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Old 10-11-2017, 12:46 PM
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biker55 biker55 is offline
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Default carbon steel

Hello all, is there an easy test to find out if the metal contains carbon. also, how high of a carbon content do you need to make a fire striker? thanks
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Old 10-11-2017, 04:03 PM
AussieTom AussieTom is offline
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Might be a good question for Ozwelder if he is around.

Im going to say all metals you find around that rust are going to have carbon in them. Pure iron is essentialy useless and just not available. Mild steel will have around .05% carbon along with other alloys, and is the most common steel you will find, is ductile and malleable. Cast iron will have around 5% carbon, its very brittle and shows dull grey along its fracture surfaces.

I didnt know carbon was needed for spark generation? I always thought the caveman recipie was flint rock and iron ore rock, bang together = fire!

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Last edited by AussieTom; 10-12-2017 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 10-11-2017, 04:38 PM
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Mild steel will have around .5% carbon
It does ?
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Old 10-11-2017, 04:40 PM
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It does ?
Yeah, maybe not. .05% might be closer

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Old 10-11-2017, 05:42 PM
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Stamped or deep drawn steel is low in carbon, as it works more easily. < 0.1%. Then typical structural steels which may run from about 0.15 - 0.30%. Easily weldable, no particular worries about hardening or brittleness.

A fire striker should be very hard on the striking surface. Something with about 0.8 to 1.0% carbon, heated & quenched. Or use a bit of an older, quality file. (Some newer files are case hardened.)

1095, W-1 or O-1 steel would do the trick.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:39 PM
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The easiest test to see if a steel has much carbon is to do a spark test. If you touch it to a grinding wheel and sparks stay in one piece and travel a long way there isn't much carbon. If sparks split off and the spark trail has a lot of forks in it, then you have carbon. The spark trail from grinding high carbon steel has a kind of fuzzy look to it.

Beyond the spark test the next thing to do is to heat a sample piece until it is non magnetic and quench it. Then you can test it with a file to see if it hardened or you can break it and look at the grain structure. High carbon steel should snap cleanly and have a grain that looks very fine like talcum powder, after being quenched.

A good striker should be as hard as a knife blade. You want it hard enough that it doesn't just dent or tear, otherwise you won't get sparks from it.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
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Yeah, maybe not. .05% might be closer

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Maybe you just stop guessing.....Hmmm ?
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:22 PM
AussieTom AussieTom is offline
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Maybe you just stop guessing.....Hmmm ?
And the troll comes out from under its bridge........

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Old 10-13-2017, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
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Hello all, is there an easy test to find out if the metal contains carbon. also, how high of a carbon content do you need to make a fire striker? thanks
Use an old file or old rasp.. .90 -1.2 carbon is what you want.. These throw the best sparks..

Problem is they will be brittle as all get up..

A case hardened striker is the best but most don't ever bother..
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