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Bjorn makes sharp things. My beginners log book


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Hi everyone

I've been lurking around the forums and doing my best to learn the art of blacksmithing and blademaking for some time now. This forum has been of immense help, and thought I'd finally make myself a profile and an online log of the things i make. I am thoroughly enjoying this hobby and my goal is to keep improving and am hoping for critiques of the blades i manage to whack together.

I started making knives at the end of 2018 as a means to improve my collection of wood carving tools. I since found that it is knives that I really enjoy making, and the carving has taking a back seat to the knifemaking. Full time job and little kids means there's not that much time for making anything at all thoug, but I squeeze some smithing in where I can. I started doing stock removal of O1 (like I suspect so many do), then a makeshift charcoal forge out of bricks, a makeshift hole-in-the-ground charcoal forge and a coffe can forge, and have just recently aquired a two burner devil forge, which means i can squeeze in half an hour-hour of forging before I head to work in the morning. It's been great!  My first "anvil" was a steel rifle target. It was terrible. My current "anvil" is a sledge hammer head lodged in a tree stump. It's not so terrible. Like all my tools though, i am hoping to gradually improve it. The grinding I do with an angle grinder and files for the time being. I just splurged on a 350mm vallorbe double cut bastard file, and that has been a huge improvement over my old hand me downs (they're still nice though).

I live in tropical North Queensland, so the weather is often not that optimal forging, but what can you do?

Thanks for taking a look! Hoping to start putting up some photos of my old things soon!

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These are the first two knives I completed. They are wood carving knives with blades of O1 steel. The top knife handle is made of New Guinea rosewood with yellow wattle and apple wood accent and a dragon paua veneer inlay.

The bottom knife handle is mystery wood from a house from the 40's that was being renovated. It looks a lot like maple to me. Accents in an possible spotted gum (very uncertain though) and apple wood. The inlay is copper

The inlays are my sisters and my fathers initials in short stave younger futhark runes and I made these two knives as christmas presents in 2018. Since then, I still haven't kept much of what I've made myself.

I cut the rough shape of the blades out with a dremel and then shaped with files and stones from there.

carving knives.jpg

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My first "anvil" vs my second (and current) "anvil". I keep looking for a big chunk of metal to upgrade again somewhat, but so far I'm out of luck. Very rarly a used anvil pops up online, but it's never something I can justfy buying. Currently a rusted xxxxxx old anvil with a broken horn and pits like the moons crater is up for sale for 400 dollaridoos. A rusty and dinged up 18kg anvil got put up for sale and sold the same day for 200 dollaridoos. I'll keep looking for a bigger sledgehammer head i guess.



Also old vs current forge.




And a poorly lit photo of my workshop:




A colleague just asked me to make him a Patang knife. Sounds like a fun project, so it's time to start doing some research on it. I'll start forging his knife side by side with the rest of my projects. A spear, a sami knife, a couple of other knives... I might be trying too much at a time...

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Although not the first knife i started forging. This is the first one i completed. It is a krumkniv (or curved knife) made out of leaf spring and based on archaeological finds from viking age scandinavia:




A seax also made out of leaf spring:

Kiridashi (like everything else, also leaf spring) with a sovereign wood saya and ebony pin.


And this is the first knife i started forging. A rather chonky kitchen knife with an octogonal wa handle:




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Yep. This seems like the wrong place to be peddling that sort of stuff. A 1.5 pound knife also seems like an exceedingly poor choice for the outdoors.

Currently making a sami knife which at 3mm across the spine should be light and nimble as a carry-on.
Speaking of which, here it is rough forged:


This will be my first attempt at a through tang knife. So far the plan for handle material is Sovereign wood, antler and copper. If everything goes by plan I will also do my first attempt at a leather sheath for this knife.

And here is a spear I am currently making out of leaf spring. I mounted it on a meter of 25 mm dowel for fun, after which my daughter got a hold of it and started swinging it around. The sight of a two year old armed with a spear is an amusing one I'll tell you!



I'm working on a socket tool for the spear, but my hammer skills are clearly not up to par,and I've ended up with the dreaded fish mouth. Not a big deal for this tool, but pretty annoying nonetheless.

I also picked up this bunch of files and chisels from the scrap yard for eight dollaridoos. The files are currently on their second day of pickling in vinegar, and whichever files come out sharp I will put back to work in their second chance at life. The other ones will become knives in their... second chance at life.


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Nice work on those small knives, mate. Would like to see one in person. Take a drive up the range to my forge at Herberton  Historic Village and we'll compare ideas. Lots of old steel here (and wrought iron) if you need some.

