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To harden steel, the hotter is not the better. Get a magnet. Then heat the steel till it does not stick to the magnet anymore. This non-magnetic temperature is the temperature at which you want to dunk it in oil to harden it. Also hardenability is dependent on the carbon content and other ingredients in the steel. Normal nails, often called wire nails do not harden much. Cut flat nails and masonry nails are hardened as Bruce S61 mentioned. However, if you re-shape them by heating and hammering or grinding the hardness will have been lost so after working them into the desired shape you want to re-harden them by heating to non-magnetic and then rapidly cooling them in oil.
Vikings used this design as you had a fairly long cutting edge but needed less steel to make it. Cracks can't be fixed by heating and hammering as carbon and dirt particles will have found their way into the cracks preventing the steel from forge welding together even at very high temperature. You did the right thing by grinding out the cracks.
Yes, it is easy to build. Only problem is here in SA where I am a ram, even 2nd hand is crazy expensive. To import is also not really an option as the shipping cost is so high, and once the government has slammed a very nice import tax on top of it you are back to square one with the high cost. For that reason very few of us around here have them.
Yes, cable does make a nice knife. I've been using chains from chainsaws. Get very nice patterning from those. I think if you flattened your billet from the other side (turned it 90 degrees before flattening) you would have picked up more patterning.
Nice one bud. Well done. Unfortunately not many people have access to a power press. Yes, it can be done with a hammer but as you and I know that is tricky and a LOT of hard work.Please don't get me wrong here. Not trying to put you off, but rather trying to warn others, if you don't have a press, don't go wasting time to try and make this unless you have done forge welding by hammer before.
If you remove the grinding wheel and replace it with a steel disc of the same size that would make a nice flywheel with more weight and it would all still be the same size.
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