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Old 11-30-2016, 05:43 AM
Toni Toni is offline
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Reducing scale

What measures can be taken to reduce the formation of scale?

Also, I heard that if the blade has build up a lot of scale then forging it can push the scale into the steel, reducing it's quality, is this accurate/true?
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Old 11-30-2016, 06:46 AM
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Ed Caffrey Ed Caffrey is offline
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You can't prevent scale.... when forging it's the by product of combustion when the hot steel meets the free oxygen in the atmosphere whenever you take the steel out of the forge to work on it. The best way to reduce it is to have your forge tuned properly.... with a reducing atmosphere. What that means is you have more fuel going into the forge then oxygen. The combustion of the fuel uses all the oxygen inside the forge, leaving no oxygen to cause scale on your steel.

The best evidence of this is the flames coming out the opening(s) of the forge....that is the excess fuel, coming out of the forge, and combusting with the oxygen in the surrounding atmosphere... this is a reducing atmosphere inside a forge.

IF there is a huge amount of scale, it can be "pushed" into the surface of the steel, but it's not "absorbed". The harm is causes is that when it presses into the steels surface, it forces divots/pits, that you have to grind out.

"Nobody cares what you know.....until they know you care."
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Old 11-30-2016, 08:37 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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if your talking forging Ed is 100% right on that, if your talking heat treating there are a couple things depending on the steel if your using a oven stainless steel foil wraped around the blade. I also use a anti scale "paint" from brownels in the oven I know another knife maker that uses that in a forge but only when heat treating not forginging, forging best bet is as ed said have a lil flame coming out of the forge
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Old 11-30-2016, 08:51 AM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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To reduce scale from being hammered into your blade make sure that you brush it off the surface of the anvil while taking another heat. I just brush the face of the anvil off with my hammer hand to remove the scale. Others keep a wire brush by the anvil and use it.


If you're not making mistakes then you're not trying hard enough
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Old 12-03-2016, 06:28 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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Another thing is to reduce your forging heat once you start getting the blade to shape. This takes practice as you still want the steel hot enough to move without stressing the steel. Watch the size of your scale flakes on your anvil deck. They should be fine more like powder and not like a pile of leaves.

Then as Doug suggested keep you anvil face clean. The larger scale flakes will leave divots or impressions in the steel surface that will later require grinding or filing to remove so keeping the scale finer will cause less work down the road. Larger flakes also indicate a higher oxidation rate of the steel surface which increases the de-carb layer in the steel. This would be the quality reduction factor of the surface of your steel. This is a micro thin layer and will have to be removed as you finish the blade anyway. Just remember the larger the scaling factor the thicker the de-carb layer.

Soaking in warm white vinegar will remove the finer scale without having to grind it off and waste belts (scale is tough on belts). Just a light wire brushing will remove the softened scale. Takes a little time but will save you time/$ in long run.

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