Chris Waldon

Tips for the new guy

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I'm a brand new bladesmith who has wanted to go into the craft for years but has never had the equipment or money. now I have a little of both and could use some advice. what kind of steel should i use, where should i get it, if the diameter of the actual burning area of my forge is about five inches how large is the maximum size blade that i can manufacture. If you can help me w/ any or all of these i would really appreciate it.

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I am kind of a new guy as well :) but I will pass on the advice given to me by the smiths that I work with, the best place for some good steel cheep is junkyards, broken, damaged or just old leaf springs off of vehicles are very good steel; however they do take a bit of work to get them into manageable stock. for mild steels and occasionally some good stuff try and get in touch with any machine shops in your area, and see if the have any scrap that you can take. Hope this helps

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starting out you will ruin a few, so junkyard does keep the cost down during your learning curve, but junkyard is a crap shoot as to what you get, even when we think an item is one kind of a steel, we are often surprised.

As for blade size, as large as you can hold, as I only hammer a small section at a time. Its the heat treating after ward that needs a larger heat source. I have been able to harden up to18 inch blades in a fire pot before I have to use the 36 inch long gasser.

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springs make decent first knives but... ive had um have fractures in them that didnt apear till after hardening... good quality steel isnt that expencive ..and if you make a really nice knife and have it break because your steel was used you will not be happy...there are lots of places that sell carbon steels .Admiral Steel - Knife & Sword Blade Steels these guys sell knife steel and there are many others .. good luck! oho and you can make any leingth knife with your forge but hardening.....

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Chris, send me a message with your email address and I will send you a bunch of material I have gathered over the years on various knife steels, it also contains a pretty good junkyard steel list. Old springs are good knife stock but keep in mind that when the junkyard steel list says they are a particular steel, that means when the list was made they were that kind of steel so it is a bit of a crap shoot as Steve said. I have had a few knives and a couple swords break after hardening but I am thinking it was more likely a flaw the smith that caused the problem rather than a flaw in the steel. It is easy to stress crack the steel by working it too cold. this site will give you some good information on proper forging temperatures for various steels. Click on Property data at the top left and then on the type of steel for instance tool steels to birng up a list of tool steels, then clck on the particular steel you want info on. Principal Metals Good Luck

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