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why is old steel seemingly rust resistant?

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by phantomknives, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. phantomknives


    Mar 31, 2016
    I have noticed on my welded-bit tools that the body will have significantly more pitting on the body than the bit. This confuses me because stainless steel wasn't alloyed until 1913. does high carbon not pit as much as low carbon? i dont have much experience with high grade steels but my mono-steel heads (which are much younger of course) can have a huge amount of pitting.

    to put it simply, if high carbon steel rusts faster, why is there less pitting than that on low carbon, especially because stainless wasn't invented yet
  2. Maine20


    Aug 8, 2017
    Good question, wish I had a answer. I will be curious to see what people come with. I believe some alloys will develop rust or patina fairly quick then it will stop or greatly slow down. Don’t know why or how or even if this applies to axes.
  3. phantomknives


    Mar 31, 2016
    i'v seen it on axes and other tools and thought i'd ask
    wire edge likes this.
  4. DarthTaco123


    Mar 28, 2013
    Perhaps where the bit is constantly being buried in wood it doesn’t allow the accumulation of rusting agents like the body of the axe would?
  5. phantomknives


    Mar 31, 2016
    perhaps, but wouldnt we see a similar effect with monosteel heads?
  6. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    Axe manufacturers like Kelly and Warren were supposedly making their 2-piece all-steel axe heads using "soft steel" for the body and "crucible steel" for the bit (according to some references from the 1920s). I don't know, but maybe the extra alloy elements in the bits gave them a little more corrosion resistance?
  7. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    phantomknives likes this.
  8. daizee

    daizee KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 30, 2009
    most definitely due to hardening. You can see this in carbon blade steel before and after hardening.
    And even if you finish both areas of metal with the same abrasive, the scratches in the hardened portion will be shallower, leaving less purchase for moisture and corrosion.
    phantomknives likes this.

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