Place the piece of high carbon steel in a vise so that one end is pointing upward at about 45 degrees. An old file can be recycled to create the die. Use a hacksaw to cut a triangular shape out of the middle to form a "V." Do not cut all the way through the steel. You want the "V" shape to be visible edge on.
Fill a metal container with 1 to 2 quarts of cool, clean water. Wear gloves and then grasp the newly cut die on the end that is not cut with a pair of vise grips. Heat the die until it glows red and then immediately cool the die in the water. This hardens the steel.
Polish the die with fine sandpaper after it cools to the touch. Wear gloves and grasp the die near the center. Apply the torch again, but this time heat the die from the opposite end of the cutting edge. Quench the die in the water when the end of the die reaches a temperature of about 540 degrees or turns slightly purple.
Polish the tool with fine metal sandpaper and then sharpen the cool die. The tool is now ready for use.
Things You Will Need
- High carbon steel
- Vise clamp
- Vise grips
- Cut several lengths from an old high carbon file so that you have extra pieces in the event that your first attempt to make your own die fails.
- Keep the container of water near the torch, because the die must be quenched in the water quickly after the proper temperature is achieved.