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Blacksmith Steel

The term "Blacksmith Steel" is a bit of a misnomer but commonly used.

There are lots of different types of steel. The variety is almost endless. This is because steel is made by adding small amounts of trace elements to iron along with carbon. And these elements vary a lot.

Here though I will give you a lot of great information about steel and the steels used by blacksmiths and how you can get it.



Mystery Steel - This is a term that blacksmith's use when it comes to found steel that we are not really sure what type of steel it is. It is quite ok to forge and work with mystery steel but it really isn't suitable if you want to make something with specific strength, hardness or flexibility needs like a knife or a sword or a tool. This is because it is almost impossible to harden and temper mystery steel correctly.

But, if you are looking for steel for common use, easy to make things, or a miscellany of items that don't have specific strength needs then mystery steel can usually be ok.

Super steel!

Don't believe or listen to the hype when it comes to super steels. While it is true that there are steels out there that are super and quite remarkable these are usually difficult to work with and their needs for hardening and tempering can be quite exacting in terms of temperature, time of heat, and exact reductions in heat after heating. If you are new to blacksmithing you really don't need any of these steels. You will do quite well to work with some of the steels that I recommend here.


Reasonable bets with scrap steel:

Railroad spikes - These are usually a mild steel of good quality. They make a great multi-purpose steel for a lot of practical applications. I have a page here with railroad spikes you can purchase

Horseshoes - modern horseshoes are made out of steel and are usually easy to work and suitable for low stress use.

Leaf springs from trucks - This is often 5160 or 1095 steel which are good quality spring steels suitable for making tools, swords, knives, chisels, and items needing to be hardened and tempered for use.

Coil springs from trucks - Same applies for coil springs as with leaf springs. Coils are often used for making hand tools or knives.

But as with mystery steel you can't really know for sure what type of steel these objects really are and you may have difficulty hardening and tempering them suitably.

Purchased steels -

Blacksmithing has undergone a renaissance of sorts. It is an art that almost died out but it didn't and now it is in a revival. And this is good news in terms of the availalbility. You can readily purchase steels of many different types easily online.

Here are some recommendations for you:

01 Steel - This is a good standard steel that is excellent for swords and knives and it is easy to work, easy to harden and temper. The big thing about it is that it is readily available.

1080 steel - Another great steel for knifemaking. It has a lot of forgiveness in it which makes it very good for beginners.

1084 Steel - Very similar to 1080 and also an excellent steel for beginners and even experts.

1095 - an excellent high carbon steel that is easy to forge and shape but can be a bit more challenging in heat treatment.

5160 - This is a spring steel but it can also be used to make excellent swords and knives.


Tool steel

Great for typical knives:

Tool Steel O1 (Oil Hardening) Flat Stock, Ground, ASTM-A681-94, 1/8" Thick, 2" Width, 18" Length



01 Steel

Here is the piece of Steel I used to make the sword:

Starrett Tool Steel O1 Flat Stock, Oil-Hardened and Precision Ground Finish, Annealed Temper, ASTM A681, 1/8" Thick, 2" Width, 36" Length





The art of blacksmithing

The Art of Blacksmithing - With more than 500 illustrations, this book is perfect for craftsmen who want to set up a blacksmith shop, and for lovers of history and craft alike. This book describes and illustrates the equipment and techniques developed in more than six thousand years of working iron by hand.Indeed, this unique book covers every aspect of a fascinating and little-known art, the fundamental craft on which the civilization of the Iron Age was built.







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