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Making blade steel in the 1930's


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10 hours ago, Bruce Pennington said:

Yup, got the same message.  What kind of website is only viewable in it’s own country?

 

 Quite a few sadly. A lot of US videos are only available in the US, and the same for Japan.

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Thanks for this Dave, really enjoyed watching this.  It does remind you how much sheer hard work went into producing what we take so much for granted in today's world.

 

It also changes the way you think about what we lightly term factory made swords.

 

(With apologies for those who can't get to see it. )

 

All the best.

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27 minutes ago, Geraint said:

 

.... It also changes the way you think about what we lightly term factory made swords.

 

(With apologies for those who can't get to see it. )

 

All the best.

 

 Thank you. This is what I was wanting to do.... show how even a cheaper blade was the result of a long chain of serious hard work.

 Most of the obsolete rail-track used by Seki smiths was made from this "blister steel" which is why it produced a high carbon steel blade with a Hada, and why they had a liking for it.

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Hello Dave,

                   Thanks for sharing ,fascinating insight into the hard manual labour involved in steel production of the time.....I still use many tools made during that period and the steel quality is first class..

Regards,

               Paul...

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Even if I could not see the video, I know about the hardship of the work in these factories and under those conditions.
I also use the material for special purposes, and I like the features where they fit. Unfortunately, the resources are not endless as it is no longer made.

I once got an offer to buy this material in an amount that would have been sufficient for quite a while. It was 4.800 tons of it from an old railway bridge (1880) that was dismounted. The offer was to take the whole or leave it...... 

After some reflection about my little car and my little forge, I let it go!

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Apparently, some of the US custom knife makers produce small amounts of blister, and double shear steel for their own use..... Which says a lot about its qualities.

 

  

 

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 The UK only video shows the industrial production of steel, in the 1930's, and Blister and shear, and double shear steel were still being made, but by the hundredweight not the the pound weight. The rail tracks used by the Seki smiths were made by this very method, and that's why it was a preferred material, and damn good material for a blade it was!

 I will stick my neck out, and say that it was in no way inferior to tamahagane.

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Dave,

I don't think that this material is directly comparable to TAMAHAGANE. While the blister steel is a carbonized wrought iron (already refined), TAMAHAGANE is raw and quite inhomogeneous as far as the carbon content is concerned. The range goes from 'soft' iron with no carbon up to cast iron with 4% C or more. It is completety unrefined.

What Richard Furrer shows in the video is basically the old method of making steel from iron, but there is one small detail to be mentioned: The migration of carbon in iron is slow and depends on temperature and time. There is almost no carbon diffusion below 900°C, and the old 'cementation' process took sometimes 24 hours at temperatures of above 1.100°C. If the process was too short or the temperature was too low , you had a semi-carbonized (superficially carbonized) material which had to be processed again or homogenized by folding and forge-welding to obtain a material with predictable properties.

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58 minutes ago, ROKUJURO said:

Dave,

I don't think that this material is directly comparable to TAMAHAGANE. While the blister steel is a carbonized wrought iron (already refined), TAMAHAGANE is raw and quite inhomogeneous as far as the carbon content is concerned. The range goes from 'soft' iron with no carbon up to cast iron with 4% C or more. It is completety unrefined.

What Richard Furrer shows in the video is basically the old method of making steel from iron, but there is one small detail to be mentioned: The migration of carbon in iron is slow and depends on temperature and time. There is almost no carbon diffusion below 900°C, and the old 'cementation' process took sometimes 24 hours at temperatures of above 1.100°C. If the process was too short or the temperature was too low , you had a semi-carbonized (superficially carbonized) material which had to be processed again or homogenized by folding and forge-welding to obtain a material with predictable properties.

 

 Not so much comparing, as contrasting and explaining why Seki was OK with the stuff. Industrial cementation was done over 7 to 10 days... The knife makers are working on a vastly smaller scale.... but do show the process. 

 

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