I'm not sure of the carbon content of the steel in cold chisels, but they are fairly soft to prevent shattering, and may not harden well.
Several sources for good steel for woodworking tools that I've used (learned from my father, are: Old files - grind off the teeth to reduce the chance of cracking. Leaf springs from trucks or older model cars. Coil springs - takes some forge work to straighten, but nice steel. Power hacksaw blades - lovely steel. Dad made kitchen knives that would flex
90 deg but only needed sharpening once every 2 or 3 years.
Supposed to be ~1080 but spark testing has shown me they are less than that.
Yep. :) They are what's referred to as "1.22% carbon steel" in the ASM books. ~6 out of my 60+ files are higer carbon content than that tho. Higher carbon helps with edge retention.
Those are basically the same steel and usually referred to as 5160.
There's a bunch of different alloys tho, they use them as they get them and also they are formulated for the thickness of the spring and price etc... but they all boil down to being just like 5160.
That's my favorite stuff, high speed steel usually M2. It takes and holds an edge better than anything else me and a bunch of my buddies have ever messed with.
I've just finished going through all this with a guy from the woodcarving newsgroup. :) For simple knives the best to be had are those made from "hard-back" non-flexible power hacksaw blades.
If/when you're serious about making your own post here and we can go over which ones are worth making knives from and which ones are a waste of time. (the bi-metal ones are obvious and I wasn't talking about them there:)
There's a guy selling all that stuff on the internet and makes the gouges from O1 drill rod and the knives from HSS. The "wood carver" sent me a Jpeg...
I was wanting to make a couple knives for him so he could go and brag about HSS to his friends.. but no need for me to make any now the word is already out in that crowd. :)
They are made "not to break" as opposed to be the best edge holders. Files are opposite of that.
Hoof rasps are heat treated for maximum edge holding using similar carbon content to cold chisels, so the steel isn't a -bad- choice just not the best choice IMO.
Cool but like re-loading your own shells I don't reccomend it for those only wanting to save money. At the same time I wouldn't be into guns if it weren't for re-loading. :)
5160, cheap, easy to find, easy to forge, easy to heat treat. Will take and hold a razor edge. work at orange, quench at bright cherry in oil, draw in the cook stove to 375 degrees for an hour then air cool to ambient... Rc 56-58.
I've only had one crumble on me, and that was from an oooollld piece of stock that came from a springpack from the Thirties. Use 'new' stock and don't have any troubles. I've never had a lick of trouble forming 5160, welding 5160, machining 5160, polishing 5160, sharpening 5160...
Compared to the 6160 axle stock, it works like butter. (I LOVE metal with a memory, forging five times is sooooo much more fun that forging once.) YMMV
Sorry, I guess that dates me. That came from the Olde Dayes, when 300 baud was lightning fast and memory was measured in Kbytes.
Seriously, I use a LOT of 5160 and am quite happy with the results, and being a lazy SOB, I don't use metal that requires a lot of sweaty hard work to fabricate. It makes GREAT swords with performance that will absolutely blow your mind. Chop right through an 'A pillar' in a car, coupe to convertible in a half dozen strokes, flex in excess of 45 degrees out of true and spring back to true a million times, get run over by a tank without damage, drive it into a rockface and use it for a diving board, this stuff is the 'miracle metal' that the Vikings wished for. It will take and hold a 'hair popping sharp' edge, and the chrome in the alloy helps resist corrosion.
And it's Cheap! I give a buck a pound, and it comes in bar or round in 20' sticks in sizes from about 1.5 by .200 to 6 by 1 for bar and .3 to almost 2 in round.
OK, I'd like dozen... wha? oh yeah. Sold me! I've been doing a lot of reading and based on availability first and properties second, I was leaning toward 5160. I have been trying to track down 1060 and having a REAL hard time of it - for the sizes I want. If I can oil quench it without having to carefully temperture control the quench oil and do ballpark normalizations and critical and NOT have jump three times in counterspin to the moon while chanting imprecations at Thor the All Father then it sounds good to me. BTW, (uh... oh yeah) I did my first quench ever last night and the first real strong impression that I had of the experience (well right after "Woa! the bubbles are cool!) was that there is this incredible smell hanging around my work. Actually it's my wife who noticed it most. I used gear oil 'cause it was cheap in volume and the auto stop. Is there a recommended oil quench that doesnt smell quite so strongly?
