Hand Tools

Updated Edge Shootout..

David Weaver
..not really a shootout. More a curiosity. Seeing how the edge wears on 26c3 makes me suspect that it will have edge life about like 1095, but I have to make a good 1095 iron first (the first one I made was not done with my unpatented process - which could be judged to be crap within the next several days).

But the curiosity is that on the visible spectrum, I can see the carbides coming out of the 26c3. I can find no micrographs of white 1, but don't suspect this is any different.

The size of the stuff coming out of the edge looks about like the particle size coming out of V11 or any of the other powder steels when I did the iron test (even though 3V has smaller carbides and fewer of them, surprisingly, the visual size of particles leaving the edge was slightly larger, and then M4 was a little larger yet).

All were uniform in the test until they met a mineral anomaly in maple (some of the anomalies that damaged them didn't appear visible to me, but one of them had a void in the center and was lined with gray sandy looking particles).

Long story short, I suspect when we see carbides leaving the edge, we sacrifice some edge life, thus I think it will be hard for 26c3 to get wear against 1095 proportional to the difference in FE carbide volume.

I can do 52100 harder than previous, too (I end up with slightly more coarse samples than O1 with 52100 because soaking to melt chromium carbides in it would cause problems in the open atmopshere - that itself gives it a reputation among some knife makers as being decarb unfriendly. But my process is designed to not deal with anything other than iron carbides and maybe change the shape of chromium carbides, but not reset them by dissolving them into solution.

What is my process? the subcritical heats and quenches - keeping steel subcritical but hot is a proven way to change the carbide structure. That's not what I was aiming to do, but little of what I do in anything is the result of guessing something would work and then proving it does. IT's more like testing things and taking whatever falls out of the tree and working with it.

So, the irons tested will be 52100, 1095 and 26c3, and maybe one more whack at AEB-L before just making a whole bunch of AEB-L irons and paying peters to heat treat them so that the chromium can be properly dissolved without getting rid of some of the precious little carbon that they have.

What will be the value of this to others? I expect nothing to anyone unless someone makes irons. I haven't made a video series of making chisels, though - I'm not sure I want to share that with the whole world at this point. I may want to make them sometime in the future and sell them professionally, even though that could easily be 10 years from now.

But, it's clear to me that there's a need for simple heat treatment advice of simple steels so that some of the OWTs go away (such as not being able to get adequate hardness consistently, or growing grain no matter what).

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