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Ben Parker





Joined: 17 Sep 2007

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PostPosted: Fri 26 Oct, 2007 6:03 am    Post subject: Various Questions About Forging         Reply with quote

Ok there's a few of us trying to make our own steel weapons and i'm hearing alot about carbonated steel and whatnot, firstly i've been led to believe that heating and forging weapons with high temp coal fires carbonate and therefore hardens steel.
sorry i'll start again, smelting iron with coal makes steel right, after that forging steel into weapons with coal fires adds more carbon Making it stronger? and then there's also mention of arab crusade age weapons that have been imbued with a third source of carbon making them the strongest and sharpest. But all i want to know is that using coal fires rather than say a propane hand thingy (forgot the name) may make the sword better overall.

Another Question whats an ideal heat (if anyone out there knows) for heating the steel before hammering it into shape

and finally Has anyone here actually made weapons before or am i barking up the wrong tree (i'm going to be learning by trial and error anyway so any tips on what to do and not to do would be appreciated)

Hey just because the rules don't say i can't punch my opponent to win doesn't mean i will
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Craig Johnson
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Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
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PostPosted: Fri 26 Oct, 2007 6:18 am    Post subject: Starting Out         Reply with quote

Hi Ben

You can save yourself a great deal of time and effort getting some good info off the net as far as where to start and such. Depending on where you live I would also suggest getting together with some working smiths to see the process in action. Here are two good sites

Guild of Metalsmiths
Dan Fogg Knives

The ability to carburize steel to a higher degree in an open fire is something that is very close to a break even proposition in perfect conditions. If there are any variables at all it is for certain a losing operation.

Coal is a great fuel as is charcoal, propane and a few others. Using the one you are most comfortable with is more important than what it will do to any steels. Modern steels do not need this type of treatment usually or unless you are after unique results. The crusader steel you mention, maybe wootz which is a crucible process of smelting. This was generated in asia and the east not by the europeans, as far as we know now, they did how ever purchase the material.

The idea that the Crusaders had a special steel is not valid as far as any physical proof that I am aware of.

Best
Craig
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Justin King
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Location: flagstaff,arizona
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PostPosted: Fri 26 Oct, 2007 6:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Propane or other gas fuel is probably the most cost- and time-efficient heat source for a forge. The carburizing you mentioned is unecessary unless you are making your own steel-you can purchase a modern steel with a carbon content that is suited to what you want in the finished product. More carbon is not necessarily better, and carbon content should be balanced against other alloying elements such as chromium to give the desired properties after heat treating.
Your working temps will vary somewhat from one steel type to another-for forging the more common bladesmithing steels you will generally be heating to 1800 F. or thereabouts. If you don't have some reading material on forging and heat treating steel I would recommend that you do some searching online, you can learn entirely by trial and error but it is a very slow process.
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Gabriel Lebec
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PostPosted: Fri 26 Oct, 2007 8:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Ben,

I would also recommend the Complete Bladesmith by Jim Hrisoulas, if you don't already own it. Do try to find some professional bladesmiths in your area, as Craig mentioned - there's no substitute for hands-on experience. Happy

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science." - Albert Einstein
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Fri 26 Oct, 2007 4:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You can "surface carburize"' to a depth of about 0.030 inches by wrapping a piece in fresh goat skin (or similar tissue high in both carbon and nitric acids), letting it dry, and coating it with refractory cement or an old time clay formulation. After that dries well (about a month if no baking is used), you can take the specimen through a high heat with very slow cooling (normalizing.) This was one method by which blacksmiths hardened the teeth on files. In a blade, it can make hard cutting edges while the core remains more flexible.

Most modern smiths seem to adopt a strategy of working a piece quickly enough so that not too much carbon is lost during forging and hot working.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Bruno Giordan





Joined: 28 Sep 2005

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PostPosted: Sat 27 Oct, 2007 12:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Various Questions About Forging         Reply with quote

Ben Parker wrote:
Ok there's a few of us trying to make our own steel weapons and i'm hearing alot about carbonated steel and whatnot, firstly i've been led to believe that heating and forging weapons with high temp coal fires carbonate and therefore hardens steel.
sorry i'll start again, smelting iron with coal makes steel right, after that forging steel into weapons with coal fires adds more carbon Making it stronger? and then there's also mention of arab crusade age weapons that have been imbued with a third source of carbon making them the strongest and sharpest. But all i want to know is that using coal fires rather than say a propane hand thingy (forgot the name) may make the sword better overall.

Another Question whats an ideal heat (if anyone out there knows) for heating the steel before hammering it into shape

and finally Has anyone here actually made weapons before or am i barking up the wrong tree (i'm going to be learning by trial and error anyway so any tips on what to do and not to do would be appreciated)


the question has been treated also at swordforum.com, (bladesmith cafè).

I also posted a similar question and a very kind ex boeing engineer who was in charge of tempering airplane steel parts answered it extensively.

Going to the core, you shall better buy a good steel with the right percentage of carbon and other metals like manganese etc, as recommended in the hrisoulas' series, where extensive infos on good steel alloys available in your continent are given.

If you heat the piece for too long and/or at too hot e temperature you will loose carbon, not the contrary.

Buy some good steel .. also there are other secrets but you shall discover them by attending old smiths and metal engineers.
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