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What steel are railroad tracks made out of?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by cotdt, Sep 22, 2009.

  1. cotdt


    Oct 2, 2006
    What steel are railroad tracks made out of? I live in Southern California region.

    Thank you.
  2. go mike

    go mike

    Dec 5, 2008
  3. cotdt


    Oct 2, 2006
  4. JTknives

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

    Jun 11, 2006
    you wont get a hamon with it, i have tried. it has to much Mn in it. but its good and if you can find it you have a bunch of cheep steel.
  5. cotdt


    Oct 2, 2006
    What does the Mn do that prevents hamon?
  6. Sam Salvati

    Sam Salvati

    Aug 6, 2007
    MN makes it slightly deep hardening, so it lessens the contrast of the hamon. It is possible to get a hamon, I have seen quite a few times RR track blades with hamon.


    May 4, 2009
    I believe Bugei trading company use to have Katana made from RR track( with Hamon)
  8. AcridSaint


    Jun 23, 2006
    You can get a quench line with just about any oil or water hardening steel, but if it's a "deep" hardening 10xx series steel you'll not get the kind of activity you will with a lower maganese steel like 1095.
  9. hellgap


    Dec 17, 2008
    I do know this main line steel has a higher chromium content than secondary lines and curve steel is even higher so they say . This helps eliminate wear on curves at high speed track s .
  10. otis williams

    otis williams

    May 27, 2008
    at my local scrap yard, it's 12 cents a pound.
  11. 69_knives


    Nov 20, 2008
    With a forge you may be able to increase hamon activity by only heating the edge to slightly past non-magnetic and not allowing the spine to heat up enough to harden. I suppose clay may help by insulating and if it is shaped, you may be able to achieve a shapely hamon. Give it a shot JT. I would be interested as I have pretty easy access to a few length of rail.
  12. AcridSaint


    Jun 23, 2006
    The detailed activity seen in a true hamon will not show on this steel, if it is indeed 1080. You can get waves and transition, you can even get more than one line, but I doubt that you'll be getting anywhere near the activity you get with 1095, W series steels or any other low Mn. simple carbon steel, at least not in the high carbon area that we're talking about.

    I don't think it's going to matter what your heat source is or what insulation you put on the blade. I have done many clayed blades in 1080, 1084, 1065 and 15N20, they just don't get the same activity, no matter if you do it in an oven, in a forge or with a torch on the edge.
  13. Hmathews


    Feb 22, 2005
    This is pretty much what I get with 1084. The hamon is there, but you don't expect much activity and there is not much "activity" present. It is just that in this case what you see is exactly what the customer wanted.


    This is a t-post that I was playing around with. It has been said that it was made from a railroad rail. I don't know. It seemed to heat treat well and there is a little more activity in the hamon than I get with 1084 although not much. If I was going to make knives to sell from it, or railroad rail I would have it tested. There is nothing like knowing for sure especially if your reputation could be at risk.

  14. cotdt


    Oct 2, 2006
    They should be free, no? They are all over the place.

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