Greetings /k/. I am looking to get into bladesmithing, and was hoping to get some advice and information from the Bladesmiths of /k/. Sort of the basics, where to start, what tools will I need, how much smithing should I do before I even attempt a knife, etc. Also, any recommended books on the subject of Bladesmithing would be wonderful.
urgh. where to start?
bladesmiths' forum (the old Don Fogg Knives forum renamed), britishblades forum are your two best first sources to read.
book-wise, "Complete Bladesmith" by Jim Hrisoulas is your bible.
my personal advice, start with stock removal. learn to grind cleanly, and then go to forging afterward. grinding needs to be done after forging and heat-treat anyway, (just less of it), so its the skill which has more say on how the resulting finish is. The best-forged blade, ground with a shitty anglegrinder is going to look shit, whatever you do. The best forged blade, then ground with a good finish, will always look better.
Also, learning to heat-treat on a stock removed blank is much easier, I find, than on a forged blade - less irregularities and risk of breakages, in a homogeneous blade that's been ground, than one forged, makes it easier at first.
Dont even bother with swords till you've done a fucktonne of research. its like saying you want to make an indycar when you've never driven a go-cart.
If you want an equipment list of what I use, I'll see what I can put together.
saw. a good 12" hacksaw will do for most blade working. Try various blades, see what works for you. Personally, I like Bhaco 24tpi bimetallic blades for cutting EN45 spec steel, and Eclipse 24TPI HSS blades for cutting O1 spec steel.
Files. I like Grobet-Vallorbe gunsmiths' files, they're durable, and tough, but slightly more pricey. Bahco are ok. Nicholson are ok in the US. Avoid no-name files, they're a false economy usually. (though I have one indian-made file that's served me for years. Mill files are good for their curved edge, but warding files in bastard adn 2nd cut are essential.
Measuring kit. vernier calipers are nice, but a set of friction or screw calipers will do - use them for eyeballing up midlines and fullers etc to be sure they're in place. Scriber, steel rule, and marker pens for the same reasons. For anything that's not straight lines, I use french curves, or for big stuff, ship curves. they'll let you draw really elegant, smoothly arching curves that look good. A long springy ruler is good for the same purpose, with one end clamped. dont use your good ruler for that, though.
emery paper on blocks are good for hand -working surfaces before hones. 120, 180, 240, 300, 400, 600, 800, 1200 grit are good. Also Al-Ox paper in 80, 120, 180 and 240 grit.
whetstones and hones for hand-finishing. I like belgian ones, but welsh and german hones are ok. And then you get the japanese water stones, but theyre silly money unless you're making grorious nippon katanas...
sooner or later, you're going to need sparks to fly.
your cheapest option is a little bench grinder, usually used in workshops to remove burrs etc. really not a viable option unless you're only making prison shivs.
Belt sanders are you more likely choice. fabric-backed sandpaper (well, technically, Al/Ox or ceramic) belt attached to a motor. quality is down to power, width and length.
more power means less likely to bog. wider belt means easier to get even surfaces. longer belts wear out slower. 1 inch belts are found on tinny little harbour freight grinders that are useless for anything more than a 2-3 inch blade. 2 inch wide belts are far more use. 6 foot length is good, though you can get 3 foot length belts too.
a good grinder should have plenty of power, I use a 2hp motor, and I've stalled that once. anything less than 1hp is just a waste of time.
you will want to look at the face it grinds on - you get flat panels, called platen, and you get round wheels, called contact wheels, in different radii. flat platens will do flat and convex surfaces, contact wheels will do concave, which is needed for hollow-grinds on blades and razors.
Shop accordingly. but be aware that even a home-made grinder will not be cheap. A burr king or bader grinder will cost you a 4-figure pricetag.
For belts, I would suggest avoiding red al-Ox, and instead shop for ceramic belts from 3M or Sait. for fine finishes, 3M Trizact belts are superb, but they're not cheap - but worth it for very fine finishes if you're not doing hand-finishing.
other tools. drills are essential, which ones, are down to choice.
personally I like using a hand drill. very slow, but lots of control. A pillar drill is essential for accurately angled holes for folders etc where accuracy of alignment is critical, however. If you're only ever going to drill 2-3mm holes for pins, a cheapy $150 bench pillar drill will do fine. if you're llikely to want to do big holes in thick steel for swords etc? then you're in problems. However, shopping for 2ndhand ones on ebay will likely find you a great old drill for a fraction of the price of a new one. just check the bearings.
for cutting out, an angle grinder can be useful with a cutting blade. has saved my sanity many times on swords.
