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I Forge Iron

3rd Day Forging, First Knife

Colorado CJ

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I am brand new to forging/blacksmithing having just lighted my forge for the first time 2 days ago.  So far I've made a few leaf keyrings, but today I wanted to try something different.

I got some railroad spikes off of ebay, so I threw one in the forge and started heating it up.  After about an hour and a half I had what I think is a decent start to a small camp knife.

43941236485_4bca1343b1_b.jpgFirst Forged Knife by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr

I forged the bevels in as best I could.  

Next I had to go to harbor freight and pick up a cheap $50.00 1 x 30 belt grinder.  I've never had one before, always working with angle grinders when welding.  I'd LOVE to get a 2x72 but they are so expensive.  I might build one in the future though.

Anyway, I got a rough grind done using an 80 grit belt.  There weren't any hammer marks to grind out, just scale and some small pockets (I'm guessing from the scale).  This is what I got so far.

43941360915_57c6f385b5_b.jpgForged Rail Road Spike Knife by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr


My question now is, do I heat treat the blade now?  What can I use for cooling when heat treating?  I might try to just heat treat the blade edge and leave everything else softer metal.  

I am also going to have to watch some videos of final grinding to get some pointers.  Any youtube videos you might recommend?


I think I am going to use some black G10 I have in the shop (leftovers from a CNC project).  I might try sandblasting it once I shape the handles to get a good grip surface.

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Weather it was a HC rr spike or regular low carbon rr spike you will not get a lot of hardness out of it. Just because a lot of people make " knives" out of them to show on youtube or just for kicks doesnt make it good knife material. Many times they make them just showing the spike head so you know it was a spike, for show. It won't hold an edge for any real work as a camp knife.

There are many threads here on knifemaking and such with better materials. 

Not trying to knock it, just trying to help so the next knife will be better in material. 

Now, go ahead and see what you can get out of that one and see how it works, then keep it as your first to look back on. 

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Thanks guys.  These spikes were advertised as the high carbon type spikes.

I know it isn't near as good as specialty steels, but they were very cheap and I figured I might as well learn with cheap materials rather than the expensive stuff.

Surprisingly this one turned out much better than I thought it would.  I figured I'd go through a few spikes before getting something decent out of one.

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Coil spring will make a decent enough knife material. And it could be had cheap if not free. 

If you are going through the motions, might as well turn out something that Will harden enough to hold an edge. 

Also practicing with high carbon steel for blades is will put you into better forging habits with it as it forges a bit different from milder steels. 

The spikes are handy for making all kinds of things. There is even have a thread or more on just that. :)


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  • 1 year later...

Colorado CJ,

Knife steel is ridiculously inexpensive.......................and you'll end up with a much more usable tool for your efforts.  Just my opinion, but it really doesn't cost much to make a knife...............it's mostly your time that creates the sale price of a finished knife................might as well invest it wisely.

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  • 1 year later...

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