Made the blade: observations (long)

I posted here a while back asking about making my own blades for
woodworking. I employed much of the excellent advice. Here's a report,
in case any other newbies are lurking here.
Read the coffee can forge page (super!), but went with charcoal for
the first "learning experience."
Bought a yard of 2" x 1/8" 01 stock from a very helpful, friendly,
and inexpensive local place. Free delivery. (Speedy Metals, Milwaukee)
Traced, cut, drilled, filed and ground a plane iron. That was easy.
Found a scrap of copper tubing soldered to an elbow (came with the
house). Cut off an inch or so of tubing, dropped it in the other,
threaded, side of the elbow. Packed some furnace cement around to seal
it. Stuck that through the bottom of a 6" clay flowerpot. Added more
furnace cement inside to hold it in. Covered the exposed cut end of the
tube, too. Reamed out the excess with an awl. Packed a blob of cement
between the elbow and the bottom of the pot to stabilize the tube.
Duct taped a small hair dryer to a paper-towel tube. Stapled the
other end to make a smaller opening. Duct taped that to the copper
tubing. Set the pot in the barbeque, on a couple of firebricks, which
have been holding things down in the garden for years. Bye, bye moss.
Duct taped hair dryer to barbie.
Started some charcoal in the grill, next to the firebricks. Shielded
the paper tube with some fragments of pottery from god knows what. Fed
the lit coals into the pot with tongs. Added more lighter fluid, well,
just because. Watched with wonderment as the contraption actually got
hot. Watched with wonderment as the pot cracked and spat flames out of
the cracks. Ok, the center is still hot, the effective depth just got a
lot shorter.
Turned kitchen oven to 300. (Steel package claims Rc 63-64 at that
temp. I got greedy.)
Rubbed a damp bar of Ivory soap over the plane iron. Poked the plane
iron into the hot spot. This was my first big mistake. Left it in for 6
minutes, according to the directions on the steel package. Put oil in a
1 lb coffee can. Warmed the oil to 125 degrees, measured with a candy
thermometer. (Dad, why does the fudge taste like motor oil?) Oil can
went into grill. Blade went into oil, bevel down, swish, foomph. Oh,
yeah, oil burns. Swish some more.
Took it out with tongs and ran inside (well, walked quickly and
deliberately) to the preheated oven. Laid it on a piece of foil in the
oven and left it for an hour. Turned off the oven and let it sit a few
more minutes while I futzed around in the basement.
Washed off the remaining oil with soap and hot, then warm, then cold
water. Tried to get the crud off with a wire wheel. No go.
At this point, I should describe the blade. I melted it. Big valleys
missing from the center of the cutting edge on both sides of the blade.
I started to grind. And grind. And grind. I spent the rest of the day
with fast grinding wheels, a slow pink grinding wheel, a coarse
oilstone, and 220 grit SiC wet-n-dry on a glass plate; lather rinse
The edge is crispy. When I approach almost getting an edge, little
bits fall off. Tomorrow I'm putting it back in the oven at 400 to
temper it some more. If it's still crunchy, I might patch up the
forgelet and start again. And if that doesn't work, I still have the
rest of the 01 stock to try again. The first piece can be turned into
carving tools or something.
Things to do: go back to the library for that metalworking book.
Copy the chart which shows what color is which temperature. Lay the
iron horizontally, with the bevel down, a little farther from the hot
spot. Temper at 400 degrees. Tear the foil off the roll before one hand
is occupied with tongs holding a screaming hot piece of metal. Remember
"Bing, not Maraschino."
Thanks for all the helpful advice and information that got me this
far. I had a blast.
Reply to
Australopithecus scobis
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Fantastic post I'm going to save that one.
I've been hardening a lot of 01 tool steel as of late and the best way I've found is to heat with a propane torch - tiger torch to be exact. I actually find exactly what you describe below and the propane torch doesn't seem to be able to go beyond the "shadow effect" that you describe, so it's a pretty idiot proof way to harden 01 tool steel. Another thing I've notice, getting the tool steel to the non magnetic point isn't enough. I tried that on the first cutters I was making and found they were still "soft" after quenching. With 01 the best color has been orange with the "shadow effect." Everything I've hardened since the first few failures (using a magnet) have come out better than expected. For some of the chisels and cutters I prefer to leave them hard and not temper back, they haven't shown any signs of being brittle as a result but are extremely hard and durable. If you would like to see what I'm making as of late go to
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Reply to
Damned if i know
Way too hot and way too long. It is when the color of the metal is achieved that you do the dipping, not after some ambigious amount of time. Then tempering is also done carefully with great attention to the color that the steel is achieving. The Woodwright Shop has a video of one episode where a blacksmith goes through the process with some parts. I know that you should know the program if you really like woodworking. If you don't, it is on PBS usually on Sat. about noon or so, depending upon your station.
-- Bob May Losing weight is easy! If you ever want to lose weight, eat and drink less. Works every time it is tried!
Reply to
Bob May
The little carving blades I recently made from old hacksaws and heated in a torch worked out very nicely. I was eager to try out my new contraption. It worked far better than I expected. Well, that's what experiments are for.
The top of this blade is destined to become yet more carving blades. After reading the other posts, I whacked the business end with a ball peen hammer. Nice big shattery cracks.
Clear skies, rl
Reply to
Australopithecus scobis

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