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Thread: Cutting Steel

  1. #1
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    Cutting Steel

    I am cutting an old Disston Saw blade to make a scraper for woodwork. I am using a hacksaw and my Starrett high carbon steel blade & Lennox bimetal blade lost their teeth half they the cut. What do I need to make this easier? I am partial to hand tools but am open to all ideas.

  2. #2
    A small cheap grinding wheel in a drill is what I've used. Grind with wheel corner along the line, then snap off. Wear eye protection.

  3. #3
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    OK. Thanks Mel

  4. #4
    If you have an angle grinder, a cut-off disk will do the job quickly.
    _______________________________________
    When failure is not an option
    Mediocre is assured.

  5. #5
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    Thanks Dennis

  6. #6
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    You have to use a hack saw blade with very fine teeth to cut thin plate steel. 24 tpi minimum so you don't rip the teeth off of the blade.
    The stock you are cutting cannot go between the teeth in the hack saw blade.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel Fulks View Post
    A small cheap grinding wheel in a drill is what I've used. Grind with wheel corner along the line, then snap off. Wear eye protection.
    Is the steel hardened? Sounds like it might be if it's wiping out bimetal blades.

    You can get very thin 4.5" cutting wheels for an angle grinder that do a great job on all kinds of steel, something like this: https://www.amazon.com/Makita-10-Pac.../dp/B019QYUFX2 (Home Depot carries disks like this.) I use these constantly.

    If you have a "sawzall" I like the Milwaukee bimetal blades called "The Torch", but for mild steel. Probably won't work if the steel is hardened.

    I've also cut small sections to make scrapers by using one of the little metal cutting abrasive disks on a Dremel. However, that takes a while for anything other than short sections, the disks are thin and easy to break, and they don't do curves very well. The angle grinder is a LOT easier.

    OxyAcetylene will do it but can heat the metal too much and wipe out any hardening along the edge. The angle grinder is better if you are cutting hardened steel it's best to keep it as cool as possible.

    Or do you have a friend nearby with a plasma cutter. Cutting any kind of steel or other metal is like cutting butter with a hot knife. Mine will cut 1/2" thick clean and 1" sloppy. A metal shop might even slice up your blade for a few bucks. If you lived close I'd do it - would only take a couple of minutes. If you are not in a hurry send it in the mail.

    JKJ

  8. #8
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    Michael, my Starrett high carbon steel 8 blade has 24 teeth and it was ruined by the Disston steel saw blade.

  9. #9
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    John, thank you for your advise and helpfulness. I do not think it is hardened - it is an old Disston hand saw I picked up for $5 yesterday. The Lennox bimetal blade had 18 teeth per inch, perhaps more teeth would be better. I have a lot of options for cutting steel now. Because of the toughness of steel and being a bit of a hand tool obsessive I am tempted to use 0.032 thick brass to make scrapers and scratch stock. Has anyone played around with brass?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Rainey View Post
    Because of the toughness of steel and being a bit of a hand tool obsessive I am tempted to use 0.032 thick brass to make scrapers and scratch stock. Has anyone played around with brass?
    I've machined and worked quite a bit with brass. There are different alloys depending on what you want to do, some are softer and easier to machine and I wonder if it might not be good for a scraper depending on what you want to scrape. I use hand scrapers on woodturnings, both on and off the lathe, and even the steel scrapers don't hold a burnished burr as well as others, especially those from quality sheffield steel. You can harden brass to some extent by heating it with a torch but unlike steel don't quench, allow it to cool slowly.

    You can test the hardness of steel to some extent by trying to file it. A file skates on hardened steel instead of cutting it. I use a small triangular file.

    Hey, if you want to make scrapers, great. But if you just want to acquire scrapers send me an email and I'll put a couple in an envelope. When I find them I collect old scrapers to grind into different shapes and I'm sure I have a couple of spares I'll never use. (I'm getting older by the minute, time is running out!) I'd have to check the thickness if that matters.

    JKJ

  11. #11
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    Thank you very much for your help and generosity John!

  12. #12
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    In a situation when you're trying to make do with a hacksaw cutting thin material, cut with the saw closer to the plane of the material--not at a right angle to it. As another poster mentioned, you need a minimum of two teeth in the material. You can effectively thicken the material by lowering the angle at which you present the saw blade from 90*.

  13. #13
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    Interesting Matthew, I did notice easier cutting with a less than 90 degree attack - I had better luck with about a 30 angle but did not stay with it - I will go even lower next time.

  14. #14
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    Purchased Dewalt bimetal 32 teeth per inch 10 inch hacksaw blade at Home Depot this afternoon. 2 for $2.89. Took Disston saw out of machinist vise and layed it flat on my workbench with a piece of sacrificial pine between workbench & saw. Began to saw at 10 degree angle to Disston saw putting groove in pine board first. Went thru Disston saw easily. Michael & Mathew were spot on, and I thank everyone for their help.

  15. #15
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    Anything hard, cut off disk in angle grinder. Your Disston hand saw was hardened steel, it had to be. Plasma cutters and torch will all overheat unless you do not care. I have had a Lennox bi metal blade in my 4x6 Jet metal cutting bandsaw for years, because I know cutting hard or spring steel, including rebar will eat off the teeth.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , Ray Fine 20w Galvo Fiber laser , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller, MakerGear M2 3D Printer. Qe60+ Vinyl cutter. Fine Line Automation 4x4 CNC Router

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