Hand Tools Archive

Blades 4 and 5

david weaver
exhibit the same behavior as the prior three. Blade four I used only one torch, which is meaningless to the forum other than that I could only get heat up to probably the very bottom of the acceptable range and not even maybe (1850).

A single torch in the can forge will do anything O1, even shootenstein's gigantic skew iron (2 3/4" roughly and 1/4" thick), but XHP seems to be (to get the steel to proper color -very bright orange bordering on dull yellow) a two torch affair. It's not so much the gas that makes that an expensive addition, it's the fact that you need two good torches (like the TS4000 type) that output more heat than some of the tiny pencil torch types that are really inexpensive. Torches of that type with an igniter will lose the igniter instantly in the forge due to the high temperatures, but I've been using a TS4000 type as one of the torches sans igniter (easy enough to strike it lit) for dozens of irons now and it shows no other ill effects.

Long story short, the slightly underheated iron shows no difference at all in feel or on stones or diamonds, nor on wood. A testament to the forgiving nature of the steel (of course O1 also does this as long as you get it to temp - if you get it briefly over temp, even well over, it doesn't seem to suffer much in terms of ill effects, but it may warp more).

The wear resistance of XHP is evident when flattening, but I've seen much worse.

Irons 4 and 5 again love the washita as a finisher - there is something about their functional hardness and the particular stone that I've used that creates a very clean edge (it's a little harder to get absolutely defect free off of cast and diamonds because the surface is unforgiving of any contaminant, buried or loose) and a supreme mirror brightness on wood that I cannot get out of the same hardness iron in O1.

Not a suitable iron, though, for anyone using mostly or all natural stones due to the wear resistance to grinding and heavier stone work. It's just a strange combination of resistance to the speed of stones, but still showing good edge fineness without the rubbery feeling with the wire edge.

Grinding is near sparkless when establishing a bevel or refreshing it (i.e., not maintenance bevel refinement), which is not remotely similar to carbon steels.

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