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I Forge Iron

determining carbon content

Ted D. Noland

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Down an dirty test, heat a piece to non magnetic, quench in oil. When quenched, see if a file will cut it. If the file just skates, the steel is quite high in carbon content but determining the actual carbon content is impossible.

You can determine what the scrap was in it's original life, spring, axle etc, then consult the junkyard steel list to see what material the part was made from. Once that has been determined, you can look up that steel and see the actual carbon content along with other alloy materials that were added to the steel. Keep in mind that an item such as a spring can be made from several different materials, i.e. 1095 or 5160, which have different carbon contents.

There is a method of spark testing that will tell you also and a blueprint on this site of what various steels look like when spark tested, but it can be difficult for a beginner to use.

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Welcome aboard Ted.

If it's an important project buy new stock and be sure of it's qualities.

If you'll click on "User CP" at the top of the page and edit your profile to show your location you'll find all the folk who live close enough to visit.


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