The magic and Pure Alchemy of Iron

Avoiding cracked/torn steel bullet points memo.

HOW TO AVOID CRACKS WHILE FORGING STEEL: (High Carbon Steel)

1. Forge at brightest orange or yellow. Do not forge at dull red.

2. Quench in oil only. Water can create a more explosive reaction causing bending or cracking in steel.

3. Old springs can make good blades but often have stress fractures. When possible buy 1095 from a steel company and start fresh.

4. Spring stress fractures can be less of a problem if you use the first 2 techniques. They often cause more cosmetic damage than functional damage.

5. When forging axe heads draw the eye out slowly at bright orange/yellow. Tearing can occur if done too aggressively at low heat.

6. When forging Real wrought iron ( Iron with silica still in it) Forge only at yellow. This material will crack and tear easily along its grain.

RAILROAD SPIKE:

This material is 1040 and will quench harden in water very well. Does not require tempering usually but that’s my opinion. Can be forged at orange without fear of cracks. 

FORGING MODERN IRON (1018-Low carb steel)

 This steel can be forged at orange with no fear of cracking because it lacks the temperamental issues of real iron or HC steel. Thanks to modern production techniques this material has the highest workability and ease of use of any steel you will find for decorative smith work. Contrary to modern metallurgical lore  modern iron (1018) will harden after quenching but does not require tempering because it cannot reach a hardness level higher than 42RC.  This gives the material high durability and strength. (Only thinner pieces of 1018 can obtain 42RC) Steel 1″ thick or more cannot get to this hardness level. This material I recommend most highly for those just starting out because it can be obtained easily at your hardware store and lacks the pit falls of HC steel.

 

 

 

 H-

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