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Turning Wagon Wheels into a Crucible Steel Knife



In this episode, we take wrought iron wagon wheels and turn them into steel by carburizing the iron via the crucible process. Watch me forge the resulting steel into a beautiful knife.
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A reconstruction of the Wolf's Tooth Spear

Here is the first successful experiment in recreating the famous Finnish lance. The core of the spear consists of wrought iron which have been forge-welded to the spear socket. Twisted pattern-welded bar has then been attached to the core in another forge-welding pass. Finally, the outer higher-carbon steel has been prepared with a wolf's tooth pattern and then also attached via forge welding. Expect a video documenting the whole process.

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Salvaging a Broken Wolf's Tooth Spear into a Beautiful Knife

Sometimes things break and sometimes they can be rescued. Watch me to turn a broken spear into a beautiful knife:
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Wolf's Tooth Spear Update

It's been a while since I have updated the blog on my quest to construct a wolf's tooth spear. Here is the latest series of experiments. The basic approach is to take a bar of high-carbon tool steel and split it in the middle either with a bandsaw or by using a hot chisel. The drawback of the hot chisel is that it creates cuts that are not square. It requires the steel to be squared up afterwards with a file.

To create teeth in the high-carbon steel, I am using a double up chisel in which the cutting edge of the chisel points is about 1/8in apart. I do one pass in which each pair of teeth gets a couple hammer blows and then do another pass to square the teeth back up. Adjacent teeth tend to move a little bit when the next set of teeth is being created. The result looks as follows:


Afterwards, I forge wrought iron in a 3/8in square bar that is hot forged into the teeth. This can either happen with a hammer and a helper or by using a hydraulic press. The wrought iron needs to be hot and squishy. This creates matching impressions in the wrought iron. After cleaning up with a wire brush, the pieces are fit into each other and forge welded. This process needs to be done carefully since I don't want to draw out the steel. Here is one side after forge welding:


The resulting pattern looks very similar to original finds. Although the mono steel does not show any forging lines, the grain in the wrought iron, clearly shows the process:


Now, it's time to forge the spear for real.

The Bookshelf Project

What does creating a bookshelf have to do with blacksmithing? Watch the video to find out. This was a weekend project and it started by creating a scrolling jig that we used to forge many many identical scrolls.



After this project is done, it's back to crucible steel and knife making.
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From Wrought Iron to Crucible Steel Knife


We converted wrought iron from old wagon tires into steel for a knife. To make steel, carbon needs to be added to the iron. We accomplish this by melting the iron in a crucible together with charcoal and special alloys. Wrought iron starts melting at around 2,800°F (1,538°C). The alloying elements came from O1 (Chromium) and H13 (Molybdenum). The total charge of the crucible was around 2000 grams. To be precise, we added 2006g wrought iron, 30g charcoal and 75g (O1/H13).

The firing time was pretty quick; around 30 minutes to get to temperature and then ramping it down for 60 minutes. The crucible cooled in the furnace for about 12 hours. We took it out at around 250F. Unfortunately, there were a lot of gas bubbles in the glass as well as in the steel. The carbon content was also lower than planned, maybe around 0.6% rather than the 1.5% we were aiming for. However, it forged very nicely and showed great carbides.

The experiment will likely show up as Forge Diaries: Episode 8 or as Wootz: Episode 6. Stay tuned.

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