View Full Version : CPM-3v Forging?

03-03-2004, 03:03 AM
I was just curious if cpm-3v is okay to forge. By okay I mean does forging take away from its qualities or would it harm the integrity of the steel? Also what are some opinions on it compared to other steels? Thanx for yer time.


Jerry Hossom
03-03-2004, 07:52 PM
There have been a number of comments concerning 3V on this forum. You might want to do a search to find some of them. Personally, I think it's great steel.

3V has been forged, though that's about as much as I know on the subject. I spoke with Dick Barber, Crucible Steel VP, at the recent SHOT show about this, and when I asked him "why forge 3V" his response was that it was strictly a manufacturing issue in his opinion. Forging high quality blades is more efficient than machining and grinding high quality blades. Nothing is "gained" by forging from the standpoint of performance. The steel is forged as it comes from the factory, and the grain structure is already very fine and uniform, carbides in the 1-2 micron range.

I'm sure the steel can be harmed. When you mess with something that's about as good as it gets, most change will be in the wrong direction. I guess I'll ask you the same question I asked Dick. Why?

03-04-2004, 01:48 AM
Honestly mainly cause I'm learning to forge. I like the romance of it ya know. There is something about the idea of heating steel to a glowing heat then pouring your soul into it with a hammer. As for the 3v I just read that it was a great steel for blades. I use knives alot and can appreciate a good blade... I also kinda like the idea of less file time..:D ... Thanx for taking the time to post back.


03-05-2004, 01:23 PM
Honestly, I think Jerry summed it up. You CAN forge 3V, but why mess with success? Not to mention the fact that you are going to be in for a lot of hard work forging that stuff. Even Bailey Bradshaw(who has forged a blade out of 3V) admitted that it was a lot of most likely unneccesary work, and that he only did it because he wanted to see if he could do it. He must have been really bored one day. :)

03-11-2004, 05:35 PM
You can definitely forge a 3V blade, having done so...once...I can attest to the fact that it can be done.........but having done it, I could never get the blade sufficiently hard with the furnace or the forge with air, water or oil. So in essence I took a great piece of steel and reduced it to a POS just like that.:(

Whatever romantic notions I had at the time about forging this new material merely caused alot of anxiety and wasted time.

( Though Don't let anyone ever tell you that you can't do something in this biz.;) )


PS I think my forging was a detriment to the steel, don't know why exactly but that was my impression.........

Keith Montgomery
03-28-2004, 08:25 PM
Actually, when I discussed this with Bailey Bradshaw he stated that he thought that there probably were some small benefits to be gained from forging 3V. Here are his comments on the possible improvements that forging 3V could have. In the first quote he is talking about a 3V hunter that he forged. Notice that in one example in the second quote he clearly emphasizes the words could and might.

I will say that this blade was more difficult to grind and finish at the same hardness than any of the hundreds of other 3-V blades I have made.

If I had to guess at the forging improving the steel in any way, it would be twofold. One would be aligning the grain flow with the blade's shape. Another MIGHT be the increased time at sub critical heat COULD have aided in forming more carbide structure. 3-V is an air hardening steel, and requires 30 min. or more soak time at 1975 degrees. More soak time on these steels usually equates to higher hardness due to more carbide formation. It's the only explanation I can come up with to give reason for the difficulty in grinding and finishing.

Jerry Hossom
03-29-2004, 08:22 PM
My guess is that the heating to critical or near there and cooling while forging resulted in carbide growth - size, not necessarily quantity. S30V is much more difficult to finish grind than 3V; it's not a better steel. Do you know the hardness he achieved?

C L Wilkins
04-24-2004, 09:35 AM
Although I haven't attempted to forge 3V I have spoken with those that did.

Their impression to a person...the stuff doesn't move under the hammer, it took over 30 heats to forge some semblance of a knife and they didn't end up with anything much better than what they would have by stock removal, if any better at all.

If someone were really interested, just heat cycle a blade made out of 3V about 30 times and you may have the same effect if there is any benefit at all from forging this particular steel other than possible grain alignment. Then heat treat it.

In my book, it isn't worth the time. You will spend more time forging then grinding this steel than if you were just going to do stock removal on it in the first place.


Gary Mulkey
04-24-2004, 11:28 AM
I would tend to believe as Jerry said that there was probably carbide growth with the repeated heatings. Also, 3V doesn't have any grain direction so you can't redirect grain direction by forging as with most steels.

I am always for experimenting but in this case I believe that it's a futile one. When a steel is engineered to be a cold work steel then there is probably a reason for that.