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  #1  
Old 06-01-2003, 08:30 AM
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MongoForge MongoForge is offline
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Question Thoughts??

Something i read on another forum
regarding scrounged steel!
Not my thoughts! So dont throw sharp pointy
things at me

The type or source of the steel you get really matters very little.

I can hear the howls starting even before I hit the submit button.

Here is my reasoning. As long as the steel is reasonably thick it can be manipulated in the forge. The carbon level can be changed by the forging methods employed. True you will not be able to create some super stainless ultimate do everything steel. But any reasonable steel will make an adiquate knife.


The real make or break in knife quality will be the heat treating that is used. This is what realy determains the cutting ability and ease oe difficulty in sharpening. You also need to balance this with toughness.

The harder the blade is the longer it will hold the edge. But also make it more difficult to sharpen. In addition the harder it is the more brittle it usually becomes. If it is to soft we are talking butter knives.

One thing to concider is differential heat treating. This gives a hard edge area for cutting but a relatively soft spine which minimizes the chance of breaking.

With good heat treating even poor quality steel can make a functional knife. With poor heat treating even the most super wiz bang ultra deluxe steel alloy will be junk.


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  #2  
Old 06-01-2003, 09:48 AM
birdog4 birdog4 is offline
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Mong I'd have to agree with that with one big "if". If ya have enough material to play around with to find a proper heat-treat. if ya don't do the testing, a lot of labor can go down the drain.
By the time I have made a half dozen knives from a 52" saw blade , I pretty much know how it's gotta be worked. I'd rather do that many first and see what works, then have all the rest to get serious with. Besides, it's fun doing destructive tests and seeing just how much they will take.
I started doin' destructive testing over the winter. The first was accidental. I chopped the head off a deer with a skinning knife and plastic mallet. It chipped where it shouldn't have and got me to thinking. I then took a blade from a series forged from a coil spring and did the vice bend. Now, each new batch of salvaged steel gets the "treatment".
Gives ya a good idea what it will and won't do. bruce


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  #3  
Old 06-03-2003, 12:44 PM
paul harm paul harm is offline
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sorry, i don't agree. the cost of known steel is rather small compared to the finished knife. i know how to heat treat 5160, 1084, and 01 and that's what i stick to other than an occasional file. also, someone would have to teach me how to add carbon to steel [ other than case hardening]. i'm not against anyone who likes to use scrap steel- just can't see spending a lot of time testing, when the cost of good known steel is so reasonable. to each his own- happy hammering. paul
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  #4  
Old 06-03-2003, 01:06 PM
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Sweany Sweany is offline
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Man I love this debate!!!

We have this one ever so often.

The answer is *Yes.

It makes sense to us scrounged steel and it makes sense to use new steel only!

My reasoning is:

1. learning
a. you learn how to heat treat with out specs on several kinds of steel. From which comes intuition I think this helps when you are working with known steel., and something crops up unexpected like. a Problem occurs, recent experience gives you some knowledge for these occasions.

b. Working with known steel gives you intimate knwoledge of what it needs to be as good as it can be.

2. availability, and sentimentalism

I have a pile of leaf springs some are RR car springs I have some RR track. I can't buy new, this steel. The new stuff doesn't have the romance involved in it.

a. The junk, gives me stock to work with when I want to "TRY" something.

b. I made a letter opener for my Wife from n old bridle bit I found when her Dad's barn burnt down. It was wrought iron, and I stamped her Dad's initial's in the blade as remembarnce of Him.
that little letter opener is always on her desk and it could not be made from new steel.

3. Making blades for a living.

a.Old steel has sentimentality. Remeber the knife made from pieces of the WOrld Trade Towers.

b. New steel has reliabilty. I don't have to work up a heat treat plan for each batch of stuff I have. Least of course the mill run was a little "off" Like the 5160 ever so often has inclusions. Then my experience with old steel comes into play.

My.02



* opinions given are for informational and amusment purposes only


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  #5  
Old 06-03-2003, 01:50 PM
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MaxTheKnife MaxTheKnife is offline
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So far, I haven't found the need to work hard enough to try and add carbon content to unknown steel. The scrap or 'recycled' steel I use is all known to me because I've used it all before. Like what Sweany said. I know how it's going to behave in a knife blade. Besides, if the new steel from the steel mills dry up tomorrow I would be able to make knives till I'm too old to do it any more with all the good recycled steel I have stockpiled. I don't buy steel much anymore because I can forge good knives with what I have. The only exception is different widths of 1084 once a year or so.