A die grinder with a jig works well for cutting the basic shape of fullers - not essential if you're only forging, but equally, may be useful for just getting the basic shape cut in place sometimes.
A dremel is useful for fine finish, but I would personally stump up the extra and get a foredom shaft drive. theyre far more durable, and you can use all the same attachments. Especially useful if you start doing lost-wax casting for bronze or silver detail bits, which the foredom is brilliant for roughing out the waxes.
Eye protection, breathing protection.
grinding throws metal powder into the air, sparks fly.
you have only one set of lungs, one pair of eyes.
So, you need safety goggles and masks. Personally, I hate mask+ goggles, they make the goggles steam up, so I invested in a 3M 6800 integral full-face mask with filters. well worth it in my opinion, but make sure you get the optional stick-on lens protectors to avoid scratches.
Got long hair? You'll need to tie it back, before it gets caught. you do not want you get your hair caught on a linisher, and yank your face into a 3000rpm spinning belt.
Apron. protects your clothes from sparks.
If you use a grinder you will find you need thin leather gloves.
thick gloves are a risk, if caught, they snag and pull your hands in. Thin gloves tear away, but give enough protection from heat to do the job.
First Aid Kit, and fire extinguisher. essential in the workshop. Also have a eye bath kit if you do etching with acids.
Hearing protection. muffs may be needed. small plugs will do. hammering metal is LOUD. do not fuck your hearing up. Likewise, hammering can be hard on the joints. ensure that anvils are at a comfortable height for you.
Tools can break, blades fail during quenching. you can make them again. you cant replace your eyes. do not be an idiot and ignore safety.
And this is a textbook example of why people who say "I want to get into X" never get into it. because they dont even have the attention span to read their own threads after they made one post.
I use this to make homemade knifes and rings as fun small hobby
OP here, thank you. That's a pretty damn comprehensive set of posts, I appreciate it, especially the recommendations on what skills to build before moving onto actual blades, much less swords.
Well, you can do a lot with a few good files, a hacksaw, a vice, and a lot of patience and time. You can build a really cheap forge out of a pair of fire bricks and a propane torch, and do your quenching in used motor oil. Assuming you already have a bench vise, the files, saw, blades, bricks, torch, etc will all come in well under $100.
Then focus on stock removal as the based anon above mentioned, and make knives or daggers from cheap or scrap steel. There's always somewhere that you can pick up some old truck leaf springs or flat bar stock.
newjersysteelbaron has 1075 blanks among many others. know how to heat treat and temper your blades. 10xx steel is easiest, bc it falls off a magnet when its ready to be quenched.
well, since OP actually returned, and the thread took off, I'll make a few other observations and notes.
It is a false economy to use scrap metal. Yes, you can make a blade from a leaf spring that costs you $5 from the scrap merchant. Or, you can buy the same amount of steel from a stockholder, like Aldo Bruno, the "New Jersey Steel Baron" (google will come up with his site), or BSS or Furnival Steel in the UK. and know exactly what specification of steel it is. No mystery metal roulette, wondering if its full of micro-fractures from 50 years of concrete deliveries on unpaved roads, or if its one of a batch that was done in a different alloy, etc.
Likewise, avoid Railroad spikes (and rebar). they make pretty knives, but the steel doesnt have enough carbon to harden the edge. unless you're making letter-openers, its a waste of time. Same goes for files. you dont know if its an air-quenched, or an oil-quenched steel, if its carbon or case-hardened, etc. you cant tell without thousands of pounds worth of lab equipment. its a waste of time.
Mystery Metal saves you pennies, and wastes your hours. Unless you value your time in pennies per hour, it is a false economy to use for anything but the simplest of practice pieces.
The best metal on the planet is useless if the heat-treatment is shit.
the most average 1060 steel with a good heat-treat will outperform the best steel badly treated.
Learn to understand the metallurgy, the applications of water, oil, or air quenching, (and if you get technical, cryogenic quenches.), or heat cycles, grain size and normalisation of the steel. Learn to understand the tempering processes, and what goes on inside the steels.Learn the differences between 5160 and O1, W-1 and 1080, and every other metal you use. Each one handles in a different way, each one has its qualities. you'd never make a sword from 1090, but that would make an excellent knife.
understanding what's going on in the metal will ensure quality. combine that with skill in making and you get good looking, and durable blades. that's where the money lies. Any idiot can bang an ugly as fuck bit of metal to an edge and call it a knife, but dont ever expect to make a living from that sort of stuff.
ball peen hammers are good but youll need a press to get them started
for making swords? get to museums, and handle the real ones. get access to curatorial staff, as a researcher, and make measurements.
a sword is not a 2d object.
