flint striker question

Well, hope to have my gas forge running this weekend (expect some questions on final tweaking on that coming up).
Still, I don't have much experience with smithing, and was thinking of some
easy projects to learn some basic techniques. I do have some experience heat treating, as I'm trying to make the jump from stock removal knife making to smithing.
Anyways, my main source of material is old leaf spring---most certainly 5160. i have some pieces that were band sawn off, that are around 1/4" on a side (maybe a little bigger). I thought they would make nice flint strikers.
I think i have it figured out how to forge them to shape, and even make a neat decroative twist or two in them (again, the real mission here is learning technique).
But how do you harden the piece? I'm under the impression that strikers need to be quite hard to work properly while striking against lumps of flint or chert?
I'm using an oil bath for quenching, so any info on quenching color, and tempering (if needed) would be excellent. And wish me luck! Hope my fore-arms hold out long enough to get something bashed out. John ps, can anyone recomend some neat, good learning projects for a new smith? I lack a lot of tools (ie, my post a couple days ago was about homeade anvils--the rest of my equipement isn't a lot better!). thanks a lot.
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questions on

Been down that road myself recently. Still got questions but I can do most of what I want with it now days ;)

some
heat
to
For me it's all just what will work best for what I'm trying to accomplish. I don't think I really believe all that "packed blade" business but I'd rather hammer the metal into place than spend a lot of time with the power tools. Besides, If you can forge it, you have a lot more options on the steel you can get and use.

5160.
neat
need
fore-arms
I
How many handy tools do you want around the house? Tongs for your forge are an obvious item but hey, how about gardening tools. I keep coming up with ideas for things I want to do all the time. I have serious plans to replace those junky little tin shovels that you use to plant flowers and stuff with a serious piece of steel. Imagine it! Planting Gardinias with a hand forged high carbon - takes no crap from the clay soil - treated and tempered steel garden shovel! AARRRGGG! ... oh..sorry...
GA
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I got a failry useful spike-hoe-like-object by just flattening the end of a pipe, bending it 90deg, and drawing out a bit of taper on the tip. Works great for hoeing between some of the plants around here, though the DH2 mattock-like-object is still on the to-do list.
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most
accomplish.
Somone please correct me if I am wrong(as if i need to ask), but that "packed blade " business is in fact the refining of the crystals and making then smaller and as a consequence making the steel more dense and a finer crystal makes a tougher steel. This is the purpose of vanadium in alloys. As steel is heated above critical temperature the crystals get bigger and this reduces toughness. Also when welding you should tap, not hit hard, the weld as it cools to break down the crystals, this is called refining the weld. Doug
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power
the
making
As
this
weld
Don't confuse the hammer with the heat treating of steels. Grain refinement comes from normalizing, not hammering. So says my metallurgy book at least but not in those words.
GA
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On Sun, 10 Oct 2004 22:12:26 -0700, "Greyangel"
One of the great imponderable questions is whether metallurgy books are much help here, or for quite a large proportion of smithing.
Metallurgy began in the later part of the 19th century. The well-known book "A History of Metallography" is a useful read here, for a description of just how much voodoo, urine of a red-haired boy, and general misunderstanding there was about how metallurgy worked there was, before this period. Even then we still had fallacies around like the failure of railroad axles by "crystallisation".
So just as metallurgy finally started to get itself onto a serious footing, metal-bashing industries were moving away from hand and small-hammer smithing techniques and into machining, welding and drop-forging. In comparison to how much we know about fatigue in aircraft, or inter-crystalline growth in Mazak, then there has been very little studied about wrought iron or hand-working techniques.
"Packing" of blades has a long tradition, and like many metal-working traditions there's a lot of empirical evidence to support results, if not the explanation. Yet a "modern" (last 100 years) metallurgy textbook is likely to entirely ignore it, the materials affected, and the techniques used. I don't make any claims either for or against it, but I wouldn't expect a typical metallurgy text to really be much help on the subject either.
--
Smert' spamionam

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So I know intellectually that I should just drop this one but late for work with my cereal getting soggy and all - I can't let it go.
I am not an extremely intelligent individual but I make my living and my mark by taking the time to understand how and why things work. This gives me an incredible edge over those who can't be bothered to in the electronic repair industry. So on the subject of metal, when you tell me that metallurgy is of no significance to the "art" of forging blades. I can only believe that you are looking for lazy man's magic. I believe in magic but it's the magic of knowing action and reaction through study and experimentation. There are some fairly basic physics involved in the behavior of metal and at times some fairly arcane alchemy, but what happens to metal when it is heated and cooled is not rocket science. What happens to it when you hit it is not rocket science. If you get it hot enough to normalize it, whatever "grain" you hammered into it is mostly lost. Let's say, three normalizations and a quench and I'm leaning heavily on the stock removers bench. Don't get me wrong - I think there are a lot of benefits to forging. Edge packing isn't one of them unless you are cold forming and if you tell me that Metalurgy is not applicable to forging all I can say is don't fire up your forge while Mars is on the decline.

