Bad Spring steel (cracking and crumbling)
This post is as much about locating and buying your HC fresh as it is about addressing the very frustrating problem of running into bad quality old spring steel.
Leaf and coil springs are for the most part pieces we get from cars or other vehicles that have good high carbon steel. But the main problem with this as a source for knife steel is that these pieces of steel have stress fractures. You may notice when you find leaf springs that it appears to have broken off? that is from a stress fracture where the steel met its maximum durability and snapped. This steel may be easy to recognize from its heavy rust or pitting. Heavy rust does not always mean it’s not usable but if you see considerable pitting in the steel it should be thoroughly examined before forging. This steel will often continue to pit while forging and start tearing and crumbling even when forged at proper color.The knife above was to be a spring steel Athame but it was tool old and began to crumble during the forge. I turned into a very nice non cutting piece for magic use as the material looks very cool but the pitting and deterioration does not allow this to be a reliable cutting tool.
Buying your steel is a process you should become used to early:
Many online supplier sell stock HC steel just for knife makers at very reasonable prices. I got my 1080 in 60″ lengths and it more than paid for itself without the guess-work. Your work should be known for quality and this is a good way to guarantee what you’re using is top rate steel. Its worth every penny and very easy to do.
I buy from the site above. I think the prices are good and I like buying long stock to cut to my own specs. If you still want to recycle Springs I do not blame you as I am a green guy myself but just make sure the material is in very good condition before making a knife from it.