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AEB-L San Mai Etch Issue

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by lanternnate, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. lanternnate


    Nov 5, 2016
    I’ve been working on a puukko from a billet of AEB-L/52100 san mai I hand forged some while back. Finally got it to the point where I could etch to see what I really had, and the results have some issues. I left it thick for heat treat and took a good bit off post heat treat, so I don’t think this is decarb. Tools it up to 320 on the disc grinder then went back to 240 and back up to 320 hand sanding. Did an acetone clean down, one minute in 4:1 ferric, rubbed down with steel wool, 10 minutes in the ferric. There are two issues. The peak between the primary and top bevel went dark on the AEB-L. This happened on both sides, but for a longer stretch on one side than the other. The bigger concern is what looks like a bunch of little cracks showed up all over the AEB-L. Almost looks like shattered glass. My concern is this just a surface issue, I didn’t finish to a high enough grit or I didn’t really get through the decarb, or is this indicative that I thousands of little stress fractures in the AEB-L from the original forging. Here is a pic of the worse side. Hard to get a good picture of the little cracks. Any thoughts? Sand down and try again or a month of work in the bin?
  2. DevinT

    DevinT KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 29, 2010
    Over heating during forging.

    kuraki likes this.
  3. lanternnate


    Nov 5, 2016
    Crud, so to the bin it is. I knew I was stretching past my capabilities messing with stainless and expected a high probability of failure. Sort of wish it had been obvious I mucked it up before all the work into it, but I guess that’s how it goes :(
  4. A.McPherson

    A.McPherson KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 27, 2012
    On the plus side you have learned something! And you've got a knife you can still practice handle making, sharpening etc. on and use around the , yard, etc! Don't chock it up to a complete loss, you've still loads of things to learn from it!

    If nothing else, you can break it and how your welds hold up in the condition they are in.
  5. shqxk


    Mar 26, 2012
    I curious why you choose AEB-L instead of low carbon stainless like 416 or 420 as a jacket steel?
  6. JTknives

    JTknives ABS Apprentice Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 11, 2006
    How the Thick is the core compared to the sides. It’s kinda a cool look actualy. If it was me I would finish it and use it.
  7. lanternnate


    Nov 5, 2016
    I used the aeb-l because it was readily available and less expensive figuring I might bork it. I started with pretty thin stock because I was worried about keeping it centered doing too much drawing out, so I don’t know if that added to the issue. The sides were .098 and the core was .058.

    I decided as long as I was learning on this one that I’d put an edge on it and do some testing to see how well my heat treat held up. Hacked through some pauduk, hammered the tip in and pried it out, and batoned through some brad nails. It held up pretty good. Only the nails were able to have any impact, and that was just the tiniest edge roll that came off with a strop. I guess it earned the right to be turned into a shop knife rather than hitting the trash bin.

    Thanks for the nudge to keep learning on it and not just chuck it.
  8. Natlek


    Jun 9, 2015
    I'm curious how it would look if you sandblasted SS of blade?
  9. In this case, when forge welding 52100 to AEB-L, what temp would be considered overheating? Also, what is the optimal temp for forge welding the two?

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