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Steel Question

Discussion in 'Steel, Hardware, & Handle Material' started by ToddR, Jul 12, 2016.

  1. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    More of an identification question. I just finished my grinder and just started the other day trying to figure out if I could make some knives. I decided to start on some cheap steel I had laying around. It was a piece of an old fireplace lintel that I removed last winter (it was a dangerously built fireplace). So, I made a couple of blanks from this old lintel but they turned out nicer than I figured they would. So my question is, what kind of steel are lintels made from? Can they be hardened? I suspect that anything meant to be structural like that may be mild steel and therefore, not really suitable for hardening/knife making.

    But, I thought I'd check first. Also, I've read that 1095 is a relatively easy steel to start on. True? Better than any other particular type? 1084 has had a few votes based on what I've read but I have no reference point yet.
     
  2. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Hi Todd,

    There is one sure-fire way to find out if the steel will harden. Take a small piece, heat it and quench it. Then check the hardness with a file.
    I'd choose 1084 over 1095. 1084 is a little more forgiving.

    Dan
     
  3. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    People who say 1095 is easy have not looked at the TTT diagram.
    You have to achieve a significant temperature drop in a second and there is also the soak time at temperature that many skip.

    1084 also needs a fast quench but much less soak time, basically a few seconds is good.

    Lots of reading if you search heat treating here and check out this link for basic info
    http://www.cashenblades.com/heattreatment.html
     
  4. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    Fire place lintel will be a 1018 to 1025 variety of steel
     
  5. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    I suspect it's got to be mild steel too. Thanks guys. I guess the test pieces will just stay test pieces. Maybe I'll use them as patterns or just to test my bevel jigs or something.
    I really appreciate having people to ask these questions too. Most people look at me like I'm from Mars when I ask questions like this.
     
  6. Grayzer86

    Grayzer86 Active Member

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    Yup it will likely be a low carbon steel. As for beginner steel, if you plan to do your own HT, 1084 is a good choice, but not as good as it was, considering the need for fairly accurate higher temp normalizing steps, now required due to its highly speroidized structure out of the mill. Quite a bit of the 1095 out there was not speroidized to the same extent, so that is not as much of an issue, however the soak time and temp requirements can be difficult with simple equipment. Now that i have a good pyrometer for my forge muffle, i can accurately tell temp so both work well for me, but 1084 gave me, and many others, a lot of issues for a while until we realized what was happening. The stuff just wouldn't harden, or would harden extremely spotty.

    One suggestion that isn't thrown around much, but deserves a mention is 15N20 by itself. Most people simply think of it as an ingredient in damascus. It is on its own however, a very good steel with excellent toughness. It makes a fine blade and i think the major reason it doesn't get a lot of talk is the fact that it can be hard to find in thicknesses above .070 and .093. The heat treat is very similar to 1084, (which is another reason its so good in damascus) however it is not speroidized, so in a stock removal knife, it does not require all the normalizing steps to break up the grain and get it ready to harden. I have made some kitchen and paring knives from it by itself and had great results.
     
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  7. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    And offers a little stain resistance to boot. It stays silver when etched. In Damascus this is in contrast with 1080/1084's blackish colour when etched.
    It's really too bad one can't find 15n20 in thicker stock.
     
  8. Griff

    Griff Active Member

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    I guess I should have kept looking/reading before posting a thread asking about 1084!

    By the way, not sure if Aldo Bruno New Jersey Steel Baron ships to Canada...but they have 15n20 at 0.95 and .130

    http://newjerseysteelbaron.com/shop/15n20/
     
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