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I Forge Iron


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Everything posted by jmccustomknives

  1. Update: I sent the steel off and had it tested. It's definitely cpm 3v. So even in failure I learned something. 1st thing, I'd never even considered that steels like these acutally have 2 hardening temperatures. One for the iron carbides and one for the high alloy that are 400 deg apart. It was also recommended that I do an interrupted quench instead of plates, so that's going to be fun.
  2. I haven't tried that yet. It should rust, but have some resistance. I'm assuming something like A-2. I've got some D-series tool steels. Going to try to anneal and re harden a piece. If that works then I know it's the wrong stuff and not my equipment.
  3. I shot for the middle, 1950F with the 1000F temper. Supposed to net 60 RCH Yes, I might have to get on to him at Batsons. lol
  4. After about 12 years of tinkering with carbon steels I decided to dive in to the CPM world. I figured the 3V alloy would make a most excellent rough use knife so I purchased a stick. I made a knife via stock removal, and heat treated it per the manufactures specifications. My heat treat oven has two thermocouples, one analogue one electric with a pid. After the plate quench and temper cycles per the specifications I went to clean up the blade. It felt soft so I decided to try it on a brass rod. The rod won, the steel folded like a cheap dress. I took a little test piece and through it into my forge which was heating, brought it up to a yellow heat and let it air cool. It was still soft enough for a file to bite. Repeated the test, this time I water quenched the piece. It hardened, so I snapped it. The grain was very course, borderline burned steel sized. I took the test blade and reprofiled to repair the damage then heat treated as I would a simple carbon steel. It hardened. The steel reminded me of L-6 which I'd purchased from the same, well known supplier. so I took a piece of each and did a comparative spark test. If I didn't know better I got a stick of L-6, but what do you guys think? The pics are the two pieces. If any of you guys have any experience I'd greatly appreciate any input. The third is just a recent bowie I forged up, just for reference.
  5. Thanks! This was his first foray into blades and they do have their own particular trappings. I played with some more, and cropped them. I think the technique he used can be used to really highlight the blade, but the feed back is welcome.
  6. A local photographer had been wanting to shoot some of my work for the last couple of years. I wanted to do it, but getting it scheduled was a problem. Then recently he contacted me on a Saturday afternoon and said, "lets do this". I didn't have a clue what he had planned other than he wanted it dark. So we met up after sunset and took off across town, down a forgotten dirt road and to an old hill top cemetery. By this time it was very dark, no stars. He was getting the shoot set up and some kids came down the road. We had no lights on, so the photographer takes his flashlight and shines it in his face they way kids would telling a ghost story. That truck load of teenagers slowed up and almost stopped as the photographer followed them. lol. They probably told that story the next school day. Anyway, here's one of the pics. While the photographer has done shoots around the world this is his first knife study. So the blade pictured is a cable Damascus San Mai with an 80crv2 core. The handle is an antler drop that was sun bleached. I dyed it brown, which soaked in like a sponge. I figured it was mess up but went ahead and stabilized it. After which black dye was applied. Made for an interesting handle. The guard was forged from 1/2" cable with the live edge left.
  7. It's a little more challenging to establish the plunges on a blade with a forged in choil. The belt tends to want to wonder a bit at first on those. Once it gets established it's easier to control. One of these days I'll get a 2x72, or build one.
  8. Would you believe i use a 4x36 belt sander from lowes?
  9. Your etch looks good. There are several factors that can effect the etch. I like a strong dilution of FC and take the blade down no further than 800 grit. The next factor is a proper heat treat. The attached pic is 3 blades, the top is fully hardened; center is edge hardened and bottom isn't heat treated at all. The last part if the temp of the etchant. I've found that the etch will appear different if the etchant is 100F as opposed to 70F.
  10. Thank you, it is beyond flattering that you'd think it's worthy of a pro taking the pics. Lighting this time of year is extra tough, it's either dark or bright. Can't seem to hit that right amount. It would be nice to have it done. I'm not a fan of the hammon, just did it to show that I could. lol Thanks guys. I've tried hard since the first time I got raked across the proverbial coals. It didn't discourage me, but made me push harder.
  11. Got this one put together. The blade was forged to shape from 1" crane cable. I thought it might be cool to give it a hammon which on cable is kind of tricky to get. The guard was forged from 1/2 cable leaving the live edge. The handle is a chew toy I picked up from the pet store. Yes, they sell elk antlers as chew toys. lol. The secondary wood is cocobolo. The handle is a narrow tang/bolt through design. I used a cable core placed in a copper tube as a decorative accent in the top of the handle. No blade is complete without a sheath.