I can post a photo here of a blade, and you can copy it exactly. but without that 3rd dimension, you cannot recreate its balance, and that's what determines how it handles in use. Most of the good swordsmiths jealously guard their data, because it costs us a fucking lot of money to learn that information. I travel to museums all over the place, to get access to items in their collections, make notes, make drawings. The other craftsmen are the same. Eventually, if you're recognised as good, they might start swapping information with you. but that data is a huge investment for each one. its as much the secret to our skill, as any equipment.
And dont start on a sword. work up from small blades, or you'll just be asking for disaster. they're too big and too daunting to learn on - and many would-be craftsmen have leapt in at the deep end and discovered they cant cope with that.
Study the originals - understand why they were made that way. even if you want to create your own. not understanding how the real ones were made and were used will only result in stuff that doesnt work, and looks and performs like shit. Once you understand the way a real one works, then and only then can you start to explore new avenues. A sword may never be used today, but it was a practical weapon. Keep that essence, or its no longer a sword, its just a toy.
railroad spikes do not contain enough carbon to hold an edge. they are a complete waste of time in terms of making an edge-holding knife.
there are two types of railroad spike in the US, both are heavily legislated by law. they are marked LC or HC. HC are normally used on turns, LC on straight lines. low carbon spikes may contain no more than 0.12% carbon and "High Carbon" spikes may contain no more than 0.30% carbon BY LAW.
0.30% carbon is insufficient for martensite formation during quench-hardening.
Its like Viagra for a eunuch.
you can do it as much as you like, the knife will never take a hardened edge. you're making a mild steel wallhangar.
>How can you tell what the metal you are working with is if it's scrap?
and that's EXACTLY the problem. is that a bit of mild steel, or high carbon?
you cant tell. So if you're using scrap, you cant tell what the metal is. so you cant heat-treat it right. you dont even know if it will heat-treat right.
sometimes, you can get a guess by spark testing - stick it to a grinder, and look at the shape of the sparks. mild steels make long, bright streaks, while carbon steels make short sparks that spray out from a point. but it takes a lot of training and a good eye to be able to tell for sure. Its certainly not a way to get a certain answer.
That's why using Mystery Metal is liable to result in shit quality results. you've got no idea what you're using. Its like making a house, and not knowing if you're using proper fired bricks, or mud bricks... or wet sand. yes, you might get a nice house. or it might collapse on you.
Its a waste of time.
I made a screencap for anyone who wants to save it for later
honestly no clue for the coffee-can forges. I've never used one.
here's a chart for spark shapes, that info can be used to get a basic guess of carbon content - its enough to be able to identify mild steel from carbon.
but really, just buy it fresh from a stockholder. If you use different steels, just bag up the offcuts and mark what's in each bag. one for mild, one for O1, one for EN45, etc.
Carbon steel's cheap. I get my EN45 from Furnival Steel in yorkshire, it costs me on average, about £50 for 20 kilos of steel - 4-5 bars of 3/16th inch thick, by 1 1/2 or 2 inch wide, and 5 *metres* long. that's a metric fucktonne of steel to use up. enough for 20+ swords, dozens of knives and daggers. and I know exactly what metal type it is, down to the foundry it came from.
if you're doing this as anything other than a bit of fun to fuck around on your holidays, buying stock, from somewhere like them or the NJ steel baron is a no-brainer. It simply eliminates an area of potential problem from the equation, when making things.
>if you're doing this as anything other than a bit of fun to fuck around on your holidays
That's exactly what I will be doing until I'm confident I can produce something that isn't awful beyond words...
Why ruin decent steel with practice? that's what trash is for.
I'll make a soup can one first, and do small knifes, if it goes well then I'll attempt a coffee can one.
>Then I'll make one out of a spam can and only make AK bayonets because freedom.
But ya, already got a propane torch, so why not...cost all of like 5 bucks total...besides that nipple for the torch entry hole, not sure about that, will have to raid lowes.
