Discussion in 'Trips & Expeditions' started by wrbthe3rd, Sep 20, 2009.
has anybody made any knifes this way,or are there any ariticles on this site that you know of.
Most modern circular saw blades have hardened teeth fused to a mild steel body which cannot be hardened. If you find a very old American made circular saw blade, it may be made out of L6 steel. L6 is a tough steel, but is marginal if you want to make a blade as hard as blade on a $10. Mora. If you have the knife making bug, your best bet is to purchase a piece of good steel of known type from a knife making supplier such as Jantz Supply. For $12. or so you can get enough quality steel such as 1095 carbon steel to make a sheath knife - then you know exactly what you are working with. The tool market today is full of unknown steels with unknown makeup, and that means that you might spend days working on a knife blade only to find out that it is worthless.
I have made many knives from scrap steel it just involves a more in depth style of testing the steel.Things like old nicolsen files are almost always 0-1 or a very similar steel. If I come into possesion of an unknown piece of steel I always spark test it wwith a grinder: few flat looking sparks means low carbon so no good for blades (as a general rule) brighter sparks with a few branches means medium carbon and very bright orange sparks with lots of branches means high carbon steel this is just a general guide and its best to have a known steel to compare with. Also test by heating a small sample to critical and quenching in water if you can break it afterwards with a hammer it is most likely high carbon experiment with different quenchants till you find the best one for your steel motor oil or cooking oil is a pretty safe bet for most carbon tool steels. I have a knifemaking report on my website www.redbeardforge.com if you sign up on the page i will email it to you it is focused mostly on working on old files as they are easy for a beginner but the instructions are easily adapted to any scrap steel
I have never run across a really old American made file that couldn't successfully be made into a knife. Just as with many other things however, 50 year old files are getting harder to find. What I would like to see is someone start a list of commonly available, current production items that could be made into good blades. Of course the list would have to be made by folks like yourself who have experience in such things. Anyone who has success with
a particular item could add to the list. This would be a great help to folks such as wrb and myself who have limited experience and limited equipment.
I signed up and dl'd your ebook.
IIRC pitchfork tines can also be used, as can most old tool parts.
However I would be loth to grind away or melt down an old woodworking tool as they are hard enough to come by.
Perhaps someday when I have more old tools at my disposal, and if I find a barnfull of stuff rotting away, I will have enough gumption to do so.
It is MHO that old tools should not be melted down, but used for their intended purpose. Unless, of course, they are broken beyond repair
Files and rasps are a whole nother matter though. Once a file or rasp is worn down in the teeth, there is little one can do to fix it and it only makes sense to make use of it in whatever way possible.
Oh yeah I forgot, old truck springs (rear leaf springs) can be used for forging thick blades or axes/adzes. This is most commonly done (with exceptional results) in places like Nepal (think khukuri) Thailand (think E-nep) and throughout the South Pacific.
Most car springs nowadays though I've been told do not work for this, being made of garbage steel.
So find an old junker somewheres and rip away lol!
crookedknife is on the money here.
Another consideration when using recycled steel (as I do) is that you have high risk of choosing steel that contains microscopic stress-induced fractures (particularly with old leaf springs). In other words, you might put in tons of work and money to shape and finish your blade and get to watch it crack in the heat treat.
This is even true with old files, as each groove cut into the file is a potential place for a stress riser to occur.
Also, although some old saw blades are L6, very few sawblades that you find, even old ones will test as L6. There are somewhat equivalent high nickel alloys, but the heat treatment would be somewhat different for each of these. Working out a good heat treat for scrap steel is well worth the effort if you've got a truckload of it.
Also, I've read that Nicholson file steel it isn't that similar to 01 or 1095 or W2 in composition, though it could be heat treated similarly to all 3. The link for the steel sampling of the Nicholson File (http://www.panix.com/~alvinj/testsamples.htm) is aimed more at determining the composition of sawblades, as you're interested in. I think that it illustrates exactly how much trouble you might get into assuming you've got a particular steel. He mentions that the bandsaw blade is a boron steel, then there's everything from 4140 to 0186 steels. There's absolutely no continuity for picking up a saw blade and having any clue what you're holding. If you have L6 you can get knife hardness in hot oil, but I imagine that 4140 will need brine quenched to have anything worth sharpening. Especially in the case of saw blades, the high alloy content and high variability is mind boggling.
A Nicholson file would be a better place to start in my opinion. If you quench a Nicholson in hot oil and temper correctly, I (along with many others) can vouch for a very nice blade. That said, I've had significant variability in the outcome between different brands of files. Caveat emptor.
Nicholson File (http://www.panix.com/~alvinj/testsamples.htm)
1.23%C 0.37%Mn 0.21%Si 0.16%Cr 0.09%Ni 0.04%Mo
Typical 01 content (http://www.diehlsteel.com/o1.aspx)
0.95%C 1.00%Mn 0.25%Si 0.50%Cr 0.00%Ni 0.00%Mo +.25%V
using steel of a known quality is the way to go. However sometimes we try different things. The method I use to check a piece of steel for ability to be heat treated is to quench test it. I heat the steel to critical temp otherwise known as cherry red, I then quench it in oil. I'll stick the steel in a vise with a little chunk sticking above the jaws and smack it with a hammer if it breaks like glass it probably can be heat treated for good results. please note safety glasses and gloves are required for this test.
here we go, i found it look closer and you see that is a piece from a black&Decker 10'' circular saw blade