Hank Rearden
I thought this site might help forum members identify different metals they come across.
Keep in mind some metals are dangerous or should be forged or welded with care. I'm not and expert and you should do your due diligence in identifying what you working with.  

We'll get a section up soon where members can post metals and hopefully identify commonly found things most of us heat up and hit. A little metallurgy can go along way. Did you know there's more than one type of rail road spike?

http://www.scrapmetaljunkie.com/scrap-metal-handbook-guide/scrap-metal-identification

You can click image then in the lower right corner click the square image next to the x then click the image again to expand it.

sparktests.jpg 

http://www.scrapmetaljunkie.com/241/the-spark-test-and-spark-testing-metals-2


Photo from the scrapmetaljunkie site. full size at link above is well worth looking at.






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Skarzs the Cave Troll
The spark colors are a little misleading there. Cast iron is very dull, almost red, and while high carbon steels are much brighter, they are far from white. The metal that DOES spark white, however, is titanium. Yeah. I want to get my hands on some of that to see what it looks like first hand.

In regards to finding metals that don't show up anything with grinding:
Low melting metals- Tin: Melts at a very low temperature. Relatively hard compared to lead. Heavier than iron. Edge stays shiny when broken, even after weeks. Most often will be found in pewter dishes or trinkets if as scrap.
Lead: Higher melting point than tin and considerably softer. Easily identifiable by its dull gray color, sometimes with some white oxidation. Will lose any shine after a few days of fresh surface. Heavier than most common metals. Found in sheets, on old plumbing, wheel weights, fishing weights, and other weights, sometimes as small bars, and in batteries.
Zinc: Highest melting point of lower temperature metals, though that is not the best idea to do. Comparable to copper in malleability. Won't rust. Heavier than tin, but lighter than lead. Often has a motley color to the outside like on galvanized fence posts. Found as wheel weights, rarely as solid chunks, and most often as battery casing.

Aluminum is pretty easily recognizable. It's a whitish metal that bends pretty easily and is very light.

For copper alloys like brass and bronze, one way of identifying a scrap as one or the other is: brass is often slightly darker in color, and will get a brownish-green patina from age, while brass does not. Brass is very often found in plumbing scraps, as it is most often cast. Bronze is a much more rare find, but finds uses in areas of rubbing between steel, like bearings, and other applications.
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Hank Rearden
Here's a quick list.
Although this list show objects and possible metals they're made from I wouldn't guarantee it's accuracy. Band saw blade I just picked up is an alloy with cobalt in it. Not just L-6 like the chart list. It can give you some direction on what you got. Then do more research. 

junk_yard_stee1.thumb.jpg.d321f833a620cdc0f8b7c01e9c98d68c.jpg
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Hank Rearden
I just got 24 feet of industrial metal band saw. So I hope to try a little Damascus soon. Any suggestions of a good compatible second metal. Also this chart shows ban saw blades as L-6. Is there any way to be sure. There is printing on the blades. I'll get a pic tomorrow and post it. I have chain saw blades coming soon from a tree trimmer.
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jmccustomknives
Band saw blades are never L-6.  Idk who put that on there.   I've dug through many manufacturers and none use it.  Band saw blades are a crap shoot.  What they are made to do will help identify.  Wood saw blades can be anything from a fairly simple carbon steel to 15n20.  When you move into metal cutting they can start having anything from bi-metal to some pretty exotic alloys.  The ones for metal can have alloys like cobalt which will inhibit forge welding.

I don't know who put that chart together, but they were just pulling #'s out there [eek].  I'd recommend it be removed, or at least a disclaimer.  Half the metals listed aren't used for the items listed.  Seriously, L-6 for a screwdriver?

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

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Hank Rearden
The band saw blades came from glosser steel they were replacing the blades for cutting metal. So I'll get a picture of what's on those saw blades and see if we can identify the metals or alloys it might be made of. Maybe I can give a call to the manufacturer of the blades. It looks like it has { 8% cobalt high-speed wire increases blade durability } Pulled off of the Simonds website.

So the next question is : Is it good for anything smithing?
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Skarzs the Cave Troll
Well, I don't know for sure what saw blades are, but they certainly are a red-hard steel.
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jmccustomknives
I had about 20 lbs of blades like that.  I was able to do a forge weld using simple carbon steel, but 2 folds was all it would give before the simple carbon on the outside scaled off leaving the saw blade.  The weld would fail on the third fold every time.  It didn't pattern out very good at all either.  I ended up scrapping them.  My time is worth more than experimenting on dubious materials. 

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

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Hank Rearden
Thanks for the heads up JMC. I'll do the wise thing and cut my losses. No pun intended. Thought I got a good score. The fact is now I know.
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jmccustomknives
I did a post on doing a bandsaw blade Damascus knife; http://www.theironforgefire.com/post/wip-making-damascus-from-band-saw-pallet-banding-7318077?pid=1286475950 
I think it would be very difficult to start the welds with a coal forge due to the thin pieces.  I don't think those blades had near the cobalt that yours is running either.

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

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Hank Rearden
After looking into it I decided I'll take them back when I pickup more metal.  I wanted to try my hand at making a billet just to do it and see what it takes. It's just a matter of time. That's all.
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