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Forged in Fire episode last night

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Forged in Fire episode last night

Old 07-18-18, 11:11 AM
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rachel120
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Forged in Fire episode last night

Did anyone watch the Forged in Fire episode "Wind and Fire Wheels" last night? If so, did it make you cringe. (For me, it was when they were beating the knives against the bike frames.) And for those that understand metallurgy, why isn't a bike frame suitable for making knives?
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Old 07-18-18, 11:33 AM
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I didn't see the episode but I am a knife maker. Most common bike frame steel doesn't have as much carbon in it as we would want for hardening. For example, Reynolds 531 is said to contain .35% carbon. Most knife steels will have .70% or more.

On edit, you could probably make a knife out of the axles and bearings if you wanted to as they would likely be higher carbon.
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Old 07-18-18, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by bnewberry View Post
I am a knife maker.
I had never read those words in that order before.
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Old 07-18-18, 11:52 AM
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I think everyone went after the bike chain. They had to use two pieces though, someone did use the bearings, someone else went after the gears.
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Old 07-18-18, 12:03 PM
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How much carbon did the high tensile steel bike frames have?

Why not just beat the carbon into the steel like the Japanese did?
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Old 07-18-18, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
How much carbon did the high tensile steel bike frames have?

Why not just beat the carbon into the steel like the Japanese did?
4130 is a common bike steel from back in the day. This commonly has between .28% and .32% carbon.

The Japanese method of miltiple forge welds actually reduces carbon content. It was done in part to "clean" and ****genize a steel bloom from a charcoal powered smelter. The steel production method used typically results in a lump of metal with a lot of impurities and different properties.

You can add carbon to steel with a coal or charcoal forge but this process takes a lot of time and I think they use gas forges on the show.
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Old 07-18-18, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by rachel120 View Post
I think everyone went after the bike chain. They had to use two pieces though, someone did use the bearings, someone else went after the gears.
The chain would work if you can get it to weld. I would be worried about getting one with too much chromium to weld easily. The gears could also work depending on the chemistry. I would avoid them if they wouldn't rust!

In the context of the show, if I had to use two parts I would go for the bearings and the stem bolt or chain and box weld them with a bunch of 1084 steel powder.
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Old 07-18-18, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I had never read those words in that order before.
A knife maker I am?

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Old 07-18-18, 01:45 PM
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I like the show, but I hated to see bikes which I could build, getting torn up. I also hated seeing knives pounded onto metal bike frames.

One guy used the drop-outs. I think they all used chain,. One guy tried axle bearings but didn't want to clean them (what? a splash of mineral spirits and wipe them clean with a rag!) None of them appeared to know what a spindle was or where bearing cups might be ... headset bearings, BB cups ... headset races .... and maybe the cranks. But .... these folks were knife-makers, not cyclists, and as far as I could see their wasn't even a crescent wrench or an allen wrench in the shop anyway.

i hope none of the frames were my size ... .
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Old 07-18-18, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I like the show, but I hated to see bikes which I could build, getting torn up.... .
Yeah, I agree, but at least they weren't smashing up perfectly good guns or guitars. Now that would've been a sho-nuff travesty !!

(BTW, I did watch FIF last night, but not this episode. I saw a re-run i've never seen, where they had the guys choose from 6 different damascus styles to build. Very interesting, I learned some new stuff.)

Last edited by Brocephus; 07-18-18 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 07-18-18, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Brocephus View Post
Yeah, I agree, but at least they weren't smashing up perfectly good guns or guitars. Now that would've been a sho-nuff travesty !!
They did use guns one time, I think it was black powder rifles.
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Old 07-18-18, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by rachel120 View Post
They did use guns one time, I think it was black powder rifles.
Ah,yeah,now that you mention it, I do remember that one. (but black powder guns don't really count, must be why I forgot it !! )
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Old 07-18-18, 04:21 PM
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Just watching it right now on the DVR. Very hard to watch the angle grinder cut the lock snd the bike rack. I guess itís a different view of the material.
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Old 07-18-18, 04:29 PM
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The bike rack was to give them a canister since they had to use itty bitty pieces of steel rather than big ones.
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Old 07-18-18, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
How much carbon did the high tensile steel bike frames have?

Why not just beat the carbon into the steel like the Japanese did?
Because you only have a few hours to make the knife fully functional with a handle, basically 5 hours.

Beating carbon into it would take longer and be less reliable.

The chain is the most obvious part, ball bearings and the races, lug nuts would work, so would axles.

Usually what they do is either test harden a piece, or "spark test" it. Grind it and look at the size, shape, color and brightness of the sparks it gives off.
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Old 07-18-18, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by bnewberry View Post


4130 is a common bike steel from back in the day. This commonly has between .28% and .32% carbon.

