Which Stainless should I use?

Ken Vale wrote:


I dunno about Canada, but here in the States, 1/8" x 1" 304 or 316 flat bar is readily available, fairly cheap, and would probably fit the bill for your project. 300 series stainless is not heat treatable and will turn dark when you forge it. If you figure it's worth the effort, it'll polish nice and shiny.
Cheaper yet, you can probably score a couple of used farrier's rasps from any farrier for free. Farriers are always looking for something to do with 'em and most of us have a stack a show dog couldn't jump over. Old rasps (files) are a traditional source of heat treatable steel for knife makers in the New World, so maybe you could tell the gendarmes you're carrying on a tradition, not breaking any laws, if you get busted for knifemaking out of season.
--
Tom Stovall, CJF
Farrier & Blacksmith
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Hey Ken, I would use alloy 304 as it is easy to find relatively cheap and quite forgiving in the forge. Regardless of what Charly said stainless is a bitch to forge. It takes a LOT more force to move it than mild steel. The non hardening varieties can bee taken right up to almost the burning point. "Cherry red" yeah right. Make it a yellow heat! It will still feel like high carbon steel under your hammer. Personally, I would make practice weapons out of mild steel, finish them out and just keep a good coat of natural paste wax on them. I am making some practice spear points and am using mild steel.
Glen G.
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GSG wrote:

Considered Mild steel but the rust issue (given the moisture level of my gym bag) and the use of wax paste (just imagine what that would do to all the stuff in the gym bag). 304 might be harder to work, but I think the benifits out weight the effort. Ken
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GSG wrote:

Glen... I said 'use bigger hammers'. The hammer and gravity do the work, I just steer it. force applied = mass X (velocity squared). More mass, more force. Cherry red is a lot easier to produce on a budget in a garage than yellow. Of course, Ken could just spend a C-note on a belt grinder and carve away everything that doesn't look like a knife and forego the fire altogether. Bar stock is easy to find.
Charly
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Point taken Charly, Still, it's good practice to always work steel at it's upper forging limit no matter how big the hammer. Currently my forge is a "SpeedyMelt" it's a big boy, like a Johnson. Problem is I can barely get 2000 f. out of it. But hey, it was brand new and I only paid $300. at auction. 304 grinds like a bitch too. Lately I prefer the laser, shear, break, weld methodologies for that stuff.
Glen.
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Have you considered anodizing or chrome-plating the mild steel? You don't plan on banging these against anything, right?

Gravity can only work *after* the arm has lifted the hammer. Your math applies equally to lifting the hammer. Who are you paying to lift that heavier hammer with each blow? Bruce Freeman?
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Lee Cordochorea wrote:

Well, after a couple of summers stacking cylinder heads, most hammers don't feel all that heavy. Anything under ten pounds is featherweight. Of course, finger tight is fifteen foot pounds. YMMV
Charly
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