Author Topic: Fencing blades for tool and spring stock ?  (Read 14385 times)

Offline WKevinD

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Fencing blades for tool and spring stock ?
« on: March 29, 2015, 05:15:06 AM »
I have a number of broken / damaged fencing blades, (foil, epee, sabre). The only thing I know about the steel type is "tempered and annealed low carbon steel"
I know how flexible these blades are so I assume the blades could be reworked into springs (patch-box release spring, and or mainspring for an early Scandinavian lock) and also for chisels.
Anybody have experience with this? Where do I find info on how to work it?
Kevin 
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Offline David R.

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Re: Fencing blades for tool and spring stock ?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2015, 11:06:50 PM »
In order to be useable for tools or springs it needs to have a fairly high carbon content. One quick test is to grind a piece on an electric bench grinder and observe the sparks produced. Low carbon or mild steel produces heavy dull sparks while high carbon or tool steel will throw lots of sparks that look like little fourth of July sparklers.
If you have a good heat source such as a forge or oxy./acet. torch (which you will need if you intend to work this into gun parts), you can test as follows.
Heat a piece of the steel to bright orange red or until it will no longer attract a magnet then immediately quench in a bucket of water. If it is carbon steel it should come out very hard. So hard it will not cut with a file. If it hardens you may have something useable for tools or springs but you will then need to experiment with hardening and tempering methods that will work for your purpose.
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Offline LRB

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Re: Fencing blades for tool and spring stock ?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2015, 10:11:02 PM »
I have a number of broken / damaged fencing blades, (foil, epee, sabre). The only thing I know about the steel type is "tempered and annealed low carbon steel"
I know how flexible these blades are so I assume the blades could be reworked into springs (patch-box release spring, and or mainspring for an early Scandinavian lock) and also for chisels.
Anybody have experience with this? Where do I find info on how to work it?
Kevin 

  Tempered and annealed cannot exist at the same time. To be annealed takes steel to it's soft relaxed natural condition by controlled slow cooling from a high temp. Tempered means it was first hardened, then re-heated/tempered to make it less brittle. If what you have is very springy, it is probably a high carbon tempered steel, and you can do as David suggested. When working a mystery steel, try to harden first in oil, such as a cooking oil. If it does not harden, then try in water. As David said, you should not be able to cut it with a file if it is a high carbon steel. The reason to try oil first, is that some high carbon steels will crack if cooled too fast as in using water for a quench. Oil cools a bit slower.

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Fencing blades for tool and spring stock ?
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2015, 01:45:44 AM »
The fact that you have broken sword blades says to me that they are high carbon steel that has been hardened and tempered.  A mild steel blade would be bent, but not broken into pieces.  A sword of mild steel would be useless.
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Offline David R.

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Re: Fencing blades for tool and spring stock ?
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2015, 03:41:56 AM »
I suggested water quench first as test just to see if you have steel with hardenable carbon content.  Then you need to experiment with quench medium. Oil is usually safer. Some prefer brine.
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Offline okieboy

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Re: Fencing blades for tool and spring stock ?
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2015, 02:17:15 AM »
 Spring stock, 1075, 1075, 1095, is not overly expensive. It never makes sense to me that people will risk sometimes large amounts of effort failing, so that they can use scrap of unknown properties. Having some tool steel and some spring stock in the shop is just like investing in good chisels and rasps. MSC and McMaster Carr can supply a variety of configurations of steels; buy only what you need for a current project and mark the unused portion with a paint or magic marker for future use. Home spring making is a skill, but your hardening and tempering to make springs will be more successful when you know what material you are working with. 
Okieboy

Offline WKevinD

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Re: Fencing blades for tool and spring stock ?
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2015, 03:04:15 AM »
Thanks for the input. Sometimes I just cant help myself by " spending eight hours doing something that I could get for $20.00"
The blades are a resource that I have acquired over the past fifteen years from a classical fencing school that I have. The blades in question are from use and abuse of students. The blades are designed to bend and flex repeatedly but an inexperienced fencer can and will get an "S" bend, if this is compressed it will sometimes break at the tight radius of the "S" or a sabre blade may brake after years of attack and parry.
I know how well the blades are as tough, flexible pieces of steel so I thought a good reuse would be as a simple spring or chisel stock.
I have worked some of the blades into screwdrivers to carry in my shot-pouch but had hoped someone might know about this type of steel.
I'll experiment and see what I come up with.
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Offline gunmaker

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Re: Fencing blades for tool and spring stock ?
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2015, 03:51:56 AM »
Why not turn 'em into knives ? 

Offline WKevinD

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Re: Fencing blades for tool and spring stock ?
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2015, 04:18:17 AM »
Why not turn 'em into knives ? 

The typical profile on a foil or fencing sabre blade is 1/8"-3/16" thick x1/4"- 3/8" wide x35" long
I have reworked epee blades that are triangular in section into push daggers that are a nice curiosity but truly useless as anything but an offensive weapon.
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Offline ddoyle

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Re: Fencing blades for tool and spring stock ?
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2015, 04:09:08 AM »
Quote
truly useless as anything but an offensive weapon.


lets not start deciding which tools/toys are offensive or defensive.

Around here usefulness is a sketchy measure of validity.  ;D

All in good fun.

Just a heads up if you want to make a buck on them that show "game of Thrones" has probably created a HUGE market for "needle" like blades. My guess is you could sell replications of Ariel's blade for more then any other custom blade would ever bring in. You have the perfect stock to build em.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2015, 04:11:34 AM by ddoyle »

Offline WKevinD

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Re: Fencing blades for tool and spring stock ?
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2015, 04:54:37 AM »
 


Just a heads up if you want to make a buck on them that show "game of Thrones" has probably created a HUGE market for "needle" like blades. My guess is you could sell replications of Ariel's blade for more then any other custom blade would ever bring in. You have the perfect stock to build em.
[/quote]

Thanks for the hint but that is a market plagued with liability. I have been fabricating classical Italian fencing weapons, small swords and rapiers with commercial FIE rebated blades for decades. I made a few walking stick/epees with a sharp for sale and brought them to a show, first person to pick one up said "how cool!" and thrust it at her boyfriends thigh sinking about 2-3" of blade. I removed them from my display an never made another.
I still make fencing weapons and have never had a problem with them.
I did give the finished ones away to people with sharper minds.
I'll sell a gun before a sharp sword any day.

chisels, spring stock, turnscrews, triggers & plates  that sounds safer and more useful.

Kevin
PEACE is that glorious moment in history when everyone stands around reloading.  Thomas Jefferson

timalso

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Re: Fencing blades for tool and spring stock ?
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2015, 08:25:45 PM »
I am also a fencer (well, at least in my youth). The steel is spring steel with some treatment called maraging, which allows the blades to break when over stressed without pointy edges. I also would temper in motor oil.

Best of luck and, please, keep us posted (as I have a bucket of these things.)

Offline ddoyle

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Re: Fencing blades for tool and spring stock ?
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2015, 11:08:18 PM »
Wow what a world you must live in!

Send them to someone making Twigg type pistols or blunderbusses. They will be the perfect bayonets for that application. 



Offline Jay Close

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Re: Fencing blades for tool and spring stock ?
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2015, 11:13:50 PM »
For what it's worth, the great Ken Hunt, one of the foremost engravers of the 20th c. used broken foil blades to make engraving tools in his youth. I imagine the general formulation of the steel has changed since then, but it does hint at a useable carbon content. I've got a bunch of these broken blades, too, and made a small inletting chisel from one decades ago.