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Here is the first knife I have started working on, made from a farriers rasp. Has not yet been heat treated . Forged out on a 55 pound anvil from harbor freight and heated in a hells forge single burner Propane forge.  Cleaned up with an angle grinder so far, still gotta drill holes for the handle and quench

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Dear Tex,

OK, now you are a blade smith.  You can spend the next 50 years becoming a better blade smith.

Good first try.  You will be able to do better with more experience and better tools but the experience is the most important.

One suggestion, you may want to square up the transition area from the blade to the tang so that your guard will fit tight against the end of the blade.  Do this before you harden and temper.

Also, welcome aboard IFI.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

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Welcome aboard, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you'll have the chance to hook up with members living within visiting distance. Just saying Texas really isn't local enough, folk aren't likely to drive half a day to visit. 

Is there enough thickness in the blade to grind out the file teeth? All those little cuts are gong to be stress risers, making your blade more likely to break in use.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I forgot to mention it, I'm not a bladesmith but some things are pretty universal. 

Good attitude towards failure. Blacksmithing is largely a craft of failure analysis. A notebook is a valuable tool, just because a thing is a fail for what you were after doesn't mean it won't be just THE thing for something else. Happens all the time.

Frosty The Lucky.

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This is my first ever blacksmithing project of any kind at all, even if it winds up being a bust I’m not gonna be upset about it. I knew coming into it that I was gonna have several failures before I made anything of above mediocre quality. However it is extremely fun to do so it won’t be time wasted and I can learn as I go.

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just a word of advice dont try 5/16 spring steel until you have your hammer technique figured out, it takes forever (don't ask how i know) and it wastes a lot of propane

also DO YOUR RESEARCH i learned this the hard way, and i assure you you don't want to

born to smith, forced to work

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Welcome to the beginner's club.   My best advice is get a good hammer that you're comfortable with and dress it properly.   I tried doing that with some Harbor Freight hammers.  Didn't work well.  Once I got the finish off the handles they were to small for my meat mittens and I had to squeeze too much to hang on to it causing forearm fatigue for me.

I've also been using rr spikes to learn how to move metal.  It's not ideal but it's working for me, I just have a pile of mangled spikes that'll have to go to the scrap yard at some point. 

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That's pretty heavy to learn hammer control with, I start guys with 32oz. ad when they gain enough control up the weight. I recommend a 32oz. drill hammer, it's plenty of weight to move metal well without making our mistakes permanent so quickly or cause fatigue or joint damage before you learn how to do this without hurting yourself. The shorter handle on a drill hammer also increases your control and accuracy.

While a: cross, straight or angle pein are excellent for moving metal there isn't any rule saying they're "blacksmith" hammers, that's marketing, not reality. The cross pein was designed to form sheet steel over edges, think a lid with a narrow edge fitting down on the box or manhole. 

Any smooth faced hammer around 2lbs. will work just fine, it doesn't need to be a particular brand or "type." Breaking the edges between the face and the side makes a real difference, sharp edges leave sharp marks, even cuts which are stress risers and failure initiation points. Steel can break in the same way and for the same reason that makes glass cutting work. 

Make the handle fit your hand, it's important. I like slab handles, they're easy to hold without a tight grip and index intuitively. You don't have to think about whether the hammer is tipped  towards or away from you, a little practice any it's all reflex/muscle memory.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Frosty,

Is certainly correct.

For example, plain, heavy ball peen hammers are fairly popular in Great Britain.

(e.g. the FAO,   UNESCO, series on black smithing, author uses a ball peen hammer throughout).

SLAG.

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Bionic, Very nice, much better than my first go! One suggestion (and perhaps you're aware of this already) get yourself a couple of decent new files. These are a great way to start/make your plunge grinds, make a sharpening choil (if you want one), refine your profile, etc.. They may take a little longer from a stock removal standpoint, but a half hour of clean-up with a file can make a big difference in your finished knife. Plus, when the file is at the end of it's life you can use that steel for other projects!

Oh, for filing in a nice shoulder (like a plunge grind) take your angle grinder or another abrasive tool and remove the teeth on the side(s) of the file, creating yourself a safety edge that won't remove any material on the side 90deg from where you're filing. 

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On 11/7/2020 at 1:24 PM, Bionic_Texan said:

Spring steel would be 5160 correct?

commonly a variety of 5160(+-15/20% carbon) but not always. the reason i said that thought is the thickness i looked and realized i made a typo i meant 7/16 which without proper technique  is hard on you and your will power as well as using time that could be spent on a different knife

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I have a Nicholson set with a flat bastard, mill bastard, flat smooth, half round bastard, square bastard and round bastard (all 10") and then a Hardware store Kobalt flat mill cut file with a safety edge ground in.

There are probably better brands, but honestly even the one from the hardware store cuts pretty well so buying the really expensive ones wouldn't work for me. My shop is under the deck and exposed on two sides and sometimes I forget to bring things in at the end of the night, which is no good for your files. Try to keep them dry and clean (with a file card) and they should last a long time.

If you anneal your knife (heat it up to non-magnetic and bury it in vermiculite) and remove the scale with an angle grinder flap disc or an overnight soak in vinegar before you start filing it will go much faster and your files will last longer.

Oh and if you plan on repurposing the steel down the road, you want the ones that are through hardened. Ones that are case hardened aren't going to cut it, so to speak.

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That's a very good point. I like to use them as the bit for axes, so the case hardened ones would be no bueno for that purpose.  

I also like to buy the the old beat up files from the tool thrift shop near me for 50 cents a piece, $1 for the big'ns. Not great for filing but a very cheap source of HC steel. When spark testing them, some of those buggers are well above the 1095 I use as a reference (as far as carbon content is concerned).

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Yes I have a drawerful of old Black Diamond files; the old ones that were 1.2% C. I acquired them over the years hitting the fleamarket in Central Ohio 2-3 times a week intending to use them for juicing up pattern welded billets or for san mai.  (It was funny as I would buy any that were below my buy point and some dealers started trying to raise the price on me to find out I wouldn't touch one a penny over my buy point. Shoot I already had 20 pounds of them...)

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