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John Schaefer





Joined: 14 Jun 2005

Posts: 20

PostPosted: Wed 13 Feb, 2008 3:27 pm    Post subject: Carbon steel flat barstock         Reply with quote

Hello

Starting to get back into sword smithing once again and I usually use leaf springs for steel. I was wondering where to buy carbon steel barstock, I feel it make make my forging a little faster(and easier). Being as I am below a novice at it I think it would help with an already flat piece and close to teh dimensions I need. Plus I have read that some smiths nowadays cut out the design of the sword and start forging then. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

John Schaefer
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Chase S-R




Location: New Mexico
Joined: 31 Jan 2008

Posts: 166

PostPosted: Wed 13 Feb, 2008 3:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

do you forge or use stock removal both are historical
I like to use a combo I think the esiest way is to cut out the knife shape then pack the edge if its a knife and put in fullers or a cross-section then grind define and heat treat. For knives I use old saw blades, u can always use leaf springs and the hard ware store where I live has started selling carbon steel go to www.primitiveways.com or if that doesn't work google it look at "making your own steel knives" he talks about places to get steel or try centaur forge on google they at least used to sell carbon steel if they don't any more they have everything else for black and blade smithing. Also u could try going on you tube how its made Albion sword or follow the link on Albion's website
good luck
(if you really are a novice its best to start with knives as theycare easier and a lot less can go wrong my first project was a 4-5 in. Seax made from hardware store steel of unknown carbon content I followed a procedure to add carbon that was on the history Chanel I think itvworked as it made a nice knife I put a bunch of hair in the forge with the knife? My next knife I made from a rusty old folding saw, which meant I didn't need to use any hair as it was already carbon steel) Cool

Charles Stewart Rodriguez
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Doug Lester




Location: Decatur, IL
Joined: 12 Dec 2007

Posts: 167

PostPosted: Wed 13 Feb, 2008 6:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It would help to know where you are at. Assuming that you are in the US, try Admiral steel. Their prices and shipping are reasonable. They stock plane carbon, 5160, and 9260 that should be good for sword making, though you have to look for the 9260 in the listing for 5160. You can also look for Kelly Cupples, he's on the West Coast. His stock is limited but his prices are the best around and he doesn't charge shipping on orders over $50. If you are a novice at blade making, let me second the recommendation that you learn your skills with making knives. I would also recommend that you strart with simpler designs. Symetrical bevels for a twin edged weapon are a lot harder to make than it looks. Also, don't forget that after you have forged and/or ground your blade that you are going to have to heat treat it. Meaning longer forge to heat it to critical in and a deeper quench tank.
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Vaclav Homan




Location: Hradec, Czech
Joined: 22 Jan 2008

Posts: 90

PostPosted: Thu 14 Feb, 2008 1:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are two way to make blade. Home made with historical working instruments (home experiments) or application machine tools with regards to effect. First way you can see on web site tempel (Patrik Bárta). He make his steel he forging, griding and rough plane steel. He use longer forge with japanese bellow (easer to produce). Leaf spring stell and another special steel is good for fencing. Old leaf spring is mostly gratis.
I use medieval forge built on the ground of the archaeological and literary base (more cheaply as modern). I had made smith bellow by analogy. I have large output as necessery low output. Smith bellow is more sensitive, it is best for welding smoll objects. As noted earlier longer forge is essential for quenching and annealing longer object (see youtube videos with japanese masters, if it I had seen before, I have save time with experiments). In forge you can form shape to final grinding and polishing. For historical knige and blade for cutting I use 0,6%C steel. I mean in USA 1065 ?. Leaf spring steel is alloy steel not historical and difficult to welding (dependent on purpose).
I grinding and polishing on common larger grinding machine

There is only one art of fence yet many ways to reach it
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Curt Cummins




Location: Portland, OR
Joined: 03 May 2007

Posts: 63

PostPosted: Thu 14 Feb, 2008 8:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Do you live in a larger city? Most cities have an industrial tool steel supplier who will have bar and round stock for the basic spring and tool steels on the shelf. I buy my material at Pacific Machinery and Tool Steel here in Portland, they have a good selection and what they don't have they will order for me.
Ye braggarts and awe be a'skeered and awa, frae Brandoch Daha
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Dan Dickinson
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Location: Michigan
Joined: 03 Oct 2004

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PostPosted: Thu 14 Feb, 2008 9:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another place to check would be a leaf spring manufacturer. They will have many different sizes of 5160 (at least in the US) and will probably be able to sell you the flat stock they start out with.
Dan
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Gary A. Chelette




