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GruffaloGriff

Experimental Blade Carbon/stainless Blade.

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Had this idea a couple of days ago and had to give it a try. To put stainless steel weld on a high carbon blade for decorative purposes. Think it actually turned out pretty well.

 

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It all started as an old file annealed to start with, cut a piece off the end.

 

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Built up a bit of stainless steel weld with the mig welder, not pretty, think another time i would grind the file flat first but thought it would make a better pattern with the ribs left on, just made a dirty weld as it was not clean.

 

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Next, grind weld flat and rough out a shape. All done with angle grinder.

 

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Grind bevel again with hand held angle grinder.

 

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Flap disc in grinder next to get reasonably smooth and near to final shape, heated cherry red and quenched in waste oil, keep moving as if stirring. Old file steel is super brittle at this stage so don't drop or decide to give ti a clout with the hammer to straighten as it will shatter.

 

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Next polish up with flap wheel to shine so temper colors can be seen.

 

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Gently heat with gas torch to draw a nice deep peacock blue across blade work from thick spine to thinner front edge, take your time to not overheat. The contrasting high carbon and stainless weld can be seen clearly at this stage.

 

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Next polished up on a cloth wheel & buffing compound, removed any residue with thinners, wound a bit of stainless mig wire around the tang and dipped in sulfuric battery acid. Check ed after 1/2 hr then 1hr, starting to show contrast but nothing fast so left overnight, happy with the contrast after 8-9hrs. Removed hosed off and washed with sodium carbonate solution (soda crystal) to neutralize acid.

 

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Fitted tang to a bit of antler and resin in place. Sharpen it up and test it out, if it shaves the hairs off the back of you hand then it is a decent bade! :thumbs:

 

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Finished knife has a nice balance and fits well it the hand, feels good.

 

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Capped end of antler with an old silver?sixpence.

 

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Might consider selling if i got a sensible offer as my good lady says i have too many knives as it is! Not a factory finished blemish free blade as you can see from pics. Heart of knife is good high carbon English tool steel (said so on the file anyway before i ground it off) it was a nice grey fine grain to grind. It takes a keen edge. The pits are bubbles in the stainless weld as i left the ribs on the file rather than grind it clean before starting. Quality handmade knife with a rustic look!

Edited by GruffaloGriff
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Like that, the coin in the antler really works. Think it could do woth a bolster though. ;)

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itll be fine you still got a carbon steel edge ,, but the heat frommthe welder may well have softend the spine and elswere were it was welded hey looks fine ..

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itll be fine you still got a carbon steel edge ,, but the heat frommthe welder may well have softend the spine and elswere were it was welded hey looks fine ..

Heat treated after welding so shouldn't be a problem, purposely kept the spine and the tang softer so they aren't brittle, unadulterated cutting edge to the blade is the important bit.

Edited by GruffaloGriff

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ok im not here to diss you pal but you cant heat tret that correctly for a start that stainless is not magnetic ..but hey its different and looks fine

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Stainless weld on the surface is for decoration only, not saying that is heat treated, rather the carbon core. Takes an edge that you can shave with, good enough for me. :laugh:

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Out of curiosity Rio how come he can't heat treat it ? The blade it's self is a file which I asume isn't stainless steel...only the welds were stainless steel.theres loads of videos on YouTube of knives been made from files and all been heat treated....I don't mean this to sound cocky as I'm not been cocky just wondering why he can't heat treat it ..cheers....

 

 

Edited to say only just seen grits post in response tot not been stainless

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he can but what i said was the stainless wont harden ovcourse you can heat treat files aneal first work then you can either normalize 3 cycle or just get antimagnetic and oil quench then temper

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ok im not here to diss you pal but you cant heat tret that correctly for a start that stainless is not magnetic ..but hey its different and looks fine

No offence taken! Thats what it is all about bouncing ideas off each other and learning from those with more experience. :thumbs:

 

I was probabally using the wrong termanology in saying heat treated. The blade was heated cherry red and dipped in oil then tempered to peacock blue. Probabally not as scientific as heat treating but works well for cutting tools made from high carbon scrap steel of unknown carbon content.

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ifnthecutting edge works well thats what its supposed to do in an ideal situation you may temper from the spine down differential temper from blue to straw on the cutting edge .

