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Frontier forging?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by WestKentucky, Oct 11, 2019.

  1. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    86222F70-9277-497C-A6B8-A29A4DF85862.jpeg 042209F9-D34A-42EC-B155-6F82143017C6.jpeg 246AFFFA-BFEC-42B5-8996-943D5D5BAC5C.jpeg 3521EB79-7D4F-4351-B4FF-097BBC1F7941.jpeg 8A6370ED-D8B2-4CD8-996D-9AC9E6A94084.jpeg I’m currently visiting the San Antonio missions and have ran across a few things that I found quite interesting (and relevant here) to which the workers had no answer.

    (((I know, pictures are required and I will not disappoint)))

    So the question I posed to a park ranger (worker, in a national park) is this... with modern steels and modern forging, people oil quench to provide hardness. Were the tools on display hardened in any way or were they soft metals which would wear down quickly and bend easily? They provided only a blank stare, no answer. Also, if they were hardened... how did they do it?
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
  2. kBob

    kBob Member

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    Water quench. If it warps start over. If it flakes make a decision of whether it is "good enough".

    -kBob
     
  3. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    The National Park Service does not pay enough to have metallurgical archaeologists on the pay roll. Most of the NPS employees I have met are actually enthusiasts, they have a good idea of history, culture, but none of them would be able to explain how to program an INTEL 8080 microprocessor, and that relic has to be an Archeological artifact!

    This is a great book on historical metallurgy and what was used in swords, knives, and guns. Fighting Iron: A Metals Handbook for Arms Collectors. Amazon still has a copy, and based on my experience in the used book market, once this type of book is out of print, prices tend to rise.


    Me thinks you have been watching too many Forged in Fire episodes.;) I know I have. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
  4. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    Slashing a captive enemy? I seem to remember something like that with samurai swords, but maybe ancient urban legend.
     
  5. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Fighting Iron recounts a Mesopotamian steel recipe that required quenching the steel in the blood of a slave!. From what I have read, Samurai swords were not quenched in the blood of humans or animals but were water quenched. But, the Japanese used clay on the blade to slow cooling behind the edge.

    And I have seen pictures of human anatomy and cut test locations, to use in proofing completed Japanese swords. I understand cut testing was conducted on living humans, and dead humans.
     
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  6. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Not nearly enough. I have given up on cable television. But college basketball season is upon us so that will likely change soon. Go Big Blue.
     
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  7. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    There are blacksmithing videos from less-developed countries on youtube that show the smiths quenching blades in water.

    They don't simply immerse it like they would in oil, they dip it quickly in and out repeatedly, focusing on primarily getting the edge in first and then cooling the rest of the blade down. This video shows the technique starting at about 11:45

     
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  8. MutinousDoug

    MutinousDoug Member

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    Oil, water and air quench provides hardness but oven tempering modifies the hardness to an appropriate level for the task. Different steels react to tempering differently. Glass like hardness may be good for a shaving razor while a bit less hardness may be more useful for Bowie knives, axes, butcher knives or other impact weapons.
    Blacksmiths and steel/iron implements of the time were very probably of varied quality due to skill and composition.
     
  9. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Not with all steels. There are air hardened, water and oil quenched steels. Oil and carbon steel work well together, but keep in mind that lower carbon content steel can be water quenched without becoming overly brittle like higher carbon content steel would. Remember that many cultures used water quenching before oil. Brine quenching works better than water for getting better hardness without being as brittle for lower carbon steel than we would want in modern "carbon steel". A "super quench" of wetting agent, surfactant, and salt in water was developed at one of the western national labs that brought rail road spikes up to the upper 40s in hardness which is a big improvement over mild steel on it's own (it also allows it be springier another benefit).

    So, a combination of things are probably going on with those antiques. They're being forged, water quenched and tempered back to the point where they aren't snapping too quickly. Others are probably higher carbon with oil quench taking place and those give better hardness and probably are more specialized. A third thing is probably that better hardness steel products are imported from industrial centers and they are used where the higher quality is needed or desired and locally smithed items won't do.
     
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  10. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    Is anybody going to San Antone?
    IMG_20191012_111054113.jpg IMG_20191012_111049316.jpg I live just north of SA in Boerne. Here is a couple of pics from our library of Texan Alamo weapons.
     
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  11. kBob

    kBob Member

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    Ummm I do not think that single shot pistol is a relic...

    -kBob
     
  12. JN01

    JN01 Member

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    Sure it is. A relic of 1978.

    Old axes would have been made of a piece of iron folded around with a piece of steel sandwiched between the ends for the cutting edge.
     
  13. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    There are a few "reality" shows that I favor (very few...) -most show how folks are coping in rugged conditions - one of them is Mountain Men... In the last year or so they've added an Arkansas blade maker that is starting to mine and smelt his own steel for knife making using a primitive smelter.. Worth a look if you're into primitive knife and steel making...
     
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