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Thread: I need advice on blade steel.

  1. #1

    Question I need advice on blade steel.


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    I bought a new cold chisel 1" x 3/8" x 12". In the last week I started to grind down this chisel to make a 3/8 inch thick tanto blade, full tang, chisel ground edged camp knife. I just assumed a chisel would be great for a knife but last night a friend said it would be too brittle for the hard work I intended it to do. Today I am confused and am seeking out information about what I am doing.
    Can I get your opinions on the steel in cold chisels used for edged weapons like my camp knife? Am I ok with this choice, is it a good choice or am I way off track?
    Thank You,
    Amateur knife maker,
    Ron M..

  2. #2
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    According to Lee Valley Tools, chisels are typically hardened to 58-62 Rc, which is right in the sweet spot for knives.

    http://www.leevalley.com/us/shopping...o.aspx?p=45616

    Quite a few chisels use A2 steel, which is tough and more likely to roll than chip.

  3. #3
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    Shouldn't be any problem with the steel, but you'll want to re-heat treat it to appropriate hardness.


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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by FortyTwoBlades View Post
    Shouldn't be any problem with the steel, but you'll want to re-heat treat it to appropriate hardness.
    Can you explain that? My sense is that he was just doing a regrind on a chisel blade. People regrind knives without the need of a re-heat treat. Wouldn't he just have to be careful not to damage the existing temper?

  5. #5
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    Bad idea,in Any case:

    1.NO guarantee that a cold-chisel is HT'd throughout.Actually,much more likely it's differentially HT'd.

    2.HT of a cold-chisel is VASTLY different from any knife-like device....

    3.For an admitted beginner it's Very counterproductive to start out working with so many Unknowns....He'll probably have no capacity to analyse the problems himself,and there'll be no way to ask advice...

    4.A store-bought chisel can even be simply case-hardened....and i can go on and on and on...

    Don't go there,Ron,buy a piece of 1075 fro Admiral....HT'd!......(it'll be cheaper even in a short-run!

    All the best,though,make your tanto,you'll have a blast!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twindog View Post
    According to Lee Valley Tools, chisels are typically hardened to 58-62 Rc, which is right in the sweet spot for knives.

    http://www.leevalley.com/us/shopping...o.aspx?p=45616

    Quite a few chisels use A2 steel, which is tough and more likely to roll than chip.
    They are talking about wood chisels rather than cold chisels. I would be surprised to see a cold chisel that hard or made of A2. More likely they are made of 1060 or something similar - hard enough to push through mild steel but not so hard as to fracture.

  7. #7
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    (Twindog,i know that the question was not directed at me....but.......

    The Edge geometry of a cold-chisel and that of a knife are Very different,maybe 25 deg. vs 40 deg.(combined)?

    Therefore,a cold-chisel is tempered Very hard.Proverbially a first HT project for a beginner,to temper a cold-chisel.It's massive cutting edge can sustain much greater hardness,that it also needs to do it's work.....)

  8. #8
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    This is odd to say the least. 3/8" thick knife ??
    Anyway,
    Cold chisels are often differential hardened. Hard near their point, but back toward the pound on it end much softer.
    Hope it works out for you and you have abundant time & abrasives to this task.

  9. #9
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    The dimensions -- especially the 3/8th inch thick -- did make me think it was a wood chisel. My mistake. It wouldn't take too much grinding on a wood chisel to turn it into a tanto knife.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twindog View Post
    Can you explain that? My sense is that he was just doing a regrind on a chisel blade. People regrind knives without the need of a re-heat treat. Wouldn't he just have to be careful not to damage the existing temper?
    As already noted, cold chisels are solid steel struck tools with only the working end being hardened (and usually to very high hardness) with the rest in an annealed state. The heat treatment it has now would not be appropriate for a knife.


    Baryonyx Knife Co. ~Trusted specialists in high value, low cost knives and tools.

    "To live at all is miracle enough."
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  11. #11
    Thank you. The cold chisel I chose was new bought from our local Ace Hardware.

  12. #12
    Thanks for your advice. My new chisel was bought from our local Ace Hardware store.

