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Tantos, new steel [Jun. 28th, 2003|01:12 pm]
Doug Ayen
[mood |pissed offpissed off]

Well, in my attempt to make a tanto up to my standards, I have made about a dozen over the last two months. None of them worked out. I couldn't understand it, they were all the same material I've used in the past, 1050HR, using the same heat treatment and so on. Still, I couldn't get a hamon to show up consistently in the blade to save my life.

I finally took a piece, did a diagonal grind over 2" of the length, and etched, just to make sure that it wasn't the steel.

The etch came out blotchy, with clear boundries indicating where one alloy started and another ended. There were patches nearly white, and others black.

Whatever this was, it wasn't 1050. I called up my supplier and offered to send them the piece to prove that I hadn't gotten what I had ordered. They declined, apologized, and are shipping me a new order free of charge. Apparenty this happens frequently, someone mis-marking a piece of steel and sending it out. Bah. I had them change the alloy to 1075, too, as that's a bit harder to mistake.

I'm guessing this is structual steel, A36 or some other steel that only needs to meet a strengh specification instead of an alloy specification such as 1050. Bah, 2 months down the toilet. Good thing I'm not a professional, this could have really hurt me if I had a deadline.

Steel should be here next week, hopefully before the 3 day weekend. I'm looking forward to it.


[User Picture]From: perspicuity
2003-06-29 09:41 am (UTC)
wow, that sucks of them, at least the new order is free, and you had a chance to "practice"...

i guess the order of the day now is a quickie small test piece, until you trust a given batch of metal, and if it proves good, order more for your own stock.

a professional with a deadline and big $$$ markups might have hired a lawyer?

good luck with the new metal. hopefully, the people supplying it will get more professional.
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[User Picture]From: blackanvil
2003-07-06 05:53 pm (UTC)

professionals and steel

To judge from what I've heard from other makers, a professional would test the steel as it comes in to ensure it's what he ordered, or alternatively just use it and know from long experience that the steel isn't working properly and then contact the supplier.

Most pros order a lot more steel than I do. I usuall just order a couple of dozen pounds of the stuff, for which the supplier pulls out existing stock, or shears or rolls existing stock to make up my order. For a large order, hundreds of lbs to tons, they'll make up a new batch and customer roll it to his specifications.

Crucible steel, for example, will do a custom alloy for orders of over 500lbs (I think, could be higher), which several makers I know of have taken advantage of in order to get a specific alloy they wanted to use. They then roll and process according to order and track it all carefully throughout to ensure the right order goes to the right customer.

For my order, the supplier I use pulled a sheet out of inventory and sheared off what I had ordered. Once, when I placed an order for which they didn't have plate in hand to shear from they re-rolled from larger stock to get me my stock.

I did test the new batch, came out fine -- nice grain structure, no visible inclusions, and I was able to get a hamon on the test piece without half trying.

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