fire steels (flint and steel)

Need to know what I am doing wrong. I have a propane forge. I am using garage door springs that have been cut into individual coils. I have been
shaping them in the forge to a c shaped fire steel. I was told once they were shaped to bring them to a orange heat, and then quench in warm water. If I put them on the grinder, they throw sparks no problem, but if I strike them with a flint, nothing happens. Are the steels too hard? do they need to be tempered instead? Anybody got any hints? larry
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Friend of mine shoots blackpowder. For what is basically just a rock, you'd be surprised how unreliable a flint can be. Do these flints work on any steel ? Do your new steels work on a modern rod "flint" (which is more reliable than a knapped natural flint). You might need to do some re-knapping.
I've not seen a fire steel that was too hard, but I've seen plenty (esp. stainless) that were too soft - even if they also made a satisfactory knife blade.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Andy Dingley wrote:

I used to have a striking steel - might still have one in the camping stuff.
They are scratched length-wise and I want to say a hardened carbon steel. The flint is siliceous stone - somewhat like SiO2.
Normally the steel is hit or in reverse on a diagonal. I think the process is breaking SiO2 apart and burning the carbon in the steel. But that is a guess.
Martin
--
Martin Eastburn, Barbara Eastburn
@ home at Lion's Lair with our computer snipped-for-privacy@pacbell.net
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Martin H. Eastburn" wrote:

~1/4 right.
The flint is hard and sharp enough to shave off a _tiny_ fleck of the steel. Much of the energy used to do so ends up in that fleck of steel. That much energy in that small a piece of steel makes it hot enough to burn and it does. Briefly. That's what a spark is.
The harder the steel, the smaller the fleck, the hotter the spark.
Larry, are you sure of your spark-striking technique with a known-to-be-good firesteel?
The firesteel needs to have a very-nearly straight striking section to strike along the flint's edge. The flint needs to have a _sharp_ edge that is just barely acute.
Done properly, few or no particles come off the flint.
--


If you try to 'reply' to me without fixing the dot, your reply
will go into a 'special' mailbox reserved for spam. See below.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Could be your steel doesn't contain enough carbon. For instance: 5160 makes a good spring, but not a good striker. Try an old dump rake tooth or get some brand new W1 from MSC. Could be you are too slow in getting the steel into the water. Could be you are not heating to JUST beyond the non-magnetic point. Could be you are not swishing the steel around in the water. Could be the water is too hot. Try dead cold. After quenching, you should not be able to file the steel with a sharp file. It should just "skate" over the surface. Could be you have a bad piece of rock. Get some from someone who knows. Could be you don't have a sharp enough edge on the rock. Could be you aren't striking correctly. You need a quick, snappy downward glancing blow to a very sharp edge of the rock.
If none of this works, email me off list telling me the results, and we can go from there.
Pete Stanaitis --------------------
Larry wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

You could always try uranium !
There have been blackpowder frizzens with an inset of (depleted) uranium (aka "atomic frizzens"). As uranium is well known for its pyrophoric properties, these strike a spectacular set of sparks. However they're not actually that good for blackpowder (or so I'm told) they throw a few large sparks, when what you really need is a lot of little ones.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I have used 1095 steel. You can find hay rake teeth (about 5 feet of 3/8" round 1095) at flea markets for abou $2 to $3 each.
Quench in warm water as before. If you get cracked steel after quench, discard. Then quench in warm oil. While not the best, used non-detergent motor oil works for me. When heating for the quench, I've found using a magnet to know when to quench works well. When the magnet no longer attracts the striker, it's time to quench.
Do NOT temper. The striker wants to be very hard. Usually brittleness is not a problem. I have also found that if you make the part of the striker that the flint hits square, the shap corners produce more reliable sparks.
Lud snipped-for-privacy@charter.net
If that doesn't work, consider whther the flint you are usinf may not be satisfactory
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Just before Christmas I made up a batch of steels; made goatskin bags for them & packed them out with charcloth & flint. Made nice little presents for people.
I used garage door spring too. Unwound a meter or so at heat, cut it into about 8-9" sections (mixing units again...) and forged to shape. Heated to critical (checked with a magnet) then quenched in warm water with the horns out of the quench for about 10s, then quenched the rest of the thing. I then ground off the face with a sander, which stripped the scale off along with the decarburised surface. Without doing that, the steels didn't throw a spark.
Each one tested out fine, although I was out of practice and couldn't find an edge on the flint at first. The action is a very fluid, fast skim across the edge, NOT striking as such (unless you think of striking a match, I suppose). Most of it is in the wrist.
The recipients were suitably impressed, although I've had to demo their use <G>
HTH
Peter
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Peter,
Any chance of a picture of one - (horns??)
Andrew Mawson
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Tricky just at the moment - I'm a bit short of steels, webspace and time. One of those isn't going to go away given I've just decided I want to build a rolling mill (primarily due to buying 1" rounds of O1 & D2, and concluding that I don't enjoy drawing them out to a useful thickness).
Nothing fancy, TBH - pointed up each end a bit (or flattened depending on what I fancied doing), then rolled around the anvil horn to give about 270 degrees bend, big enough to put a finger through (no, I didn't check whilst they were hot). I then set them edge up on the anvil and tapped the striking face with a flatter to take out the bend that had set up there. I did a Bushcraft course back in September and traced all the different designs that were on hand; these were a basic C with a bit more curl in them.
I did a couple of others as sort-of figure 9s with a flat face - they work too, but I don't like them as much. Not to worry, I've plenty of spring left...
Peter
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Of course, there was a lengthy post by Ron Reil back in 2000 about strikers...
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&threadm=HTlc5.20%249B3.19907%40news01.micron.net&rnum=7&prev=/groups%3Fhl%3Den%26lr%3D%26ie%3DISO-8859-1%26q%3Dtitanium%26meta%3Dgroup%253Dalt.crafts.blacksmithing
Along with a few other posts - http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=striker+flint&meta=group%3Dalt.crafts.blacksmithing
Peter
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.