Jclonts82

52100 & W2 damascus skinner. Work in progress

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I was tasked to make a skinning knife from W2 and 52100. At first I was unsure if it would (read I had skill enough to make it) even weld, then there were questions about contrast and heat treat, think I got the answers I needed for all that. 

But all the research I could do is secondary to the 'ole try. 

 

Enough chatter, bring on the pictures!

initial billet:IMG_6750.thumb.JPG.c97a86fd0e7515a75165ad11b2b1fa0e.JPGIMG_6753.thumb.JPG.c99ee6597debb8cf8969abe57da056cb.JPG

firing for first weld:IMG_6831.thumb.JPG.a23dbecea7e6744cb0d744d5596760a1.JPG

9 laters here, then I cut into 4 pieces, cleaned and stackedIMG_6840.thumb.JPG.b5dab884d6b1c58c88de7dc33b431478.JPG

9 layers to 33-36 layersIMG_6878.thumb.JPG.d64219af1d97aec3a855242baf11f610.JPG

drew out to 12" long, hot cut 80% of the way through at 4" up on 1 side, then at 8" up on the other side, folded to a "Z" cleaned then massively fluxed then back in the fire for the last weld. Yeilds 99-108 layers. (Call it 100)IMG_6879.thumb.JPG.5c76b70d35a29fa5b3e85fcb95c6d25f.JPGIMG_6881.thumb.JPG.4bc52017c50d13af6785c4982e5f37f7.JPG

welded it up and drew it out. About a third was squezed a lot smaller than the rest in preparation for a twist. I cut that end-tip off to square it up and for a weld integrity and pattern check:IMG_6886.thumb.JPG.67bbe99db4aff709448df25775011ea8.JPG

looking good, 2 minutes in concentrated HCl, then a 15 second dip in FeCl3

 

Then I was tired and stopped for the day.

 

 

More to come when I get the time!

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Who do you have teaching you?  Trying to do it on your own will make learning it take at least ten times as long.

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12 hours ago, Johnnyreb338 said:

Man I wish I could figure this forge welding thing out. Everybody makes it look so easy.

 

12 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Trying to do it on your own will make learning it take at least ten times as long.

Its NOT easy, at least for me it isn't.. I'm 100% solo in the shop, not lucky enough to have anyone relatively close to let me learn from, my educators are mainly on here plus a farming/welding history that applies ground-metalworking knowledge. I spent probably 30 minutes measuring and cutting the initial billet pieces, then belt grinding each piece, and adding a slight bevel on the ends to aid in flux intake. probably spent a good 5 minutes aligning and clamping the individual pieces and the square mild stock handle just to weld. Any shortcuts in these basic steps could lead to mistakes that would only exponentially grow. Taking a LOT of time to get the first steps set up properly and as perfect as you can goes a long way.

After the first weld (pre-flux, heat, flux, heat, hammer) I wire brushed the whole billet while still yellow and no flux/slag visible then dusted fresh flux. I did 4 hand hammering welding passes just to be sure. Used a frankensteined log-splitter with railroad rails to draw it out. Aafter it was to length, I took an additional 3 heats and light press work and hand hammering to make sure the billet was all the same with and thickness all the way down. When satisfied, I wire brushed it again, turned the forge off and passed the 12" bar back and forth in the forge for about 10 minutes to make sure it all heated up and annealed at the same temperature. Left it in the cooling forge overnight with additional bricks at the opening.

Carefully measured and cut into 4 equal pieces by marking with a hand hack-saw then took it to the chop saw. Also I cut 1/2" off the end, and 1" at the handle to make sure the bars were pristine and all edges squared. Then I spent about 20 minutes with a 4" angle grinder cleaning up the welding surfaces of the 4 bars, repeated the same process to weld them to the handle making sure it was all pristine. The only fast and furious part was the "Z" hot-cut and fold. that consisted of lining up the billet on the anvil with pre-drawn lines to make the cuts/ this left a big shunt close to the handle that I will have to cut off, as well as about 1.5" on the very end that while I was drawing the end of the billet thin, it just split at the end. 2 of the 3 bars stuck together but split from the 3rd. So instead of fighting a bad weld, I just cut them off. Added them to the random cut off pieces that I will use for my first canister damascus... eventually. 

So mistakes happen, and not everything goes as perfectly as planned. But I have learned at least when to cut your losses (literally, off) and work with what is good. Also I have learned that in doing damascus 'I' can typically expect to end up with only 1/3-1/2 of the steel you started out with, from scale and imperfections and eventual grinding. 

Just give it the ole try, you never know...

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5 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Who do you have teaching you?  Trying to do it on your own will make learning it take at least ten times as long.

Yeah that's 1 problem,  I'm basically  a  loner,          I'm a hermit who live in the boonies, no friends except the wife and dogs.

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1 hour ago, Johnnyreb338 said:

Yeah that's 1 problem,  I'm basically  a  loner,          I'm a hermit who live in the boonies, no friends except the wife and dogs.

