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I Forge Iron

My two knives (one is nearing completion, the other I just started)

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I have currently been working on two different blades since the "First Knife" post; one I've been working on since before this summer, and another I just started a couple weeks ago.






I call it the backyard Bichaq, because the design was inspired by an Ottoman Bichaq I saw in a book on knives. As you can see, it is very close to finish: the only two processes left for the bladework are quenching and tempering. Given that this is effectively a first time father-son project, it's (in my mind) very good for a first time. What do any of the more seasoned bladesmiths here think?

The Backyard Bichaq is partially double edged; the upper edge is much shorter that the lower edge. It already has holes drilled into the tang for brass pins, and I plan on fitting it with a walnut-scale handle and a brass guard. it is about 9.2-3in. long





This one I call the Backyard Baselard. As you can see, it has been shaped in the forge extensively but is relatively fresh to filework. It has sustained some slight cracking and material loss as a result of its thinness, and is slightly warped towards the tip, but I have faith it will make for a great blade. If it breaks, I will just file it down shorter. Again, do any of the more seasoned bladesmiths want to share their opinions on this one?

I have plans to fit it using a partial "Baselard" Hilt using two guards to produce the "I" shape that dagger type is famous for. One I have plans to fashion myself (out of copper) and the other I saw in a catalog from Jantz Supply. The rest of the handle will probably be either walnut, kirinite, or (if me and my dad are feeling ambitious) some African Blackwood we bought a while back at the same place we got the walnut (because it was on sale). The baselard is about 12.5in. long

So, what do you think? Given that I jumped into the complex process of bladesmithing the first opportunity I got, did these turn out very well given the time, effort, and work I put into them?

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You mentioned that your next step is the heat treatment, I'm curious what material did you start with? Knife making is not the easiest thing to start with, but it sure will hone your hammer control.  You should post a few pics of the blades you are modelling these after. Keep at it, I look forward to seeing the finished product.

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3 minutes ago, D.C. said:

You mentioned that your next step is the heat treatment, I'm curious what material did you start with? Knife making is not the easiest thing to start with, but it sure will hone your hammer control.  You should post a few pics of the blades you are modelling these after. Keep at it, I look forward to seeing the finished product.

Thanks! Really!

Both of my blades are 1095 high-carbon. I do have a third, but it's much longer and even newer than the Baselard. It's also 1095.

I do have the book handy, but given that I can only photograph using my laptop camera, It's too difficult to simply take pictures of the book. The book itself is "The Complete Illustrated History of Knives, Swords, Spears, and Daggers". The Balkan Ottoman Bichaq on the upper part of page 222 inspired my first knife, and the English Long Baselard on page 131 (the second one down) inspired my second.

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My 2 cents:  If you have "slight" cracking before heat treat you will probably have more than slight cracking after the heat treatment.  If it is possible to file or grind away all the cracked parts before heat treating I would recommend that strongly.  Cracks don't get smaller when more stress is introduced.  If you have already heat treated the blade that has cracks I would still recommend grinding out the cracks if possible unless you don't intend to actually use the blade.  If it's just a reference point as your skill progresses then the crack is not as big of a deal. Since the pictures don't clearly show the cracking I can't offer any more suggestions than that at this time.

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Those are some great early knives, and I love the father-son aspect.

The first knife will be great. Take your time and finish it off right; you guys will be using it for years to come.

Blade number 2 was great practice, but you need to move on. Cracks before heat treat guarantee failure. If you continue on and it breaks during HT you are lucky - the worst thing that could happen in this scenario is that it does not break during HT, and the knife is put to use. A knife breaking during use can cost a finger or an eye or worse, and is a ticking timebomb, especially if it's accessible to someone unaware of it's cracks.

Keep forging (honestly, how can you not?) and making knifes :) Forge thick and grind thin. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Alright, in the weeks since I posted this, I did some additional work on the Backyard Baselard:




As you can see, it's been polished and I've begun to put an edge on it. It may be difficult to see, but the tip has been sharpened (as can be noted from the harsh taper in the last two images.

I am also proud to present:










The Hillbilly Hanger! This is an 18.5in. Shortsword me and my dad made from one of the few remaining pieces of high-carbon that was lying around. It has two edges, both of which are the length I want them to be. Namely, it has a yelman point (with a short second edge). The Hanger will be fitted with an axe-handle hilt with a piece of brass for a guard, with two counter-curving quillons made from copper on either side of the guard, secured through loop-holes. I based this one off of a British Navy Hanger I saw in the same book on knives that I used to design the other two.

Though I still have a ways to go before I even quench the last two knives (I've already polished the first one to my liking), what do you think of the Hanger? On the same topic, what of the Baselard?

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