>Why ruin decent steel with practice? that's what trash is for.
really, steel is cheap - pennies, unless you're using something like O1 or the likes.
and well, personally, I dont see the point in using RR spikes or the likes even for practice, because you'll never be able to heat-treat it, so you're not learning the whole process.
a bar of 1084 steel 0.125 inches thick by 1.25 inches wide, and 48 inches long, big enough for 4 decent sized knives is $15.60.
4 dollars per knife. its not like you're working in 24 carat gold here. Use decent stuff, and your practice ones might come out usable. Use shit, and they'll always be useless.
1080's a good simple steel. Reliable, no strange alloy compositions. a classic workhorse. Holds a good edge, if you want it can even take a hamon in differential quenching.
5160's good too, better for larger blades that need to take a bit of flexing, like machetes or similar tools, rather than extremely durable edge holding.
Really, there's no such thing as "top quality" steel, in the context of simple blademaking. Each one has its advantages and its disadvantages, so its really a balancing act of what characteristics you want. Complex alloys can give huge performance advantages, but only if you're sheathing it in oxidisation-preventing foils, quenching into liquid nitrogen and cryogenic treatment vats, and all sorts of weird shit, measuring the time, the duration of soak times, repeating the process multiple times, etc. Stuff like that takes time to learn, and a lot of equipment.
1080? Stick it in the heat, wait till its glowing yellow, ideally use a thermocouple to check the exact temperature (1500F) or use a magnet, and wait till its past non-magnetic which is around 1425F. Then pull it out, and dunk it immediately into oil. any oil will do, some people use motor oil, others cooking oil. If you can get it, Parks 55 is a specialist quenching oil. But it doesnt really care what oil it is. it'll harden in it.
Then clean it up carefully (because at this stage, its brittle as fuck), and then slowly heat it up gently. 400F yields approximately 57RC, which is about the most commonly used temperature for knives.
500F yields around 55RC, suitable for a softer but tougher blade,
600F yields 50RC, suitable for a sword blade.
then clean it up and put the edge on it. simple as that.
simplicity is a far better quality, than the performance advantages of exotic alloys, for anyone who's just learning how to do it.
1. What is the difference between a "sword blade" and a "knife blade"? Why do you want a sword blade to be softer?
2. when you say clean it up before reheating (when it's brittle) ,what exactly do you mean?
A sword blade is far longer, so there's far more leverage, and far more bending force can be put on it.
if you made a sword blade as hard as a knife, it would simply break.
A good sword should be able to be bent through at least 45 degrees, if not 90 degrees from true, and spring back to straight. Try doing that with a steel blade hardened to 57HrC, and you've got two peices of blade. Do it with an identical one of identical steel, but hardened to 50Hrc, and it'll be far more likely to return to true.
(its also one of the reasons that people refer to sword steels and knife steels. a lower-carbon steel like 1060 is great for a sword, its more forgiving of shock and impact damage, on a long blade of about 48-50HrC. A higher carbon, like 1095, or O1, is great for a knife, at 57-58HrC)
2. clean it up literally means that. on quenching, it'll be covered in burnt-on oil, black flakes of fire scale off the steel, shit like that. so you clean it up. I use a medium/rough scotchbrite scrubby to take off the firescale, and then use a scotchbrite flap in a hand drill to just clean the surface off till there's nothing stuck on it. Personally, I like to use a Trizac belt and polish the surface to white metal before tempering, so I can also use the colour of the metal as it tempers as an indicator of its temperature - means I can spot if there's been any area that got too warm, or too cold, because the colour of the oxide will be different.
>(its nearly 4:30 in the morning here in the UK. keep the thread alive through the night, and I'll answer any more questions tomorrow, when I should be working at the forge but will inevitably be going "ugh. Monday morning".)
different anon here.
>Why ruin decent steel with practice? that's what trash is for.
This is a common beginners trap. When I made my very first knife, I thought I could practice with some cheap home depot mild steel bar stock.
After about 4 crappy knives that will never be more than letter openers at best, I realized what others told me about "garbage in, garbage out" with steel is true. Suitable, non exotic but decent cutlery steel can be about the same price as, sometimes even cheaper than mild\scrap\mystery steel.
Completely unscientific but I've seen it to be true side effect. Using decent suitable steel gives you a concrete goal to aim for, compared to just practicing. When I stopped using mild steel stock and started using medium carbon steel, the difference in my improvement was fukhueg.
I'm not an expert bladesmith by any means. But my improvement jumped after I stopped using garbage steel for practice and fucking around, and instead concentrated on making a knife as best I can.