Location: Houston, Texas
Joined: 29 May 2007
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PostPosted: Thu 14 Feb, 2008 1:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have heard of some sword makers using S7 Steel. RC57
It's a tool steel and very tuff. You maybe able to buy it in bar stock.
Carbon 0.55%
Manganese 0.70%
Silicon 0.35%
Chromium 3.25%
Molybdenum 1.40%
Vanadium 0.25%

Are you scared, Connor?
No, Cousin Dugal. I'm not!
Don't talk nonsense, man. I peed my kilt the first time I went into battle.
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Matthew D G




Location: Oklahoma, USA
Joined: 08 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Feb, 2008 10:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Admiral Steel has a very VERY wide selection of blade steels to choose from. On the main page you'll see some gray rectangles and one of them will say "Blade steel online store". The steel comes in bars of 3-6 foot lengths and all different kinds of thicknesses.

Hope that helps you

"I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend to be one of those deaf-mutes."
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Feb, 2008 3:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I recommend that you search the internet for "metal distributors." You should find around a half dozen not far from wherever you are. They are cheaper than specialty sites like Texas Knife Maker Supply. You can still get 1080 to 1090 series (spring steel grade) flat bar. Lengths of 3' and 6' are reasonably common. Most of the distributors will cut it to length (may have 10' long bar that you want cut into two 5' pieces.) For longsword thickness, you will probably be looking for fairly thick (3/8" to 1/2") stock. I would look around for a new friend who owns a plasma torch!
Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Bren O




Location: Western Australia
Joined: 14 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Sat 16 Feb, 2008 12:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I buy all my flat bar stock from a local Suspension manufacturer. They just cut the length I request from 6 metre bars. They offer widths up to 70mm, and thickness of 6, 10, or 12mm. It is all XK9258S, which is comparable to 9260.

I usually end up paying $12-15AUD per sword blade.

They even offer to heat treat and temper your blades for $10 each. However their quenching trough requires horizontal instertion, which I'm sure you all know is frought with risk.

Component Wt. %
C 0.56 - 0.64
Fe 96
Mn 0.88
P Max 0.035
S Max 0.04
Si 2

Anyone live in Perth, Western Australia? I found them via a google search and chances are you'll have one local too.

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It'll teach you to use this.
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Justin King
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Location: flagstaff,arizona
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PostPosted: Sat 16 Feb, 2008 6:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary A. Chelette wrote:
I have heard of some sword makers using S7 Steel. RC57
It's a tool steel and very tuff. You maybe able to buy it in bar stock.
Carbon 0.55%
Manganese 0.70%
Silicon 0.35%
Chromium 3.25%
Molybdenum 1.40%
Vanadium 0.25%


S7 sounds good on paper but is not an easy material to work with, without good temp. control and precise heat treating you are unlikely to get the full benefits from this alloy. It is not at all easy to forge either from what I understand.

McMaster-Carr has a decent selection of steels, amongst about a million other industrial-type products. They sell 5160 in 6' lenths and many different widths and thicknesses. I also got some O-1 from them with mill certification.

Keep in mind that many auto spring shops use pre-hardened and tempered material so if you go this route you may be using steel that has been heat treated once already. New annealed material is preferable in my opinion.
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sat 16 Feb, 2008 10:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Justin King wrote:

Keep in mind that many auto spring shops use pre-hardened and tempered material so if you go this route you may be using steel that has been heat treated once already. New annealed material is preferable in my opinion.


A question for you Justin; If one takes the leaf spring and heats it, say gradually progressing it through a knife maker style forge (open at both ends), can they effectively soften it even without going through a true full anneal? I assume the original poster just wants to be able to get it soft enough to cut out a basic shape with a tool like an angle grinder without spending several days and $$$ on cut off disks. If he is actually "forging the sword", he is going to lose any true annealed/ spherodized condition by the time he is done forging (packing, fullering, etc.) anyway. I ask because I have a couple 50's vintage leaf springs beside me now, and am working on a portable propane forge cart.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Justin King
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Location: flagstaff,arizona
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PostPosted: Sat 16 Feb, 2008 3:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would not recommend trying to re-heat treat a spring unless it has gone through a full normalization cycle (or three) at or just above critical.

Folks have made swords from springs by trying to preserve the original heat treat but to straighten it I would recommend heating the whole spring evenly to 400-450 F. and straightening while hot (depending on alloy, possibly higher), this should not exceed the original tempering temperature but will allow straightening with less chance of causing fatigue or micro fractures. Little or no hardness should be lost in doing this.
Grinding down a spring in a hardened state will be intensive and you must again be careful not to over-heat. The original spring heat treat is not engineered with cutting edges in mind so a blade made this way may not have very good edge hardness.

