I've been reading recently about tempering and annealing steel.
Anyone here already tried to make a block plane blade out of a file?
Seems like building such a tool would be very satisfying if it worked.
You could sort of pretend to be a blacksmith for few days too.
I've got some thoughts about the "slippery slope" but this one will do
Lengthiest part of the job is removing the teeth. If you
can do that without overheating the steel, you won't even
need to anneal it. Just temper to straw, and she's good
Why not just use an iron salvaged from another plane?
No doubt I should probably do that. I just happened to be reading about
iron, steel and blacksmithing. One of Roy Underhill's books/articles
got me started, and I learned a bunch the next day after that.
Although the point might be effectively disputed, I think I am no longer
as confused as I used to be on matters and terminology related to the
numerous types of iron and steel.
It sounds like a lot of fun. Simple blacksmithing skills used to be common
currency, just a normal part of a practical man's toolbox. They have all
but disappeared now and it seems to me a crying shame that crafts that take
years to learn well can be forgotten so fast.
I have some old wooden planes which I have used extensively in my work on
historic buildings and learned to really appreciate their lightness, their
warmth in the hand (on a cold morning), their adaptability and their
efficiency. I would love to have a go at toolmaking one day.
Not that specifically, but files are great feedstock for high carbon
steel to make new tools from. I use leaf springs for hefty green
woodworking tools, but prefer files for making edged tools.
The process is broadly:
* Anneal to soften
* Rough shape
* Remove the teeth!
* Fine shape
This process has been the same since the post-war period, when an
abundance of old files and a shortage of much else encouraged a lot of
this sort of re-use. If you find old workshop manuals (or Popular
Mechanics mag) from the '50s, you'll find a lot of information on how
to do this, and with fairly simple tools.
Annealing involves heating to a bright red and very slow cooling in a
bucket of wood ash. You can heat with a kitchen gas stove, a workshop
torch or a forge.
Shaping and especially stripping the teeth is much easier today -
Hardening involves heating again, but followed by quenching in water.
Detail of this, and of tempering, is complicated (to those who care)
and you're best reading something with more detail than Usenet (Buy my
forthcoming book, "Metalworking for Woodworkers" 8-) )
Start out by making a few easy pieces, like marking knives or Sloyd
carving knives. Then the sky's the limit.
Earlier today on alt.binaries.e-book.technical Rockhound posted a couple books
on this topic. First is Weygers' Recycling, Use and Repair of Tools. Second
is "Hardening and Tempering Engineer;s Tools". I bought the Weygers series of
books many years ago, and they are very good, but a bit dated in a couple areas.
One of the better blacksmithing books was written by Beal about 120 years ago.
It's a bit dated too, but I live with it.
Ah, is the book you referred to on blacksmithing "The Art of
Blacksmithing" by Alex Bealer (found at Amazon)? I picked up the
"Recycling" book you mentioned. The links in the newsgroup were not
good for the second book (hardening and tempering). I didn't know
about that newsgroup. Surely a lot to read there! Thanks for the help!
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.