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I Forge Iron

lathe tools for steel

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there is an old second hand tool shop near where I live and luckily there are thousands of files there but the other day I saw some old lathe tools there now these seem pretty high carbon steel but I was wondering if it would be too brittle for the purpose of knife making (is that possible?) or would it be just right?

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This steel is a very high alloy steel(M classification). It contains high carbon,chromium, tungsten and cobalt. It is meant to hold an edge even at elevated temperatures (1200+ F) at the working edge and still remain sharp. It is extremely difficult to forge, with a very tight tolerance in heat range when forging. If you overheat it will crumble under the hammer and if too cold it will split. I have made carving knives for wood carving from then but the blades are kept under three inch max in length. They air harden up to 65-67 RC. They can be sharpened to a razor edge and maintain that sharpness when carving for a long time.

I would NOT recommend this for normal knives nor would I recommend someone who has not worked any of the alloy tools steels before to attempt to work with it. It requires very specific heating methods to heat it for forging in the first place and as stated before forges in a very narrow temp. range. Heat treating this still also requires very specific heating and cooling methods and requires a very high triple temper after hardening. Not recommended for inexperienced people at all.


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