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Old 02-04-2018, 09:03 AM
Ben Solwitz Ben Solwitz is offline
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Tool steel recommendations for cane chopper

I'm looking to build a cane chopper and was wondering what tool steel you guys would recommend for it? I found a post from David recommending A2, but he also got it further hardened. I don't know anyone around here that could harden it for me so ideally it would be something I can just buy online.
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Old 02-04-2018, 09:38 AM
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you might consider buying a set of replacement jaws for the Starrett nipper. I have yet to need to replace mine and they're over 25 years old.

Here's the actual tool and you can find the jaws in the parts section

http://www.starrett.com/metrology/pr...ail/1X-5%201~2
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Old 02-04-2018, 09:44 AM
Josh Bernbaum Josh Bernbaum is offline
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Old flat files were usually made with good quality tool steel in my experience.
You can cut them and grind the edges to two 45 degree angles. But good luck drilling holes in the stuff for mounting, however they can be welded in place on your chopper. I made one years ago out of an old arbor press.
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Old 02-04-2018, 02:53 PM
Ben Solwitz Ben Solwitz is offline
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I was hoping for something wider than the starrett jaws, would like to be able to cut a bunch of cane at once.
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Old 02-04-2018, 03:20 PM
Alex Stisser Alex Stisser is offline
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old files are fine

Yes, keep it cheap and simple. Old curved or flat files are fine. Not quite as fancy as nice tool steel, but files are easy to find and a nice shape to hold and chop with. I've cut miles with this and it was made of scrap files and steel.
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Old 02-04-2018, 03:50 PM
Ben Solwitz Ben Solwitz is offline
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I found a previous thread where Wes recommended tungsten carbide like this:
https://centennialcarbide.com/flat-blanks/

Would I totally ruin a diamond blade if I cut one of those blanks with it?
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Old 02-05-2018, 08:12 AM
Kenny Pieper Kenny Pieper is offline
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I made a cane chopper years ago and used a file for the blades. If you heat the file up to a cherry red with a torch and let it cool slowly it will soften it so that you can easily cut, grind, and drill it. Then to harden it heat it back up to a cherry red and quince it in old motor oil (water will work but not as well) and then temper it by putting it in a oven at around 400f for 20 min. The blades will last a decade.
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Old 02-05-2018, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenny Pieper View Post
Then to harden it heat it back up to a cherry red and quince it in old motor oil (water will work but not as well) and then temper it by putting it in a oven at around 400f for 20 min..
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Old 02-05-2018, 12:27 PM
Carlos Reckner Carlos Reckner is offline
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Slow cooling allows the carbon in the steel to diffuse making the part "soft". Heating and quenching locks the carbon in the crystal structure of the steel. Look up Martensite or martensitic transformation. After quenching the steel will have a lot of stress and be hard but brittle. Tempering draws the hardness down some, but relieves some of the stress giving the part toughness.
This is why the average hardware material does not harden well, or at all. Not enough carbon in the mix.
If I remember correctly files were oil hardening. There are steels that are water hardening as well as air hardening. Just depends on the recipe for the steel.
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Old 02-05-2018, 02:41 PM
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When I was visiting Scott Benefield in Belfast, we spent an evening being slowly intoxicated by a tv show on carbon in steel. Then I watched Forged in Fire on cable and those guys would quench and the whispering golf pro types would say "God, he's quenching again!!"

Then the guy in Pennsylvania burned down his entire neighborhood.
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Old 02-05-2018, 05:50 PM
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Guy in NY, that is. Cohoes, NY.

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Old 02-14-2018, 08:06 PM
Steve Beckwith Steve Beckwith is offline
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Not all files are suitable to make tools like this. From what I understand, modern files made on Mexico are low grade steel with chemical case hardening on the exterior. Older files, made in USA are generally good tool steel.
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