Author Topic: Need help forging flint striker  (Read 385 times)

Offline Nhgrants

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Need help forging flint striker
« on: June 18, 2019, 03:17:47 AM »
I just forged a flint striker for fire starting. Used a piece of a buggy spring forged it to shape, heated to a little
Beyond nonmagnetic and quenched in used canola oil. File skates off for the most part.

I get a few sparks but not with every strike. Could the buggy spring not really be that good a material For this purpose?
Would using a file make a better striker? Or could this been a workmanship issue?

Offline TN Longhunter

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Re: Need help forging flint striker
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2019, 04:10:44 AM »
Heat hotter, bright red, and for files or old spring steel (hay rake teeth) I quench in water. Good flint and it will spark like crazy.
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Offline Elnathan

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Re: Need help forging flint striker
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2019, 05:01:15 AM »
A buggy spring might be lower in carbon than 1095 or W2 (the usual material for files), and so might not harden to the extent necessary for a good striker. I've never tried making a striker from anything but 1095 (old Nicholson files) so I don't know, though. That is always one of the problems with using recycled steel - you usually don't really know what you are working with.

You might try 1) quenching in water or brine. I've found that the 1084 steel I have won't harden worth a darn in veggie oil, but responds very well to a brine quench of 16 ounces of salt dissolved in 2 gallons of water. This mix also seems to work pretty well for strikers as well. Also, 2) if you haven't done so, grind along the working edge of the striker to remove any forge scale and decarbonized surface material.

Good luck. Fire steels are a lot of fun to make. Be sure to thermally cycle them to refine the grain size after forging and before hardening them, as they can (I'm told) have a tendency to break in the quench if that step is skipped. I've never had one break on me (four successful hardenings so far, and two forged ones waiting heat treating still), but I've always carefully normalized mine.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying...cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. -Robert A. Heinlein

Offline KentSmith

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Re: Need help forging flint striker
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2019, 05:19:38 AM »
Have made and sold dozens of fire steels.  I use old hay rake tines and have tried O1but the rake tines seem to work better.  I forge, heat to bright red and let them normalize, then heat to bright red again and quench in brine like suggested above.  Spark real good.  I used to sklip the normalize step but every so often would get one to break when I was trying them out.  Also  grind the working edge off as mentioned above.

Offline tippit

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Re: Need help forging flint striker
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2019, 12:58:31 PM »
I quench in Parks 50 which is faster than veggie oil but not as fast as brine.

Offline alyce-james

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Re: Need help forging flint striker
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2019, 04:34:26 PM »
Nhgrants; Sir, learned in the 1970's hay rake tines or the top, bar all others, for Strikers. Have a good week. AJ.
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Offline LRB

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Re: Need help forging flint striker
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2019, 09:11:49 PM »
  Brine is a much better, and safer, quench than plain water for breakage concerns, and gets the steel a tad more hard. Brine cools faster and harder with 10XX steels, but cuts the breakage chances way down. Water does not cool as evenly as brine, and is more violent in the quench because of the extreme vapor jacket that is produced. Uneven cooling is the main cause of cracking and breaking. I would recommend a temper of around 300, but I just back off the handle arms or arm, to grey neutral if it is a C or U shaped striker. I use a brine mix of 1 26oz box of sea salt to 2 gallons of good clear water. 13 0z. per gallon, warmed to maybe 100/110. After normalizing, bring it up to red-orange and quench. I use a two gallon bucket of brine and just drop it in. By the time it hits bottom you can pick it out and do what ever tempering you want.