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I Forge Iron

Grain Structure


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Im not 100% sure on what I am looking at, so hoping some you experts could provide your wisdom.

How do the grains look in this? This was a "knife" i was working on practicing heat treat. It seems to have been hardened since it very easily snapped.

Tried taking as good a picture as I could.

16251821787752875472228984832628.jpg

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Grain is a little larger than I like to see on mine.  Not the worst, but you need to work on your normalization a bit to get it down further IMHO.  You have something that looks like 120 grit sandpaper, you should be closer to 250-400, no shiny glinting or irregular sizes.

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It might just be the picture, but the grains look a little smaller at the spine than they do by the edge. Be careful not to overheat the thin sections while you're coming up to temperature.

If you're looking for a good reference for (nearly) ideal grain size, break an old and/or worn out file and take a look at the grains. They are just like Latticino describes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I see. I thought the grains may have been a bit too large as I did not really normalize it. I have been making knife like objects and trying to harden them just to get the method down. Suppose not normalizing somewhat defeated the purpose of practicing though.

On a side note, I left my anvil out over the week and it rained and boy did that thing rust up quickly.

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Ha, yes that does kind of defeat the point of practicing your heat treatment considering that is a rather important step in the process. On the bright side, now you have a nice comparison between normalized and not.

I hear you there, back when my setup was mostly outside I would often come back out the next day and there would surface rust on everything. A little hot steel clears things up quick.

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When I was forging out under the tree in the backyard; I had to carry everything up from the basement and return it down to the basement each time.  Bad neighborhood!  Carrying the 91# anvil across the kitchen and up/down the rickety basement stairs after a day of forging was one reason I know have a lockable steel building for my shop. 

Paint the base and oil the face!

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It typically stays in the shed/shop and doesn't move (intentionally), but it has been so hot that I did not want to work in there so dragged it all outside and kind of just left it there. Thankfully I live in a nice area and don't have to worry about it wandering off.

On the note of moving it outside, we had a wedding event over the 4th of July weekend that took place in our backyard (neighbors got married). Before all the festivities started, I decided to make a few hooks and man, all the kids that were showing up were absolutely ENTHRALLED by what I was doing. By the end, I had a crowd of probably 8 kids and a few adults watching me make hooks. 

With great supervision, even let some of the older ones take some swings. I am by no means versed enough to teach anyone anything in regards to forging, but it was fun blowing their minds showing them how to make one.

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Many kids today haven't made any "tangible" items that will last till they can show *their* grand kids what they did as a kid.  Good that you showed them someone *MAKING* something that's not on a screen!

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I have managed to get good enough at making them that I can smash out a hook in probably 20ish or so minutes and in only a few heats. I have quite the supply of them hanging in the shop, so I managed to give any quite a few of them over the weekend. Kids thought it was awesome to have one. Showed them the knife shown in the picture BEFORE it was snapped, which then prompted them to ask if I had seen that show Forged in Fire and had been on it :lol:. I think I broke their hearts when I said I was nowhere near good enough to do something like that.

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