I have a place just down the road from me that deals in different kinds of steel in bulk--I've bought mild steel from them before for welding coupons.
I'm thinking of calling them up once morning hits and asking them if they have any of this 1080+ ya'll are talking about, but I'm not sure how to -ask- precisely, and I don't want to look like a retard or accidentally get the wrong stuff. Something like,
>"Hey, do you have any 1080+ carbon steel in stock?"
10xx is simple alloy carbon steel. Where the last 2 digits is the percentage amount of carbon. So 1080, .8% carbon. Like other anon said, for knife\blade steels depending on what you want, it can be from 1055-60 medium carbon steel, to 1080-1095 high carbon steel.
If the place doesn't list it by the AISI or SAE name. Ask if they have -new stock- spring steel, like 5160 though nowadays that's not a guarantee since different cars\trucks can use slightly different alloys. Or just ask if they have any medium or high carbon steel flat stock.
Tool steel such as O1 also works, but may or may not be more expensive where you are.
All of these look like absolute shit. Also they are not tempered. And really? Fucking learn to forge weld you lazy fuck. Have some self respect and never post these failures anywhere
You can tell just by grinding the metal a bit. Look at the sparks. Huge difference between the thrown sparks from HC or LC. Grind a hammer or a file or a leaflspring then grind like a nail or horse shoe
Thank you based bonganon, very informative.
Knife related question, is there some specific type of leather people use for knife handles (as in leather that has gone through a special process or something)? or is it nothing more than normal leather stamped into shape?
Let's cut the bullshit here, there's absolutely no need to have a hundred manuals' worth of information before you get started.
Build a brake drum forge for $50. Get a hammer. Get a cheap steel anvil, try not to spend more than $200-300.
Then you can salvage old metal from scrapyards, or you can buy steel stock from amazon. T1 is fucking cheap, so there's no real reason to repurpose things except for the novelty and experience.
Heat shit up, bang it out, cool it down, then heat it up but not as much. That's the fuckin' basics, don't sweat the details until you've got experience.
By all means make a small knife out of a file or RR spike for your first project. You'll fuck it up, but that's the point.
Different anon again.
Do you mean a stacked leather handle?
If it's something else, I'm not sure what you mean. Besides a leather wrapped handle or something.
>Then you can salvage old metal from scrapyards,
I would agree with everything you said except that.
you dont need to spend thousands (though a good linisher/grinder will cost you hundreds, if not a thousand, and is a life-saver.)
but getting crap metal is a total waste of your time. Put shit in, you get shit out, you cannot polish a turd.
Start with good steel, and even if you fuck up the grind, or maybe heat-treat it a little softer than you should've, or the handle's wonky, it'll still be a passable bit of metal.
Start with shit steel, and even if the handle is perfect, the grind is perfect, and the heat-treatment was at the exact right temperatures for if it was 1080 steel. it will still be a shit knife.
Its a false economy. you get absolutely nothing out of saving $4 worth of metal. if $4 is too much money to spend, then dont even bother to start learning something.
>but getting crap metal is a total waste of your time. Put shit in, you get shit out, you cannot polish a turd.
This. Especially during the beginner stage.
At this stage, just focus on getting the basics right OP. Like making sure the handle is long enough for your hands, basic design, and heat treatment.
Even heat treatment can be sent to a facility, there is no rule that says you have to do all the steps all at once, especially if you're just learning the basics.
I've made pic related, and trust me, forge a thousand 1-inch nails before you even think of forging a blade of any sort, I studied forging for 3 years in artisanschool, and forging a blade is notorius for looking so fucking easy when in reality its a pain in the neck in so many ways
I dunno, working with scrap metal sounds kinda fun if you already know what you're doing. Kinda an exercise in smithing in the post-apocalypse. Not something to start learning with but just a fun project.
>Unless you value your time in pennies per hour, it is a false economy to use for anything but the simplest of practice pieces.
I can simply work my ass at my real job and earn a great quality knife that doesn't look like shit just in day or two. I can also earn from overtime, so I have all the more reason to not spend that precious time and effort on useless tinkering.
"Either devote yourself fully or don't devote at all" is what I follow.
a 25lb stake is all you need.
see pic - just a small little stake anvil is all that was needed, really. A big fuckhuge anvil that Wylie E. Coyote would be proud of is'nt really of any relevance for smithing of blades.
I was reading up on "makeshift" anvils and using a section of train track, and how it's stronger if you use it vertically and that lack of area doesn't really matter because it's about the same size as most anvil's "Sweet spot".
