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Old 02-06-2017, 04:05 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Now live in Las Cruces NM.
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Talking about forging. Grain flow from the mill means nothing. I have a friend up in BC canada who describes his 2% nickel, 1084 sawmill blades he forges as "lining up the fibers in the metal." I asked him what the heck are you talking about, tho I had an idea? He thinks by hammering he lines up the grain to go against the edge. He got upset when I said I don't think that's how it works so I dropped it. Once heated to a certain temp I don't think grain matters much. Most all of my cracking problems involved cold rolled steel not hot rolled.

Has anyone here ever forged Cruwear steel? It was developed for forgers with added Vanadium for abrasion resistance.

Last edited by jimmontg; 02-06-2017 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 02-06-2017, 04:35 PM
cdent cdent is offline
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It is unrelated, but I think inclusions (rubbish) in some steel can be thought of as "grain". I think the affect of inclusions can be minimized if they are drawn lengthwise in what would be the general shape of the blade. I believe the shape of blobs of inclusions can be lengthened to appear to be tiny strings of BB's in the steel. Only thoughts.
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Old 02-07-2017, 03:41 AM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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Cdent, I think that's pretty much as Kevin Cashen explains it. Weird stuff like bubbles and stringers of slag do end up with a directional quality when they're rolled out at the mill but that's totally not related to the "grain" caused by the crystal formation of the iron matrix in the steel.


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Old 02-07-2017, 06:40 PM
cdent cdent is offline
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Thanks Doug. I didn't realize that Kevin C. had described it. I think it has been shown by other folks too. Mostly, I was just thinking that while it may not matter at all to the true grain of the steel for heat treating purposes, it doesn't hurt to consider how it came from the mill, or where ever. I have seen scrap, like polished ball bearings, show a directional pattern in it when it's heavily etched, but you're correct, I don't believe that is representation of the grain of the steel. Maybe it's just keeping things in mind that are not always ideal.

Take care, Craig
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Old 02-10-2017, 11:16 AM
WBE WBE is offline
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There is one fact missing in all of the above. Actual, individual grains, have no direction, once heated to austenitization temp. Individual grains in themselves, have direction only from being rolled at the mill. Once heated to austenizing temp, they become randomly shaped and remain that way. Afterwards, you cannot hammer them to have direction. What we call grain direction comes from the occlusions, and inclusions in the steel that are also stretched directionally with the grains in the rolling process, but stay that way. The steel grains collect on their elongated borders forming what may be called grain structures, but the grains, in of themselves, are of random shape and cannot be changed other than to re-roll the steel. Forging will do nothing to change that fact. A common knife blade is not in any way improved by forging, unless of a radical scimitar like design.
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Old 02-11-2017, 08:06 AM
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Ed Caffrey Ed Caffrey is offline
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I think there's a lot of confusion on this issue, and more so on this thread. However an individual wishes to describe it, there are two completely different things being discussed here..... and they are different.

"Grain" is just that, the aspect of the steel that is affected by temp and time.

"Grain Flow" is established at the mill/production facility through the rolling process, and in any given piece of steel, more or less remains in it's as rolled state, unless changed through forging. The images presented by the OP are accurate.

As it applies to knives, I'm sure there will always be a debate around the "Grain flow". I think it's up to each individual who is interested to make comparisons and draw their own conclusions.
That being said, there is data/"proof" out there to conclude that forged parts often exceed the strength and durability of stock removal made counterparts.. you will find a lot of the data in the performance automotive world.

Everyone comes at any issue through the lens of their own experiences, but I have to smile whenever I hear or read that someone whats "proof" of something as it relates to knives. If an individual is genuinely interested in "proof", one way or the other, then it's time to get a little dirty, and do some experimenting.

We seem to live in a time of wanting "proof" of whatever, but we want someone else to do the proving. As I often tell my students.... Take everything with a grain of salt, until you prove, or disprove it for yourself. Most never will/do, which just perpetuates "the court of popular opinion". Concerning this particular issue, I've done my own "proving", and that is what I recommend others, who are interested, do.

"Nobody cares what you know.....until they know you care."
See me at table 2Q at the Blade Show!

Last edited by Ed Caffrey; 02-11-2017 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 02-11-2017, 09:16 AM
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Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
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Such is the beauty of forums--ask a question, get plenty of information in response to guide your efforts.

I wish I'd been more influenced early on by the 'hammer and anvil' path, but the most technically influential information regarding process that I received early on was from Bob Loveless' book. Bob followed a pretty narrow path exclusive to stock removal (to my knowledge). Even before that, I read David Boye's book when I was 12 years old. David also did stock removal.

Ed's point is spot on--two different discussions. However, you can talk about 'grain flow' for about 10 seconds before that conversation slides into 'forging vs stock removal'. That's just the nature of it.

Fortunatley, the discussions on this forum are very civil in regard to the subject. Elsewhere, makers who choose the stock removal method feel looked down on or dismissed as 'not serious makers' for that choice. The implication is that they are short-changing their clients or cutting corners because they are not forging their blades, making their own Damascus, etc. I hope no one feels like that here.

Thanks for keeping it classy gang!

Andy Garrett
Charter Member - Kansas Custom Knifemaker's Association

"Drawing your knife from its sheath and using it in the presence of others should be an event complete with oos, ahhs, and questions."
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