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A good use for old chainsaw bars?

Discussion in 'Knives & Other Discussion' started by JackD, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    I used a question mark in the title because I really don't know how well this will work. I am using an old chainsaw bar to make a 18" blade machete. Others have done it, but I don't know the end result. Here is the beginning....roughed out with plasma cutter. The plasma cutter burns ~ 1/16" in from the cut, so slowly grinding out the plasma cuts rough edges will take out the soft material......at least this is what I'm thinking (and hoping).

    Roughed-out.jpg
     
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  2. Sstrand

    Sstrand La Grande OR Well-Known Member

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    You could check with your local ISIS recruiter to see what their organization recommends . . .

    Sheldon
     
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  3. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    ???? o_O
     
  4. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    I used to make large knives cutting with an Oxy Acet torch you should be fine w/plasma cutter, if you have a spare bar cut out a Bowie as well!
     
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  5. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    SHOOT THEM!
     
  6. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    Shoot blackberries? If this machete doesn't turn out well, I may cut it down further to make a Bowie. Easy to cut down further, hard to make bigger. :) I know this is a weapon forum, but this machete will probably never cut flesh.....purposely anyway.
     
  7. Rick4070

    Rick4070 Central Oregon coast Active Member

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    It's kind of hard to tell exactly how it will turn out, just ground from a bar as-is, not knowing the alloy and what temper it is.
    I have seen bent bars, so it isn't exactly a spring temper but is "softer."
    So, it might be a little soft for a blade as-is.
    You might try cutting off a small piece, heating to non-magnetic, around a cherry red, and quenching it in water.
    Then put it in a vise and smack it with a hammer. If it breaks clean, with a fine grain it is probably a medium or high carbon steel, probably on the medium side.
    If it just bends over like mild steel does, it doesn't have much carbon in it, and wouldn't harden, and temper down to a "springy" blade.
     
  8. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    I did give it the old "spark test" and it shows high carbon. Also used an automatic center punch and that didn't mark it. It did flatten the point of the center punch, however. It is HARD. I'm using a 7", 6000 RPM disc sander with a #36 grit disc to put an edge on it. It is a slow process. The disc(s) cut it, but just barely. I cut off a small piece, sharpened it and tried to nick the edge. Definitely not mild steel or cold rolled steel either. This is a solid bar ~3/16"... not a three piece laminated or riveted bar.
     
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  9. Rick4070

    Rick4070 Central Oregon coast Active Member

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    Cool.
    Sounds like you got a good piece of steel there, I'll bet it makes a great blade.
     
  10. KalamaMark

    KalamaMark Kalama Wa Well-Known Member

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    Cool project!! I have a few bars hanging on a nail waiting for me to get to them for similar aspirations.

    Quick question.. With the steel so hard, what are your plans for affixing a handle? Thanks for sharing.
     
  11. IronMonster

    IronMonster Washington Opinionated Member Diamond Supporter

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    Man.... It seems like a huge risk to spend all that time and effort for something you dont know what steel or alloy it is. I chunk of 1070 big enough to cut a machete would cost you all of about $15. Then you would know proper heat treat protocol and know what to expect.

    It might make something it might not, Heat treat is a crap shoot if you dont know what it is.

    Personally (and I make my living as a blacksmith) I steer clear of mystery metal if at all possible
     
  12. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    My time isn't that important....being 75 and long since retired. I've made knives from Saw Mill band saw blades (50 years ago) and they made fine knives. I suspect this chainsaw bar will also. But before I spend a lot of time in finish work, my plan is to take what I have and put a fair edge on it, then try it out on some likely brush, limbs, etc. If it works well, then I'll finish it. Just a fun project and I already have the steel. Don't like wasting a good piece of steel.

    The handle is still in the thought process.
     
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  13. U201491

    U201491 Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm :) Surplus machete's are about 5.00 each in some places......... just thinking here...LOL
    A garage sale, and maybe $2 or $3
    Now if its just for fun you can't put a price on that :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014
  14. IronMonster

    IronMonster Washington Opinionated Member Diamond Supporter

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    Alright Jack, If the idea is to have fun and maybe end up with a blackberry wacker I'll support that. Make sure you post pictures of your finished project.
     
  15. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    Fun is the meaning of life. I need all I can get.

    If we didn't need it we could save a bundle just by buying a side of beef instead of hunting that deer or elk.
     
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  16. U201491

    U201491 Well-Known Member

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    That is how Gerber began. Band Saw blades to knives in a little plant in the town of Willamette near West Linn on the Tualatin river :) Still have one of their very first Fillet Knives with Sheath in the box.
     
  17. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    At Eugene HS in the mid 50's we were taught how to make knives from band saw blades. I gave my HS project to an uncle and he says it is still going strong.
     
  18. JRH Oregon

    JRH Oregon Oregon Active Member

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    I have ran a bunch of blades on our fiber laser at our shop. Always seem to hold a great edge even after the heat from the laser. We run a few different types of tool steel and hardox.
     
  19. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I did that - no effect.

    Had to take a dozer to them.
     
  20. pdrake

    pdrake WA Active Member

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    Waiiiiit a minute there, young man. You went to high school in the 1950s, and gave a shop project to your uncle, who is still alive, and still uses said shop project?

    You shouldn't have retired yet---you have got great genes, and should live to be 150 years old!

    Best of luck with the saw bar project. I have several that you could have to play with. I will never find a use for them, and Goodwill won't take them. I even have a pretty Stihl orange box if you want it. Coming to Seattle anytime soon? ;)