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Josh MacNeil




Location: Massachusetts, USA
Joined: 23 Jul 2008

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Tue 23 Mar, 2010 9:48 am    Post subject: What to do with a project blade...         Reply with quote

Hey guys. So I snagged a bare blade from Albion's moat sale. It's a type XVII longsword (Landgraf/Sempach). I was a little disappointed when I got it as it's not heat treated and I believe it's a prototype. There is a mark on the tang that reads "proto 1018". I'm guessing the number refers to the kind of steel. Does anyone know if Albion does their prototypes in 1018 steel? If so, it pretty much rules out having any kind of functional blade. As far as I know, 1018 is low grade and can't be heat treated into a functional blade. My question is does this low grade steel have a historical equivalent? Were there longswords in the 14th Century that were made with a similar quality low carbon steels? I'm asking because I still plan to put a hilt on my blade and go through the steps of finishing it. Even if I end up with just a nice handling (no contact) wall hanger, I'll still have had the fun of hilting it. I just want to have some idea of what I'll be ending up with when all is said and done. Thanks in advance.

- JM
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Matthew Fedele




Location: Auburn, NY USA
Joined: 21 Jul 2005

Posts: 64

PostPosted: Tue 23 Mar, 2010 2:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If it is 1018 low carbon steel I wouldn't waste the time with it personally. You're better off finding an old Toledo to modify. You might learn a few things and it's easy steel to work, but the end result will be a blade that deforms very easily.
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Ken Nelson




Location: central Wisconsin, USA
Joined: 01 Apr 2007
Reading list: 12 books

Posts: 55

PostPosted: Thu 25 Mar, 2010 7:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The first thing I would recommend for a blade made from 1018 would be to put it on a wall. There is however a way you can heat treat a low carbon steel like that.

A quenchant that many blacksmiths use for hardening 1018 through 1045 steels to be used as tools is Rob Gunter's Super Quench. On 1018 it will harden the steel to about 40-42 Rockwell C. too soft to really hold an edge, but rigid enough for handling practice. A good blow to the flat of the blade will probably bend it, but it will be somewhat springy. I have used this myself for making fullers and swages for hot working steel.

If I remember correctly, the formula is:
5 gal water
5 lb salt
8 oz Shaklee Basic I (a wetting agent, or surfactant. you can find a similar product in most laundry isles)
and 16 oz Dawn Dish soap.

mix thoroughly, and use at 75-100deg F.

Outside of using a 10% sodium Hydroxide solution(DANGEROUS) this is the fastest quenchant I know of. using this on 1050 or higher carbon steel pretty much guarantees cracking.

Also, to get the carbon into the solution for such a low steel, you will neet to get the steel much hotter than a high carbon steel somewhere in the area of 1800 deg F instead of 1450-1550.

"Live and learn, or you don't live long" L. Long
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JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Thu 25 Mar, 2010 8:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd not bother with making anything usable out of it. I looked over eleven of those blades recently that a friend bought, and only one was H/T. If it were mine personally; I'd put a cheap guard and pommel on it, soak it in bleach/soil for a few weeks and mount it as an excavated replica.
J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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Liam O'Malley




Location: New JErsey
Joined: 17 Jan 2010

Posts: 29

PostPosted: Fri 26 Mar, 2010 2:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

heat the very tip to a cherry red with a mapp torch if you have one, quench it in water til it stops bubbling. take a file to it(GENTLY), if it cuts its low carbon and wont (didnt) harden, waste of time trying to HT it. if it skids and wont cut, its at least hard enough for a sword blade. draw the tip back to a blue temper with your torch if its high carbon so it doesnt shatter, then HT however you'd originally planned.

BTW parks 40 is another good quenchant, little pricey but fantastic stuff for general use, given that you don't know what steel the blade is, i'd recommend it. failing that, since you probably don't wanna spend a ton of money on this blade, veggie oil works well enough for most things.

and you could always kasenit the thing...
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