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LibrariaNPC

Some Recent WIP Knives

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Hello everyone,

Now that the weather has been nicer than before (we've had a lot of rain on my few days off), I was able to fire up the forge and the grinder again to get rolling on some new (to me) bladesmithing projects!

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This was a knife I started earlier this year on my little Horrible Freight anvil and my one brick forge (heating by a plumber's torch). I'm surprised I was even able to get this far with it! It's changed a lot since this photo was taken back in January(see below).

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Three knives here, immediately after quenching in canola oil and before being thrown into the oven for heat treating. 

The top one is a bit of a joke that I made via stock removal after watching the trailer for Jurassic World too many times in theatres and remembering the opening scene of the first movie (my wife thinks it's more like a moustache, thus the angle for the photo). Made from W-2, original stock was 8" x 1.5" x 0.187".
Since the blade is a bit of a joke, I might pick up some paracord and start using that for handles, just to try it out and learn how to make some handles via knots (at least until I get a more permanent shop with woodworking supplies). Anyone have any tips for knots/approaches?

The middle one is my first attempt at a bush knife. Did a lot of tinkering with it and had to cut off the point (didn't get the right angles), but the rounded blade makes this one a bit more interesting (and a nice chopper to to blade-heavy balance). Made from the same W-2, measuring 8" x 1.5" x 0.187".Yes, I did hammer the 1.5 inches down to that little taper you see there. Some people think it's crazy, I thought it was a fun experiment.
That, and I wanted to really test out the 134# Hay Budden I bought earlier this year, so what better way than with an awesome knife concept?

The bottom knife is the blade I showed above, after some creative grinding. Before it was a little too odd shape-wise (big belly), so after chatting with JWS about it, I cut it down to this triangular-shaped kitchen knife. This one is made of 1084, originally measuring 8" x 1" x 0.187".

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This one I'm not really proud of, but I did learn from it. The goal of this was to practice making a double edged blade due to a sword class I'm taking next week (no, I do not have any delusions of leaving with a sword, just learning how to make one and possibly learn some transferable skills). Didn't really turn out as planned (especially the tip), but I learned from a few mistakes here and should be able to grind it into something useful at the very least. Not sure what I'm going to do with the handle yet due to lack of woodworking supplies, but I'm sure I'll think of something beyond a twist!

 

I'll snap more photos after they are cleaned up/polished. If I luck out, I can start again on Wednesday. Otherwise, it's just a matter of when I can get outside around my work schedule and not be fined for noise as I set up in the yard ^^;

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You might work on pre-forms.  This will help in making the finished item come out smoother.  I'm referring mainly to the attempt at the double edge.  I noticed the fishmouth on the double edge.  This style of blade is a challenge to forge just in keeping things symmetrical.  On your next attempt, try working the tip first.  Remove any fishmouth before final shaping.  This will make forging easier and clean up will go faster. 

I like the form of the bottom of the three.  It has a nice flow.

Keep it up!

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Thanks! JW really likes triangle blades, which is why that one turned out the way it did. More grinding than shaping via hammering, though, which I'm trying to get away from (so I can learn how about shaping the metal).

What exactly do you mean by pre-forms? I'm not familiar with the term, and would love to hear some of your thoughts and experience there.

On my next blade, I'm going to try attacking it from the tip first; first by having the metal mostly flat and hammering down the corner, flip it and repeat the process. I THINK that might work. . .

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Working steel is like working silly putty. It moves and flows.  So if you want to do a leaf with round stock there are steps you take in the early stages that when you finally flatten it out the steel flows into the shape of the leaf rather than fighting with it.  It takes practice and experience to work out your pre-forms.  I can't speak for the other smiths here, but I tend to start off with a mental image of the item and move in reverse seeing in my mind how the metal moved to get there.  Forging a Clip point Bowie is a very simple way since you take advantage of the way the steel moves under the hammer to form the point. 

I'm sure there's a lot of WIPs here that show your basic preforms.  I've got a few posted on my site.  One thing, don't expect to get your forgings perfect.  There are very few who can do that and it takes.  Always expect to leave yourself a little grind tolerance, it will shrink with experience.

