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First Real Knives

John Martin

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umm, 1045 might be a little soft, what kind of blades are you making? what kind of heat treat? that would make a well defined hamon if you want to go that way with it..

what will they be used for? we really need some specifics on what you're planning to use them for..

good luck man :)

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Do some homework before you start. It will save you a lot of time and failures, as well as give you direction.

Start with IForgeIron.com The following links will answer your questions.

IForgeIron Wiki Hamon

IForgeIron Archives What's a Hamon line?

IForgeIron Archives Quenching in old motor oil

IFrgeIron Bladesmithing (knife section)

After you learn all you can from a blacksmithing site, go a google search for knife sites. But be warned that they will not spoon feed you information, you must do your own research into the craft of making knives.

Don Fogg has a site dedicated to blades and there are many others. Depending on your specific interest, choose a site that specializes in that type of blades.

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M that steel is short of carbon for a good blade, folks that are real handy can get the most out of that steel, but my guess is that it may come up a bit short as a blade. Let me explain that: Make your blade and then do a few test on it. 1900f seems a bit hot to me I use a magnet, put a magnet near your forge and at the temp that a magnet will not stick that is the color you want to quench in oil that is a bit over a 100f. Take the blade back to that color and you need to get it into the oil with no wasted time. Make sure you look up normalizing and do that before heat treat. After the hardening test with a file if the file cuts it easy it is not hard enough, try again. when the blade is hard then temper in an oven for about an hour at 400f . see if a file will cut it then you should be able to file an edge on it but not real easy. finish the blade but without a handle put a nice edge on it and cut up some cardboard boxes to see how the edge holds up. This is where Carbon comes in. If it cuts a lot of boxes and holds an edge put a handle on and smile...enjoy

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1900 is way too hot for heat treating it. I would not use 1045 for your first knife, it's not a very good knife steel. It's a good sword steel for long blades and for getting and active hammon, but not good for short stuff.

I recommend you get yourself a piece of 1084 or at least close (1080 / 1085) 1084 is a steel in which the eutectoid point is exactly the non-magnetic temperature of the steel, so the 'magnet' trick works best. 1084 is also simple to temper

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wise words glenn, I've been "persuing" knife smithing for a few years now and have only just learned there is a heck of a lot more to learn.. (shoulda known that from the start...)

Mbrothers, try using a coil or leaf spring instead of the 1045.. 5160 is a good knife steel (what car springs usually are) and you can quench it in the motor oil like you were going to for the 1045.. plus its pretty easy to find and cheap.. most junkyards will let you take one for under a buck..

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  • 2 weeks later...

You probably know this but some don't. I don't have the experience but I like to find out from those who do. If you want steel that will hold a great edge you want high carbon. The last 2 numbers of the steel # tell how much carbon is present in hundreths. 1045 has .45% carbon added to the iron. the overall hardness is dependent on 2 things. the amount of carbon in your steel and how you heat treat. Annealing, hardening, and tempering. and depending on what metal you use, changes the materials you use. Salt water, blood, and urine sometimes for quenching, and sometimes 10w30 motor oil, it all depends on what you want. motor oil is good for high carbon steel. 1090 is good for pocket knives that need a great edge. annealing is softening the metal and getting the stress out and needs to be done after rough forging and before you start anything. to get the stress out from your initial work. I recommend Darrel Markewitz of the Wareham Forge blacksmithing and bladesmithing DVDS. He goes through everything thoroughly and his prices are resonable. I am going to take his blacksmithing/bladesmithing course in May. He specializes in Norse era history, blades, and numerous artistic pieces, all by hand, all traditional, and ancient techniques he employs. He has worked with the Smithsonian and other museums in the reproduction of many blades and tools from the 1000 c.e. time and his DVD's have taught me a lot.

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