Crap - Metallurgy is the entire body of provable data on the phisics and chemistry of metal and we've been at it for a few thousand years.
I'll shut up now...
GA
wrote:

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On Tue, 12 Oct 2004 07:30:50 -0700, "Greyangel"

I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying that some long-established craft processes have been ignored by the recent science of metallurgy. If you read a modern textbook on high-end alloy steels you'll learn little about forging wrought iron. If you look for the real obscurities of hand-forging, you'll have a job to find them discussed in a serious and scientific texts anywhere.

No, if metallurgy is a science rather than blind alchemy, we didn't start taking it really seriously until recently - mid 19th for ferrous metallurgy, rather earlier for cuprous and pretty ancient for goldsmithing.
--
Smert' spamionam

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wrote:

My apologies for jumping to conclusions then. Agreed that the modern texts don't get much into the old forging techniques but what happens to metal under various kinds of stress is. Heat, cooling and deformation are the basis of all forging and these same topics are dealt with in modern environments as well. I watched that European video that was posted via URL on this news group (I think) a while back about knife making. The guy demonstrated a heat treatment technique that he learned as passed-on knowledge. that I thought had a lot of validity. Had to do with bringing the blade to critical and fast quenching without bringing it through a full phase change. It was presented as a grain refinement technique. Made perfect sense to me. When I hear about "edge packing" I just cringe. Maybe I'm wrong but I don't see the theory behind the practice as sound - again, unless we are talking about work hardening a piece of metal that will be thermally stable after stressing.

Don't sell the old civilizations short. The things that were recorded are full of stuff that is pretty whack by modern standards. I'm reasonably sure that future scholars will say the same thing about us. Point is, not all science was recorded in books and lots of knowledge was passed on from master to apprentice. Some of that was lost and some became the basic assumtions of future "science". How can you say that it "started" in the 19th century? I personally am not willing to assume that we are so smart, nor the all ancients so misguided. I questioned a teacher about his assertions of ancient history once. Asked the deadly question "how do we know that in the face of so little evidence?" He called me a religious whack and told me my beliefs had no place in his class. I almost bust a gut. I would have asked the same question of the Pope.
GA
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On Tue, 12 Oct 2004 18:21:21 -0700, "Greyangel"

Not hammer forging though - repeated light blows. If you find any description of it, it's likely to be under "fatigue" and the metallurgy seen as damaging.
Does anyone know of modern texts described (or debunking) "packing" ?

This much is certainly true. However there are a handful of classic texts from the period which all workers referred to - by repute, even if they couldn't read them themselves. Classical philosophy and literature is full of references to fabled texts, now lost. Engineering isn't like that - we see the same references cited, and we still have those references ourselves. I'm thinking of titles like On Divers Arts, Pirotechnia, De Re Metallica and the T'ien-kung k'ai-wu. You can (and should) still buy these as cheap reprints from Dover Press. We've lost an awful lot of Arabic, Persian and Indian engineering texts, but of the texts that were known by medieval European workers, we have pretty much the whole canon.

Science doesn't have assumptions, that's rather the point - its distinction from alchemy is that it starts without, then makes observations. A hypothesis can be randomly generated, but it doesn't become regarded as a law unless it's demonstrable by experiment, not just because Paracelsus or Pliny said it worked like that.

The approach begin in the 17th, the real Enlightment was in the 18th, but reasonably accurate study of ferrous metallurgy didn't begin until the 19th. One constraint was the tools needed to do so - you need microscopes to study surfaces, good abrasives and polishing techniques to prepare the samples, and a supply of broken steam engines to encourage you to study the problems of fatigue-cracked crankshafts in the first place.

