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I Forge Iron

Third damascus project - chef’s knife


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So! I just sharpened this up, and it is finally complete. Started on it last week and over the days, finished it up (no power hammer or forge press).I started with 3 pieces of 15n20 and 3 pieces of 1084. The pieces were close to 1/8” thick, 1.5” wide, and 3” long. Hand forged and folded 5 times to achieve 192 layers. It is a ladder pattern. The handle is two pieces of through-tang cocobolo burl with a small piece of nickel silver sandwiched between them. I used white oak for the frame to create contrast and a loveless rivet for a good mechanical connection. Glued it all up with 24h g-flex, and finished with tung oil. My first chef’s knife, my first ladder pattern. It’s hair-poppin sharp and ready for use. Let me know what you think!

5FCCE0A1-B96B-43EA-8295-F7F9CD3E6184.jpeg

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looks good, but in order to get the ladder effect, you need to cut 1/3 to 1/2 way through the bars, so you dont grind through them like you did here.  Also do not make them back to back, but off set from each other

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17 minutes ago, Steve Sells said:

looks good, but in order to get the ladder effect, you need to cut 1/3 to 1/2 way through the bars, so you dont grind through them like you did here.  Also do not make them back to back, but off set from each other

Thanks very much for the advice, Steve. I really though I cut through the piece enough when I did the cutting, but it definitely ended up not being deep enough. I didn’t have great control over my angle grinder when I made the cuts, and was scared to death that I was going to cut the knife in half. The ladders showed up, but not like I wanted them to. 

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fuller then grind off the ridges to make it flat works,   The ladder effect is from cutting into the layers and then flattening out close to finished thickness, to allow the  bottoms of the cuts to raise to the face of the blade, giving that effect., if you fuller then cut those it wont be much on the way of exposing of layers

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5 minutes ago, Frosty said:

You can fuller then grind rather than grind the groove and forge flat for the same effect can't you?

Frosty The Lucky.

No idea, but that actually sounds like a good idea. The fuller should disrupt the pattern enough, and grinding out smaller grooves. I think I may try that. 

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2 minutes ago, Steve Sells said:

fuller then off the ridges grind flat. the ladder is cutting into the layers and flattening out close to finished thickness, to allow the  bottoms of the cuts to raise to the face of the blade, giving that effect., if you fuller then cut those it wont be much on the way of exposing of layers

That makes sense. Its been a long time since I lost my book about damascus and that one was published before angle grinders. I recall the warning about not using a sharp tool to forge the patterns. It had more pages of ways to imprint patterns than it did methods and instructions for welding up billets. 

An ex-associate needed it more than I did. . . . Blankety blank.:angry:

Frosty The Lucky.

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Yet again you keep impressing me good sir, I can see as Steve said you didn't quite get the ladder effect fully there and I can understand that since it is a thin blade but to be fair it still looks really good, I like the patterns you make cause they are not all even everywhere I never been a fan of pattern welded steel where the layers are so perfect its like every layer is perfectly straight and flat, so this gives it so much more life, reason I prefer hand forged over pressed cause it will be a lot more life in the pattern.

 

The shape of the blade is great Im not a chef but I do cook a lot and the shape is useful for a lot of things. Good work on the finish the handle looks really good, not sure about the wide shape but I think I would have to hold it in my hand to judge it, it looks great.

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5 hours ago, Zrognak said:

Yet again you keep impressing me good sir, I can see as Steve said you didn't quite get the ladder effect fully there and I can understand that since it is a thin blade but to be fair it still looks really good, I like the patterns you make cause they are not all even everywhere I never been a fan of pattern welded steel where the layers are so perfect its like every layer is perfectly straight and flat, so this gives it so much more life, reason I prefer hand forged over pressed cause it will be a lot more life in the pattern.

 

The shape of the blade is great Im not a chef but I do cook a lot and the shape is useful for a lot of things. Good work on the finish the handle looks really good, not sure about the wide shape but I think I would have to hold it in my hand to judge it, it looks great.

Thanks very much for the feedback. It’s definitely a much more “organic” looking pattern. One might say that hand forging pattern-welded steel is sloppy, but I really do like the patterns I am making, and hope to continue my journey with new and exciting things! 

The handle is definitely better feeling than it is looking. There is a 2mm taper on all sides to give it more control. I don’t think it could be anywhere near a production knife, and I’m sure there would be some fatigue after a few hours of cutting with it, but for the home chef I think it will do nicely. 

Thanks ahmgain for the kind note. 

Cheers,

j. Frost

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Here is a pic of the forged in "Fullers" for a recent ladder pattern I did.  I have used both the cut and then forge, and the forge and then cut approaches, and prefer the latter.

IMG_20180611_200656065.thumb.jpg.54c4458f9b10c6543bea219349772561.jpg

 

Between the ratio of the fuller depth to the bar thickness, the fuller radius, the center to center spacing of the ridges, and the layer count, there are enough variables to spend years experimenting with.

One tip is to forge the distal taper into your pre-form before laddering.  That way to don't get a lot of distortion in the laddered pattern by forging it in later.  IMO, laddering looks the best if you grind the bevels in rather than forging.

Here is the same blade mid-polish to give you an idea what the pattern looked like.  This was 275 layers initially.

 

IMG_20180713_211505108.thumb.jpg.f04b520a27f4fb0df4fb5271001cd20b.jpg

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