antique grinders”) and try and grind out the shut. It’s just too deep for me to reasonably get out with a file. 

I was able to get a nice radius on the edge though and managed to shape it enough while forging that sharpening it with a file wasn’t unbearable. It also fits snugly in the hardy without being so tight that I will have to beat it out. 

If it fails, I’m not going to be heart broken. I learned a lot and that is my main goal right now. I’m going to be cutting small stock with it though so I think it will be ok. 
 

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It’s in the plan. I don’t have an angle grinder yet. I tried with a file and finally gave up. It was working but I would have been at it for hours. I’ll pick one up tomorrow when I get the bench grinder. 
 

I know HF doesn’t make the best quality tools but they will work for the time being. 

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2 hours ago, Bantou said:

Looking back, I could have saved myself hours of work and wound up with a better tool by just hunting down the appropriate sized stock. I’m hard headed though and was bound and determined to “make it work.” 

A properly blacksmitherly attitude my friend. 

Don't use a cross or straight pein on a hardy. Use the horn as a bottom fuller to control the direction the stock moves. If you don't have a horn use a piece of round bar as a bottom fuller. 

Not to pick nits but the tool you made IS a HARDY, "not or cold" The square hole is a Hardy Hole. Other tools with a square shank are bottom tools though more and more folks call them hardy tools but - but. . . <sigh> 

You have enough shoulder to prevent the hardy being wedged in the hole so as long as you don't do any heavy hammering on it it should be okay. 

It may be kind of homely but if it works it's a tool. Keep it as a reminder of how far you progress. The curve only leads up so long as you walk it.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I’ll definitely try the horn on the next one. The marks in the shank came from an attempt to use a piece of 1/4” round as a bottom fuller to start the shoulder. 

I’m not planning on cutting anything  larger than 1/2-5/8” on it. Anything bigger will get cut with the angle grinder for now. Once I get a little more experience under my belt, I’ll try to make a better on. 

My next several projects are going to be made out of 3/8” round. I’m making some decorative stuff for Mother’s Day. 

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what steel did you use/would you recomend for making hardy tooling i was planing on picking up some O-1 or W-2 with a posibility for some hydrolic shaft rod if i can get info for handling it. is this a good route to go?

thanks

M.J.Lampert

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15 hours ago, Bantou said:

It’s in the plan. I don’t have an angle grinder yet. I tried with a file and finally gave up

Did you try hot rasping prior to the heat treat? 

Pnut

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17 hours ago, M.J.Lampert said:

what steel did you use/would you recomend for making hardy tooling i was planing on picking up some O-1 or W-2 with a posibility for some hydrolic shaft rod if i can get info for handling it. is this a good route to go?

thanks

M.J.Lampert

I’m not sure what steel mine is. It’s made from a piece of 3/4” sway bar off a truck. Im guessing it’s some form of medium carbon steel but I don’t know for sure. I’m planning on leaving it soft and just touching up with a file or grinder when needed. The next one I make will probably get hardened. I’m not planning on cutting anything big with it and my hammer control is so-so right now. 

7 hours ago, pnut said:

Did you try hot rasping prior to the heat treat? 

Pnut

I didn’t make the hammer. It’s a 2 1/2 pound cross peen from ACE. It just hasn’t been dressed yet because I didn’t have an angle grinder. I picked up a grinder and flap disk today though so it will be dressed soon. 

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You're probably right Bantou but next time hold out for an old axle so you don't drive yourself crazy trying to upset it.

M.J. Old pickup truck axles make FINE bottom tooling, no need to buy specialty steel and W-1 is NOT a beginner steel to heat treat and it's worse to forge unless you KNOW what you're doing.

Frosty The Lucky.

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3 hours ago, Bantou said:

didn’t make the hammer. It’s a 2 1/2 pound cross peen from ACE.

I thought you were talking about the hot cut. That's my fault. 

Pnut

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I’m planning on just normalizing the hot cut and leaving it soft for now. My hammer technique and accuracy need improvement before I feel comfortable swinging a heavy piece of hardened steel at a sharp piece of hardened steel. I can always touch up the Hardy with a file or bench grinder as needed. 

11 hours ago, Irondragon ForgeClay Works said:

I make most of my bottom (hardy)  tools from the connector end of sucker rod 4130 if I remember correctly. Right off hand this is the only picture I have of one on the computer.

That or jackhammer bits were the original plan but I was having a hard time finding either one locally. I’m pretty sure I know where to get some sucker rod but it’s a three hour drive one way. My family owns some property in the middle of what used to be oil country. The last well was capped several years ago but I bet I can find some rods laying around if I look hard enough. 

 

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I get jack hammer bit for a couple bucks to take the whole bucket free or go away at tool/equipment rental places. What they cost depends on who is working the rental counter at The Home Depot, regular rental companies tend to be happy to be rid of the things. It's an hour drive to the recycling center so it costs money to recycle them.