The Japanese method of miltiple forge welds actually reduces carbon content. It was done in part to "clean" and ****genize a steel bloom from a charcoal powered smelter. The steel production method used typically results in a lump of metal with a lot of impurities and different properties.

You can add carbon to steel with a coal or charcoal forge but this process takes a lot of time and I think they use gas forges on the show.
Chromoly, 531, etc, would have been the higher quality metals for vintage racing bikes.

Most of the vintage bikes bouncing around would have been some type of carbon steel... for example 1020. However, as far as I can tell, that is a pretty plain steel, not even high carbon content.

Would grease be bad for the forging?

As mentioned above, cones, races, bottom bracket spindle, springs from brake calipers, etc... would all be able to donate a bit better steel.

Stainless spokes?

If one had X-Ray diffraction, one could likely be very precise with one's calculations.

I'll have to check out the show sometime.
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Old 07-18-18, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by rgconner View Post
The chain is the most obvious part, ball bearings and the races, lug nuts would work, so would axles.
Most threaded axles are chromoly, at least the better ones as they need both strength and ductility. Campy may have experimented with some harder metals, but apparently had a few break. I'm not convinced department store bolt-on axles are even chromoly.

Quality bottom bracket spindles may be better as they'd have to be able to be hardened for the race.

Hmm... I have my stainless Campy BB spindle. I've reground it once, and it is pitted again. Perhaps it is time to give it a new life. My headset could also use some refreshing.
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Old 07-18-18, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
If one had X-Ray diffraction, one could likely be very precise with one's calculations.
Not this show. First couple of seasons they'd give a lump of some standard knife making steel. The last couple of seasons, more often than not they just present a multitude of themed items with steel in them and wish the contestants luck.

Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I'll have to check out the show sometime.
I think it's great, and everyone should check it out. Part game show competition (though the competitors often work together for steel gathering and will say helpful things to each other, never down or hinder each other), part mass mayhem and murder, part horror ("Did he really just take that knife and slam the blade edge into that bike frame hard enough to dent it...10 times??? That poor knife!"), and part documentary.
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Old 07-18-18, 05:16 PM
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What is the point of it?

It's CYCLECIDE.

And you've lost 30-60 minutes of your life you could have spent watching the CIA etc telling NCIS they were in charge and NCIS solving the crime anyway.
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Old 07-18-18, 05:20 PM
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I wanted to be a knife-maker. I bought some blades and made handles, took a welding class, did some metalwork with brass and copper , made some guards ... never had the opportunity to get to real forging, and I needed a real job, so ... I never really wanted to work for the CIA or NCIS. I never really wanted to shoot someone to make a sloppy plot work out between commercial breaks. So ... I watch the knife show.
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Old 07-18-18, 07:34 PM
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I would love a knife, letter opener, whatever made from a Campy chain. Blade from the chain, handle from the same chain, just weld the links together.

Cool factor > function
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Old 07-18-18, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Chromoly, 531, etc, would have been the higher quality metals for vintage racing bikes.

Most of the vintage bikes bouncing around would have been some type of carbon steel... for example 1020. However, as far as I can tell, that is a pretty plain steel, not even high carbon content.

Would grease be bad for the forging?

As mentioned above, cones, races, bottom bracket spindle, springs from brake calipers, etc... would all be able to donate a bit better steel.

Stainless spokes?

If one had X-Ray diffraction, one could likely be very precise with one's calculations.y

I'll have to check out the show sometime.
531 is reported to be .35% carbon, still too low. 1020 is .20% carbon.

Grease would probably not hurt the forging aging nor the welding as it would burn off very quickly. It might leave a residue that would inhibit a weld though.

Spokes could work. I read an account of a Japanese smith welding a single spoke into the edge of a mild steel knife shaped object to give it an edge that could be hardened in post war Japan when metal was scarce. Stainless is harder to forge weld than non-carbon but it can be done by a better smith than I am.
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Old 07-18-18, 08:54 PM
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@bnewberry So when are we going to see you in an episode?
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Old 07-19-18, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by rachel120 View Post
@bnewberry So when are we going to see you in an episode?
Never! A man has to know his limitations!
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Old 07-19-18, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Most threaded axles are chromoly, at least the better ones as they need both strength and ductility. Campy may have experimented with some harder metals, but apparently had a few break. I'm not convinced department store bolt-on axles are even chromoly.
One of them used an axle, looked like a Grade 6 or Grade 8 threaded bolt. It sparked like crazy, so it was some sort of harden-able steel.


None of the bikes they had looked like anything better than a Walmart special.
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