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First knives

Tempered Warrior

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When you say they "wouldn't sharpen", is that because they are too soft to hold an edge? What steel did you use, and how did you heat treat it? There are those who would say that a knife that can't be sharpened isn't a real knife, just a knife-shaped object.

Now that you have made these two knives, look at them carefully and critically. What can you do better next time? How can you make the shape better, the hardness and edge retention better? How do you make yourself a better bladesmith?

Looking at these knives, I have to be blunt: you have a long way to go. However, if you keep at it and keep trying to get better and better, you will eventually look back at these blades and marvel at how far you have come.

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These are a good start, but there is a lot of room for improvement.

I feel you should hold off on putting handles on your knives just yet; for now I would recommend focusing on forging and grinding and heat treat. Forge out and heat treat a handful of knives, and then finish the best one :)

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I've smacked plenty of Home Depot steel around on the anvil, but don't waste your time trying to heat treat it.  If its all you have to work with for now, then I'd just practice your skills at forming a blade, whether its forging or stock removal.  And maybe try to get a sense of what direction you need to go in on your fit and finishing.  Since its mild steel, it will never hold an edge and anything beyond practicing some of the basics will not give you the results that you want.

My first knife shaped object was simply that.  I still have it... actually gave to my teenage son to keep (He's the sentimental type) but every blade I make will always be compared to that so I can see how far I've come.  I'm still in the beginning stages myself... only working on knife #8 right now, but what I learned from all of my early goofing around is all worth it.  I ordered some good steel, and actually didn't touch it for another couple of months while I was still teaching myself how to correctly shape a blade with cheap scrap.  The only money I spent on those first few objects was a little fuel for the forge.

Once I was confident I could turn out something with a decent shape, I broke in to the good steel and experimented with different heat treatment and tempering.  You'll go through a little steal that way, but it is imperative if you want to turn out a truly good functioning blade.  So now my focus is all on my finish work, getting the perfect grind on the bevels, sanding, sanding, sanding, and of course the wood working for the handles.

Don't get discouraged by early attempts.  Just figure out the areas you'd like to improve in, and then figure out the plan on how you're going to accomplish it. 

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1 hour ago, Tempered Warrior said:

At the time I bought the steel I don't know where to get good carbon steel so I went to home depot and picked up some cheap constructional steel to start. As for the heat treat I heated them up to a bright orange and quenched into water

Well, there's your problem, right there. Mistake made, lesson learned. Now, go get some decent steel and try again.

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Before you try heat treating good blade steel, read the heat treating section on Iforge. What you did to your Home Depot steel would probably shatter high carbon steel. Bright orange into water is NOT a good hardening method. There is a ton of detailed information, pics and discussion in the blade and heat treat sections here. You'll learn a LOT more and faster reading there first than just asking questions. It'll give you a grounding in the craft and jargon so you can ask good questions and understand the answers.

FYI, I'm not a bladesmith guy, I know the dance but don't hear the music.

Frosty The Lucky.

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