That's here though.

I just use hot cuts and hardies as forged. Driving them through yellow hot steel takes whatever heat treatment you apply right out of them first tie you use them. Shine your hardy up before using it and see how blue it turns, it's a thin piece of steel surrounded by yellow hot steel. It's a self normalizing environment unless you make them from air hardening steel. 

Do NOT use air hardening steel for hardies, top cuts or hacks!! They will get harder every time you use them until they fail possible just sitting on the rack or table.

Axles make good hardies and top cuts.

Frosty The Lucky.

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The only tool rental place less than an hour away (yay for rural Texas) didn’t have any. There is a concrete construction company I’m planning on trying if I can ever make it by when they are open. 

I was planning on normalizing it because I water quenched the end several times during the upset to control where the metal went.

Do you think it will be ok as is? It got reheated several times while forging the working end. I put it back in the water at a black heat after forging so that I could file the edge. 

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Put the Rental outfits on your list for next tie you have to make a run to town. The second one I stopped in made me take a bucket full, IIRC 18-20 worn bits AND the bucket. They tried filling it but they not only couldn't lift it it ripped the bale right out of it so I got off light. I gave a bunch away and still have a lifetime supply. 3-4 will last you many years. Honest.

Good thing that isn't very hardenable steel or you would've run into possibly catastrophic problems. I only keep a bucket of water near the anvil to cool tong handles. I NEVER take red anything to the water with very few exceptions. Twisting being the one that comes to mind and I use a watering can or wet rags to localize heat. 

Can you cut it with a file? If so it's good. 

If you work with a jack hammer bit sticking that steel in water when hot will be a quick education about why you should get that water OUT OF REACH and COVERED! Any use of water to cool hot steel should be a deliberate well considered action. There are other ways to localize temperature on a piece than dunking it in water.

Frosty The Lucky.

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What steel you want for hardy hole tooling depends on the tool!  In general; medium carbon steels make good hardy hole tooling: fullers, butchers, hardies, etc.  So axles (around 1050) are good as are  sucker rod (various medium carbon alloys).    I'd hope you have a shade tree mechanic around that can spot you a couple of used axles, I stopped picking them up at the scrapyard after around 6 on hand.

My most used hardy was the broken off bit of a jackhammer---again often around 1050---been using it for over 20 years and it's a GOOD thing it's softer than most of my hammers---a lot easier to dress the hardy than the hammer face when a student does an "oops"!. I picked up another as a backup; but it sure looks like this one will last me out.

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Thomas, what do you use to cut the axels? I don’t have a torch yet and probably won’t for a while. 
 

4 hours ago, Frosty said:

 I only keep a bucket of water near the anvil to cool tong handles. I NEVER take red anything to the water with very few exceptions. Twisting being the one that comes to mind and I use a watering can or wet rags to localize heat. 

Can you cut it with a file? If so it's good. 

Frosty The Lucky.

I keep the bucket of water near the forge to wet the coal. The guy I bought it from told me to keep it damp if I didn’t want my whole forge on fire. 
 

I can cut it easily with a file. 

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Good, then don't worry about tempering it again, it's soft.

You can cut an axle with a hack saw. Wire brush the dirt, rust, etc. off where you're going to cut, grit will dull a saw blade quickly. Remember apply gentle down pressure on the blade on the forward stroke and lift slightly on the back stroke. Saw teeth only cut one direction, putting pressure on them when they're going the wrong way rolls the teeth and they stop cutting.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I totally hear you, but a sharp blade, a steady pace, and low downpressure will make it -- well, if not a pleasure, at least tolerable.

If you have to force a hacksaw, you need to change the blade.

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The only reason you don't like a hack saw is maybe not knowing how to use it properly?

You guys and your angle grinder cut off wheels give me the willies. I've never heard of a worse injury from a hacksaw than a barked knuckle. No: cuttings, chips or fragments embedded in eyes, faces or bone AFTER going THROUGH a face shield. I've never heard of a hacksaw blade exploding and embedding parts of the blade in bystanders. Nor have I heard of a hacksaw battery pack going dead before a cut was finished. I don't even know how many fresh new hacksaw blades I can carry for the weight of ONE charged battery pack and if you're carrying an extra. 

Using Thomas's bowsaw with bandsaw blades a 2 1/2" axle would take maybe 30-45 SECONDS to cut. You can cut spring steel with a bimetal blade. 

It's up to you of course. I've stated my experienced based opinion, I'm not going to argue with you.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I've greatly surprised a bunch of people at how superior hand powered tools can be: faster, more powerful and QUIET!  I also don't like hefting battery packs, I much prefer corded tools for my powered ones.  One of the issues with hacksaws is that many folks buy the cheapest blades---the imported "break if you look at them funny" ones and so never find out that a good blade in a good saw can be awesome!

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