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Thread: 1084 Steel for razors?

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    Default 1084 Steel for razors?

    I am contemplating giving my first try at making a sweet thick smiling 1/4 hollow sway back but have no metalworking experience other than 7th grade metal shop (got an A though). Looking at getting 1/4" by 1.25" bar and shaping via stock removal.

    Been absorbing all I can read. Heard mentions that 1084 steel should be the most beginner friendly steel, but nobody directly mentions actually using it.

    To those of you that know, would 1084 really be my best steel to try my first razor with? I have 2 small kids, work, and coach 5 kids hockey teams so this might take a while though.

    Thanks.

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    aka shooter74743 ScottGoodman's Avatar
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    Are you going to send it off for heat treat? I personally learned first in O1 then 1095 simply because MikeBlue recommended it to me. When a smith like Mike speaks, he has my full attention.
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    I think that Mike often recommends 1084 now.
    See my razors at bluesmanblades.com

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    Heat it and beat it Bruno's Avatar
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    There are many good types of steel for razors.
    And in part, it depends on what you can get easily.
    In europe, 10x steel is not that common. Otoh, O2 is very common, which is impossible to get in the US.
    1084 steel is good stuff and it has the advantage that it is very simple in terms of heat treatment.

    in the past, for many people they had to choose between 1095 or O1 because they were the 2 most common steel types, and between those, O1 is the easiest for a beginner. For me personally, in Europe I would recommend O2 because it is almost impossible to mess up the heat treatment.

    One of the reasons you'll see experienced makers using other types of steel is that different steels have different possibilities, or may be better suited for something specific or are better suited for the type of heat treatment you want to do, etc.
    Last edited by Bruno; 01-05-2019 at 09:57 AM.
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    I'm planning to do my own heat treat with a small propane forge. Being new at this and with limited tools and knowledge it sounded like i would be more likely to be successful heat treating 1084.

    I am fully prepared that this will take some trial and error and I might end up with some bad blades before I get a good one.

    I am preparing a step by step order of operations to post here for comment before I start.

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    Just curious

    How are you quenching the steel? And how are determining the color? (Color or you have something to measure)
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    From reading I see 3 options at first. Heat to cherry red (by color), heat to just past magnetic (using magnet to test), or use an infrared thermometer (not sure mine goes that high yet).

    Plan to quench in 140-150 degree canola oil.

    If things go kind of well and it looks like I'll stick with it maybe I'll get a thermocouple, I'm an engineer so I'd rather be able to quantify everything to 10 decimal places.

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    Heat it and beat it Bruno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NittanyGator View Post
    From reading I see 3 options at first. Heat to cherry red (by color), heat to just past magnetic (using magnet to test), or use an infrared thermometer (not sure mine goes that high yet).

    Plan to quench in 140-150 degree canola oil.

    If things go kind of well and it looks like I'll stick with it maybe I'll get a thermocouple, I'm an engineer so I'd rather be able to quantify everything to 10 decimal places.
    Beginners often make the mistake of quenching when the steel is dull red.
    In reality it is closer to a soft orange.
    when you look at the steel color change, you will at first see it starting to glow, and you will see dark shadows crossing the steel surface.
    That means phase transition is beginning. At some point the shadows will disappear and the steel turns a nice even orange-ish color.
    Keep it there for a couple of minutes, and then quench. You need some soak time, and the color must be even.

    If you quench before the shadows have stopped haunting your steel then your blade will only be partially converted to martensite and your hardness will be inconsistent.
    Quenching a couple degrees too hot is relatively harmless. Quenching a couple of degrees too cold, and the results will be bad.
    Til shade is gone, til water is gone, Into the shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath.
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    Thanks for the responses guys, especially the last one regarding heat treating. That helps alot.

    I'm chomping at the bit to try my hand at this, but I have virtually no free time. I blame you guys for infecting me with the bug with your awesome creations, so it's really nice to get your assistance. I think I'm gonna order steel from NJ Steel Baron next week.

    I will be asking more questions.

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    aka shooter74743 ScottGoodman's Avatar
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    Oh, you have only been scratched by this bug. Once swarf starts flying is when the infection begins...
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