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I Forge Iron

Some improvement to report- My first knife in the making


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I have some good news to report. Well , after my last post I had fallen ill and did not feel like doing anything for a week. Since I felt better yesterday, I decided to fire up the forge and try my luck at forging the remaining piece of HCHCS.

This time I removed all the clay/mud packing I had inside my forge to make room for as much charcoal as possible. The previous attempt I had damaged the workpiece because I hammered it when it was not hot enough and it cracked. This time however I was super cautious and never struck the workpiece when it was not hot (once bitten twice shy ). I am happy to say that I have made some thing that looks like a knife. I am trying to make a vegetable cutting knife with out a pointed end.

I have attached a picture of it as it looked somewhere along the way.

I have also added two videos of me forging. I would be grateful for your time if you can view and provide constructive criticisms.

YouTube - Learning to Blacksmith - Getting somewhere

This is how it looked towards the end

YouTube - Leraning to Blacksmith - Forging the mouth of the blade

It took me 8 hours (4 yesterday + 4 today ) to make that round rod of HCHCS into the so called blade like shape. I did not strike it even once if I thought it was not hot enough. I must have put it in the forge at least 20-25 times.




Edited by mod07
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Looks like you are making prgress. I would suggest that you give the leaf blower the flick and get a hair dryer to supply the air so you can spend time at the forge observing your piece and maintaining your fire.

On the other side and I am sure we all said this last time. Get some mild and go through the basics. Drawing points, tapers, round to square, square to round, forming bevels, stopping down over the edge of the anvil. If you practice this on some mild it will come to you much quicker.


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Wire brush when you come out of the fire and before you hammer to clean the scale off also brush off the anvil after each heat. Other wise you will beat the scale into the metal and much pitting will show up when begin to file.
Glad to hear you're feeling better.

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MarkB , Thank you for your advice. Next time onwards, I will try to make the setup more ergonomic.

rmcpb, I will try to get some old blacksmithing book and read it and practice it on some MS. I know I need to learn more. I need to go get some old construction quality steel rods.

Today's report. I spent 2 hours with my knife and a hand cranked grinding wheel and finally came up with a blade, a blade whose face only it's mom can love.

Anyway, it seems to do the job I want and I am very proud of my achievement. I feel like a Kinder gartener who did his first "MOMMY" picture that goes on the refrigirator.

Imageshack - img2468f

Imageshack - img2467

I did the heat treatment today. Again, I operate mostly by mimicking what I have seen blacksmiths do in my village. I took some very fine clay and made a batter out of it and dipped my knife in it and let it rest with the edge facing the sky. After a few hours, I took the battered knife and put it in the forge and made it orange. Meanwhile I took some used/old cooking oil from our kitchen and brought it to a boil over the fire. Set it aside , took the knife and quenched about 1.5'' of the blade in the hot oil. Some of it I understand, but the clay part I don't. I was told that it helps to stop chipping of the blade. Anyway, I made some clay battered and fried kinfe today.

YouTube - Learning to Blacksmith - Heat treatment of my first knife

If my mom was alive, she would have been so proud of me today. After all I made my first knife and it cuts really well too. I am yet to do the handle, but I am all ready to gloat, so it doesn't matter.

Thank you all for helping me make my first blade, That is not a perfunctory remark. I really mean it.

Ramachandran Subramanian

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I don't pretend to understand all of heat treatment, but from what I have managed to pick up:
The clay batter is used in the creation of a Hamon, or temper line. This is a visible line in the metal at which the atomic structure of the steel changes from martensite to pearlite.
The Clay is placed on the spine of the knife to make it cool more slowly and to allow the atomic structure to change back to it's normal state, whereas on the parts of the blade without clay, the atomic structure freezes when it is cooled by the oil. The purpose of all of this is to give the knife a softer, shock absorbent spine and a hard, brittle blade that will hold an edge.

If you see an error in this, please point it out!


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