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I Forge Iron

Neighbor Boy Designs a Knife


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My son has made friends with another 11 year old who is a really nice kid.  He is from the south, its always yes ma'am and no sir and thank you. He has been bounced around lived with grandparents, god parents, friends and is now back with his mother who moved in with my neighbor.  He changes schools like I change socks.  Anyway my wife and I have sort of adopted him and tried to make him feel welcome at our home.  He was very interested in the chickens, gardens, bb-guns and blacksmithing as there is always something interesting going on at our place.  I said if he received his mothers permission we could make him a knife when he was admiring my son's.  He got her permission and has been making sure I don't forget.  Saturday I sat him and my son down and said draw it up boys.  Here is the deal, we make tools here for men who work, no bowie knife fighter nonsense.  Blade no wider than your palm.  They came back with a silly pattern with about a 2 inch handle.  I gave some critique and they came back with a fix.  This went on for about 1/2 the day until they came up with a reasonable design.  I pronounced it a "good design" his chest puffed out like a prairie chicken and he said thank you sir.  I had them cut it out and traced it on the anvil in soapstone.  I forged the shape out of a piece of 5160, then we ground it to the exact paper template.  I gave them a triangle file and my post vise to add the "jimping" they incorporated into their design.  Needless to say they got smaller as they filed.  They center punched the holes and I let them drill them out at the press.  Then I had my son explain heat treatment.  He even got it about half right.  I explained what happens in forging, why we normalize, why an oil quench and why tempering is needed.   Yesterday we forged a copper guard and glued the handles on.  Today we will nearly finish it and we will make a proper sheath. I'll post a picture of the pattern, the knife and the boys.  Its been rewarding to do this with the boy.  My kids get to do all sorts of neat stuff, lots of kids do not.  He may remember this his whole life.  I hope to give the kid a decent steer, he has had it kind of rough.  My boy's knifes are very sharp.  I'm wondering if maybe I leave this edge about like a file sharp edge on a hoe, or sharpen it properly and teach him how to use a knife safe. Or maybe file sharp and lessons for now?  Maybe I'll have to talk to his mother about it.         

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I doff my hat to you Matt, good works will return in spades. I highly discommend leaving the boy with a dull or blunt knife. A tool is a tool it doesn't need to be a "weapon" to be a weapon, in the day I practiced the martial arts I could cripple and or kill a person with a rolled up comic book. There's more to it than that of course, you do NOT want to have him get used to dull knives. I had a serious sit down with an old friend's 7 year old for cutting cheese in an unsafe manner using a butter knife. The butter knife wasn't going to do more than make her fingers ache if it slipped but if she tried that with a sharp knife it could've removed fingers at a knuckle.

There's an old saw about a sharp knife being safer than a dull one, they for one don't slip, they cut, they cut easily so a person doesn't have to bear down on it. That's what Dinnelle was doing with the butter knife worse yet she had her fingers wrapped around the blade. Anyway Learing to handle a sharp knife at a young age puts a kid on the road to recognizing dangers and how to deal with them in a safest manner, even how to recognize hazards in strange situations.

Teaching him how to sharpen his own knife is very important, taking proper care of tools means a lot. Tell him if he can put a proper edge on a kitchen knife it's worth about $0.75 and about $1.00 for a hunter. IF the knife hasn't been blunted then price doubles or even triples depending on damage. Remember to show him how to spot a rolled edge.

You DID have his Mother's permission to help him make a knife didn't you? It's not a safe or useful knife if it isn't sharp and helping a kid make an unsafe or useless . . . prop/toy isn't much of a favor is it?

Frosty The Lucky.

 

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Somewhere someone loved the boy enough to teach him some manners and he held onto them.  Means he is a good kid just wrinkled.  I deal with some bad situations every day and the ones with a foundation in manners are the ones who you can iron out the wrinkles.  You are doing a good thing.  A boy needs a positive role model and a real family he can look up too.

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Beautiful blade, well done guys! Oh yeah, I recommended sharp, NOT bare! Good common sense precaution, have they done any whittling with it? Show them how to sharpen it?

This is something they're going to be telling their grand children about.

Frosty The Lucky.

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