So, I agree to disagree with that fellow's observations. A good scrounger knows his steels. Oh, once in a while I'll use some steel I have no idea what it is but can make an educated guess by forging on it a bit. I just used the splined end of a 1 1/2" John Deere PTO shaft for a hawk head and it turned out great. If I was a guessing man I'd say it was 4140 or 4150 because it hardened up real nice and was difficult to move on the anvil even with my big 4 lb. shop hammer. So it must have some alloying agents in it of some kind. It made a great tomahawk head and that's for sure and for certain. I'm going to try and post a pic later once I figger it out.
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  #6  
Old 06-03-2003, 01:57 PM
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DiamondG Knives DiamondG Knives is offline
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I tend to agree on both sides.

When Im making cable damascus, it's usually scrounged.

When Im making a straight steel hunter for a customer, It's Kelly Cupples 1084, or 1095.

RR spike knives while not a true using knife makes up 20% of the knives i make. Why? Because I can sell them! They are scrounged.

My neck knives are usually 52100 or O-1 made from drops I got from a machine shop. These may be a little of both! I know the steel content, but they were scrounged!

If it is going to be a "new" project Im trying for the first time, Ill usually use scrounged steel cause Im not 100% sure of muy abilities as of yet.

Oh and lets not forget chainsaw chains!! (sorry Max) They are certinly scrounged, and somthing that most folks couldnt find another use for!! And it makes some beautiful steel!

Just my ramblings......... Take them for what they are worth!

Mike


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Old 06-03-2003, 10:19 PM
paul harm paul harm is offline
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guess i should add a little more. if someone wanted a knife made from a steel for sentimel reason, fine. or say a buckskinner wanted one from a file, ok. but if i'm going to make a couple of knives to show and sell, my perferred method is to use a known steel. the heat treat is known without spending time experminting getting it right. start with a good steel heat treated right, and you get a knife to stake your reputation on. something you can guarantee without second thoughts. if new steel cost too much, you're not charging enough for your knives. the customer is actually paying for your material- not you. i pay 60 or 80 bucks for a piece of oosic, that's how much extra i charge. my extra 2 cents. paul
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  #8  
Old 06-03-2003, 10:44 PM
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Crex Crex is offline
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I use mostly scrounged steel because I believe in recycling and I have very good sources of known quality. I forge because I love it and that's that! I test all my blades and have learned some valuable lessons from both good and poor choices. I still love it! I don't have to sell so I don't weigh that in (for me). I make what I like and don't make what I don't like. I don't seem to have very many in reserve at anyone time and I'm happy about that although I hate to see 'em leave.
If I were making a living at bladesmithing I would probably lean more toward the bought supply but I would sure hate to see all that good "old" steel hit a scrap bin (I'm starting to get a little long in the tooth myself).
Never saw where re-carbing would be all that glorious an undertaking, but then there are those that melt their own sand, God bless 'em. You really got to want that!
I say put what you got in the dragon's mouth and have a wack at it!
Crex


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  #9  
Old 06-03-2003, 10:54 PM
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MaxTheKnife MaxTheKnife is offline
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Paul, a man's reputation is staked more on his performance than on the quality of the steel he uses. If you don't make the steel yourself, you really can't stake your reputation on it can you? If I deliver a knife that fails guess what? I investigate the problem and replace it. That's where my reputation lies. Not in how much I charge for steel or oosic. But how well I react when my best wasn't good enough.
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  #10  
Old 06-04-2003, 04:59 AM
birdog4 birdog4 is offline
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Lotsa good points on both sides.
One thing that bothers me about the proponents of new stock is how often I hear someone bitchn' about problems with this company's stock or that compnay' stock. And that's just on the couple of boards I frequent.
So new stock can still be an unknown.
Salvage(springs, sawblade, shaft material) has already been work tested and is available because it's outdated , wore out, or it broke.


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  #11  
Old 06-04-2003, 07:40 AM
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I aggre with Paul on the production end.

Some of those Guys like Loveless and Howard Clark buy knife steel by the ton. Howard Clark is the Guy that had a mill run a modified 1084. He too the whole batch. I ferget exactly how much steel it was , But I remember he had enough for his lifetime and his Son's. WOW.

Course then again we get into "styles" If your style is recycled steel or new steel or 50/50 or 60/40 and you don't wanna change it, don't!

Friend of mine gave me a dozen or so New RR spikes awhile back, he works for a company that makes em.

I like Friends



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  #12  
Old 06-04-2003, 08:02 AM
paul harm paul harm is offline
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max, my reputation is not on how much i charge- i was just pointing out that you don't pay for material, the customer does. i think everyone who forges does testing, if new or old steel is used. it's just to my way of thinking- if you start with a known steel [ 1084 or 5160] then you know what you'll end up with. my reputation is a good knife- not price. is it fun to scroung and make knives- yes. but if i'm going to ask a man to part with his hard earned money for one of my knives, then i like to tell them what it is [ 1084,5160,01] and stand behind it. i can do that if i know what it is. i don't sell knives for a living, make what i want, and if nobody wants one that's ok. i just like to know what i'm selling. paul
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