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(M)

what can go wrong.....

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so as a newbie if i was to go and try to forge a knife out of a leaf spring- after checking for cracks  in the stock- what is the worst that could happen if i "forged it wrong"  i really know nothing about this so please let   me know what i am dealing with.  cracking?  shattering? also if this is already discussed in another thread then pls redirect me.  

thanks in advance

i dont really care if my knife stinks, but what are the dangers of breaking etc.  

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The worst thing that could happen would be that you are responsible for the maiming or death of yourself or another person. Are you willing to accept that responsibility?

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If you have decent shop skills and make wall blunt hangers the hazards are mainly the blade getting away from you on the grinder or a powered wire wheel or buff. If a wire wheel or buff grabs the blade you could be dead before you hit the floor. Exactly that happened to one of our club members a few years ago and he was an experienced bladesmith.

That's about as close to a useful answer as we can give you with such a vague question. If all you're concerned with is potential stress cracks in salvaged spring steel, buy new knife steel. It may seem like a lot but when you balance the probability of failure using salvages steel and your time invested, you can do handyman work for a few hours a week and buy new steel.

You'll come out WAY ahead working with a known steel. It will increase your chances of success, save time and produce a much safer blade. Learning to evaluate salvaged steel is almost a craft of it's own as or more involved than bladesmithing. 

One last thing about our last statement. If you don't care if your blades stink, why bother? Seriously, making dangerous tools or potential weapons is NO PLACE for people who don't care about quality.

Frosty The Lucky.

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FYI, this just happened today. Imagine this flying through the air at high speed. What could go wrong?

IMG_3452.JPG

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What ca go wrong?  You can have blade failure in the forging: too hot, too cold, stress concentrators, decarburization, grain growth, etc. Or in the heat treating: too hot, too cold, wrong quenchant/temp,  Edge too thin, too coarse grain,  not proceeding directly to tempering after quenching, wrong temp during tempering Or the grinding: putting in stress concentrators; bad design, lack of skills. Or in use by the customer.

You can have safety issues working it.  Which as mentioned can be deadly; or as minor as burning down your shop, I know of several cases where that has happened.  (cuts/grinder bites requiring ER/A&E visits are common enough even with skilled makers that I'll skip over them.) BUFFERS ARE DEADLY!

Knives are less likely to break and send pieces flying off into the crowd like swords can; but failures can still result in damage to self or close by people.

Note that a lot of these things can happen to even someone who knows what they are doing---just with a much lower possibility!

This question reads a lot like "I don't know how to drive; what could go wrong if I take a car and go for a joyride?"

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ok i should clarify: how can the knife be dangerous after it is made.  specifically the forging process.  i e how could i accidentally make a dangerous knife-- 

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you missed the point ? ok to be clear

it could break and cut the person using it, or another person near the person using it

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6 hours ago, Frosty said:

One last thing about our last statement. If you don't care if your blades stink, why bother? Seriously, making dangerous tools or potential weapons is NO PLACE for people who don't care about quality.

i meant if they look pathetic.  i want the blades to be dependable and i DO  care about the quality.  i meant if it looked bad due to poor forging skills.  the last thing i would want would be for a blade to fail and cause injury.  thats kinda what i am asking:  what could happen while forging to make a failing blade

i guess ThomasPowers has answered that for me though.  so if i mess up, i can make a shattering breaking dangerous blade.  not just bad cosmetics but really dangerous.  got it   now i gotta learn how to do it right

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23 minutes ago, (M) said:

now i gotta learn how to do it right

There are plenty of resource here on forging blades. Some come from the classes that Steve Sells and Rich Hale put together and some from other discussions. I'd also suggest getting some books to supplement the discussions on here.

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16 hours ago, (M) said:

ok i should clarify: how can the knife be dangerous after it is made. 

Aside from the fact that it's a sharp pointy piece of possibly poorly heat treated steel? I think Thomas pretty much covered it. 

