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Old band saw blade

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A friend of mine gave me about 6 feet of an old band saw blade, 2" wide because i wanted to try to make a utility/pattern knife. Here's what I came up with, my question is how hard are saw blades usually? And does a knife made from it hold a good edge? All my files were skipping off the metal because it seems harder than the file. 



This is my first attempt at knife making btw so any additional advice appreciated 

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It's complicated.  Most bandsaw metal cutting blades are edge hardened thus retaining some flexibility to the rest of the blade.  However they probably are the same overall chemistry.  If your blade retains the edge than your good to go. You can harden by heating the edge cherry red (about 1500 F ) until a magnet won't stick, quickly quench in water.  That edge is now very hard and can be sharpened to a wicked edge, however very brittle.  I use sawzall metal cutting blades for my leather knife, being careful to sharpen the teeth slowly without heating the blade.  Walter Sorrels has great youtube videos.



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          Old sawblades are usually "L6" Steel.

As was stated the critical temp for hardening is about 1550 degrees.

Temper temp for a knife is about 350 degrees.

To make the knife properly without forging, it is usually "normalized", ground or shaped and then quenched and tempered.

I won't go into heat cycling, to reduce the grain structure, and other things custom knife makers use to make a better knife.

Some people, spend their entire lives, learning about Knifemaking and the Heat Treatment of Steel!

Custom shop made knives, are superior to commercial mass produced knives, for a reason!


Edited by seagiant

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if your file was wouldn't cut it then it is good high carbon steel however you don't know what type so normalizing it and then re-tempering might or might not get you a good blade as you don't know the proper temps to do that, steel types have different temps and processes so not knowing the steel type is the problem, also not knowing the steel type you don't know how hard it can get. It could also have been work hardened. Having said that i would if i wanted to try and make a blade from it would carefully cut and grind it without trying to heat it and lose its current temper. I have made a few knives from saw blades and they work well but it is time consuming. Use water to keep it cool as you grind it, if you discolor the blade then you have changed the temper. thats a great looking first try and will do the job if you haven't lost the temper.

Edited by chuck123wapati

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