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Dana Acker 09-03-2020 10:05 PM

Anybody out there forge blades with this steel. Admittedly I'm not up on my metallurgy, having taking a hiatus. The reports speak of 80CrV2 as "1080+."

They say it's basically 1080 with some Chromium and Vanadium. I'm quite familiar with 1080 (which, when I purchased it as 1080 from Admiral Steel, came marked 1075). That's not so much a criticism as it is an observation. But that 1080 moved well under the hammer, and hardened up sufficiently when quenched in oil, and made a good knife overall.

Once I read (I don't remember where) that 1080--1085 was close to the steel that was used to make blades in the 1800's. Perhaps Jim Bowie's legendary knife was make with it, although it is claimed that a meteorite was the secret of its mythical prowess. Jury's out on that one. Tai used to make Damascus with meteorite material, which is largely iron and nickel, if I'm not mistaken (about the metal's composition, not about Tai making Damascus from it.) He even gave me a piece, bless him. But I digress....

Any thoughts on or experiences with or tips regarding this steel?

prizzim 09-14-2020 11:13 PM

I've used it quite a bit, and love it. Heat treats easy enough without precision tools, forges like anything else in its carbon class, and is tough as nails if you do get the HT schedule right. Used it on the tv show for the chopper, had zero issues.

Dana Acker 09-17-2020 10:43 AM

Thanks for the info, Chris. Which seasons and episodes of FIF were you in?

Crex 09-20-2020 10:46 AM

I've used it and use it from time to time same as Chris. Really with a lot of field testing, I see no appreciable difference between it and 1084 that has been HT'd properly. Good steel, forges well, HT's simple - what's not to like? Great for beginners to learn on and still get decent results.
Not going to be my go-to by any means, but I'll use it when I have it. I prefer a few other steels for my serious blades.

Dana Acker 09-22-2020 11:24 AM

Thanks for the input, Carl. Just out of curiosity, what are your go to steels? I know back when Ron "Bowie" Claiborne and Larry Harley (R.I.P.) were putting on hammer-ins over in East Tennessee, 52100 was sort of the holy grail steel for them.

jimmontg 09-22-2020 02:44 PM

I might make a quick note about the steel's composition. The vanadium at that concentration restricts grain growth which is really handy for forge heat treating if you get a little too hot.

prizzim 09-22-2020 10:26 PM

Getting the normalizing heats right, and refining the grain makes this a lot tougher, pound for pound, than 1084 can typically be made to be. Otherwise it's comparable.

prizzim 09-22-2020 10:27 PM


Originally Posted by Dana Acker (Post 500041)
Thanks for the info, Chris. Which seasons and episodes of FIF were you in?

Season 4, episode 20, the Tabar-Shishpar... and Season 6, episodes 1 & 2, Road To Redemption.

Crex 09-23-2020 07:26 AM

O1 is still a favorite for some reason, but I use a lot of 52100 as well (have a pretty large supply of it). I just like it. Been experimenting with some "new" steel that I got from my buddies at Pop's Knife Supply designated as 8670. It has shown some real promise as a serious go to steel for bladesmiths. Don't have the specs in front of me, but the boys at Pop's can supply that info. I'm liking it so far, but need to work a good bit more to get the feel of it.

Dana Acker 09-23-2020 09:34 AM

Cool, thanks both Chris and Carl. I'll look up those episodes. I've probably got them on demand.

Believe it or not, Carl, if we're talking about the same Pop's knife supply, then is it James Poplin who runs it? James' father was the principal at one of Mt. Airy's largest high schools for eons. His brother Bob Poplin used to run a gun store and gun range here in town. Back when we could still go to knife shows, grrrrr...#### Covid-19!!!, I used to get a lot of supplies from him. Like I said, if we're talking the same Pops, please tell him I hope all is well with him. He's a good fellow. I'll have to check him out on the web and see if I can find him. If you have any contact info on his knife supply shop, please let me know. I wouldn't mind sending some business his way.

I'll have to check out that 8670. What are the results of you're experiments with it?

Dana Acker 09-23-2020 08:55 PM

Chris, "the sexiest seax ever!" What a compliment! And you were complimented as the first smith in 4 years of the show to check the grain structure after quench. Both of those things impressed the judges. So hats off to you Bro. Sure it would have been nice to go home with the prize, but what was said about you was gold. To me that showed more about your abilities than if you had won.