HA. My brother I have missed you. :lol: I am the same way. If I never had to go into town that would suit me fine.

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2 hours ago, Tommie Hockett said:

HA. My brother I have missed you. :lol: I am the same way. If I never had to go into town that would suit me fine.

Yes indeed.     My drive way is 3.5 miles red clay dirt road. 

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So it's a self inflicted wound?   I am an introvert; but I learned to deal even with Quad-State to learn what I wanted to know in blacksmithing.

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5 hours ago, Johnnyreb338 said:

Yeah that's 1 problem,  I'm basically  a  loner,          I'm a hermit who live in the boonies, no friends except the wife and dogs.

That sounds like me ...no friends apart from wife, kids, parents lol.

That's why its important to be on here with loads of people who actually know what you're talking about!!!

 

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2 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

So it's a self inflicted wound?   I am an introvert; but I learned to deal even with Quad-State to learn what I wanted to know in blacksmithing.

Same here. I love to have it where it is just me the wife and our animals, but I am willing to mingle with others when it brings me closer to my goals. And there is an added plus when you do meet someone who is like minded. It is easier to make friends that way.

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So the forging is done, I decided to put a twist pattern in it. I have done one before with 1095 & 15n20 (5/8" thick) and it went off without a hitch, however this animal was something different. I had MUCH more resistance while twisting the stock, it was a little thicker (3/4 - 1") so I expected that, but it was requiring about 4 times the force to twist than the other. It made me nervous enough to stop at I think 2 full twists. Oh well, should look neat anyways. Sorry, at work no pics at the moment.

I have started grind work. Cousin wants a fairly skinny handle on it, with a slight taper towards the blade, may be unconventional, but whatever!

 

Question. What are the Forum's opinions on the edge geometry and / or grinding bevel angles for a skinning knife? I'm leaning towards a flat grind for the majority of the blade and a really acute angle for the edge bevel. Somewhere in the vicinity of 15-17 degrees? I would Really appreciate any thoughts and insights on the matter

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1 hour ago, Jclonts82 said:

I'm leaning towards a flat grind for the majority of the blade and a really acute angle for the edge bevel. Somewhere in the vicinity of 15-17 degrees? I would Really appreciate any thoughts and insights on the matter

What you have planned sounds good to me. I've done skinners basically to exactly those specs, and they come out very sharp, plenty enough to skin.

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Good progress made. Forged then ground to shape, don't know if I like the thicker point by the tip, may grind it out. Interestingly while drilling holes for the tang it was extremely hard.  I have a set of new cobalt drill bits and they just squealed on the tang. When I was done with forging, i left in the the forge, bricked the opening up and turned off the gas. The next morning it was still warm. I thought that would have left it plenty soft but you never know i guess. Had to drill in 1/16th increments just to get through it, while breaking 2 bits in the process.IMG_6956.thumb.JPG.e0e50e26f1863483c95b8127fdb76b3f.JPG

This pic was just before the heat treat  

 

While grinding, Horray, no cracks/delams/bad welds that I could see.

Heat treat went well, preheated forge to 1500 +/- and heated until the color stopped changing on the blade about 15 minutes total, then immediately quenched in vegetable oil. 

 

No warping, no bad sounds. Immediately tempered to 340 (as close as I could set the toaster oven to 350 and have it stay there) for 1 hour. 

Repeated temper the next day. 

 

Just sarted finishing grind work and edge bevel.

 Also the manzanita wood for the handle is in the vacuum chamber with cactus juice as I type. Its a really hard & dense wood to begin with, but has a tendency to crack... thought why not try and stabilize it and see if that works?

 

more pics to come as work progresses. 

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Whelp. I'm more/less done. I will light sand then do one last quick dip in the acid to even out the pattern. 

 

I decided my handle work needs more practice. But overall I'm satisfied with my work. I filled a gap from an oops in my handle. The guard is not 100% square to the tang so I had to sand the front of the scale at an angle... measured correctly, just sanded it opposite, so it left a gap. First guard I've ever made. Could be better, could be a lot worse. 

 

Enjoy. 

IMG_6992.thumb.JPG.529f5c3ff8d8bc574ac19f315bb260b3.JPGIMG_6993.thumb.JPG.34ece0c9d2e260b5787b6060dda6f6c0.JPGIMG_6994.thumb.JPG.b7e77f6e9785c104d4c0b3cc2404ccc3.JPGIMG_6995.thumb.JPG.ce171d8c5dc0863f90a1bc0aa4b3e5de.JPGIMG_6996.thumb.JPG.908da3fecaaa6f65cc5cad93c50fb06e.JPGIMG_6997.thumb.JPG.4a54f8fdfe65adf701847663d169919e.JPG

 

feedback, constructive criticism is welcome. 

