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Heat Treating and Metallurgy Discussion of heat treatment and metallurgy in knife making.

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  #1  
Old 11-12-2012, 03:41 PM
bworldwide bworldwide is offline
 
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why is copper not used in knives so much?

I love copper and would like to use it more often in my knives.

The past couple of folders I have done got copper shields and even some copper handle rivets. I recently bought some small copper sheets to make liners for my next folders.

But I have become aware of the concept of galvanic corrosion. Is this the reason that copper is not used in conjunction with steel or other metals? I thought this would only be a major problem if it is used with aluminum in an electric setting.

I want to make some guards for fixed blade carbon steel knives from copper as well.

Can anyone shed light here? Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 11-12-2012, 04:41 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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I think that the main reason is that it's a rather soft metal that will scratch up rather badly. I have seen more than one maker use copper for blade furniture, though , and it looked rather good.

Doug


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  #3  
Old 11-12-2012, 06:14 PM
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If you want that deeper color, try going for real bronze. The closest you'll find to traditional tin/copper bronze is phosphur bronze. It's hard to find and not cheap, but its MUCH harder and tougher than brass and you can't beat the color. I cast my own but its very time consuming to do.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:00 PM
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DwaneOliver DwaneOliver is offline
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I've heard you can harden copper too.
The guy was telling me to heat it and let it cool slowly and it will harden it , IDK , I haven't tried it yet.
He said to soften it you quench it in water , just the opposite of steel.

I do know it work hardens , hit it with a hammer.


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Old 11-12-2012, 08:44 PM
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bushings are made from copper and need to be fairly hard to withstand the heat of friction ,, I E Crank and cam shaft bearings on some cars, and military vehicles as well use it in many places so yea it can be hardened .

Sam


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Old 11-13-2012, 09:19 AM
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Eli Jensen Eli Jensen is offline
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When copper is heated to cherry red, it resets the crystalline structure. Quenching it has nothing to do with annealing it, it is only done so you can handle it sooner. Quenching it or letting it air cool has the same effect. When this crystalline structure is shattered, the copper work hardens. This is why hammering it, bending it back and forth, or even burnishing it will work harden it. As far as I know this is the only way to harden copper. The same principle is true for copper alloys and also silver and maybe gold, but I'm not sure about other non ferrous metals.

Work hardening copper does get it much harder than soft copper. But thats relative. Annealed copper is almost like solder. But work hardened brass is ALWAYS going to be harder than work hardened copper, and work hardened tin bronze is ALWAYS going to be harder than both.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:39 AM
bworldwide bworldwide is offline
 
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thanks.

I have used copper from pennies and from other old copper sheet to make shields for penknives and I like the way it looks.

I usually gently heat it, then hammer it out on the anvil to thin it down prior to final shaping on the sander.

I have found that if you hammer it to thin it, it is reasonably scratch resistant in the pocket. But, like any other NS shield, it will dull up with fine scratches over time, and of course, it will darken from the atmosphere. But that's why I like it...
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:37 AM
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Eli Jensen Eli Jensen is offline
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PM my your address, I'll see if I can send you some little pieces of bronze and see if you like that. Tin bronze is as hard as iron so maybe that'll help.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:53 AM
Imakethings Imakethings is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bworldwide View Post
thanks.

I have used copper from pennies and from other old copper sheet to make shields for penknives and I like the way it looks.

I usually gently heat it, then hammer it out on the anvil to thin it down prior to final shaping on the sander.

I have found that if you hammer it to thin it, it is reasonably scratch resistant in the pocket. But, like any other NS shield, it will dull up with fine scratches over time, and of course, it will darken from the atmosphere. But that's why I like it...
If it's the specific patina that you like from the copper I can help with that in both brass and bronze, just let me know what color you want and I'll tell you how to oxidize it.
If it's the particular dark oily gold color you can replicate that with vegetable oil and a blowtorch, basically it's the same method for seasoning your cast iron frying pans. Heat the metal a bit, brush on oil, apply indirect heat till it smokes. Go slow and wipe off the excess to check your color.

If I don't know there is a hobby forum over on www.finishing.com that will likely have your answer.
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  #10  
Old 11-13-2012, 01:50 PM
bworldwide bworldwide is offline
 
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thanks to everyone for their input. this is a very helpful forum.

not only do I like the color of copper, but I like the way it feels when you touch it better than the way brass feels. I can't really pinpoint what it is about it, perhaps just a preference.

I also know that at one point several years ago I became acquainted with lots of Craftsman-style metal work and the predominant metal in that genre is copper. Hammered copper to be specific, but you do see lots of plain copper there as well.

the relatively rarity of copper in the genre of modern production folders (at least American ones) has caused me to see a real value is working with it, if for no other reason than the uniqueness of it.
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  #11  
Old 11-13-2012, 11:37 PM
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Eli Jensen Eli Jensen is offline
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I agree. I like copper a lot too. I think brass is a gross and disgusting metal and I've disowned it. Personal opinion, though
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:18 PM
bworldwide bworldwide is offline
 
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Hey Eli, I'd like to take you up on that, but I can't PM you.
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  #13  
Old 11-15-2012, 01:35 PM
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Eli Jensen Eli Jensen is offline
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Ok hit me up on facebook www.facebook.com/elijensenknives or my email elijensen@elijensenknives.com
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Old 05-03-2016, 05:09 AM
alfredalfred alfredalfred is offline
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But I have become aware of the concept of galvanic corrosion. Is this the reason that copper is not used in conjunction with steel or other metals? I thought this would only be a major problem if it is used with aluminum in an electric setting???



waleeed
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  #15  
Old 05-03-2016, 08:02 AM
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Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
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I once made a copper knife by hammering it for a work-hardened structure.
It was actually a replica of an Egyptian blade used in the mummification process.
It was all good until I used a propane torch to give it an artificial patina. It turned soft as butter.

I use brass pins from time to time when I want to keep the browns of a nice wood handle as visually 'warm' as I can. Brass guards and bolsters can sometimes make a knife look garish and gaudy if not done sparingly and tastefully, but I have done that too--and recently.

Aren't opinions fun?!


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