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Old 05-10-2017, 02:49 PM
Greyfox76 Greyfox76 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Ardmore Oklahoma
Posts: 5
Question on lawnmower blades.

Hey everyone I finally got a homemade coal forge completed. I was using an old lawnmower blade for my steel, after cleaning it up with a wire wheel. Everything was going fine until, I got it a little hotter than I wanted (probably welding temperature) started to hammer some more to shape the tang it started to crack and break off. Had it been a small piece that would have been fine, but it was almost half of the tang. Little disgusted, little discouraged, but still confident. Does anyone know if I might have been doing something wrong or was it maybe just faulty steel. Any ideas for future was thinking leaf springs or if i can get my hands on some railroad spikes i would like to try those. I have very little money to be spending on this and most of that is being burnt up with the coal. Would like to do some forge welding just don't think I'm to that point (I haven't even got a knife to quenching yet.)
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Old 05-10-2017, 05:05 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Now live in Las Cruces NM.
Posts: 1,078
Was it too hot when you broke it? It should just deform if it's too hot, not crack or were you hammering on it after it cooled a little too much?

Now it says Guru and it used to say Master. I think I like Master better, though skilled would be the best description
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Old 05-10-2017, 05:13 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Now live in Las Cruces NM.
Posts: 1,078
Remember lawnmower blades are mystery steel as are the leaf springs, they may be 5160 or something else. Just buy some 5160 it's really cheap and you can look up the heat treat on it and forge instructions as well.

Now it says Guru and it used to say Master. I think I like Master better, though skilled would be the best description
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Old 05-10-2017, 06:04 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Wauconda, WA
Posts: 9,716
QUOTE: Does anyone know if I might have been doing something wrong
QUOTE: Little disgusted, little discouraged,

Yes, you are doing something wrong. If not wrong per se, then at least ill advised for someone trying to learn to forge. As Jim suggested, what you are doing wrong is that you are using an unknown steel. This only complicates things. One of the main reasons we always try to steer beginners away from mystery steel is in your second quote: failure early on often leads to discouragement. I'm glad you still feel confident but how long will that last if you never succeed?

And, never succeeding is a very real possibility with mystery steel. The reason is that some steels simply are not blade steels. If the steel had survived the forging you would have gotten to the point where you quenched it. What if it didn't harden? Would you be discouraged then after you had finally succeeded at forging the blade to shape only to find your time and money (for coal and any other supplies) wasted? Some people certainly would be.

And if you aren't discouraged even then you will still have done a lot of work and spent some money and you still don't have a blade. My Mom used to call this type of behavior being penny wise and dollar foolish. In other words, quit fooling around and buy some blade steel, 1084 or 1080 is pretty cheap and easy to work with and it produces a quality blade.

I don't know what you're paying for coal but you'd likely save a fair amount of money if you built a small propane forge. If you can scavenge a few parts it can be done very cheaply. Once you have that done, you'll spend more time forging your blades and less time trying to keep the coal forge running at the right temp, ergo, you'll learn faster, succeed sooner, and not waste as much time and money on fuel and materials. Yes, start up costs might be a little more initially but knife making is not a cheap hobby so you might as well get used to it.

As for railroad spikes, they are fun to play with and can make nice ornamental knife like objects and some people like to collect them as long as they don't have to pay much for them. Again, buy some good blade steel and stop wasting your time and money....


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Old 05-11-2017, 06:38 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Acworth, GA and/or Hanging Dog, NC
Posts: 3,426

Carl Rechsteiner, Bladesmith
Georgia Custom Knifemakers Guild, Charter Member
Knifemakers Guild, voting member
Registered Master Artist - GA Council for the Arts
C Rex Custom Knives

Blade Show Table 5-J
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Old 05-11-2017, 07:46 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: putnam county NY ....about 45 mins north of new york city
Posts: 1,418
Yeh right on.... I cant even add anything to that Ray you covered it all as usual
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