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I Forge Iron

Demo for church youth


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So I was asked to show some of the boys (14 &15) in my church some metal working.


Being boys they were only interested in knives. Normal. 


So I had 45 minutes and decided to make a 'blacksmith's knife' as I have seen it called. 



I've never made one before, but for a start to finish in 45 minutes i think it went ok. If I had more time i would have smoothed out the handle a lot more, and cleaned up the heavier hammer marks. But a I kinda like the roughed in work. 

Blade is 1095, about 7 inches on the blade, about 11 inches overall. 

Quenched in 170 deg canola oil after soaking for about 5 minutes at 1550. Torch tempered the spine until it turned blue and ran dark straw to the blade edge.

Spent 5 minutes at the big water sprayed 4X106 grinder made for grinding full glass sheets. 36 to 80 to 220 to 400 to 800 grit. 

Shave sharp and called it done. 


Aaaand ive never worked so fast, I'm beat, time for bed

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The teenagers loved it, kept asking if I would make them all one...

I suggested a followup class with more time and they could hammer out their own things. I gave the knife to the adult leader of that age group. He loved it. 

They do an annual scouting-ish meet each year called a mountain man rendezvous. All ages of teenagers from the SE quadrant of AZ meet up for a few days and things/projects like this fit in perfectly.  I suspect We will be making RR spike objects to be used for trading and showing off and whatnot. 

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  • 1 month later...

Well they liked it enough that its time for round 2. I rearranged the stuff I could to get lots of room this time. My big anvil isnt going anywhere, so it dictated where everything else went.

Have all 3 anvils mounted up. Remade my first smaller forge and made a proper pedestal for it.



I’m doing a lot of prep-work. Decided for the sake of time I would hammer out the long tangs for them. Then all they would have to do is a little bit of distal taper, then put the downward bananna bend, then pull the cutting edge down straightening the bananna... hopefully???

quench, cutting torch temper, grind to a chopper/appleseed bevel.   

I need a power hammer... budgeting for an 88# Anyang in a month or two... drawing out six 15” tangs from leaf-springs by hand was a chore. But hey, ive gotten pretty good at doing it at least.

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Thats good to know. ‘Viking ladies knife’


jumping right into knife making is, I KNOW, not the best rout to go. Its what I did 1 year ago, and it was a steep learning curve. I got lucky. With a farming, welding, physics, and chemistry background it came pretty easy to me. 


After reading here daily for over a year I really understand the wisdom that the obviously more experienced users often say. Start small, s hooks, tapers, upsetting, punch/pritchel, drift, all while learning hammer control.

I would really love to start with the basics with these guys, but with how busy life is nowdays, I’m happy we got to do at least this. Plus... i had four 14 & 15 year olds completely focused on one task, and not afraid to ask for help or to explain something again. They did great!


Part 2 finished about 15 minutes ago. All 4 of em got a distal taper (well... kind of), the downward bananna, and then pulled the cutting edge down to (again... kind of) straighten the pre-bananna curve. 


2 full hours including: safety briefing, instruction/plan, and me helping with some hammering on everyone’s blades to show a little technique here and there. 



Next wendsday we will ‘spade’ out the end of tang and roll the handle back in. Quench, temper, and final grind. We all agreed I will save them some time and grief and do a rough cleanup grind this  Weekend so the grinder is not a bottleneck. 




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