jmccustomknives
A gentleman posted a video about making a RR spike knife.  Thinking he was a newb wanting to do the RR spike knife I was very critical of it.  Well it was his video.  I know I offended, it wasn't my intention.  I sent him an apology personally.

The reason I have such an aversion with the RR spike knife is it blurs the line between knifemaking and blacksmith art and most newbs don't know the difference.  There are also piles of myths about the steel the spikes are made from, most being they are "high carbon".  So a newb sees those knives and thinks it's good steel.  Any smith who has been working steel for a while can tell the difference between high carbon and low carbon steels just by how they flow under the hammer.  A newb can't, so he doesn't know he's not working on low carbon steel.
Newbs are also prone to not checking their work.  If you never test it out of the quench how does one know it's hardened?  If one doesn't do edge test how can you know it has been heat treated properly.

One last thing, a quick scroll through ebay found a bunch of RR spike knives.  Most of the nicer ones said they were for decorative purposed only.  Some of the lower quality ones, those made by newer smiths I assume, claimed "high carbon steel".  Thus perpetuating the myth. 
Now here's the rub, some guy whose stuff I'd put in the middle as far as quality in appearance claimed he "spark checked" his spikes.  He claimed he compaired them to known steels and found they ranged from .2 - .6%.  How he can know the exact carbon content with at spark check is beyond me.  These are the guys that not only parpituate myths buy now some newb sees his post and carries that myth to the next newb.  This guy has enough skill that he's been doing it for a while.  He claims to have tested his knives, but as to the methods he used I doubt they were strenuous at all.

Aldo at the NSB said he had kicked around having rr spikes made from 1095 just to confuse people.  I wish he would.  lol.




Rule #10;  "I can make that" translates to; "I'm to cheap to buy it new."

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Metalmelt
I have posted the actual chemistries for several scrap yard and railroad items. These have been put on several forums, at least 3 are blacksmith sites. This was the chemistry of the spikes I had in my possession. One unmarked and one marked MC, which everyone considers to mean medium carbon and claims they are close to a 1045 steel. The one I had was a new spike and only had .25% C but had some vanadium, making it stronger. The unmarked older spike had .30 C. The chemistries were done on a well calibrated ARL Optical Emissions Spectrometer  where I used to work. Some people still want to argue about it. ?? There is a rule we used to follow on some grades of steel we made, it's called Carbon Equivalency. It's a formula to calculate the strength of a steel according to all the elements in it, C, Mn, Cr, Mo, V, Nb or whatever. This may be what the MC indicates somehow. I think it only covers yield and tensile strength and has little value as to hardening.  

I'll probably make some spike knives and tomahawk sometime but I'll insert some high carbon steel for the blade edge. The only knife I've made so far is out of some of the sign post we made. It's very close to a 1070 steel and seems to hold and edge well, even though I had no idea what I was doing.
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