Hand Tools Archive

Re: A great and helpful summary...

david weaver
Plenty of heat to hammer, just not enough to get to forge.

The first time I tried to make a pocket knife blade, I let it cool, and then sprayed it with a little bit of water to make sure it was OK to touch. That little bit of time that metal can be moved after a heat...well, that took that away and one light tap and the blade shattered like glass :(

I can get the files hot enough to raise a flux on the surface, but don't really want to do that. Lots of stuff I don't know, though. I've often heard that the better japanese smiths would try to use as low of heat as possible when working their tools, and when forge welding.

My small can forge with two torches in it (I usually use one) will get steel hotter than I want to, and I guess it could probably get it up to bright orange or close to yellow, but probably not sparking like a coal fire. Since the inside of the forge is without carbon, I don't want to get the steel too hot and have it migrating out. I also don't want to hammer it cold and stress it.

1084, I know little about it. Just read that for people who want to forge 1095, 1084 is a good place to start because it's much more forgiving in the quench. I've always got O1 to fall back on - with O1, you heat it to orange right at the flux or a little bit before, quench it, temper it in the oven. It turns out the same every time. The only marginally hardened blade I had, I was trying to heat the blade with one of those 500k btu weed torches without anything to hold the heat. Turns out that the radiant heat from that thing made it hard for me to hold the blade, even with gloves on. felt like a sunburn - I got it to orange, quenched it and headed inside. I'm not sure that I ever tempered that blade because it didn't need it, but it, for some reason, is an excellent plane blade to use. Still hard enough for all but the hardest file to skate on it, but not too hard to sharpen on an oilstone.

(I do get stuck in the details! But my first attempts at making tools and just wasting time resulted in tools that didn't work as well as purchased types, and that's something I don't like. I've thrown most of those tools away. I've got a lot of "purchased" tools, and aim to make a tool that is their equal so that I'll actually use it. This file chisel might not be that, but the next six or so had better be at least that good. If I can't get them right with 1095, I've got plenty of O1 stock on hand to work with.)

© 1998 - 2017 by Ellis Walentine. All rights reserved.
No parts of this web site may be reproduced in any form or by
any means without the written permission of the publisher.