The problem I have with FIF is it is really unrealistic in that if you had been commissioned to make any of those pieces for a customer, I'm sure you would have spent more than 3 hours or two days creating them. I know the show has to be done in an hour, and really less time with commercials, so as to increase the drama, I get that. But it also gives the impression to those who know nothing about smithing that one can just go into their shop and create a $1000.00 piece of functional artwork in a couple of hours. But it's drama and competition, and it does draw attention to the craft, so I'm not knocking it.

What I'm knocking is that it doesn't begin to measure the real talent, experience, and craftsmanship of the smiths involved. Somebody has to win and three or more have to lose, in a setting that's hardly fair to the craft, which like any craft cannot be rushed.

I was cheering when the judges gave you the two complements that they did. That told a whole lot more about you as a smith and an artist than the whole rest of the competition. So good on you. You made the NTM's look good, and I'm proud of you. You may not have won, but you WERE the pro in the room.

And, who the hell tries to chop through stag horn anyway? Furthermore, if I had chopped the horn and "hurt my wrist," I'd have committed ritual suicide by eviscerating my abdomen with a dull tanto before I would have showed back up on camera with an ice pack. Bad form. And who's to say he wasn't holding it wrong anyway? Yeah, it's the handle's fault. Right. There's a line from Genet's "Waiting for Godot," where one of the characters says, "That's man all over for you; blaming on his shoes the faults of his feet."

You did us proud, Brother

Crex 09-24-2020 06:57 AM

I'm with you on FIF - it is for entertainment with drama. It's rare for a serious smith to win because we tend to put that extra effort and time to get it right because that's who we are and that's what we do - Chris is an excellent example of this. He won in my book.

Yes Pop's Knife Supply is James Poplin from Washington, GA. James is a good friend, exceptional knifemaker, and fellow member of the Georgia Guild. Due to age and health issues he decided to sell his business. He spent a year or two vetting different interested parties wanting to preserve the integrity and clientele of his business. He settled on Andy Roy's Fiddleback Forge. Andy might be Cajun, but he is of the highest caliber and he wanted to keep the company as Pop's Knife Supply in honor of James. So, James' picture is center of the new logo and James is still an active advisor in the business. Andy and crew have expanded the business with a lot of new and different inventory. You should go visit their site. If you wind up talking and/or ordering from them, make sure you mention me (won't get you anything but maybe a good laugh). We are a pretty tight knife community here in GA because of the Guild these are good folks to do business with just like Pop was.
Dog is still on the trail with 8670, nothing treed yet. I have to stop forging for a while and catch up on finishing and leather, got 50 plus blades hanging over the bench waiting on me to put the hammers down. Weather is right to fire up the dragon - love to forge when it's raining (open forge area).

Dana Acker 09-24-2020 08:56 PM

Thanks for the info on Pop's. I'll definitely visit their site, and give you a mention. I never ordered much from James because I saw him at several shows per year, and stocked up there. It's not that there's anything wrong with the other suppliers, but doing business with them was sort of impersonal. I never bought anything from James without an accompanying conversation. If there had ever been a problem (there never was) but it's nice to be able to put a face and a personality who is genuinely concerned on the other end of the phone.

My wife and I are Braves fans, and it's raining cats and dogs in Atlanta; might be a good night to fire up the dragon. I know what it's like having tons of finishing work to catch up on, but then again, sometimes I just gotta pound on something hot and glowing red.

prizzim 09-24-2020 09:48 PM

Re: TV...

While the format is forced, there's nothing "scripted" about our work. You show up, you get the tour and the safety lecture, they put you in the green room (plywood box) while they dress the set, then you're escorted out, given your instructions, and the clock starts. It does not stop. They don't tell you how to work, or what to say... they pretty much shoot what they get.

So my mantra was... Don't do anything stupid, don't say anything stupid, and try to show good work. Shout-out's to the right people when I could.

Never knew what anyone else was doing, with the ticking clock, you get incredible tunnel vision and only focus on what's in front of you. They who makes the least number of mistakes typically wins, style and weight choices count for something apparently.

I had fun.

My biggest goal was to answer this question: When put up against people who have to eat off this craft, can I, a guy who does it on weekends when I feel like it, be competitive? Do I really know my ####?

Answer was "yes." That's all I needed. The rest is just fun storytelling.

Dana Acker 09-24-2020 10:06 PM

Still, you had the cojones to do it, and had the sexiest seax ever. That's a coup.

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