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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Oct, 2009 12:31 am    Post subject: firesteel - what steel is best?         Reply with quote

I am trying to get good fat sparks from my firesteels and for some reason am having a problem.

I am using a a spring steel at about 0.8% carbon, quenching in water, grinding off the front face a touch and I get sparks for sure, but I am looking for the fattest and longest duration possible.

Any ideas as to the most successful steel grade or the treatment?

Help would be very welcome.

Tod

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Michal Plezia
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Oct, 2009 1:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maybe you should use a harder steel like nc6 (C-1,4%; Mn-0,6%; Si-0,25%; Cr-1,5%, V-0,2% , 62-65hrc after hardening, 60-62 hrc after tempering)? Old files could be good. You can try them before reforging Happy
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Oct, 2009 4:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I get really good results with old files, quenched in water and no tempering. You want the steel to be as hard as possible to get good sparks. N.b. also make sure your flint is sharp. After a few strikes on the same spot the flint will be too dull, and you need to press off flakes to get a new edge.
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Jason Mather




PostPosted: Thu 08 Oct, 2009 4:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have had good results with 5160, O-1, files, and torsion springs from garage door openers. What works for me is to heat them up red hot and let them cool 2-3 times then harden in water. Little or no temper. Sometimes I draw back non striking parts of the striker like handle parts or decorative bits. Just like everything else, once you get one right its a no-brainer.
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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Oct, 2009 9:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies - I have been off fiddling.

I think Jeroen hit the spot with keeping the flint sharp, I have never realised how crucial this is and makes all the difference.

for my 45 minutes playing I have decided that files are definitley best and can work with a blunter flint. My usual steel is from an old file and so I think I have been spoiled and can be lazy with needing a sharp flint.

Surprisingly of the steels I have around, 0-1 was a good second best, which I find surprising and although the flint did need to be sharp, it worked very well.

Many thanks for the tips.

Tod

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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Oct, 2009 2:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Does anyone know what hardness is considered ideal for a striker? I know that the flint needs to be able to cut it, but am not really sure if the steel needs quenching and drawing to reach some optimal hardness. (If the conversion chart I looked at was right, flint/quartz is Mohs scale 7, Vickers 1161, Rockwell C near 71.) At least with something like 1095, as quenched Rockwell could be 65 and would be very tough on the flint. I would have expected the striker to have been heated after quenching to something like 300 or 400 F with a Rockwell C closer to 50 being targeted so that the flint would cut it more easily.
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Ken Nelson




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Oct, 2009 6:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

straight high carbon steels, with maybe manganese are my preferred steels for strikers. I have a supply of 1.4C W1 drill rods that I keep for strikers. A .8%C and a 1.2%C steel can be at the same hardness, the 1.2% will generally give a better shower. O1 at .85-.9%C works well. After hardening, I only temper to 250 deg max. this will keep the striker from cracking the first time you drop it on a rock, but does not affect the hardness. Keeping a good sharp flint helps, as does practice.
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