The ancients were hugely misguided. In the absence of tools to study for themselves, they fell back on "Proof by Authority". If Aristotle said brass was made from cheese, then who were they to argue ? The free-time to study these issues helped too; placed in the hands of early Capitalists by the Industrial Revolution. Just look at the membership of the Lunatic Society.
--
Smert' spamionam

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All in all you are correct - or at least I cannot quote any informed rebuttal ;-) Careful about those assumptions. To say that the point of science is to avoid assumptions is correct in philosophy and almost never true in practice. This is what I call the religeon of science. Everybody starts with some basic assumptions and the experiment is always affected by the experimenter. I've heard of some of the texts you metioned. I'll have to try to get aquainted with them- sounds like interesting reading. I still think edge packing is one of those hand-me-down practices from the bronze age.
GA
wrote:

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GA, sounds like you're getting smarter like CW is, over in r.k. ;)
Don't let Andy D's flamboyant wording throw you, ride it out for at least 8 seconds. ;)

For sure, we need to take advantage of the inter-library exchange system. :)

Cold rolling steel breaks up the grain and toughens it. They put Mn in the steel for just that purpose too! No shit. ;)
Don't know where to draw the line tho. :(
Edge packing sounds like a dumb idea to me, it's so easy to screw up the whole thing when it was "good nuff" before. I mean good enough as in "58hrc is about right for the hardness of a knife blade" crap.
How's "edge packing" going to help that piece of ordinary crap anyway? ;)
It's so much easier, better and more straight forward for industry to go with A2 than edge pack 1095, the use has been totally thrown out.
Hmmm... do you think it help my 66+hrc 1095 blades to edge pack 'em?
;)
Alvin in AZ
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I have to confess to having my own "assumptions" and prejudice. I firmly believe that most folks are not comfortable not having the answers. Goes the same for both religion and science. The same teacher I mentioned earlier tried to tell his class that Native americans were the only ones to develope the hand held spear thrower - forget the name at the moment. I went home and dug up an article on the Australian Aborigine version and brought it to him. He barely looked at it and never mentioned it again. I can't claim to be really well educated in much of anything but I've yet to be convinced that we really know much about the things that took place a thousand years ago and more. Some of them, but not comprehensively nor globally. We do know that civilizations came and went. Some of them were around for far longer than what we call modern civilization. To say that we are the first to do this and do that could easily be our own arrogance talking. Maybe human beings evolved as recently as we can account for and maybe not. Archeology has a lot of maybe's built into it and written histories have a lot of bias. This world has been around so much longer than we can account for that whole civilizations could have grown up and moved out of the neigborhood or more likely just plain died out many times over. We know that fossils need some pretty special circumstances to survive for even a couple thousand years. We know that land masses move. We sort of know that there were some well developed cultures happening around the world only a couple thousand years ago yet that's just a blink in the eye of geological history. I admit to my own brand of romanticism. I like believing that we might not be as unique as we seem to think we are. It leaves a lot of what-if to contemplate.

And distorting the grain/crystal structures create work hardening but how many bladesmiths do you know that don't routinely normalize their work after forging? It's standard practice to normalize a few times before quenching at least - so those stresses go out the window and at the same time you are refining the grain for toughness through heat treating. If you forge to reducing heats as you get closer to a finished product you could get some refinement from packing. Maybe some of that refinement could get carried through the normalization and quench. Maybe.
GA
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snip

snip
it sound like what jim hrisoulas describes as austenite forging in "the complete bladesmith) in chapter 4. if the distinguished gentleman is here he can shed some light on the subject and how much heat treating affects this.
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son_of snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (rpayne) Spaketh Thusly:

Check the latest issue of Blade magazine, edge packing is covered in an article on knifemaking myths.
To me, a packed edge always seemed kind of like compressed water.
-- Bill H. [my "reply to" address is real] www.necka.net Molon Labe!
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(rpayne) Spaketh Thusly:

finally got a hold of the issue. to my understand it seems a question of nomenclature. that is "edge packing" is a bygone term from when metalurgy was poorly understood. while the term seem to imply atoms are forced together, what really is happening is grain refinement. if i were to guess, the term "edge packing" probably came from busted blades where the appearence of large, unrefined grain was common in inferrior blades and smaller grain was found in superior blades in an era of forged blades. some semi-intelligent soul figured the smaller grain was the result of the same mass of material being compressed or "packed" into a smaller volume.
does this make sense or doea it sound like i'm blowing smoke?
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Wow, that's prob'ly the most sensible thing I ever read about edge packing. :)
Alvin in AZ
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(rpayne) Spaketh Thusly:

complete
can shed

to
Makes perfect sense to me. Ergo, *proper* heat treatment should be able to take the place of *proper* forge work in that respect. Lest anybody think I am a proponent of stock removal over forging, forget it. I just think they are both valid processes to an end. Personally, If I have the skill to hammer it into place I would rather go that route. It cuts down on the time spent on the machines and just feels more organic. It also tends to introduce some happy surprises that might not have occured on the grinder.
GA
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Greyangel wrote:

Do you have the URL for that?
Thanks
- ken
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It would appear not. I can't find it on my system.
GA
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