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LastRonin

Project Idea

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I have an idea for a knife i want to make once I learn more about smithing. I have an old Peavey Hook from a log roller, when i picked it up, it felt right to become a knife, with the spike at the end of the hook as the pommel. Does anyone know if the metal they tended to be made from would make a decent blade? i know I've seen all kind of knives made from railroad spikes, so I was hoping that this would work.


Funny but this does not look like any anvil topic I have seen, so I will move this post.

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Like RR spikes, rebar and wrenches turned into letter openers (knife shaped objects or KSO), it would probably turn out to be more of a novelty than a highly functional knife. As a peavey hook, this item was meant to be tough rather than hard, and the metal that went into it would have been chosen accordingly.

How old is 'old'? If from the last 75 years, it is most likely a homogeneous chunk of low to medium carbon steel. If earlier, it may be a wrought iron body with a 'layed on' steel bit forge welded for a tip. Spark testing or acid etching would be required to find out.

If you want to learn to make functional blades out of junk for your own amusement, be on the lookout for higher carbon steel scrap: old files, saw and mower blades, big ball bearings, even old car springs, coil or leaf type.

Remember: garbage in = garbage out. If and when you decide to turn pro, buy known steel from a vendor.

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Thanks. For now, it is for my amusement and to learn how to move and shape the metal. I'd like to develop the necessary skill to make good servicable blades, but I do understand that it takes time and practice.

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Hate to say it, but it would most likely make a mediocre knife under the best circumstances. Logging tools were make from wrought iron or mild steel because they had no real need to be made from "knife quality" metal. The more pure, high carbon steels were expensive back in the day, so they were used sparingly.

Not to say you haven't hit the jackpot, though. The problem is that you don't have any way of telling what the metal is and will burn up a good bit of fuel to make a knife only to find out that the knife isn't worth a hoot.

"Free" metal isn't a savings in the long run.

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Since mild steel and higher carbon steels have different working properties learning on one rather than the other is rather like learning to repair diesel engines because you want to work on your car's gas engine. Yes there are similarities but the details can cause problems.

Working on mild steel is a good way to get your hammer control trained but you should pick projects out that have a better possibility of success during the learning period. I tell my students making their first S hook that *everything* they are learning is directly applicable to making a knife---but they are almost assured of producing a useful and ornamental S hook suitable for a Christmas present rather than the start of a pile of messed up knife attempts...

If you want to jump to knifemaking at the start---which is usually a *slower* way to learn to forge blades than to learn the basics first and then go on to the "advanced" methods---get a piece of automotive coil spring and cut down opposite sides resulting in a dozen or so ( shaped pieces all of the same steel, all of an alloy suitable for knives.

Make all of them into knives and practice your heat treating and destructive testing as well as forging/filing/grinding/hilting/patience/...

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All true. And I absolutely understand the suggestion to not make the knife my first project. I wasn't. Like I said, I wanted to try the knife after I learned more. And reading the responses has already taught me more than I started with. Please keep the knowledge flowing guys. My first actual project I intend to tackle once I get the forge built will be to make a set of tongs. I want to end up using as much personally made tools as I can. It just feels to me to make more of a connection to the work. And I have already purchased a couple pieces of cold rolled steel 1/4" x 1/2" x 3' to use for that.

@ John McPherson: Thanks for the knowledge you dropped on me. I wasn't sure what kind of metal the peavy was made from so now i know. I do have a selection of rusty old files and a 32" diameter old sawmill blade that I was looking to one day use. So I guess I'll just set the hook aside and maybe in the future use it as a pattern to make a knife out of quality steel... most likely the far future.

@ Vaughn T: Ok. I understand what you mean. I won't use it for a real knife. And I'll keep that statement in mind -" 'Free' metal isn't a savings in the long run."

@Thomas Powers: Absolutelt true. I don't intend to start running before walking...LOL. I Don't plan to try making a knife for quite some time. I have a very particular (and talented) father who has instilled in me a very structured work ethic. I plan to start with basics and not move to advanced projects until I am ready. But I will keep that idea in mind once I get ready to start learning bladework.

Thank you all for the advice, I am taking it seriously and to heart. Please don't think my statements here are arguments, I am just trying to clarify my intentions.

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LR, you'll go far in this field if you keep that level of thought foremost in your mind!

The problem with unknown metal is that the key to making a good knife is in the last step. Heat-treating the steel is what makes it a winner or a loser as a knife. Yea, you'll see people making knife-shaped objects out of just about anything, including lawnmower blades and railroad spikes. But note that they are never really great knives. Simply put, you have no idea what the ingredients in the steel are or how to do the heat-treat to maximize the capabilities of the knife.

Or, you can shell out a whopping $20 and have some good quality steel from a vendor delivered to your door.

With the former, you "saved" $20 by using some mystery metal you found laying on the shoulder of the road. With the latter, you spent a few bucks and actually have a very good chance of producing a finished product that works like you want.

I recall a story where a Master smith had an apprentice take a piece of half-inch square stock and turn it into a length of perfectly round stock. No hammer marks. Even diameter the whole length.

It was a tremendous waste of the apprentice's time and the shop's fuel. The shop didn't need that length of round stock for a job and could have bought a similar length for pennies compared the the energy wasted to make it.

But, it did demonstrate the apprentice's skills. He showed that he could manage a fire, select his tools and create an unblemished product in a timely fashion.

The goal wasn't to produce a steel rod, but to show that the apprentice was skilled enough to move up to journeyman status.

Got a peavey hook? Well, how about using it as a pattern and make a duplicate? I honestly get more of a kick out of making tools that I can reasonably expect to use than yet another knife.



http://video.pbs.org/video/2178676894/

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Do you want some encouraging news?Enough high carbon steel for a knife blade(i get mine from new jersey steel baron)will be under 10 bucks usually :):):):):)

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