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Woodcarving Tools, Technology & Sharpening

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  #1  
Old 06-03-2010, 05:37 PM
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Default Lawn mower blades for knife stock?

I recently replaced the blades on both of my lawn mowers. Do you have any idea if the steel is worthwhile keeping for making knives?

I also have the old blades from my chipper/shredder, and was wondering if they would be worth keeping.

Or is this steel basically worthless when it comes to making a quality knife?
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Old 06-03-2010, 06:16 PM
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Default Re: Lawn mower blades for knife stock?

Considering the type of cutting that the blades are designed for, and the economics of their manufacture, I have my doubts.
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Old 06-03-2010, 06:28 PM
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Default Re: Lawn mower blades for knife stock?

You might want to perform a spark test, with a grinding wheel....I don't remember the specifics, but I am sure someone else does.

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Old 06-03-2010, 08:58 PM
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Default Re: Lawn mower blades for knife stock?

Jim, there are a number of ways to check o see if the steel is okay. You can run a file across the blade and if it skates across, the steel is pretty hard, if it bites and grabs, it's soft. You can also use another tool to try to scratch the blades. The softer the steel, the easier to scratch. Sometimes, just the sharpened edge of the blades is hardened. In that case, if you really want to check it, you can heat the end of the blade until cherry red and then quench it quickly. Then test for hardness.

Or, go online and Google spark test like Tom said. That'll tell you.
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Old 06-04-2010, 10:22 AM
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Default Re: Lawn mower blades for knife stock?

A spark test, huh? The Wikipedia article is pretty interesting. I do have a bench grinder. If I close all the doors in my garage, it really is quite dark. Perhaps I could try that . . .

Not that I'm in any hurry. I have plenty of other things keeping me busy at the moment. Think I'll just put those blades in my scrap metal pile and come back to them another time.
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Old 06-04-2010, 12:30 PM
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Default Re: Lawn mower blades for knife stock?

Not knowing what kind of carving you do, but a thought I would have is to take one, cut and grind it, add a nice hefty handle, and make a wide chisel--one that you can use to remove lots of wood. If it gets dull--just regrind it again. The worst that can happen is you throw it away.

The reason why I mention this is I've been pricing tools to remove wood from logs, and the wide tools are not cheap. So, for a bit of time, and effort on your part, you might end up with a nice "hogging" tool.

Bob L

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Old 06-04-2010, 12:41 PM
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Default Re: Lawn mower blades for knife stock?

Lawn mower blades?????? Years back, about 1975 to be more accurate, I was working patrol up in Ontonagon county when I got a call from the post to make a check on a naked guy who was threatening hikers north of Bruce Crossing. When I got there, sure enough there was a naked guy pushing a wheelbarrow full of his belongings. What he was threatening folks with was a 6 foot long spear made from a popple sapling with a pointed lawn mover blade lashed onto the end. Guess this surviavalist wasn't quite up to chiping a point out of flint.

I had to arrest the dude for his own protection (before somebody took a shot at him). He was mad as a hatter and wasn't to thrilled about the idea but at least he didn't attack me with that lawn mower blade. I think his "spear" is still up in the Ontonagon County jail property room.

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Old 06-04-2010, 12:58 PM
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Default Re: Lawn mower blades for knife stock?

Quick way to find out ....Just start the mower, toss in a block of basswood and wait to see what comes out! If you can recognize it as being something then I'd say yes!
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Old 06-04-2010, 01:00 PM
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Default Re: Lawn mower blades for knife stock?

I didn't want to dredge up a war story but since Al beat me to it, I might as well.

Around the same time Al arrested the guy with the spear, I was learning extrication--how to cut people out of car accidents--with the rescue squad. Well, back then, the Jaws of Life was still pretty much non-existent except in Chicago. We were using hydraulic jacks, sledge hammers, and of all things, old lawn mower blades. If you think about it, those blades had to be tough to be used like a knife being hammered through sheet metal on those old cars. Today, the metals are quite different. And of course, tools are a lot better too.

BTW--some Squads are still carrying those blades just as a back up to the power tools--which have the knack for failing at the wrong time!

Lawn mower blades--you just can't beat 'em! (Pun intended)

Bob L
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Old 06-04-2010, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: Lawn mower blades for knife stock?

Very funny Lynn! Always one in the crowd...have to admit I ALSO thought it was something I would have said but you beat me to it! Ha!!! Mowed over a 'few' chunks of wood in my lawn mowing days...some unintentionally!
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