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One ugly knife to be

The "twist" that went all wrong

I thought it would be cool to twist the metal for a handle and I will be trying my hand at forging steel on the anvil this weekend at the cabin.  I figured if I got the hang of it now, this weekend would be a breeze.  Boy was I wrong.  This thing is ugly, but I think I may still roughly finish it into a blade for the garage for opening boxes, cutting cigar tips and the such.

I did make a good discovery, however.  “Junk steel” like lawn mower blades are “mystery steel” in that you don’t always know if you have decent knife making steel or not.  So, I I took two pieces from this mower blade and heated them up to 1500 degrees and dunked one into oil and one into water.  While both broke when bent in the vise with nice grain, the water dunked version seemed to break so much easier and faster.  The grain seems to be of a better quality, so these knives will be quenched in water instead of oil.  This leads me up to my actual point of , I need to do a practice quench in both water and oil for each piece of  “junk steel” that I plan on using in the future to ensure a quality blade.  So much to learn!

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2 Responses

  1. If it broke easier and faster in water, why would you continue to use water on it?

    • The concept behind heating and quenching the metal is to harden it. The harder it gets, the more britle it becomes. In this state the blade would hold an edge well, but would break very easily. So, the the next step is to temper or “normalize” the steel by putting it in the oven so that it is more durable and won’t break so easly. I did find good hardened grain in the oil quenched steel, but it was under a layer of regular steel. This would work, but I think the water quenched steel would hold a better edge for longer periods between sharpening as it became harder faster.

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