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annealing, hammer & anvil, where do you get your steel?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by JTW, May 8, 2012.

  1. JTW


    May 6, 2012
    Hey everyone!

    Couple of questions in this post.

    1) what kind of recycle metal do you work with? Where do you get it?
    Leaf springs, saw blades, rebar. Those kind of things. I would really like to learn to recycle what I have at hand rather than rely on metal or blanks bought on the internet.

    2) How do you guys do your annealing process?

    3) Is it a must to anneal a tempered metal before you shape it on an anvil??
  2. jawilder


    Jun 27, 2006
    1. Most people here would agree that you should use known steel from a supplier so that you can give it a precice heat treat. You just can't do that with junkyard steel. Aldo Bruno at njsteelbaron.com can hook you up for fairly cheep as the steel is usually the cheapest part of a knife. And it comes already annealed.

    But to answer your question... rebar is junk steel that won't harden. Most saw blades are soft steel with carbide teeth welded on so that won't work unless you find a mill bandsaw that can be sharpened. In that case it might be L6 or 15n20. Files are mostly good to work with. Some are good steel and some are case hardened which won't work for knives. Many leaf springs are 5016 (not all) and usually do good for knives except that they might have hairline fractures in them from all their years working as springs.

    2. Heat to nonmagnetic and allow to cool very slowly - cool in the heat treat oven or heat to nonmagnetic and allow to cool while in a bucket of pearlite or vermiculite

    3. Anneal is not necessary if you plan to forge it to shape. Only when you plan to grind or drill holes in it.
  3. shawnpatterson


    Dec 15, 2009
    3)- For annealing without a forge I have used the Green Pete method, whos videos are great and available on youtube. You build a small/medium sized camp fire. Let it burn down to mostly embers. Say you are annealing files, lay the files across the embers with about an inch between each file. Then build the fire back up with wood. You dont have to go crazy and make a bon fire, just enough to get a good roaring fire going. Then let it burn down by itself, until the fire turn to ash and the files are cool to the touch. You may get some warping which is fine f you will be forging, but you will most likely be doing stock removal so...Straighten with whichever technique you like.
    Although this is a primitive/imperfect means to anneal, it works. Good luck

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