/ Ice pick steel composition.

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George Fisher - on 08 Oct 2013
Does anybody know what grade of steel technical ice axe picks are made from. T or B rated. Would bulldogs and similar be the same stuff?

Thanks
George Fisher - on 08 Oct 2013
In reply to George Fisher:

Little bump for the evening metallurgists.
AlanLittle - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to George Fisher:

If anybody (who doesn't work for an ice axe manufacturer) knows, then it's Dane at Cold Thistle:

http://coldthistle.blogspot.de/2011/08/crampon-durability-stainless-or.html
jimtitt - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to George Fisher:
One of the 41 series one would expect since they are mostly chrome-molybdenum steel. IŽd imagine that the exact grade and the heat treatment is what makes the difference between crap and quality gear so nobody will tell you!
David Ponting on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to jimtitt: I was about to jump in and point this out as well...

I'm a chemist, not a metallurgist, but I did do a couple of years of materials science as part of my undergrad, and one of the things that stuck in my mind was the (probably simplified) steel phase diagram that we had to learn and the amazing number of things that you can do with it. It was regularly hammered (excuse the pun) into use that the processing was far more important than the original composition, which was a confusing thought for a chemist!

To a certain degree, if the OP is asking because he wants to make his own, then presumably using "standard" processes of forging, quenching & tempering that will give some strength, just not equal to using the commercially-optimised conditions...
KellyKettle - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to David Ponting:
> To a certain degree, if the OP is asking because he wants to make his own, then presumably using "standard" processes of forging, quenching & tempering that will give some strength, just not equal to using the commercially-optimised conditions...

You'd think right, but my experience with makers of niche woodworking tools is that, if someone is sufficiently Skilled or Dedicated (Ideally both) then they can often achieve better results from processing than the commercially norm, because they don't have to worry about the expense inherent in taking a long time to make one item.
nniff - on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to KellyKettle:

But the big difference between niche wood working tools and ice axes is that if the former gets blunt one wanders next door and has another go, but if the latter bends or breaks you have another one of those 'deja vu all over again' moments. :o)
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smuffy on 09 Oct 2013
In reply to George Fisher: It would depend on the manufacturing process. Some picks like grivel ones are forged so the carbon steel has few properties at the forging stage. It needs a low melting point, ductility and possibly some silcon content for drilling/machinability. After forging the product would aquire the strength properties through heat treatment.

Other picks are laser or waterjet cut from high specification sheet material which already have the required properties ingrained by alloying or heat treatment.

I undertsand that bulldogs or similar are made using the the laser cut method.

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