Hand Tools Archive

The solution to the heat..
Response To:
Experimenting with XHP ()

david weaver
(this is a solution for the dumb. Not for people who have proper machining setups).

I am in the middle of cutting out two more irons, not much time each night to do it and for me without machine tools, it's a lot of filing, anyway.

The heat issue with the iron is that it can heat at a spot and then air harden quickly (like where a cut is being made). I rough cut stuff like this with a portable bandsaw inserted into a vise (held by the handle). Cheapie HF saw, works great.

I can tell when the saw is cutting that if I don't move fast enough, the steel will harden ahead of the blade, but luckily, unlike the drill, I can power through it and get back on track.

The drilling solution is simple. If you have no mill, you drill a series of holes down the slot area ever so slightly further apart than the bit width and then hand file out the rest. It's not as bad as it sounds, but with XHP, the start to finish process may take 2 hours. More importantly, it doesn't use anything that I don't already have in the shop and it's cheap to do sans ruining bits on the first one.

$15 worth or round and flat files is probably enough to make 15 irons.

The bit heat is solved by marking the holes and drilling them a tiny bit at a time and moving from one to the next, within 5 minutes or so, all holes are drilled, no metal has hardened, and the mid dollar (but super high quality) norseman bits are still sharp.

I also put a couple of drops of water into the holes as they progress. When steam bursts out of the hole, I move on to the next one, dump out shavings, dribble water in and do it again.

Word to anyone who ever has an interest in doing something like this. your iron either needs to be in a holder or you need to be wearing a welding glove or something simple. If the bit grabs the iron, it'll come around and could probably cut you (I've never chanced this).

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