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

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  #1  
Old 02-04-2006, 02:47 AM
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Teknition Teknition is offline
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Question forging railroad track

Sorry if this is a dumb question, I'm new to the forging/blacksmithing scene.

I've read on the forum that railroad track spikes can be made into various items like knives but they have a low carbon content.
Ive done a search for "railroad track" and havent found any discussion on it.
Is the track itself suitable for forging into items such as knives?
I did a google search of track composition and this is what I've found:

"Standard steel rail has composition 0.72-0.82%C, 0.8-1.1%Mn, 0.1-0.6%Si or more variable manganese if Ni, Cr, Mo and V are added. Frogs and crossing diamonds are cast from austenitic manganese steel (minimum 12%Mn, maximum 0.07%P) for hard surface and tough body."

From what I've read on here the carbon content in the rail is in the right ballpark for a decent knife but I'm not sure if anything else in the mix would make it unsuitable.

If the track isn't suitable for knives , are there some other handy things that can be made from it besides a small anvil?

Tek
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  #2  
Old 02-23-2006, 04:52 PM
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Almost 100 views in 3 weeks and no replys?
Did I post in the wrong section? Is this question beneath the metalogical wizards?
Tek
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  #3  
Old 02-26-2006, 03:55 PM
John Frankl John Frankl is offline
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It is a bummer when no one answers

You are correct about railroad rail--Howard Clark, I believe, posted once that it is roughly equivalent to 1080. You would, however, have alot of work in preparing it. I live in Korea and have seen smiths use it for axes and other cutting tools. They first flame cut the top of the rail off of the web and base (which they do not use). They then use a power hammer to forge the top portion of the rail into usable shapes. Paul Chen also made his first swords using rail (he now imports steel from Sweden).

I do not think there is anything in the rail, per se, that makes it unusable, BUT with recycled materials there are always risks/unknowns/variables. Unless you like all the prep work and all the risks, it is probably much better in terms of time, money, quality to use new steel for which you have mill specs.

Hope this helps,

John Frankl


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Old 02-26-2006, 06:25 PM
Tony Graves Tony Graves is offline
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Teknition

Check out this thread in the outpost. It may help.

http://www.knifenetwork.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=32481

Tony
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  #5  
Old 02-28-2006, 12:14 AM
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John, thank you for the informative reply.
I was beginning to think I'd posted a question in a ghost forum. I almost gave up monitoring this thread to check for replies.

I have access to a pretty much unlimited supply of track or new spikes so I figured one of the two would be a good place to start out pounding hot steel. I've read that the spikes only have .30 to .60 carbon content in the good ones that are stamped HC so i was just wondering why no one used the track itself if the carbon content was around .80 which seems acceptable as far a descent blade steel.

I don't have a forge yet or any of the other tools I'll need to start but as soon as I'm finished building my new garage (just interior left -drywall cabinets etc) I'm planning on making a gas forge and a hydraulic press so getting the track to shape shouldnt be too much of a chore.

I'm curious as to why they dont use the web or the base of the track. Is the carbon content different in these sections or is it just because you get a larger chunk to work with if you only use the top of the rail?


Tony, thank you for posting the link to the spike tutorial.
Theres some cool work happening there and it will be one thread I'll be keeping an eye on for sure. Tai Goo is quite a master when it comes to making wild looking RR spike knives and the others in the thread are doing some great work too. I wish I had a forge already set up so I could join in the fun. Hopefully I'll get to start building some smithing tools soon.

Tek
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Old 04-11-2006, 11:23 PM
Stormcrow Stormcrow is offline
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If you can get your hands on some of the dome-headed bolts that they use to connect sections of track with, I've been told that you can treat it pretty much like 5160. It'd be better than spikes and easier to forge than the thick rails.

As always with scrap steel, your mileage may vary, and it's a good idea to do some basic testing with the steel before you invest too much time in it.


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Old 04-12-2006, 09:28 PM
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You just want some good forge fodder that's easier to work with, pick up the big lock washers that go with the bolts mentioned above. It's obvious that they are made of spring steel - application, application, application. They are supposed to be 1084 series but actually work and respond better to a 1095 heat treatment. Make excellent blades. I can get 2 -3 blades per washer, depending on blade size. You can get a lot more of them in your pocket or possibles pouch than the other stuff and you don't have to mess with a lot of cutting or stock reduction. Try them out.


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Old 04-13-2006, 04:13 AM
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I did some experements useing bedrail angle iron and found it to make a good knife. I discovered that bedrail has been made from recycled railroad track. The number I heard was 1070, but any of the 10 series would work for me.


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  #9  
Old 04-14-2006, 09:31 PM
twistedneck twistedneck is offline
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Wasn't most track hot forged into fine pearlite? I realize your going to re-set the microstructure - fine pearlite aint hard enough for knives.
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  #10  
Old 11-29-2016, 05:20 PM
darkditto117 darkditto117 is offline
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yes, you can in fact forge the track it's self it is kind of a pain because of all of the prep work, i find that railroad clips also work and are a somewhere in the range of 1060 to 1070 you can even use the spikes but they will not hold an edge as well as some other things will but it will be fairly serviceable
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Old 11-29-2016, 09:43 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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I don't think that you are going to find any railroad spikes that are going to have 0.6% carbon in them. They max out at about 0.35%. That's barely enough to harden the steel. If you use them I would suggest that you temper them at about 300-325

You could well break down and use the rails for blades. As I understand it that's what the Japanese used to make swords for their armed forces during WWII. You will need that press or a power hammer to forge it down into usable sizes for knife making and you will burn up a lot of propane heating something as thick as the top part of the rail not to mention the acetylene to break down the rail. I couldn't tell you why the web and the bottom part of the rail couldn't be use. The rails are formed in dies from the same bar of steel. At any rate you may well find that you found steel is actually more expensive that a known steel bar from a supplier.

Doug


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Old 12-03-2016, 03:01 PM
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I love it when a question gets answered more than a decade after it was asked!

That's the beauty of forums--they never forget.


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Old 12-03-2016, 08:26 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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Good catch, Andrew. I didn't notice that.

Doug


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Old 12-04-2016, 05:55 AM
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Heck, I just figured someone kicked your chair Doug. (You do know we are gonna have a new President next year.....)


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Old 12-04-2016, 03:47 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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Yah, which one?

Doug


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