I'm not sure if this answers your question, the spring could perhaps be softened somewhat by heating below critical temp. but above typical tempering temps., but I don't see the point. Unless it is going to be re-heat treated you might as well just use mild steel as the finished blade will be soft.
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Sat 16 Feb, 2008 5:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It basically does answer my question. Without a heat treat oven, I was hoping I might be able to do something close to the 3 X normalization using just the forge. One occasionally hears of pseudo normalization using a large mass under the blade and torch heating, etc. I have thought of making a light refractory insulated box to permit slow cooling in. I do not expect cost or time savings compared to purchase of new annealed material unless the spring can be softened then re-heat treated.
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Curt Cummins




Location: Portland, OR
Joined: 03 May 2007

Posts: 63

PostPosted: Sun 17 Feb, 2008 8:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
It basically does answer my question. Without a heat treat oven, I was hoping I might be able to do something close to the 3 X normalization using just the forge. One occasionally hears of pseudo normalization using a large mass under the blade and torch heating, etc. I have thought of making a light refractory insulated box to permit slow cooling in. I do not expect cost or time savings compared to purchase of new annealed material unless the spring can be softened then re-heat treated.


To slow cool for annealing spring steel or oil quenched tool steels - heat to the appropriate temperature and bury it in a box of kitty litter. Vermiculite is better, but it is asbestos based, and kitty litter is cheap and readily available.

Ye braggarts and awe be a'skeered and awa, frae Brandoch Daha
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Justin King
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Location: flagstaff,arizona
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PostPosted: Sun 17 Feb, 2008 8:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I use wood ashes for annealing, I usually bury a hot piece of scrap first to pre-heat the ashes and prevent the cool ashes from bringing the piece below critical too fast, then place the part to be annealed in after removing the scrap.
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Naythan Goron




Location: ON, Canada
Joined: 03 Feb 2008

Posts: 40

PostPosted: Sun 17 Feb, 2008 12:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
Justin King wrote:

Keep in mind that many auto spring shops use pre-hardened and tempered material so if you go this route you may be using steel that has been heat treated once already. New annealed material is preferable in my opinion.


A question for you Justin; If one takes the leaf spring and heats it, say gradually progressing it through a knife maker style forge (open at both ends), can they effectively soften it even without going through a true full anneal? I assume the original poster just wants to be able to get it soft enough to cut out a basic shape with a tool like an angle grinder without spending several days and $$$ on cut off disks. If he is actually "forging the sword", he is going to lose any true annealed/ spherodized condition by the time he is done forging (packing, fullering, etc.) anyway. I ask because I have a couple 50's vintage leaf springs beside me now, and am working on a portable propane forge cart.


Jared this is the actual method i use for softening the steel in my gas forge since it is not long enuf to accommodate a peace longer then 17" I am forced to run the metal though the forge slowly straightening it out as it softens. but you have to be careful with spring as if you cool it down any other way then air cooling you will make the spring very brittle and it might break.
also depending on were you live Jared i would recommend getting a forge from www.chileforge.com as the quality of them is very good and the prices are very reasonable. the owner will even call you back to answer your questions i use there forge for all my work with spring steel (which for some resown is all i can get right now Cool ) if you have any questions about this method (which is the only one i have been doing for the last 4 years) send me a PM ill be happy to answer it.

times come and go but the blacksmith's spirit will live on.
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Kyle Kisebach




Location: North Salt Lake, Utah
Joined: 31 Jul 2004

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PostPosted: Sun 17 Feb, 2008 10:17 pm    Post subject: Easy does it         Reply with quote

If you're really "below a novice," I heartily agree with starting on plain old, $0.50/lb mild structural steel, and starting with smaller pieces. I say this for two reasons:

1) My first efforts went into a Dacian Falx, a large piece. I started with mild steel bar stock (AISI 1020 probably), and took a long time figuring out that large pieces were a bigger challenge than I needed. It's now a big, curved, slightly sharp monstrosity my brother uses to throw at a log for practice in case the Romans ever invade Washington. Not a total waste but not fulfilling either.

2) My second efforts went into a scramaseax, a little 8" blade, but this was out of AISI 4140 - which I found later cracks during forging if you don't keep it piping hot (1800F+). On a thin blade, that's not much hammer time per heat up cycle, and one crack makes big trouble. Mild steels seem to be nearly impossible to crack no matter how you approach them, and right now you (and I) need repetition to get control of the hammer, and at a low cost. Unless you're just doing stock removal, in which case I'm probably wasting my time.

I highly recommend verifying the process requirements on whatever steel you choose - I've used diehlsteel.com as a resource from people who have no personal reason to "push" a sexy-sounding steel at you - they're just telling you what the particular alloy needs. For instance - that S7 (which I have a piece of for when I'm good and ready) sounds cool, but take a look at http://diehlsteel.com/s7.aspx before you go there with your hard-earned cash.
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