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Griff I like the idea !!

I've never done it intentionally but I'm told ark welds have nickel in them or can do .(it's visible and bright in the billet ends of Damascus and viewed as waist)

Lay a nice thick layer of weld all over both sides of the carbon . Heat and hammer it flat . Anneal, grind, heat treat, temper, polish then etch you have San Mai Japanese constructed blade . San Mai mean made of three in a loose translation .

I've avoided saying it before but blue is to soft , it's spring temper and softer than edge holding steel , I appreciate your getting and edge but it won't last unfortunately .

Bronze is the softest i want to go on the edge. Very very light yellow is about right .

But forget all that you just did a stainless carbon San Mai which is rare as hell and very expensive . I'm sure the connoisseurs of high end blades might argue about methods but frankly fook them ha ha

 

Keep at it , you might be onto something that you could perfect !

 

Ps there is lots of reasons for San mai, originally I think there was two reasons but in totally different countries . Europe I think it was done to make the hard iron (they didn't know it was steel or why it was harder ) go as far as possible . There was more very low carbon iron than steel (because it was accidentally made) so sandwiching the steel inside two flanks of irony ment they would get more from the billets and make bigger knives etc .

Japan , they had a better understanding but had no real idea about steel or why it existed , they just learned to make it more readily .

The problem they had was it wasn't consistent . Some very hard and brital , some softer and more flexable . They learned to blen the steels to get a better quality over all product hence the folding and 1,000 layer steels of Japan . Still they needed flexibility in their blades and there was still very little "hard iron" so they learned to build composite blade from the metals that they had . Again often a higher carbon core with softer more giving flanks .

 

Of course this was a long long time ago and not greatly documented .

Just think the file you started with , at one point would have had as much value as the same weight in gold . You could forge it down to make enough cutting edge for a small sword or multipal knives , if you laminated it with common available iron .

Modern san mai especially with stainless is done for different reasons . At the right heat for the right period of time there is a phenomenan called carbon migration . Basically at the critical heat the carbon becomes free to move as it wants , carbon can move from one piece of metal to another at will .

Not great if you want to retain a high carbon edge and softer flanks .

Some metals can block carbon migration , nickel being one of them and possibly some stainless .

But nickel I know will stop it.

So we have a carbon core with nickel either side of it then say ,mild steel , iron or stainless on the out side of that . Forge welded . The result is super high carbon core and very little if no carbon flanks . When etched the carbon reacts to the acid first and will etch away leaving the none carbon bright and unaffected .

This is super super rare , very few can do it , and you will only see it on really high end kitchen knives . And I believe that is where the stainless /carbon San Mai originated , from smiths wanting cutting edge only carbon steel can offer , with the stainless to avoid rust /discolouration . So it's very modern .

 

Carbon migration or the lack of it , is how old pattern welded / Damascus patterns where generated . The carbon in the steel reacts to acid faster , to etched away sooner . Less carbon will stay bright . Now we use a hard to find modern steel called 15n20 it's a highish carbon steel with a nice nickel content , the nickel will not be effected by the acid as said before and gives a beautiful etch with vivid contrast .

Also we need not worry about carbon migration as the carbon is present in the 15n20 so in reality we can happily let the carbon content equalise through out forging and welding . This is great for smiths and end users as we can play with the carbon to get different results from the piece . If it's a small out and out cutting tool (utility knife ) we could use a higher carbon steel like W2 (file steel) the result is an even very high carbon blade that If tempered correctly (hard) will have a cutting edge that will last for exceedingly long time but not flexible , similar to wood working chisels . If we wanted say a machete that wants to be able to absorb impact and flex when needed , we could use a lesser carbon steel like spring steel cs90. The blade again if tempered correctly will be giving , springy and still have great edge holding ability .

 

Anyway , still love your work !!!

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Cheers Midnight appreciate your positive comments and experience as well as the history. Think i will give another one a go and try forging after welding. Also give a bronze/ straw temper at the cutting edge. :thumbs:

Edited by GruffaloGriff
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Keep at it , it's how all good things begin .... An idea !

I think if you forge it a little you will get the most coverage out of the stainless, press it into the shape of the blade more , more of it visible at the end .

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