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The blade steel is lovely, and the overall shape and proportions are nice. The guard is jarring -- it looks like it got knocked loose and was carelessly epoxied back in place. The mismatch between the back of the blade and the back of the tang looks sloppy. The corners of the guard and the handle look pretty sharp, and both look and function would probably be improved by rounding over any edge that will be in contact with the hand. In the antepenultimate photo, there's a black dot in the middle of one of the rivets; is that supposed to be there, or is it some kind of marking or camera artifact?

In short, the blade looks great and the handle design is nice, but the handle execution is a letdown. 

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...corners of the guard and the handle look pretty sharp, and both look and function would probably be improved by rounding over any edge that will be in contact with the hand.

In the antepenultimate photo, there's a black dot in the middle of one of the rivets; is that supposed to be there, or is it some kind of marking or camera artifact?

In short, the blade looks great and the handle design is nice, but the handle execution is a letdown. 

Couldn't agree more!

 

I've for sure learned to rethink my approach to guards,  and definitely need to take more time to line things up properly before drilling the pin holes that match the tang. 

Thank you for the honesty.

All corners are rounded slightly, so there are no sharp points where the hand touches them, photos just don't convey that very well. Aesthetically it would be much better to really round and make the lines flow. I agree.

Black point is actually a sharpie dot, I was considering some design or etch dark on the pins, decided not to, wiped the dot off. 

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For small gaps between components you can usually take some sanding/grinding dust from the material you were working with and mix it with epoxy to make the spaces less noticeable.

I agree with JHCC  on pretty much everything he said.  On the guard I would take a round file, half round file, or a small contact wheel on a grinder and put more of an inside curve where your index finger would be in use.  If you do that and radius the edges a little afterwards it should both look and feel a little bit better.

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Maybe I should practice with cheap pine 2X4s making handles and guards to get a better feel for it, make less mistakes in wood that counts.

This wood is Manzanita shrub, and very hard to come by where I'm at, but I really like the way it looks. That and its hard as nails, I have a cutting from a branch thats 1/4 inch thick 1 inch wide, and about 6 inches long. you cannot break or bend it by hand. I've had 4-5 burly guys try and no luck. 

 

I appreciate the comments and critique, it will help me be a better maker. Thank you

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JCL.,

Using an epoxy mixture with grindings or sanding dust is a good idea. But if a consistent dark color is desired, I have used graphite powder in the epoxy. Graphite is available for sale in most hardware stores and also auto supply stores. (it is used as a lubricant).

Failing that, you can make carbon powder by using a lit candle and holding a cup filled with water just above the candle flame. That set up allows for incomplete combustion of the candle wax and carbon is deposited on the glass underside. The carbon can then be scraped off the glass.

Other filler colors can be produced by sanding various woods. (like Gaboon ebony, black wood, black walnut etc.). Small off cuts can be used for that purpose. Those bits can be salvaged from a store's garbage or their pile of wood ends.

You can use wood powder made form the knife scales for a color match

SLAG.

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graphite powder in the epoxy

Awesome, I've never thought of that, will remember that for the future. Hopefully I will take more time setting things up, doing it right, and not need it. I only get about 1.5 hrs 2-3  days a week after I put the toddler to bed so I kinda rushed finishing this knife. I'm delivering it to him tomorrow.  

 

To fill the gap I mixed up a few test batches of:

wood glue with dust 
wood glue with red alumilite dye 
wood glue with dust and dye
epoxy with dye 
epoxy with dust
epoxy with dye and dust 

let em dry and hit with 400 grit sand paper. I liked the dye and dust with epoxy the best and that's what I used in the end.

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Using an epoxy mixture with grindings or sanding dust is a good idea. But if a consistent dark color is desired, I have used graphite powder in the epoxy. Graphite is available for sale in most hardware stores and also auto supply stores. (it is used as a lubricant).

A good inexpensive source (especially if you're in an agricultural area) is graphite seed lubricant. Anything you don't use to tint epoxy can be used as punching lubricant (when mixed with beeswax or some other carrier; see IFI threads on punching lube).

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 graphite seed lubricant

Grew up as a cotton, wheat, alfalfa Farmer, that was my first thought when slag mentioned graphite.

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To fill the gap I mixed up a few test batches of:

wood glue with dust 
wood glue with red alumilite dye 
wood glue with dust and dye
epoxy with dye 
epoxy with dust
epoxy with dye and dust 

let em dry and hit with 400 grit sand paper. I liked the dye and dust with epoxy the best and that's what I used in the end.

I've had pretty good results from sprinkling/pressing sawdust or very small chunks into the epoxy while it's still sticky and then sanding it off after it sets.  I don't usually mix it into the epoxy originally.  These gaps are usually no more than about a millimeter wide though.

Looking back through your pics I'd guess that knife is a little handle heavy.  The tang appears to be noticeably thicker at the end than the blade. It's a personal preference thing I suppose, but I usually taper the tang thinner from the ricasso back on the tang and also forward to the point of the knife.  For me this seems to produce a better balance and a lighter knife overall.

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