Hand Tools Archive

Re: A great and helpful summary...

david weaver
I considered a couple of things this morning, but it feels like i'm about to go on a bender building tools, so practicality isn't really that important compared to experimentation.

The two files i've got that are a quarter thick and an inch wide are portugal, but not bahco. Generally, those have been good files and this feels like good steel. LOTS of spark on grinding the annealed material and it cuts wonderfully with a vixen (which I use to shape things by hand if i can get a hold of a blank. You can draw file steel off in long pigtails with enough structure to cut you using a vixen - far better than a file, but still the same hand worked thrill and control.

Those teeth could have an awful lot in them, as you say. But the remaining variables are bigger. I'm assuming that a thin oil quench will be fast enough on water hardening steel, but it may not be if the cross section gets bigger.

I also ordered 1095 and 1084 today, two steels I've never worked with (I've had great luck with O1 stock, generally no problem matching commercially available O1, even with some hardening errors. I made a moulding plane iron once that I didn't quite get hot enough, but close. It attained enough hardness to be used, but didn't attain enough to skate across sharpening stones. I never tempered it, and by luck, it has worked great).

If chisel 1 with a file works well, then I'm moving over to quarter inch W1 bar stock. If the W1 proves too flakey in heat treat, I'll try a bench plane iron in 1084 to see how well it does when it's left a little bit on the hard side. I'm sure 1084 would make a wonderful sharpening knife blade.

I don't have a great heat source, but I think that works a little in my favor hammering. I cannot get the steel super bright orange, but i'm also unlikely to be decarbing it very much. A blacksmith would forge much further by hand than I do, I just do a little and combine with annealing so that I have some less hand work to do tapering thickness. Same with knives. I don't know that my hammering does anything, but it makes it much easier to shape a knife blade.

Chisels and knives up to about 5 inches will be the limit of what I can harden, and that's OK. Much appreciate the very useful discussion!

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