woodworking tool making questions.

If I use automobile leaf spring material to make woodworking cutting tools (gouges, mortise chisels, plane irons) should I attach a harder steel, like
axe-hatchet edge material, to the cutting edge, and then temper? Will the steel from these springs be sufficient by itself, to get a hard, sharp, edge (after tempering), without being brittle? Incidentally, where can one find tool edge material like axe cutting edges, to attach to a base material?. I'm assuming the axe-hatchet is basically mild steel with a high carbon edge attached.
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OCS is perfectly fine material for woodworking tools, if properly hardened and tempered. If you want more carbon, or other fancy alloys, the most cost effective method (if your time is worth anything) is to simply make the whole tool from the desired steel. I very much doubt that any modern production axes and hatchets are made by the old method (when high carbon steel was rare and expensive) of laminating in a bit, and even if they are, that bit is likely to be less of a high-carbon than might be desired for woodwork - the axe is an impact tool which is tempered to be filed sharp, while chisels and plane irons tend to be as hard, or harder than files in the working condition, as they are (with the possible exception of pigsticker mortise chisels) not subject to the high shock and impact loads an axe will have to take. Some of that is done with tempering, but a steel best suited to chisels is likely not the same as one best suited to axes.
Anyway, tool steel can be gotten from most steel or industrial suppliers in a wide range of shapes and formulations - drill rod is the round stock. MSC, McMaster and Enco are the big three general industrial supply outlets with web presence - there are many more local industrial suppliers, and also places that specialize more just in steel supply. Note - these are almost always not the cheapest possible source - they are often fastest and most convenient for smallish orders, though.
www.mscdirect.com www.mcmaster.com www.use-enco.com
Since I don't recognize you as having been here before, you should definitely go download files, especially the one with the very cryptic numeric name (7-5.pdf), from this web site, mentioned here not too long ago, but probably before you joined us.
http://mse.iastate.edu/files/verhoeven /
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Thank you for the assistance. I have not worked a forge before, but I plan on doing so soon. I see the 'Forge & Anvil' program on DirectTV (sat) and watch any of these type programs. I'm really more interested in the 'smithing' part, as I can buy the woodworking tools that I may need. It just looks like it could be a great hobby. And I can make custom tools. Could you tell me what the 'O' in 'OCS' means before I download the .pdf file? . . . . xxxx carbon-steel. thank you.
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Old Car Spring, or Old Chevy Spring - the basic material you were referring to in your post. Often 5160, or something similar, as best I recall, and someone will correct me on that if I'm too far off.
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Heh,heh! OCS means Old Chevy Spring, otherwise know as 5160 chrome vanadium spring stock, which has .60 percent (or 60 points) carbon in its makeup.
It's a very forgiving, medium-carbon, stock for knives, etc. as well as for auto leaf springs. Once upon a time, a lot of knives, froes, adzes, and on and on, were made from salvaged truck springs -- and probably many still are. I know I keep one of my very first efforts made from that kind of stock.
New 5160 stock is best because road-worn springs can have micro-cracks that have an uncanny way of showing up just as you reach the final heat treat and/or finish stages.
5160's good stuff. It can be almost as rust resistant as stainless without the smith having to deal with stainless' other ingredients.
Another good knife steel is 9260, a chrome silicon stock often used for coil springs. Ky friend, Kim George, has made many beautiful pieces from it -- when he's not wasting time messing with pattern welding. :)
Kim gets his as cutoffs from a local spring shop. I think he might get some 5160 there too.
OCS also makes good cutting and punching tools, not as good as the specifically made tool steels, but quite good enough if nothing else is handy. I have some set tools and punches made of 9260 that are several years old and still going strong.
You don't necessarily have to use some expensive exotic alloy to make a good knife, plane iron, punch, chisel, whatever.
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charles wrote:

What "forge and anvil" program????? What channel? And while I'm asking questions where are you located? and have you checked out the local ABANA chapter?
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Check out the Forge & Anvil website: http://www.georgiacenter.uga.edu/tv/forge/index.html
Rob

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************ Channel 379, program name is; 'RFD' on DirectTV satelite. They mention ABANA in their programing...Incidentally, my dad was a retired boilermaker (International Assoc. of Boilermakers, Blacksmiths, and Iron Ship Builders). From my youth, I remember the union newsletter called the 'Anvil Chorus'.
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charles wrote:

What time & day is it on DirecTV? The web page that Rob Fertner posted doesn't mention them, just some PBS stations.
Thanks
- ken
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************* As best I can tell the following is shown in the DirectTV recording section. Times are Mountain Standard . . . .A Gathering of Blacksmiths; 11/20 @ 01:00AM 11/20 @ 10:30AM
Forge & Anvil: 11/20 @ 10:30AM (same as 'a gathering') 11/21 @ 12:32PM 11/21 @ 10:30PM 11/27 @ 01:00AM 11/28 @ 12:30PM 11/28 @ 10:30PM 11/29 @ 04:30AM Channel 379. http://www.georgiacenter.uga.edu/tv/forge/forgeweb.html
The above link worked for me. I Googled it and it does point to the programs host site. Hope this helps.
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Check out the site - you can purchase the entire TV series for 35 dollars (US)
GA

section.
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charles wrote:

You betcha. Old car springs are great for wood tooling. Work at orange/yellow, about 2200 F. When it gets down to red, back in the fire. Quench in oil. Vet Grade mineral oil works quite well, do not use old crankcase drippings or other auto fluids. Auto petro products usually have metallic soaps to reduce foaming, and these can contaminate the work at quench temps. 5160, which is what most leaf springs are made of, will go to Rockwell 61-63 full hard. Draw in oven at 375 F for two hours and allow to cool in still air to ambient; Rockwell 55-57 final hardness.
Happy whacking...
Charly
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I have an old blacksmith's and toolmaker's book I bought on ebay for a small fortune. In 1918 the book sold in Sears for about one buck.
The author recommends steel from sixty to 75 points carbon for nearly every purpose short of lathe tools. I don't know if the advice contained there is still "state of the art" but it is certainly entertaining reading!
Vernon
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Howdy Charly,
Today, on the side of the highway, I found a big broken piece of leaf spring from a big truck. It's probably 18" long by 4" by 3/8" or something like that.
Because of your suggestions I've decided to heat it to yeller, and give it a whack.
See what you've done? You've created a monster!
Ha ha..
Vernon
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