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  #1  
Old 11-30-2009, 12:15 AM
reefera4m reefera4m is offline
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Chain Saw Blades

While trying to recruit people to join a group of aspiring knifemakers here in Western Wa, a friend and neighbor of mine told me about a fellow he knew that made knives. I contacted him by phone and found that he was very interested in in participating in our little organization. We're trying to put together periodic 'hammer-ins' to share our interest, experiences and knowledge. The group includes Journeyman Bladesmith to novices.

Anysway, in talking to this individual he told me that he made most of his knives from chain saw bars. I'd never heard of this and yet he said that the steel made outstanding blades. SinceI have an old bar from my Stihl chain saw I'm considering giving it a go.

Does anyone have knowledge of what type of steel this is? Stihl Chainsaw are manufactured in Germany and the US (and probably other places as well).

I've sent a request to Stihl but am still waiting a reply.
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  #2  
Old 11-30-2009, 06:20 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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I have read (can't find the article) that many old bars were made of O-1. However, most bars today are laminated - three layers riveted together - steel unknown. Not sure about Stihl, not likely you'll get a reply, but good luck. If you have a solid bar, I would definitely give it a go. Good bit of material there.

I hope you are successful in getting a HI event set up. You won't regret it. The first couple of times takes some due diligence to make work but they get esasier as you learn the ropes. A good friend and I started one up in N. Ga at the Trackrock Campgrounds (private) several years ago with the thought to keep it simple, fun, and free. We are planning our 16th event for this spring. They just keep getting bigger and better. I won't go into details here, but send me a PM if you want more info on what we went through growing pains wise and how we have managed to keep it free (most aren't).

You have a great crowd of hammerheads out there to gather up. It can be a lot of fun.
I'm currently reading a book about Joe Meek, supposedly one of the Mt.Man-gone statesman, mover/shakers in establishing a US territory/state in the northwest region. Very interesting individual.


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  #3  
Old 11-30-2009, 09:28 AM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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I've heard of using chainsaw bars before but, as Crex indicated, some might be OK but others won't be. Treat them like any other salvaged steel and do a quench test on each and every piece to determine it's suitability as a blade.

That said, I have a lot of chainsaws and extra bars around here and see nothing about them that would make me think they would make better blades than any medium carbon steel like 1065 or 1070. Considering the low cost of buying a known good piece of high carbon steel I can't see a chainsaw bar making any better blade (and maybe not even as good) as 1080, 1095 and especially not as good as O1 .....


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Old 12-01-2009, 02:58 AM
reefera4m reefera4m is offline
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Response from Stihl

I got a response from Stihl today. Unfortunately, they did not identify the exact type of steel as I'd hoped but at least they responded with information that is useful. It should be possible to make a decent knife and allow me to 'recycle' and old chainsaw bar.

Here's the response:

"We are in receipt of and thank you for your e-mail. The bars are made from high carbon steel."

Thank you again for your e-mail.

Best regards,
C.M. Peavler
Technical Advisor
STIHL Inc.
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  #5  
Old 12-01-2009, 08:57 AM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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That's about what I would expect from most any manufacturing company these days. They answer that way because they truly do not know what steel was used unless you can supply batch codes and so forth off the part (assuming there are any and they keep those records). But, what does 'high carbon' mean to them? Some railroad spikes are called high carbon when they are 1050. So, we might be talking 1050 or 1060 or maybe even something from the 4xxx or 9xxx series of steels. Again, I don't doubt that the bars will make passable knives but it would still be necessary to extensively test each and every bar if you wanted to be able to make the best possible knife from it....


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  #6  
Old 12-01-2009, 12:50 PM
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DiamondG Knives DiamondG Knives is offline
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I have to agree with Ray here. With say a 4' bar of 1 1/2 x1/4 1084 running $20 why spend the time, money and effort to make a knife that is at best a guess?

I have used many pieces of what I call "Heirloom" steel where the steel is from a piece of something historically or personally significant eg. a blade from a saw blade from a clients Great Grandfathers sawmill, or barb wire from the 38th parallel in Korea.

Just my $0.02 here but unless you KNOW what the steel is, buy known steel, in the end you will be MUCH happier!

God Bless
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Old 01-17-2010, 09:40 PM
kvistads kvistads is offline
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Back during my Jr. High School days in my metal working shop class, one of the projects we could make was a knife made from chainsaw bars. That's what the instructor recommended in those days - early 70's. I chose to build another project but remember very well some of the boys who made the knives. Many were most impressive. I doubt the schools now days would encourage building such a terrible thing. I guess the students will never experience the days when you could hang your shotgun on the gun rack in the back of your pickup truck to show all your buddies while parked in the school parking lot. Too bad.


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Old 01-18-2010, 01:30 PM
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Hmm... that's interesting. When I moved into my house I found what looked to be "homemade" machete/short sword looking blade, and based on a small groove in the end and the overall length/shape, I though it might have been made from a chainsaw bar.

I've often though about cutting it up and making some smaller knives out of it.
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  #9  
Old 01-19-2010, 01:08 AM
reefera4m reefera4m is offline
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Re: more chain saw bar blades

I guess it really comes down to why you make knife and for what purpose. While I like to make my knifes as aesthetically pleasing as possible I also want to make them as utilitarian as possible. I also like the 'old school' approach - making something useful out of something recycled. Leaf springs, chain saw bars, old files, old saw blades, they all fit the bill. Whether the steel is 1080 or 1084 seems to me immaterial - any steel that has a high carbon steel, properly forged, shaped, heat treated (all the steps) and finished can make an excellent knife.

This weekend I saw some of the chain saw bar knives at a local 'Hammer-in' hosted by an ABS Journeyman. The maker of the chain was knives also brought a blade to be heat treated. Proceding with the premise that the steel was 'high carbon' the blade was 'normalized' twice and then hardened, edge-quenched and tempered at temperatures (using a pyrometer) that one would use with 1084. 1084 temps were used as the chain saw bar was obviously HC (harder that the hardest RR Spike), and these temps would be appropriate for a reasonable range of HC steels. The initial results were what one would expect of 1084 steel. I expect to find out the final result when the maker completes his test.
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  #10  
Old 09-11-2017, 10:47 AM
daniberry daniberry is offline
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I often sharpen my chainsaw blade every week or two. taking care always give me better performance.
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  #11  
Old 09-11-2017, 11:20 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is online now
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I agree with most....I would just buy a bar of 1084 or similar you know what it is and know exactly how to heat treat it...I think this is going have have the same answer as when people use files to make a blade...it will make a great knife IF its the right file. not all files will make a good knife. same as not all chainsaw bars will make a great knife....also I think what ray was getting at about the response from sthl "high carbon" Now HIGH carbon to them might be different than the high carbon we use....just like the word BIG could mean 2 feet to you but 5 feet to me. Either way why not try that's my opinion just don't be too disappointed if it doesn't work very well
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Old 09-12-2017, 02:36 PM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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Zombie thread, almost 8 years old!


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Old 09-12-2017, 03:12 PM
dtec1 dtec1 is online now
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haha good call
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