  13. #13
    Thank you for your advise. Yes I am doing a regrind with caution to keep the generated head below any temp which might effect the temper. Ron

  14. #14
    While grinding and power sanding this massively thick piece of steel, I did NOT notice any differences in the temper of the chisel. So it is my belief the temper is uniform through out. I was not planning on tempering the blade BUT I do have a kiln which can heat up to 2,000'F. I don't have a blacksmiths forge. I have seen on U-Tube where I can made a simple forge using a bucket, port-land cement embedded with stainless steel wool and powered by propane & air. But I don't want to spend the time.
    I'm going to assume my chisel is a rather common one because it was relatively inexpensive. With this assumption I don't believe the manufacturer would have spent any extra time and expense making it multi tempered.
    I have finished all the grinding and sanding. I am now concentrating on polishing the blade, fitting the hand guard and fitting the elk antler scales. I will get a picture to all of you who have helped me with this problem.
    Many thanks to everyone who took time to help a beginner,
    Ron M. 3/19/2017

  15. #15
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    You should really be reading the stickies in the Shop Talk section of the Knifemaker's sub-forum:
    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/fo...ns-and-Answers

    Starting with already-hard steel is a tremendous waste of time. You want to work it soft, which mean annealing it first (as it would come from a steel supplier). Then you re-heat-treat it (hardening, then tempering). If you don't know the steel type, it's hard to know exactly how to do that. So ideally you start from a piece of KNOWN steel that's already annealed from the mill. The suggestion above is good. Buy some 1075 (I prefer 1084 from Aldo, but whatever) which you can heat-treat at home in a kiln (or small 2-brick forge) and warm canola oil.

    I don't think a cold chisel would be a uniform hardness, as it is designed to be struck very hard. Striking 60RC steel very hard (especially with a steel hammer) usually shatters it.
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  16. #16
    to: daizee,
    Thanks for your opinion but 3 afternoons and I had the basic shape worked out without causing any discoloring of the steel. Ya it probably is faster with annealing first. In my situation I have all the time in the world being retired. It didn't bother me to spent 8 to 10 hours grinding then sanding. It is almost therapy for me as I get into my bubble and focus intensely. (Far better than watching the boob tube). So for me it is NOT a waste of time. Besides I have no idea how to re-temper the steel and at this stage am not ready for that.. I made it clear, I am a.beginner. If I decide to be a professional I will take your advise. You never answered the question I asked which tells me you care nothing of my delema. Rather you are tooting your own horn to get acceptance from your piers with your bragging on facts. Your comments are not relevant or wanted by me. Go blow hot wind toward someone who might be impressed. I'm not.
    Last edited by skagitrain; 03-20-2017 at 04:45 AM. Reason: addresing a comment

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by skagitrain View Post
    to: daizee,
    Thanks for your opinion but 3 afternoons and I had the basic shape worked out without causing any discoloring of the steel. Ya it probably is faster with annealing first. In my situation I have all the time in the world being retired. It didn't bother me to spent 8 to 10 hours grinding then sanding. It is almost therapy for me as I get into my bubble and focus intensely. (Far better than watching the boob tube). So for me it is NOT a waste of time. Besides I have no idea how to re-temper the steel and at this stage am not ready for that.. I made it clear, I am a.beginner. If I decide to be a professional I will take your advise. You never answered the question I asked which tells me you care nothing of my delema. Rather you are tooting your own horn to get acceptance from your piers with your bragging on facts. Your comments are not relevant or wanted by me. Go blow hot wind toward someone who might be impressed. I'm not.
    I'm sorry you didn't get the answer you were after. When I was a begining I benefited enormously from the wisdom of those here who were kind enough to share and point me in the direction of all of the useful information already recorded for people in your very spot in the journey. Good luck with your efforts.

    However attacking my character or anyone else's, especially with only 6 posts on this forum, will not get you very far around here and you will find that people lose their willingness to help.
    Good day.
    http://goldknifeworks.com/, https://facebook.com/goldknifeworks
    Beckerhead #int((2/3)*100)
    "You have to admit it's a good looking heart attack." --Tradewater

  18. #18
    In your mind maybe I looked like I attacked you. You didn't even get the point of my reply to you. Have a good day my friend.

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