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I Forge Iron

a new knife i had made


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  • 2 weeks later...

Have you thought about doing anything for the handle? Maybe a para-cord or leather wrap, if you don't have to tools to do a wooden or metal handle. Have you tempered the blade in any way? If you are planning on using it I would temper it so it will hold an edge better.
Now this is just my two cents, I'm no expert but I hope it helped.

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I am not only old but picky,,Tempering is only one step in the heat treat process. If folks new to knife making read this they may look up tempering and go right to that with disappointing results. There is a ton of information on this site about heat treqting blades. Good thing to learn all of the steps.

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What alloy? "Hay Brown Temper" would be great for some alloys and horrible for others and useless for even other alloys.

What quenchant?

Have you thought of draw filing the blade bevel much further toward the spine? A slim taper cuts much better than a short "fat" bevel.

When's number 2 due?

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Quenchant is what you quench the blade in to harden it after heating to critical temperature. Most knife alloys use some type of oil; but a few can be quenched in water and a few will even harden in air!

It is a sad fact of life that you may never have as much free time as you do while in HighSchool. Most work weeks far exceed time spent at school and when you are on your own a lot of time is spent on the basic mechanics of life, shopping, cooking food, maintaining a house and car and then the big one of possibly having a family! (Currently my Father is ill and I am spending every other weekend driving several hours to help out at my parents house and all my projects are in abeyance for the foreseeable future...)

One does not have time; one *makes* time for what they choose to do. Far better to have it take another weekend than to leave it crude and not very usable. You want a piece that every looks at and goes "Wow! Did *you* make *that*?" and not one that looks like it was made in Cellblock 13.

Leaf spring is an excellent material to learn on; just be aware that sometimes the old ones (and particularly ones found broken on the side of the road) will contain fatigue cracks that you won't see until after heat treat usually and so all the forging and filing effort will go for nought. So try to find ones that were not old when tossed---places that do lifting work on cars and pickups will often have brand new leaf springs that are being scrapped to put in the fancy set.

And actually XXXX to a blacksmith involves brimstone as that's sulfur and sulfur ruins steel!

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It appears that no one has mentioned heat treating to you. First, heat the blade to the point that it goes non magnetic, check with a magnet to be sure you have reached that temperature, it is a dull red usually. Hold the blade at that temperature for a few minutes and then let it cool slowly in sitll air. This is called normalizing, it will relieve the stress induced into the blade by the forging process and refine the grain of the steel. Once the blade is cool, do the filing and cosmetic work mentioned above. Once you have that done, heat the blade again to the non magnetic temperature and quench in oil. Cooking oil can be used, make sure you have enough to properly cool the blade, a gallon should do it. After the blade is quenched clean it up to remove the oil and then temper it in the oven at 375 degrees F for a couple hours. That should give you a knife that will hold a decent edge.

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Note that heat treating does not equal hardening. Heat treating is altering the material's properties using heat (and time) and so it can result in softer, the same hardness but tougher, harder (and more brittle), etc.

In blademaking we generally do several processes as part of a blades heattreat often including: Annealing to make it easier to work on during the grinding and drilling phase; Normalizing to refine the grain of the steel before hardening, Hardening to make it hard, and Tempering to change some of the hardness for toughness. Note that some alloys also profit from a cryogenic cycle to change retained Austenite to Martensite and then re-tempering to modify the Martensite...other allows do not profit from this cryo cycling---but sometimes are done so anyway for "hype" reasons.

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