  12. No. There are different grades, but none are blade quality.
  13. 52100 has a very bright contrast, even more than 8670 which in my experience is has even more than 15n20. The biggest problem you'll have using 52100 is in the third fold. that's about the time you've lost your outer layer of simple carbon steel (w1). Since 52100 is one of those alloys that is fickle when welding to itself that weld may not fully take. Forget cryo, it's a waste of time on a blade like this. Better to focus on getting the heat treat right than worry about that extra half a RCH you'd get.
  14. It's pretty easy to case harden, just dip them in the hot chemical and your done. Rasp do tend to be on the lower scale, I have found them that failed the break test. Even had a Nicholson fail, that one surprised me. Come to find out Nicholson did use case hardening at one time. As it turned out, according to a guy who worked for them back in the day Nicholson used 3 different materials in their rasp. A low carbon steel, something like 1095 and the most insidious, 4140. I think quite often the latter is where many of those rasp will fall. Well, it was going to make a good looking knife. Also found Bellota's that were case hardened. Here's a pic of that Nicholson, note I had already forged and heat treated when it failed the file test (you can see the notches cut in the edge), so I repeated the heat treat and it failed again. Went back and tested the tang which bent over. This is why I stay away from rasps. lol. Yes, there are case hardened files and rasp out there.
  15. Sometimes people are just funny that way. If I'm not comfortable with what they want I'll turn the job down. Fortunately this is just a fun hobby, it doesn't feed me. lol.
  16. there are a few advantages to brazing threads on. The first advantage is the silver alloy used to braze has a tensile strength of 60-70K, the same as a 7018 welding rod. Unlike arc welding, if done properly the silver flows below the hardening temp of the steel so you don't form a hardened zone that will fail. Secondly, brazing allows you to use threads much larger than the thickness of the blade. So if one was to thread a thin blade you would have to use small machine threads, but brazing will allow using 1/4" for small blades and 5/16 threads or larger depending on the build. I really never have tried to do anything that was a reproduction. Most of the time I'll take inspiration but put my own twist. But if I did it would get some hidden or not so hidden markings to show a reproduction.
  17. That is so true, I guess that's true with any decorative stuff. But sometimes it's fun just to make something that pushes one to learn new techniques.
  18. I use a bolt through tang. Basically the tang is forged in, threads are brazed on and a nut brazed on the pommel. The handle is screwed together. As far as the spine goes, it's tapered. Thank you. I did consider scrimshaw. Probably no religious text, but scrimshaw is something I'd like to experiment with. Not on this one though.
  19. Thanks guys! I'm working on that sheath. Celtic knot work and runes are beautiful, but since this knife was patterned after a Khyber (Khyber pass region of Afghanistan/Pakistan) I haven't found any symbols or motif from that region I liked. Maybe on the next one I'll try some knot work on the spacer.
  20. A while back a gentleman "gifted" me with a 2" cable choker. Over the next few months I began playing around with it by cutting 6" off and fusing the ends. That was about 4 lbs of steel. I fiddled with it, hammered and argued with it until my arm hurt. But it finally came together. The blade is 11 1/2" (16 1/2" overall). The handle is Gaboon ebony with stabilized stag spacer and brass fixtures. To my eye it needs something more. I'd love to do some engraving on the brass and silver inlay on the handle although I've found that ebony isn't the best for inlay, not that I have the tools or knowledge to do either. For those who might be curious, it's all hand hammered. I don't own a power hammer or press, although projects like this make me wish I had one.
  21. If you get on youtube, I have a bunch of videos. It's all hand forged. But with it being 100F outside, swinging a sledge isn't a lot of fun. lol. Thanks Will.
  22. A few months ago I was going through a box and found a couple of "first" knives. Far right was made from a bed frame by stock removal, center one was forged from a leaf spring and the far left one is a current one. It represents 10 years of practice from the others. That one was forged from crane cable.
  23. Here's what I found with cable, use ferric chloride warmed to 100F. Cable also likes to etch for a long time, 15min each session warm (at least 2), longer the cooler the etchant). If the cable isn't properly hardened the pattern will wash out and look different. Polish to 600 grit first, finish with finer grits after every etching cycle.
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