tomahawks metal questions

remist17

Well-Known Member
So I am starting to explore tomahawks and using different metal in my forge. The more I read the more I get confused on the heat treat and final draw. I was hoping you guys /gals could help me understand.

I am using the following material: ball pein hammer, leaf spring from truck, old farrier rasps.

My understanding the ball pein and rasp, I would draw to nonmagnetic, quench in oil(conola) and then draw out to a brown or blue color. Am I correct?

Spring steel is the funny one. I see heat and tempers all over the place. I was thinking I would do the same as above??

Thanks
 

Ed of all trades

Well-Known Member
Mystery steel is just that a mystery. Take a piece and forge a little edge on it and run it through your heat treat and see how it does. if it does well do the rest of the same piece of steel the same way if not adjust and try again. Ed
 

Kayakersteve

Well-Known Member
The biggest reason for your confusion is that you choose to use unknown steel. While a rule of thumb would indicate and old truck leaf is 5160, there are no guarantees. If you want to eliminate the confusion buy known steels from places like NJ Steel Baron that cater to knife makers. You could do what above poster did, but if your heat treat method is not a match you are just wasting time and often becoming frustrated.
 

remist17

Well-Known Member
I understand and agree. I had been using a small 1 brick propane forge. I now have a coal forge that I have been learning blacksmithing. I would like to move to hatchets and tomahawks. What steel should I explore using that can be heated in a forge and tempered in a 14x10 toaster oven or on the forge by color?
I read 5160 but have not found the specifics yet. Also any locations that sell square stock for forging? I tend to lean towards the thicker square stock than the flat stock.
 
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Kayakersteve

Well-Known Member
Just starting out with heat treating, 1084 will be your lowest learning curve and makes a great knife - I assume this would be true for a tomahawk
 

remist17

Well-Known Member
Agreed, 1084 has been great. i can not find large stock to make the tomahawks out of. i found some .75X.75 in 1080. i was hoping there was another steel that was as easy that i could find in blocks. Assuming I use the 1080 for the hawk, what temper should I start with? I was thinking straw color draw and go from there? I have read people go to a dark brown or purple color.
Thanks
 
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Church & Son

Well-Known Member
Agreed, 1084 has been great. i can not find large stock to make the tomahawks out of
I do a lot of "wrap and weld" 'hawks using any mystery steel for the wrap such as files..ect, and then weld in a
known piece of high carbon steel for the cutting edge....
Traditionally this is the way it was done because of high cost of high carbon steel....
Example, 1018 hawk body with a 1080 cutting edge...
The cutting edge is all that need HTing so the procedure is always the same no matter what steel the body is made of....

Such as ...



Here's a chinese made file with a 1060 cutting edge...



Same here...an unknown farm implement body with a 1075 cutting edge welded in...

 

remist17

Well-Known Member
I got a section of 1080 Im going to use. I normally would heat to non magnetic and then quench in oil. Put in oven at 375 to 400F for two cycles of 1 hour. This is what I would do for a knife. Im looking to make a tomahawk so I am not sure if the blade would be hard enough. Please let me know what your thoughts are.
 

Church & Son

Well-Known Member
I normally would heat to non magnetic and then quench in oil. Put in oven at 375 to 400F for two cycles of 1 hour. This is what I would do for a knife. Im looking to make a tomahawk so I am not sure if the blade would be hard enough.
That should be fine except I would add a couple of normalizing cycles before quench...
A lot of stress is built up in that much forging...

Also, just my opinion, but I like 'hawk cutting edges somewhat softer than knives...
Mine tend to take a beating and see a file more than a stone...
 

remist17

Well-Known Member
So I got delayed on this project a little. Going to start it back up this coming weekend. Still learning the language of heat treating. When it is said normalizing, that is taking it to nonmagnetic and letting it air cool or am I quenching in oil numerous times?
Softer metal would me higher heat in the tempering oven correct? so if I am aiming 375 to 400 I should take it up to 425F?


Thanks
 

Ed of all trades

Well-Known Member
To normalize heat to nonmagnetic and let air cool but it does not have to be cold between cycles. 425f sounds like a good place to start. Try it and see if you like it and adjust temp as needed. Ed
 
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