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I've been noticing the silly putty reference, and it is interesting to see how it moves; it's why I'm experimenting now!

Thank you for the explanation on pre-forms; I've been trying to work with them for leaves (using round stock), but can't seem to get a feel for it. I guess I just need more practice!

In my first class, I walked in expecting nothing (I'm the guy that nearly failed wood shop, so. . .), but I seem to at least be somewhat competent with bladesmithing. I know there's a LONG way to go, but I know I learn every time I fire up the forge, so clearly I'm not wasting my time!

Thanks for the input; I'll look into things when time permits and see what else I can learn!

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Hey, don't go dragging me into this! lol, yeah, I happen to like that style of blade for a non-bolstered knife, but I still hammer mine out! If it wasn't for you young whipper-snappers asking 1,001 questions when ya could just have listened to what I told ya in the first place, I'd have more time to pay attention to what I'm hammering! :) lol - I do like that blade the best though..

-J

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Never said it was a bad one, I just said you seemed to like it! Besides, if I wasn't asking questions, you'd think I wasn't paying attention.

I do appreciate the help with everything so far!

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You said...."Three knives here, immediately after quenching in canola oil and before being thrown into the oven for heat treating".

You hopefully did heat treating before you quenched them.  The oven portion is actually tempering the blade, not heat treating.

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Kayakersteve,,,  If you want to get technical it is all a part of "Heat treating"  Annealing, normalizing, thermal cycling, hardening, tempering and Cryo treatments are all different aspects of heat treatment

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Sorry for the wrong word usage there.

These blades were forged/created via stock removal, annealed, cleaned up a bit, set in the gas forge to soak/normalize, heated to a non-magnetic state and quenched in 200 degree F canola oil, ran two 1.5 cycles in my oven at 375-400 degrees (innaccurate knobs), and soaked in vinegar overnight to help break up the scale and oil.

As of this morning's grinding and cleanup with a wire wheel, this is what they look like.

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I hit each one with a wire wheel/cup to get rid of the caked on oil, then a 25, 35, 60, and 120 grit wheel from my angle grinder, ending with the wire wheel one more time.Next I'm going to hit them with some high grit sandpaper to ensure all of the edges are good and clean, then either look into a polishing pad for my drill or just call it good.

The bush knife needs some sharpening (put on the bevel with the 25 grit wheel and cleaned it with a file as I don't have a belt grinder). The top knife won't be given an edge due to the request (lapidary I know wanted to showcase handles at his shows this summer, so he wanted a non-edged display piece that won't kill him as he makes a handle), and I'm curious how to even sharpen that bottom one. Thinking of just grabbing my chainsaw files at this point and going to town on it. . .

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No problem Libraian - just trying to make sure we are all talking about the same thing.  Steve - Of course you are technically correct, but we do break the components down and most people consider the heat to critical followed by quench the heat treat part.

most people also know all blacksmiths shoe horses, and whatever we are making they can get the same much cheaper at the box stores.

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Most people thought the earth was flat at one time too. Popular misconception or myth isn't a reason to misuse a technical terminology. If a person is unsure of the term then just describe what you're doing and find out.

Defining "Heat treating" with a popular misconception is doing nobody any good. If temperature is THE mechanism being used to alter a trait in the material then it IS "heat treatment." Point blank and period.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Kayaker: The heat to critical and quench is commonly referred to as "hardening" and not as "heat treat". Bringing a hardened piece of steel up to a specific temperature to "draw back" the hardness is commonly referred to as "Tempering". Multiple cycles of bringing up to critical and slow cooling between them is either called "normalizing" or "annealing" and that completely depends on the temperatures used, duration of hold, and type of steel. Steve Sells has the right of it, and we should all strive to use correct and consistent terminology.

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since none of the grand daddys here can be wrong i realize that responding is futile.  however, if you are going to get nitpicky and believe that heat treat encompasses the entire process, you missed a golden oportunity to correct the OP.  since he said he was putting in the oven to heat treat, you should have corrected him to let him know that heat traet actually began when he hardened the blade.

