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I Forge Iron

Half a dozen and one knives for Marines


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I haven't posted anything new in a while, but I've been busy. This isn't all I've been busy with, but it's taken a lot of the time.

When the attack on our people in Benghazi happened, it angered me enough that my lips exploded into fever blisters. It wasn't just the attack, but the events on our end that led to the attack succeeding like it did that angered me. The only thing I could think to do to help was to get some quality tools in the hands of some of our warfighters in the sandbox. I e-mailed a Marine I knew and asked him if he could get me in contact with five or six warfighters, regardless of which branch of the service as long as they were in the sandbox. He said he could, and I ordered materials.

I made six knives and got my friend and fellow knifemaker Tobin Nieto to make one as well to donate. A civilian customer whose order got bumped back to accommodate these and other military orders found out about what I was up to and sent me a check to cover all of the materials, as well as some other generosity for the other military orders. I documented the process as much as I could and I'll be posting all of the the pictures later. It's kind of late tonight for all of them. :)

These are in the hands of some Marines that are training for a deployment next year in Afghanistan. For the knives I contributed, they were forged from 1 1/2" x 1/4" 5160 with natrual canvas Micarta and flared stainless steel rivets. The blades are around 6" long (forgot to measure them before I packed them up) and are stout. After heat treatment and fitting the handles, I slammed several of their points into an old clothes dryer (no, they aren't what tore up the dryer so badly in the pics I last posted) and they stayed solidly in the hand and were undamaged while penetrating the sheet steel.

This is what they started out as:


This is what they ended up as:


The sheaths are coyote brown Kydex with TekLoks. I made them where they'll shake upside down pretty vigorously without moving, yet will pop
out easily when pulled.


There's a little bit of variation, mostly in the angle between the blades and the handles, but they're pretty close to each other. All of them shave hair.



Tobin made his from 1084. He usually works in bone, antler, and wood for handles and leather for sheaths, so this was his first go at Micarta and Kydex. I helped him some on them. :) He went with olive drab with brass flared tube rivets.

We took some pictures when it was mostly done with his buddy's AR as a prop.



Tobin looking like Subotai:


And after final tweaking and sharpening to slice newspaper right nicely:


Tobin's blog: http://stonehavenknifeworks.blogspot.com/

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Thank y'all!

After cutting out the blanks, I drew the blade pre-forms out to length.


Then I forged the blades out.


Here they are all forged out with the final one going through its final normalizing cycle up on the fire brick.


Then I cleaned up the profiles.



Then I drilled out the rivet holes and the lightening holes.


And ground and filed the bevels.


After heat treating the blades, I cut out the handle slab blanks.


Then I bolted the slabs on temporarily and rounded the corners with a router table.


Then I contoured the front of the handles and beveled the front edge.




Then it was time to cut the tubing to length, epoxy everything together, and flare the tubes with dies in a 1/2 ton arbor press.




Good thing I drilled out those lightening holes or they would have been very handle heavy.


After cleaning up the handles, I started on the sheaths.





After cleaning up the remainging baked-on canola oil and sharpening, I ended up here.



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Thank y'all.

This design is pretty similar to the SERE knife I made for an airman about a year ago, but with Micarta and a spine that's more curved instead of angular.

We named Tobin's the "War Tusk" due to its blade's similarity to a boar tusk and how its shape suggested to me an upthrust stab or slash similar to how a boar will swing its head to tear up dogs.

Sam - PM on its way.

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Nice selection of knives and it's obvious your heart is in the right place. Thank you.

I have one suggestion, from experience, and that is using bricks to hold blades in the ht oven tends to inhibit thorough heating. I've since gone to using 1/4" stainless pins in a stainless plate to lean the blades against to facilitate surrounding heat.

My damascas was not etching evenly in the spots where the blade was held by the brick.


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John - I hardened in my gas forge.  I held the end of the tangs in some tongs and kept moving the blades to ensure an even heating.  They were always suspended in the air.  The only time they touched firebrick was during the cooling phase of the normalization process.


That's interesting about the damascus etch.  I guess it makes sense that it's not just the different alloys but the hardness that makes for the pattern; after all, that's what goes on with hamons.

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Who would think that the small areas of a damascas blade held upright by a soft brick at the same temp as the blade...heated in a ht oven together from ambient to ht temp would etch differently? As half owner of a Rockwell tester, I haven't done any tests on those spots.

I probably won't as I know there is a difference and I don't want to waste time, effort and blades doing so. Well, maybe I would if I didn't have to make a living...

So, I went to stainless pins in the oven for less contact. And, recently built a high temp salt bath. More on that later.


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John - There wasn't any dust from a soft firebrick clinking to the blade as it was quenched, was there?


Erik - It's Kydex.  You heat it with a heat gun or in an oven to soften it, then form it around the blade with some foam rubber backed with a hard plate so it conforms to the shape.  Line up the two halves of the Kydex, drill holes, set the rivets, clean up the profile, and then spot heat and tweak as necessary to get the correct tightness.  Simple, not to be confused with easy.  :)  There are a number of videos on Youtube showing the process.

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