Railroad spkes

This is an old issue that keeps popping back up. I used to have the metalurgical makeup of the RR spike. But I do remember they have a minimum carbon content of
.30%. Depending on the batch they probably vary from .30 to .40% carbon. I forged one that I would swear was .45%. Anyway, RR spikes were minimum .20% carbon until about 1970, then they switched to the higher standard. Which they labeled HC for "higher carbon" content. RR spikes are not high carbon steel, they are at best a medium carbon steel. Also, if you see an extra "C" on the head that means a little copper was added to the alloy to increase electrical conductivity. I use the ones that have HC only on the head. I know guys that have quenched spike knifes in superquench to get maximum hardness. No tempering. Superquench is a fast soapy brine quench that will shatter steel that is more than 50 points of carbon. For the formula do a search for Rob Gunter+superquench.
Rob Wichita, KS
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Thanks Rob! Very good to know!
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Curt Welch http://CurtWelch.Com /
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<snip>

For sure! :)
And that's the way I remember it (now that you spelled it out to me! LOL) Howard Clark(?)(the bainite sword guy) swore up and down the HC's were about .35%C too. :)
Been awhile since I though about this stuff. :)
rec.knives was ruined and I switched my hobby to morking on my old Ford pickup. '75 F150 360FE+T18 special ordered it when I was 21 and living in Bowie AZ and could have paid cash for it from all the broken rails I was just talking about in the other post. No kidding. Sometimes had so many broken rails on the same night was into double time by morning (16 hours straight and double time would start).
My insurance man told me "don't pay cash, get a -bank- loan against your savings". Got hurt and the insurance (with the loan) paid 10 months of the 2 year loan! LOL :)
Yeah, was changing out a rail with a "Welding Gang" and the -first day- boom operator dropped a rail on my foot. :) 39 footer. LOL :)
Butthead in AZ
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