 

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"since none of the grand daddys here can be wrong i realize that responding is futile."

This is both insulting and contradictory, being that you are responding. Getting defensive and rude does not lead to a happy and cooperative environment. Nobody is trying to demean you, we are only trying to clarify an area of metal work that is often misunderstood and referred to with the incorrect terminology. There are no "golden opportunities to correct someone" unless of course, correcting people gives you some sort of ego boost. As M Cochran has pointed out, a lot of people refer to the tempering process as "heat treat". While this is not entirely correct, it does not require correction, and neither did the OP's post.

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I realize I should word that a little differently. He was doing part of the heat treat when he was tempering. I usually don't think about the first few steps as heat treat, just the hardening and tempering. I know that I'm wrong and that normalizing etc is also part of it.

Librarian, I am definitely interested in in the finished product here. I tend to favor the more 'basic' knife shapes such as the one you called triangle shaped. Maybe one day I'll try making somethin a little more interesting but that's what I'm comfortable and familiar with so that what I make.

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M Cochran: I'm currently in the process of hunting down some polishing tools I can use with my drill (as I lack a bench grinder) as well as higher grit flap wheels, so this may take a while. I hit a bit of a snag with the heat and my tools this weekend (batteries overheated within 15 minutes and wouldn't recharge due to heat), and I also snapped a small bit of the handle of the bush knife (that little bit hanging below the blade) on my vice when I was trying to define the blade with a file a bit more. Also ran into a few problems with my vice (the bolt came free, so I can tighten but not loosen the grip with it), so some of this may be on hold a bit longer as I try to get things fixed or replaced.

I've also been scrambling this week to get prepared for my class this weekend. Hopefully I'll be able to show my progress on a bigger blade and, if all goes well, I'll be back at my forge next weekend working on knives while waiting for materials to arrive.

 

I should also note that the triangle blade is just going to be polished and mailed out. It warped a little bit between tempering and cleaning (wire brush was able to bend it). Thankfully it's just a display piece for a friend's convention table, but I will snap a photo if I can get it cleaned up any further.

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I should also note that the triangle blade is just going to be polished and mailed out. It warped a little bit between tempering and cleaning (wire brush was able to bend it). Thankfully it's just a display piece for a friend's convention table, but I will snap a photo if I can get it cleaned up any further.

Ummm.. Go through the whole heat treat procedure again! Straighten that blade and make it capable of being a real knife some day! You've used good steel, why waste it?! :)

J

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Ummm.. Go through the whole heat treat procedure again! Straighten that blade and make it capable of being a real knife some day! You've used good steel, why waste it?! :)

J

I didn't think it was safe to do that without possibly damaging the metal, especially with how thin it is. I assume if I do the process again, I should just do short passes with high-grit flapwheels to clean off the oil and the like?

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I didn't think it was safe to do that without possibly damaging the metal, especially with how thin it is. I assume if I do the process again, I should just do short passes with high-grit flapwheels to clean off the oil and the like?

Try coating it in a thin slurry of premixed chimney cement mixed with a little bit of water (4:1 ratio). Give it a day or two to completely dry out before firing. Should help eliminate some of that scale.. and you can always hand sand or selectively sand just the blade, fading it back to rough towards the spine.

J

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I know how it is when tools break unexpectedly and put you behind. My bench vise broke on me last year and put a lot on hold. Soon as I can find me a decent piece of plate and take the time to do it I can fix mine since its nothin more than a broken base. I've yet to use a bench grinder successfully on a blade. I've actually ruined a couple usin one. Now I mostly do files and occasionally use my orbital sander.

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J: I'll look into that after I get back from my class and fire up the forge. At least I know my tiny 1lb hammer can be put to use!

M Cochran:Thankfully the vice problem isn't major, but it does cause problems if I want to work on hot metal. I'm considering a future investment in a proper post vice that is free standing (and easy to move for now), but I lack the materials to make that happen right now.
My most used tool outside of the forge and anvil is my Rigid angle grinder, which is how I'm using a wire wheel. It's nice, but I have a feeling it's a bit too fast for the metal at times.

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