Unknown Steel

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Hathenbruck, May 15, 2019.

  1. Hathenbruck

    Hathenbruck

    42
    Dec 30, 2018
    I have a buddy whose dad owns a block factory, and they have a ton of old wear plates from their block forms. I know it's a hardened steel, but absolutely no clue as to what it might be. Does anyone have a clue to what it could be?

    Thanks
     
  2. AVigil

    AVigil Adam Vigil knifemaker working the grind Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Platinum Member

    Feb 17, 2009
    Nope, there is no way any one here would know what those specific plates are made of.
     
  3. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 11, 2006
    Only way to tell is to send it out and have it tested. I think fastenall does it or atleast thy did back in the day. I think it was between $50-$100 per sample. It’s kinda expensive but if there is a ton of it then it could be worth it.
     
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  4. seanj

    seanj Gold Member Gold Member

    436
    Mar 1, 2010
    They may. Last place I worked Fastenal was one of our major vendors for the machine shop. They had just about everything. If not, some major machine shops have testers. Our shop had one but it wasn't from Fastenal. It might be worth your time to call some of the larger machine shops in your area and check with them.
     
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  5. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 11, 2006
    The testing I’m talking about is not a hardness test. That will tell you nothing about what alloy he has. What he needs is X-ray or gas chromatography testing. It will show every alloying elament in the steel. Thy are very pricy testers to buy with the X-ray gun being the cheapest but I think thy are still in like the 10k$ range if not more if your wanting it to do steel.
     
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  6. Hathenbruck

    Hathenbruck

    42
    Dec 30, 2018
    I kinda figured this would be the answer. They have as many as I want. I took three big plates, so maybe I'll just mess around with the stuff and see if I can maybe narrow is down to a category.
     
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  7. Daniel Fairly Knives

    Daniel Fairly Knives Full Time Knifemaker Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 9, 2011
    Get all and get it tested! If you can harden it is probably good stuff, maybe for tools and hopefully for knives.
     
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  8. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 6, 2000
    Why don't you ask your buddy's dad where he gets them, the call and ask what they are made of?
     
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  9. Hathenbruck

    Hathenbruck

    42
    Dec 30, 2018
    I was hoping it's some sort of tool steel. I went to a site that sells this sort of thing and their spec sheets show stuff like 1045, 4140, O1, O2, and a bunch of other stuff.
     
  10. Alex Topfer

    Alex Topfer

    152
    May 1, 2019
    You can't ask who their supplier is, and then check with that supplier?
     
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  11. seanj

    seanj Gold Member Gold Member

    436
    Mar 1, 2010
    I guess I wasn't clear. I was referring to the X-ray gun. They aren't cheap that's for sure. The one at the shop where I worked at was around $15K I believe. The QC guy there called it his Tri-corder. It told him exactly what the elements were in the steel and how much. Very cool piece of apparatus and did remind me of a Tri-corder :D
     
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  12. Hathenbruck

    Hathenbruck

    42
    Dec 30, 2018
    Good idea, I'll ask him tonight.
    Found the supplier, and sent them an email. Hopefully they know ;)
     
  13. Hathenbruck

    Hathenbruck

    42
    Dec 30, 2018
    And Fastenal has this sort of machine?
     
  14. seanj

    seanj Gold Member Gold Member

    436
    Mar 1, 2010
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  15. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 11, 2006
    Fastenall does not have them in the store. You drop off your sample and thy send it to the lab.
     
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  16. KNelson

    KNelson

    103
    Jan 9, 2019
    Mystery steel be like: Me walking up to grinder with my eyes closed and hoping for good bevels.

    It may work... "Insert GIF"
     
  17. Larrin

    Larrin Gold Member Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Jan 17, 2004
    Handheld XRF testers can't measure carbon which is important to know when identifying mystery steel.
     
  18. seanj

    seanj Gold Member Gold Member

    436
    Mar 1, 2010
    I didn't know that. The impression I received from our QC guy was that it could.
     
  19. Larrin

    Larrin Gold Member Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Jan 17, 2004
    There are methods that measure carbon but not those testers.
     
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  20. P.Brewster

    P.Brewster

    Jul 25, 2007
    People are often wrong, which is why its also a bad idea to determine the grade by "ask[ing] who their supplier is, and then check with that supplier."
     
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