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I Forge Iron

50cm knife made from steel


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Hey guys!

I'm completely new to this kind of hobby, which I developed in a few days (funny I know).

I would like to make a knife myself, but being unfamiliar with the topic I turn to you guys, experts and experienced people.

I would like to know the whole procedure of making a complex (for me) knife that is multifunctial such as using it for cutting, as an axe, sawing.

I dared to make same 3D models of my dream knife, however I didn't think about the handle yet.


I want to order a 5x50x500mm steel piece to cut my knife scheme from it which looks like this: 811850344knife4_www.kepfeltoltes.hu_.png

It is a one hand knife with 10cm handle and at least 35cm blade (the 5cm would be dull for pulling out of wood with 2 hands if stuck or for making sparks with firesteel).

Since I do not know whether it is important how deep the edge is beveled, I made it 15mm and the sawback is 7mm deep with 5mm teeth and 2mm gaps.

I do not own a blacksmith forge or any other accessories (I have hammers files stones grinders and gas for heating).

I would like your help in the whole procedure like beveling the edge making the saw, heat treating and tempering. Yet I don't know the carbon amount in the steel, I have to ask the seller to tell me every information needed for crafting such item.

Please excuse my elaborateness but I'm a complete newbie without experience.

I hope somebody will be able to help me, and join your glorious community of having a self made item! :)

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Starting with stock removal isn't at all a waste of time. Many of the knife gurues forget to tell new folks is that you still remove a lot of material from forged knives and all the related parts.

a note for the Rambo survival knife, a separate saw is better than a saw blade back, as most are poorly designed and executed, saw blades are rather specialized. The teeth need the right shape as well as being "set" right. You may find a large reciprocating saw blade as a donner saves you the issue off making a good saw blade profile and setting the teeth. You may also find the pull saw better than the push

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you want to design an airplane with out knowing anything about flying.  Same thing here. 

There is a reason most blades have a few things in common, and none look like that.  That is not a knife, you made a picture of a saw with a sharp edge on the back.  If you take the time to read the pinned posts about blades, and perhaps the free knife making classes, maybe you can try again with a serious post not a funky Cricket bat

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What kinds of wood will the saw be cutting , green or dry, will it be crosscut or rip or a hybrid, how much set on the teeth. The art of saws is pretty complex and most saws are pretty specific in their use . A rip saw will crosscut but it won't do it as efficiently as a crosscut, and a general purpose saw from a big box store is mostly junk. Then add the complexities of knife making and you are in for a good challenge, all the info is here but are you ready to spend many hours making the blade then filing and setting teeth to possibly ruin it hardening it?? I would want to try heat treating some other things before I risked throwing it into the scrap pile.  Not saying it can't be done by any means , but you may want to learn to swim before trying  to swim the English Channel.

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2 minutes ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

I think one would want to heat treat before cutting, sharpening and setting the saw blade teath. 

For a traditional handsaw , certainly but there would likely be much less thickness to a saw plate than than for a knife that will be seeing abuse, wouldn't finish them but I would get them started before heat treating then sharpen and set. Just like you would rough the bevel first on the blade. Would make cutting the teeth less time consuming I would think and save wear on a saw file. 

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I think we have a kid who has a young man's idea of the perfect knife and like so many doesn't know anything about knives. I'm thinking he's looking for a brush chopper survival thingy like Bear Grills carries around. Basically a heavy machete with a "saw" spine. How often do we see posts like this but about making a sword?

As drawn the "dream" knife is 20" of darned heavy to have to carry around and not a lot of good for chopping brush even though it'd split the heck out of kindling. You couldn't skin game and cleaning it without ruining meat would be iffy.

I have a  folding saw for limbing and such that weighs something like 6-8 oz. an old Buck sheath knife, my Oldtimer Cattleman's folding knife (in my pocket now) and a Eastwing hatchet that pretty much fills all my needs for woodsy cutlery. The biggest knife I've ever seen a woodsman carry is a mid sized Bowie and he carried a pocket knife for most uses.

Look, we're not trying to discourage you, we want to see you get into the craft and succeed. I personally LOVE seeing pics of the blades posted here and I want to see yours. Unfortunately if you try learning the blade craft by making a nearly impossibly impractical blade you're more likely to discourage yourself and quit. Learning to make blades isn't easy it takes study and work but the rewards of making fine blade is high reward in itself.

Frosty The Lucky.

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As discussed by others above, no-one wants you not to follow your dreams. But maybe do a reality check or two first.

