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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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  #1  
Old 10-18-2016, 02:15 AM
ferris ferris is offline
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sawmill blade

Friend of mine gave me an old sawmill blade about a foot and a half across I would like to make some knives out of it and am wondering about how I should go about the heat treat process....is it close to 1095 or 1075?....
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  #2  
Old 10-18-2016, 09:04 AM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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'Old' is a relative term. Check the teeth on the blade to see if they have carbide tips brazed on them. If they do, the steel probably isn't worth making a blade from.

otherwise, the steel might be L6 which would heat treat similar to 1095. But then again, maybe it's not. No one can tell you for sure, mystery steel is a crap shoot.

Cut it up, heat treat a piece of it but do not temper it. Break it in a vice (wear eye protection). If it snaps like glass you're good to go. Otherwise, don't waste any more time on it....


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  #3  
Old 10-18-2016, 09:32 AM
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BCROB BCROB is offline
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1000s upon 1000s of makers have at some point or time used them and many still do today , Im one of them on occasion still , if I stumble onto a blade Ill grab it and test it , doesnt take long, do as Ray mentions about a quick test and youll know , avoid the carbide tip blades also as mentioned.....heat treated properly they can make excellent blades and hold an edge very well, like always there are better known steels but I still like hammering a blade out from an old patina saw blade.......people love and they sell well , always....


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  #4  
Old 10-20-2016, 06:04 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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I have a friend in BC Canada who scored several band saw blades from a sawmill. He makes damascus from them by adding 52100 and the sawmill blades have so much nickel in them that they make great shiny layers in the blades. He figures he has 1080 with 2% nickel added to make the blades flexible. He says they are quite old, like from the 40s or 50s. That was a common practice back then for band saw sawmill blades. He says any sawmill band saw blade is good for a knife. A round 18" saw blade seems too small for a sawmill blade, sounds more like a big chop saw blade. I guess maybe they have small blades too in a sawmill?
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  #5  
Old 10-21-2016, 06:16 AM
jmccustomknives jmccustomknives is offline
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I take every round saw blade with brazed on carbide teeth I find. Every one has been similar to L-6 (without a chem test there isn't a way to know but they HT to that steels specs). I love using them in Damascus with 1095. I agree with Jim though, doubt it is a saw mill blade but could be a large cold cut saw. If that the case it can be anything from a medium carbon steel to a high speed steel. A spark test will help identify it.
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  #6  
Old 10-21-2016, 05:55 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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For the last 10-20 years most saw blades for wood have been made from 8670 which is considered a substitute for L6, but it has half the nickel content 0.88% vs. 1.7% for L6 otherwise they heat treat the same. L6 like 15N20 has enough nickel to show up in Damascus whereas 8670 doesn't. Have you made any Damascus with a saw blade and it shines when etched JM?
Maybe I should reword that, does the blade steel make a shiny layer?

Last edited by jimmontg; 10-21-2016 at 06:02 PM.
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  #7  
Old 10-21-2016, 11:45 PM
jmccustomknives jmccustomknives is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmontg View Post
For the last 10-20 years most saw blades for wood have been made from 8670 which is considered a substitute for L6, but it has half the nickel content 0.88% vs. 1.7% for L6 otherwise they heat treat the same. L6 like 15N20 has enough nickel to show up in Damascus whereas 8670 doesn't. Have you made any Damascus with a saw blade and it shines when etched JM?
Maybe I should reword that, does the blade steel make a shiny layer?
It stands out as much as 52100, makes 15n20 pale in comparison. Now I will say I haven't tried any Damascus with this last batch. The source was a tree trimming company, one of those pole trimmers. I've used it to make some knives and a couple of hawks. Planning on welding up a billet in the future though.
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  #8  
Old 10-21-2016, 11:47 PM
jmccustomknives jmccustomknives is offline
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One should note, on that blade the teeth has been removed. That probably means it was pulled and culled. Be sure to check it for cracks. They usually radiate out from the center or outside in.
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  #9  
Old 10-22-2016, 08:56 AM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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You might have some L6 there JM, it is a superior steel to the 8670 as it contains almost 1% of chrome and 0.35 molybdenum and HTs at 1525-50 where the 8670's sweet spot is 1600. All educated guesses in a forge anyway by the brightness of the hot steel. I'm good at guessing 1475 for O1 from doing it in an oven so much I know the "color" pretty well, but guessing, I'd say 1550 would be a much much brighter orange.