Maybe you should start by making some other tools that require heat treating, such as chisels, screwdrivers, springy tongs, spring swages, etc. That will at least give you a start towards understanding the complexities involved in knife making. 

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On the other hand if you are willing to do a log on making your blades and then test *every* *one* to destruction; you can learn an awful lot about what you are doing right/wrong.  (But don't let any out in the wild until you have the process down solid!)

Having someone who can point out: "that's too hot/cold for this alloy, too hot/cold for this heat treat step, etc can really speed up the learning curve as people and cameras see temps differently you know!

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ok thanks everyone.  next stop amazon for bladesmithing books.  i will probably make practice blades out of the old and rusty steel i have and destruction test them as thomas suggested

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20 minutes ago, (M) said:

i will probably make practice blades out of the old and rusty steel i have and destruction test them as thomas suggested

Destructive testing is good, but it's only valuable if you can then repeat the same processes (including heat treatment) on exactly the same steel. There is absolutely no guarantee that what works on one piece of old and rusty steel will work the same on another.

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even if they are cut from the same leaf spring?  or can they still have non- uniform crack patterns?

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39 minutes ago, (M) said:

ok thanks everyone.  next stop amazon for bladesmithing books.  i will probably make practice blades out of the old and rusty steel i have and destruction test them as thomas suggested

I don't do bladesmithing, but as a first stop on your book search you might search IFI here for Steve Sells' book or drop him a PM here.

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it was handy and a penance for not mentioning it myself; I'd hate to meet up with Steve some dark Quad-State with him athinking I had forgotten about it....

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Are you taking care of your health?  (So far most of the stuff I've read could almost be things I have said over the years---so I approve of it! As the title states it is an introduction to knifemaking and so a good starting place for folks who have been lead down the primrose path of Youtube.   More to come...)

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Not to mention Forged in Fire makes it all look so simple. Most don't think about all the failures the experienced bladesmiths have on that show. I love watching it mainly to yell at the TV when they do something stupid and I don't consider myself a bladesmith, but have had some success making good ones.

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FIF looks easy IF you haven't worked in a hot shop. It's not only badly lit it's HOT stuffy and crowded. I don't know about you guys but I can't work that close to a bunch of guys I don't know without spending more time watching out for them than working myself. 

TV thrives of drama and I'm actually very pleased to see virtually no Hollywood drama contestant  help each other, occasionally work together. The drama is in casting, there are always a couple bladesmiths who can produce a winning blade and a couple with maybe a couple few years experience. What really surprises me is the lack of basic metal shop skills I see, even in some of the top bladesmiths. 

Bladesmithing isn't basic metal shop, it's a specialization and a lot of things we took for granted just don't enter the picture. A few things shock me like how few guys know how to drill a hole in steel properly. If you don't know you shouldn't be pushing harder on a shrieking drill bit then . . .Here's a broom, go sweep the office. How many times have you seen someone stalling the hot saw? Using a 4.5" cut off blade in a disk grinder to cut thick steel? 

I'm no bladesmith, no bones about it even if I am having frustrating fun with the seax Theo sent me, not my skills sets but I'm not dangerous nor do I abuse the tools and machinery. Even though I can pick holes in FIF constantly I really enjoy watching, I learn things every time I watch. 

The club is getting new prospects joining every meeting since FIF started airing and they're there to learn. It's a good show, I'm for keeping it on the air.

Frosty The Lucky.

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My three basic requirements to teach someone smithing:  

1: They have to listen and follow directions.

2: They have to be safe around other people with HOT STEEL.

3: They have to be safe around themselves with HOT STEEL.

Failing any of these is an automatic  OUT!

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I love watching FIF even if I do yell at the TV, as a matter of fact we have the episodes set to record and have watched a few over & over. My wife is learning more about shop safety, when I point out some of the stupid moves I see and she still cringes when someone is screeching a drill bit. Sometimes she will yell at the TV too. One I remember is "you're gonna break that drill bit".

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