Those rectangular-section rail anchors are about 1060. Not the right size?
In thin sections like knife blades, oil will work on water hardening steels like 1095. That's what I have personal experience with.
Holy $#!#. :(
Ok but I got to tell you ATF will smaoke to beat hell and every once in a while a ball of fire will roll (roaring;) up through the smoke! Don't stand in the smoke with polyester clothes on. ;)
Real quenching oil hardly smokes at all, has additives for that and to increase the speed and modifying the cooling curve etc too, plus the additives were chosen to keep the good aspects of it going as long as posible.
Quenching oil that stops working right has to be changed out so it's been a competition to make some that holds up well and does a good job. Getting the "real thing" for a hobbist just makes it so you only have to buy it once and eliminate quenching problems at the same time. win/win
I got my quenching oil from Brownell's (dealer prices) but I recommend calling around to the industrial oil/fuel suppliers and buy a 5 gallon bucket of it. It'll work better for you, you won't be able to wear it out so as long as you keep water out of it, and covered, it'll last you a lifetime.
I use a Coka-Cola stainless steel tank with the top cut off for a quench tank. Got it from the scrap yard, cut off the top third and sold that hunk back to them. ;) I've got 2 gallons of oil in it.
I figure you'll want something bigger. A large target is important for small thin water hardeing parts. You need to do it fast. Pull it from the fire and as fast as you can without missing the tank or knocking the tank over get it in the oil. :)
I could use another gallon of quenching oil. If I buy one more gallon from Brownell's I'll have more money in it than if I'd bought a five gallon bucket from a local oil supplier... without dealer prices. :/ And with shipping being a larger percentage of the sale it's gotten almost out of hand.
Back in the 80's a guy could mail order stuff and pay less than the "sale tax percentage" (5%) on the shipping ...about 4% ...on automotive goodies and guns and knives. (used to have an FFL and a Case knife dealership too)
I use veterinary grade mineral oil. No stink, no 'anti foaming' metallic soaps, available in gallons at the Feed and Seed, doesn't wear out, consistent results at room temperature. It Does catch fire though, wear gloves. I'm using the same batch that I filled the tank with a decade ago, still crystal clear to the bottom of the tank. Full hard is a Rc 62-63, that seems to be plenty, and the scale wipes right off.
I haven't had time to play with it yet. Your saying the square stock is no good? The one on the right is channel stock. Least amount of steel in the batch. I was hoping the square stuff was good since I could fairly easily draw it to the length and thickness I want.
I'm not overly concerned with things like Hamon at this stage. I will be happy if I can turn out a reasonably good blade at all
I'd heard that its really tough to get a Hamon line out of 5160. So long as you can get a hard edge and a softer back then the goal is accomplished... Unless you need visual proof of the differential hardening. I suppose it would be a selling point. See my goal is to become a reasonably good bladesmith and then do it as a retirement fund kind of thing. I figure I have about 20 years to get it right.
I just wanted to verify actual temperature while I'm working it so that I can coordinate all these bits and pieces of wisdom into the work. Once I get to know how everything looks and acts then I don't think I would need it. Then again, any time you start working a new kind of metal the rules change.
I'd heard it said that with oil quenches you want volume to offset the tendancy to flash. I found a turkey roasting pan and filled it mostly up to do 12 inches of blade stock. Seemed to work pretty well. I do want to put together a tank for doing swords.
I figure most of what I will do will be between .2 and .3 inches thick. .3 seems to work really cool for big ugly blades that only Conan would actually try to swing. I don't care for flat sword blades with a small bevel at the edge thing. Makes 'em look like cheap wall hangers. Better to have a thicker back with a long bevel.
All that I am really sure of is that it's not your basic steel. I really want do do some comparative experimentation with a known medium carbon steel.