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Been a lot of discussion on "survival blades" over the years; particularly after Rambo; I've always been on the side that a survival knife is the one you have on you when you are placed in a survival situation. So what are you carrying RIGHT NOW?

My best "survival knife" is the Swiss Arm Knife that sits in my pocket whenever I'm wearing pants---save for visits to the Courthouse, plane travel, etc.  as it's the one that will be on me if my truck slides off the road or I get lost in the woods, etc. A massive heavy blade that is not carried at all times only works for "preplanned" situations or those where you have access to it.  I find it funny that such heavy blades are "suggested" to back country hikers who might actually get into survival situations---a lot of these folks are cutting the tabs off teabacks and using Ti eating utinsils to save on weight...

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12 hours ago, ausfire said:

Nice work on those small knives, mate. Would like to see one in person. Take a drive up the range to my forge at Herberton  Historic Village and we'll compare ideas. Lots of old steel here (and wrought iron) if you need some.

Thanks mate! Really happy to hear that! I've given away most of the things I've made so far, but will make sure to knock up a couple of small knives and drop by your forge the next time I'm up at the Tablelands. I've somehow never managed to make it to Herberton historic village, but that sounds like a great trip and I would love to come by for a chat! And thank you for the offer. I would truly love to have a little bit of wrought iron to work with if you wouldn't mind parting with it (completely understand if you don't though). I saw a wrought iron and steel chisel on here and have seen some laminated wrought iron and steel blades that look absolutely gorgeous.

11 hours ago, CtG said:

Does that little has forge just have exposed inswool or other fibers? If so, you may want to look into coating it to avoid silicosis. 

Looking good! Like the handle accents

No. I did a fair bit of research beforehand and have rigidised the fibres with aerosil and coated the wool in satanite. Used to work with carbon fibre and doing lots of sanding as well, so I know how nasty fibres and dust can be. I do a good portion of my work with a full face respirator as well. Better look out for my lungs while I have them I figure.

7 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

Been a lot of discussion on "survival blades" over the years; particularly after Rambo; I've always been on the side that a survival knife is the one you have on you when you are placed in a survival situation. So what are you carrying RIGHT NOW?

That is a good point. My everyday carry sort of knife used to be a Swiss army knife as well. That one is probably gathering dust  in a drawer somewhere though. I hope to eventually make a little folder to take its place.

For hiking my go to would generally be my Helle futura or a Sami knife. Simply constructed Scandinavian blades with little fuss to them. They don't have a choil, not a ricasso, no guard and have a hidden or through tang construction (which frankly I think are getting an unfair rep for being weak) I find that they are versatile and not very heavy. I think the Rambo style bowies look cool, don't get me wrong. But if you want a knife that can double as an axe, I think you're better off just bringing an axe.

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On 3/1/2020 at 4:36 AM, Irondragon Forge & Clay said:

The forum only allows 30 min to edit. For something that's glaring, after that time period, you can click the report post and ask one of the moderators to edit it.

I see. That makes sense why I couldn't find the edit button later on. I did try to edit before that though, but it seems the changes weren't saved in my post. No big deal though.

On 3/1/2020 at 10:10 PM, ausfire said:

Loads of wrought here, Bonnskij. Very happy to give you some to play with.

That sounds absolutely fantastic! Thanks!

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Here's a small knife that I've been working on after normalising last night. I have a thermocouple, but it turns out my forge runs much too hot for any meaningful temperature control, so I just eyeballed the steel colour for four consecutively cooler thermal cycles.
Originally I had planned for a much different blade, but the piece of steel I used was not quite right for the job, so I've just freestyle forged it and gave it a full flat grind. Not sure what to call it. Bird and trout? Sloyd? EDC? Whatever it is it was fun.


I might just end up breaking it in the next step though, but live and learn, and the best way to learn is to push your limits. The steel is W2, and I'd like to try and give it a hamon, so here it is clay coated and ready for this evenings heat treat. After much reading I have decided to do an interrupted brine quench. (I really cannot justify a big purchase of fast quench oil). Three seconds into brine and then into warm canola oil. Surviving that, and provided it hardens i will take it to the preheated kitchen oven for tempering.


And here's what will hopefully become a decently sized Patang:


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13 hours ago, Bonnskij said:


I think you mean a Parang.  As far as I've been able to check a Patang is a small Indian fighting kite (also fun to make and fly, but might be a little heavy made out of your proposed stock:rolleyes:).

On a more serious note, luck with the blade quenching.  I like the blade profile quite a bit, but you may find the blade to tang transition makes it hard to design a thru tang handle.  I recommend you do some sketching to figure out the final construction before heat treatment, if still possible, or certainly after tempering and before final grinding.

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