I made a pretty decent Type 5 tri-lobe on a 25 lb anvil in HS.
Bigger is better, because it gives you a bigger work surface, but if you are deliberate about it, there is no reason why you couldn't use 6 inches of railroad rail.
In 2005 the specifications were changed from a HC and LC specification, to a single specification requiring 0.17 - 0.25% Carbon content.
Previous specification was as follows:
2001, American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association, Part 2.
Section 2.2 SPECIFICATIONS FOR HIGH-CARBON STEEL TRACK SPIKES1 (1968)
2.2.1 SCOPE (1968)
a. These specifications cover high-carbon steel track spikes.
b. A supplementary requirement, Article 2.2.14, of an optional nature is provided. It shall apply only when specified by the purchaser.
AREMA Manual for Railway Engineering 5-2-5
2.2.2 PROCESS (1968)
The steel shall be made by one or more of the following processes: open-hearth, acid-bessemer, electric-furnace, basic-oxygen.
2.2.3 CHEMICAL COMPOSITION (1968)
The steel shall conform to the following requirements as to chemical composition:
Carbon, min, percent:
Acid-bessemer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.20
Other processes (Article 2.2.2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.30
Copper, when specified under supplementary requirementArticle 2.2.14, min, percent . . . . . . . . . . . 0.20
2.2.4 LADLE ANALYSIS (1968)
a. A determination for carbon and copper, when copper is specified, shall be made of each heat of steel. This analysis shall be made from a test ingot taken during the pouring of the heat. The chemical composition thus determined shall be reported to the purchaser or his representative, and shall conform to the requirements specified in Article 2.2.3.
b. When ladle analysis cannot be furnished, the manufacturer shall submit a report of the chemical analysis made on three spikes selected at random from each 10-ton lot.
2.2.5 TENSILE PROPERTIES (1968)
The manufacturer may, at his option, substitute tension tests for the chemical analysis specified in Article 2.2.3, in which case the finished spikes shall conform to the following requirements as to tensile
Tensile strength, min, psi. . . . . . . . . . . . 70,000
Yield point, min, psi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.5 tensile strength
Elongation in 2 in., min, percent . . . . . . 25
2.2.6 BENDING PROPERTIES (1968)
a. The body of a full-size finished spike shall stand being bent cold through 120 degrees around a pin, the diameter of which is not greater than the thickness of the spike without cracking on the outside of the bent portion.
b. The head of a full-size finished spike shall stand being bent backwards to an angle of 55 degrees with the line of the face of the spike, without cracking on the outside of the bent portion.
2.2.7 NUMBER OF TESTS (1968)
a. When the option in Article 2.2.5 is exercised, one tension test shall be made from each 10-ton lot or fraction thereof.
b. One bend test of each kind specified in Article 2.2.6a and Article 2.2.6b shall be made from each lot of 5 tons or fraction thereof.
5-2-6 AREMA Manual for Railway Engineering
2.2.8 RETESTS (1968)
Spikes represented by bend tests failing to meet the requirements prescribed in Article 2.2.6a and Article 2.2.6b may be annealed and resubmitted. If the spikes fail to meet the third test, they shall be rejected.
2.2.9 PERMISSIBLE VARIATIONS IN DIMENSIONS (1968)
The finished spikes shall conform to the dimensions specified by the purchaser, subject to the permissible variations specified in Table 2-1.
2.2.10 FINISH (1968)
All finished spiked shall be straight, with well formed heads, sharp points and be free from injurious defects and shall be finished in a workmanlike manner.
2.2.11 MARKING (1968)
A letter or brand indicating the manufacturer and also the letters “HC”, indicating high carbon, shall be pressed on the head of each spike while it is being formed. When copper is specified, the letters “CU” shall be added.
In conclusion, the legal specifications for carbon content in railroad spikes in the US, as defined by the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association, the governing body who regulate the manufacture of railroad spikes, expressly state the carbon content to be 0.30% for the "high carbon" spike.
A 0.20% carbon content cannot be hardened to beyond the mid-40's on the Rockwell-C hardness test. A 0.30% carbon can scrape a 50HrC mark when hardened without significant tempering; a hardness which will just about allow a very sub-par edge-holding.
In short. RR Spikes do not hold an edge. they do not have enough carbon to be used as blades, the legal documentation specifying the minimum and maximum carbon contents for spikes confirms this.
It is you, >>23392982, who is the "dumb fuck", who does not know the facts.