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I Forge Iron

Claying a blade


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I'm going to list what I've learned about it so far and if sometime would kindly tell me In wrong and how it should go I'd appreciate it.

Take clay or refractory cement, type unknown, goo it into the blade's spine.  Heat the blade to desired quenching temp and quench.

Things I'm not quite sure about but I can't find the info;  I'm going to cycle the blade several times,  do I clay it for this?

Unknowns; not sure.

Once I'm done forging and grinding I'll be posting some pictures of this project.   I'm wanting to really push my skills here and I want to keep it kind of close to the vest.

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Hate to break it to you, but quenching is a type of thermocycling; did you mean normalize it several times and then quench harden it?

5160 is pretty deep  hardening; what are you trying to accomplish with claying the blade vs a differential quench and or a differential temper?

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Still getting used to some of the terminology.   I thought thermocycling prior to quenching was itself a separate process and normalizing was used prior to working but now I realize I'm thinking of annealing for that.   I am going to try making an arming sword and wanted to plan ahead for heat treating.  I was considering doing a clayed spine on it.   I want to keep the spine nice and soft. 

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If you're still at the point of figuring out the terminology, you are NOT ready to make a sword! Start with knives and work your way up!

(Also, aren't arming swords typically double-edged and thus don't have a spine to keep soft?)

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With 5160 and a double edge I would do a differential temper rather than a differential harden. However as John has mentioned if you are just starting out---work on things that you only lose a weekend when they fail and not *months*.  This seems like someone asking how to manage a tricky bit in a Formula 1 race and then ask how to start the car...

It would be a good idea to use the same alloy to practice as you will be using for the sword though so that you get used to how it works and heat treats.  Luckily 5160 is easily found.

"Thermo Cycling" just means changing the temperature over a cycle and so describes pretty much  ALL heat treating steps!  Some folks use it sloppily but that's rather like armourers using the term annealing when they actually are normalizing!

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Pardon me JHCC, terminology is the trickiest part of this hobby for me so far.  So I was planning on normalizing 3 times before I quench the blade, which will be tricky enough, but if I plan on claying the blade to help keep the central ridge of the blade soft.  But I do plan on grinding in a fuller so is that a waste of time and effort?  

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Normalizing is done to refine the grain size---a good thing in any blade alloy that allows it!

Why grind in a fuller; why not forge one in?  Making a spring swage to use helps a lot.

5160 is NOT a good alloy to try to do a differential harden on ESPECIALLY if it's your first go at one!

Have you decided what distal taper you plan to use?

Have you read any of Hrisoulas' books?  He covers sword making in them: "The Complete Bladesmith. The Master Bladesmith, The Pattern-Welded Blade".

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I have not read the book,  I'll try to find it on that place that they named a river after.  I have a smaller spring filter I had made but the truth is I started with s piece b of v steel that is way too wide and I'm working it down to the width I wanted.  Part of this was intentional so that I could get a nice ridge and pay off it was born of inexperience when it comes to estimating  material needs.  I know that this blade, much like me,  needs to lose a (lot) bit of weight and grinding in a fuller in this case will help me meet the goal.  On my next blade I will go with narrower starting stock so I don't work as hard.

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Back in the 70's and 80's I had a friend who was a professional swordmaker and a member of the Knifemaker's Guild.  He had a saying that "Every Knifemaker makes at least one sword; most never make another!"

Swordmaking is a poor way to learn the craft because by the time you are ready to make another; you don't have all the things you learned making the last one handy to be dug a little deeper into your mind.  Nice to make your mistakes with a fast turn around time!

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I do plenty of that as well.  I'm in the shop 4 days a week making mistakes.  I've got a very nice start on a dagger that made me think I needed the matching blade.   That one I was smart enough to start with the correct width.   To answer your earlier question I plan on being about a quarter inch at the base of the blade droping to a hair under an 8th 3 inches from the tip.  Width at the base is going to be 2 and a quarter and narrowing 4 inches down for a very aggressive point on the blade.  Unlike my little short sword I made, I have a much clearer plan of what I want to do here. 

IMG_20211002_191634_574.webp

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20 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

"Every Knifemaker makes at least one sword; most never make another!"

I got mine out of the way with a display-only decorative piece in unhardenable wrought iron!

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I somehow seem to get the impression that I have upset you when I misspoke and want Ashmore to clearly articulate my question and thoughts, my apologies. The process of learning is always a bit rough, but as much as one may read of the process, the nomenclature,  and the techniques one must eventually kick the training wheels off and, as has been said in so many times, just do it.  It may seem I'm stumbling in blindly but the questions I ask are about things I am having genuine difficulty locating the answers to and thought best to ask.  What better way to learn than asking in a location that has huge amounts of experience?  

To me this is a progression, I've been working on more daggers of late and have vastly improved my abilities at hammering in bevels,  heat treating, balancing, drawing out the steel, and guard designs.  I have a strong desire to push myself hard on developing my abilities.  

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What better way?  One on One training with an expert!   I was once called in by a Professor of Metallurgy whose son was forging a gladius for a school project, (private school).  I was able to troubleshoot the problems with their set up and get them back on track in about 15 minutes. The Dad had a PhD in Metallurgy; but little to no experience in hands on forging using "privative equipment". On the other hand when I need metallurgical help, I drop by his office at the University.

THIS is what I was reacting to: "I'm actually doing this as an extra credit assignment for my history class in high school.   I've just been procrastinating for 28 years."

It may have been 28 years ago; but the original "extra credit" proposal should have been refused by the Instructor as It was not so much a learning experience as a "waste a lot of time failing" experience.  Perhaps a research paper on swords would have provided both a worthwhile learning experience and something within the capabilities of such a student.

I am currently working with a University Bladesmithing Club trying to offer lessons in how to work metal at forging temps and accomplish things.  Instead of "Here is a piece of metal, a pair of tongs and a hammer, pound it into a blade".   Last week one member made their first bottle opener learning a lot of things doing it.  We'll see what happens tonight.  I've given them the option to request I not participate in the club and once I have electricity in my shop it sure would be a more effective use of my time to just work in my shop!

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Sorry Thomas. I meant that as a follow up joke to your's and JHCC's banter and make light of my own shortcomings but it obviously came across totally wrong.  Not what I intended.   

Every chance I get, I go to functions, we have UMBA here but they cover a very large area.  I am working to develop contacts in my area to learn from and go to for resources.  That has been a bigger challenge for me here than anything else and why I try to follow this forum so closely.  There are many articles and discussions on here that I read that lead me to delving into many other aspects or I see something I want to try.  Jennifer posting her competition piece made me want to try it and with the related pictures I was able to get some semblance of it for a first attempt.

Other articles leave me totally perplexed and oddly enough I am reluctant to ask questions because everyone else seems to completely understand it.  The articles on the states of crystallization of the iron atoms and being carbon centered, face centered, or whatever the third was is a fine example.  

One thing I can tell you is that I learn best by doing,  observing, and asking.

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When joining in the puns and banter it's best to keep the quips short. It's too easy to confuse several paragraph long jokes with serious questions. Long strings of puns in one sentence takes the joke right out. Not that that's what you were doing but it's the same thing and effect.

I'm with you on the carbon atom position in steel molecules thing. Explanations tend to lose me quickly and it's not important enough for what I do to gain the base knowledge necessary to get a good handle on it. I've seen questions about it asked in many places and the explanations tend to be slightly reworded repeats and I'm not crazy enough to learn much from repeats of explanations I didn't understand the first few times. Not their problem and so far not mine.

Frosty The Lucky.

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