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I Forge Iron

50 dollar bladesmith shop


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I was told a looooong time ago, get good at basic smithin before you start knife makin, and you won't regret it, so that's exactly what Im attemptin to do, and now thanks to Mark Aspery, I have a grasp on metal changes due to heat processes, it's about time I start burnin up some knives.

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I have never read the book itself but i think i read the best part of it on Waynes $50 knife shop pages in blade mag. You will learn lots from the book. Good luck on your new venture and be shure and show us what you make.

Cheers Bob

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have a secret to fill you in on...you might be able to start making knives really cheap, but it will turn into an obsession and eventally you will have spent $10,000 on a shop full of tools. Once you are hooked, its hard to turn back. Its like drugs.

Seriously, though - that is a great book. Good luck and have fun!

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do you all agree that it is a good idea to have a solid basis of blacksmithing skills prior to forging blades? I know that I made my first knife shortly after getting my first forge up and running, it was nothing special, a file blade, but I see what the skilled blade masters are putting out, and it's apparent that the knowledge rests in the heat treatment and finishing, much more than forging skills. Just tossing a thought out for comment.

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I have the book and it is clear the man is a master at his craft. It is definitely a good resource and reference for the part time/new knife maker. The tips and techniques are well worth the price and he seems to favor a make do/minimalist approach before investing in lots of kewl tools and equipment.

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plus, if your hammer work is good, you can do different things than can stock removal, or folk who rough forge and do most of the forming by grinding. Hammer finished spines on blades would be a big one, you have to hammer it down to the final dimension, and still keep it looking good

sorry for the repost

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do you all agree that it is a good idea to have a solid basis of blacksmithing skills prior to forging blades? I know that I made my first knife shortly after getting my first forge up and running, it was nothing special, a file blade, but I see what the skilled blade masters are putting out, and it's apparent that the knowledge rests in the heat treatment and finishing, much more than forging skills. Just tossing a thought out for comment.


I think that if you want to be a a knife maker that is a good philosophy to have. But If you want to be a bladesmith (someone that forges the knife to shape in order to eliminate grinding and polishing) than it is a poor philosophy to have. If good knives are only made from hear treatment a finishing than why bother forging at all, why not make stock removal knives and call it a day. There is a chapter about tribal knives in that book. Read it, it might change your perspective
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I will read it, just have not got their yet, thanks for the comments. It helps me to process the plans for the future. I will be forging pretty much all of my blades, as I try to reuse old material as much as possible, and will be concentrating on larger pieces at least in the beginning. Tell me, do you guys use flatters much in the process, to remove dings etc??

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I started making knives using strictly stock removal. After a few years, I got the itch to try forging. I had zero experience and zero equipment.
I asked a zillion questions and read a lot of posts on forging knives and forging in general. Someone on this forum summed it up to the basics = "something to heat it with, something to beat it with, and something to beat it on".
I built a two burner propane forge. Total cost, $65. I am still using it after 5 years. I had an assortment of ball peen and cross peen hammers I had collected over the years. I even had 3 tongs from some junk shops. My first anvil was a piece of railroad rail. It took two years to find a real anvil. (bought 2 in one week).
I had no teacher, so I taught myself. Using junk steel from the scrap yard, I began to heat and beat metal. My first attempts were dismal. I got very frustrated and stopped for a while. Someone on one of the forums suggested making some tongs. The fourth set actually worked. This was the turning point. Still using scrap, the "blades" began to look like knives.
In the next 6 months, I forged all my blades. I was a happy camper. Then I fell and broke my right shoulder. Took 5 months to heal and I didn't have full movement. To make a long story short, with the help of Mr. Hofi, his hammer technique( slighted modified due to my limited movement) and one of his hammers, I was back in business. According to some, my forging was actually better.
I guess what all my rambling is leading to is this. With or without existing black smithing skills you can learn to forge a knife blade. Either way you will acquire the skills as you progress. Equipment can made or purchased. Finishing and heat treat are still very important no matter how a blade is produced.

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I've been using RR Spikes to work on my blade forging. Plenty of internet research and youtube videos has helped. My interest is in forging historically acurate weapons (though not necessarily with historically accurate methods /hug grinder). I've mainly forged bodkin arrow points and RR spike knives to learn the feel of moving metal. So from a complete novice perspective, you can begin learning on blades. I think the major concern many would have would be the exacting standard most people expect from blade work and the frustration that might develop from not getting it right in the early stages. A less than perfect hook will still hold things, a less than perfect knife might not function correctly.

I learn best by absorbing a lot of information and forming a cognitive schema, then jumping in to gain practical experience, then returning to the information to adjust my construct based on what I learned hands on.

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Mike,
I'm no expert, but my cleanup grinding went down a bit once I started using a flatter. In fact I us a set-hammer as a small flatter to finish up the bevels (my Regular flatter (Rthibeau special) was too big. I use the regular flatter for truing up the sides and straightness, and a 1 1/4" square set hammer as a flatter for the edge bevels. Just gets me that much closer to final shape without too many more heats, etc. and reduces the amount of filing/grinding/sanding I have to do.

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mcraig, thanks man, I was wonderin about that, I have a flatter thats about the size of the small one you were speaking of, I will keep it close when I get started. I was reading the book this morning, in the heat treating part he discusses quenching in oil down to about 450 degrees, how can you know where that point is when you are quenching??

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mcraig, thanks man, I was wonderin about that, I have a flatter thats about the size of the small one you were speaking of, I will keep it close when I get started. I was reading the book this morning, in the heat treating part he discusses quenching in oil down to about 450 degrees, how can you know where that point is when you are quenching??


Make your oil 450 degrees? :)
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Mike,
I haven't read the book. Is he referring to a specific steel? Seems like all I've read and been told is to quench all the way to the temp of the quenchant, then temper. For O1 and a few other steels I've been preheating my oil to 140 deg. F. then quenching 'til I don't think it's cooling down anymore. Then I wash the oil off with soap and water (room temp, or just cold water from the faucet), then straight into the Tempering oven. The works a real treat on O1 and CruForge-V if soaked at 1500 deg. for 15 minutes then into quench. But every steel has its own specific heat treat needs, and that's what I'd try to go by.

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