A cold cut saw is a metal cutting blade, there are high speed metal cutting blades as well and they cut steel. I ran one for cutting 24" steel girders, scared to death of that thing, had a five foot blade about 3/8" thick. I would have to guess they were something like M2 or M4 type hot work steels and they did not have carbide teeth either. There were some aluminum/brass cutting blades we had too that did have carbide teeth brazed on, never saw a steel cutting blade that did though, even with a cold cut saw blade that had coolant running on it. A high speed blade for steel likely would melt the brazing metal. They are expensive too.

I have no idea what a metal cutting bandsaw blade would be, but it would have to have something in it to make it flexible and I have to wonder if it's nickel, but nickel also retards martensite formation too, but the L6 hardness as quenched at optimal temp is RC65 so maybe they use a proprietary steel with more chrome and Moly as the big metal cutting blades for our big bandsaw at my last job in the machine shop were brighter colored than regular steel and regular bandsaw blades too for that matter. Should have grabbed some of those big worn out blades they were close to 3/32" thick. Has anyone here ever used a metal cutting bandsaw blade to forge a knife? Bet that would make a great knife.
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  #10  
Old 10-25-2016, 06:38 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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Many smaller diameter blades were used in larger sawmills for gang saws to strip planks into cleaner cut dimensions. Seen as many as 15 in a gang run. Usually affiliated with sawmills associated with furniture grade woods.
Sawmill blades are a mixed breed and any used for repurposing to knife blades need to be tested individually unless you have solid evidence of "batch" production. I'd never claim all or most are a certain steel....some are mighty fine - from L6 or 15n20 some are just junk steel cores to hold teeth inserts. Like I said, got to test them all if you plan to warrant a blade and want to keep your reputation intact.

That being said - I love 'em. It's an adventure to cut and test if there is enough material to expend in the process and still have enough to make some knives.
Jim, have used quite a bit of the big bandsaw blades 18' -24' size. Some I got were actually stamped 15n20 which turned into some mighty fine kitchen knives or got incorporated into pattern welded billets.
Did get two (still in waxpaper and string tied) bundles of 18'x6" (12 to a bundle) that came from Sheffield, Eng. labeled "Silver Steel". Salvaged from an old furniture factory being torn down. Great stuff for sure.
These days a lot of the bandsaw blades are bimetal but this can be determined with a little sanding and some ferric chloride etching most the time.
Little trick I found to reduce warping issues with the thinner bandsaw material is to rough forge finish out the blade then heattreat doing what I've heard called a "Marquench" (not sure that's truly the correct terminology) to bring the steel down below 700* then clamp in aluminum quench plates to finish cooling. Solves that last minute tendency to warp. Works for me.
Hey, found metal is always fun for me ..... I have the time to play with it. I do custom work and am not production oriented (it's nice to be retired).


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  #11  
Old 10-25-2016, 08:40 AM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Marquench is correct.

Like I said I wished I'd kept those worn out blades. They used them to cut an odd alloy of aluminum bronze with titanium once. It took the big auto band saw 2 hours to cut through a 2x4" piece of that stuff. Ruined the blade and they were very expensive. I welded all the bandsaw blades when they saw mine never broke at the weld like the ones they did at the little weld station on the upright bandsaws we all used to cut small parts and buying the blades in rolls was cheaper than buying them welded. I also never left a bump. Used 1/32" nickel rod with 1/32" W1 tool steel rod to weld them and slowly let my arc sit on the blade after welding to anneal it. The big saw's blades came pre welded.

They had 5 bandsaws three for production and two upright ones. The upright ones were all bimetal as I remember that's what it said on the box. I could kick myself for not keeping all those blades for the several years I worked there. They just broke them to fit in the steel scrap barrel.

Here's an idea for all you who use a forge to make knives, call your local machine shops and wood shops and ask if they wouldn't mind letting you have their worn out bandsaw blades as they are just going to throw them away anyway.
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1095, 52100, back, band saw, blade, blades, common, damascus, edge, forge, heat, heat treat, knife, knives, make, makers, making, saw blade, sell, small, steel, temper, tips, wood


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