Just by way of empirical research...take a woodworkers handsaw and tape off, or mark the length to leave the number of teeth you have shown on your dream design (around 175mm-ish?) and try sawing the sort of wood you envisage cutting with your knife, restricting your stroke to the 175mm. I think you will find it will only be good for tiny branches, have a very short stroke, an unergonomic handle angle, and at a minimum of 5mm thick before any 'set', will be removing a very wide saw kerf, about 3 or 4 times the width of a woodworkers saw. Very inefficient.

Having said that I have used the wood saw on my Victorinox multi tool to very good effect, even if it was awkward it was much better than nothing. But that has a thin hollow ground blade with flush cutting teeth which are also not exposed when not in use, and I was not trying to cut down a tree.

Coupled with the built in weakness of crack-starting points for when you are chopping your shelter trees down, the saw knife combination is maybe not such a good idea. 

However, enjoy the journey and experiment...

Charles' suggestion of starting out with a length of band saw blade which would give you a useable saw with little effort and grinding the blade profile on the other edge would seem an excellent way of testing your concept with minimal cost and time.

Perhaps you could buy a cheap machete and modify that to start with? Just lop the end off to see if the size and weight is how you imagine it will feel and adjust that until you have the balance you want. Experiment with the handle shape etc.



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I see your points guys, heaviness is not a problem for me I can do it all day, and no I'm not a child but I have tons of time I want to spend on something useful if I go to the "wild". No Bear Grylls stuff and of course I'm a newbie as I mentioned above. Dreams are dreams and I came here to get answers to my questions since I read a few topics which weren't specific to my case. I have a heavier machete myself which I made before but it was already a heat treated piece of metal angle grinded to the purpouse. The saw would be for cutting dried or little damp wood and the pull saw is right. I admire again that I don't know what I'm talking about and I try to figure it out how it would be the "best" for use. So to sum:

saw for smaller branches that might be hard to chop off

heavier blade for bigger cutting force as using an axe or cuttin a smaller tree

Heaviness doesn't matter I can use it whole day withoug being exhausted I'm fit enough. Many of what you wrote true, and helpful, that is why I came here! :)

So you say a saw on the back is not efficient and maybe breaks the knife/machete sooner? And for the heat treating, I would profile it then HT, temper and the make it sharper.



As I said my equipment is limited but my time is limitless :)

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If I were to try this I suppose I would use a peice of 5160( new not a peice of leaf spring) stock removal since you have limited tooling available.  Rough the blade bevel, start cutting the teeth for the saw in a pruning saw style( cuts on pull and push strokes with deep valleys to remove chips), harden, temper, finish shaping saw teeth with correct fleam angle, finish grinding the bevel then bring teeth and blade to final sharpness. the saw won't be as good as carrying a folding saw with a knife , and the blade won't chop nearly as well as a hatchet.

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Hi w1p3ra!

What part of Hungary are you from? (If I assume right your country.) If you are close to the Eastern end you are welcome in my shop. - I'm no knife guy but maybe I can advise you towards other people. 

And you can PM me Hungarian if you will :)



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There's more about the weight of a blade than just carrying it and swinging it. I know I gave the impression carrying it around was the main issue, my bad. Balance is about more than where the blade lays level on your finger, that's really just an indicator of how you did with the other factors. A chopping blade needs the weight where it does the most work for the user, having it spread the whole length of the blade isn't a good weight distribution unless you're chopping brush.

There are harmonics involved too though I can't recall the correct term. An impact on a blade causes the blade to vibrate like a violin string and it can make for a really unpleasant experience if one of the high points of the harmonic vibrations is the handle. This is more an issue for swords but what you propose is in the short sword size range and not a thrusting tool. I'll listen to the guys who make blades opine if they think it's worth talking about.

I'm glad to know you're not a kid with wild ideas. An adult with wild ideas is a lot more likely to be able to modify their plans into something that will actually turn into the dream tool. I sure hope that makes more sense than it sounds like. :)

Frosty The Lucky.

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Definitely weight and balance are use case dependent.  I once had my Brother in Law, then a Captain in the Army Rangers, explain to me why the fairbairn sykes commando knife was so heavily balanced in the grip.  A Bolo Machete is balanced totally differently and both do *their* *specific* jobs well.

Note: a "survival knife"  is the one you have on you when you are put into a survival situation and so it needs to be one you *CARRY* constantly; until fairly recently I was able to carry my swiss army knife on airplanes with me, the inspection people never flinched seeing it in the basket with my keys; though at one time they started checking that the knife blade wasn't serrated ( I guess we were not supposed to be able to cut our seatbelts in an emergency...)

So is your design one you could walk into a market with?  Into Church? Into a Police station?

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