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What's your latest blade look like? Post em and let us see.


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Finally got this one done for my brother in law.  Blade is 1095 and 15N20, hollow ground on an 8 inch wheel. Hand sanded to 1000 grit after grinding and then etched in coffee.  Guard is stainless, and handle slabs are water buffalo horn.  Overall length is about 12.5 inches.

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Didn't make it to the forge this weekend. Finally got a welder. Tried the el cheapo one from HF and it would not weld the angle iron I had set up to learn on. Plus it would not stop feeding wire or turn off until the off switch was flipped. I took it back and traded up for the little green one. It could and did weld the angle iron just fine. I completely suck at welding but those two pieces of steel ain't coming apart. So I pulled out the knife I had set aside and welded threaded rod to the tang. I spent a bunch of time filing down a handle made of alternating black rubber and plexiglass.  I found that my weld job sucked and it broke apart. I cleaned the metal up best I could and welded it again. This time I did a much better job. My pieces  fell apart so I found a piece of purple leaf plum wood and used that for the handle. It has worked out well and I have spent the better part of two days filing on the pommel. I cut the end off because the pommel was too long.  And of course I exposed the hole I'd made and tapped for the threaded rod. I sat there looking at that hole and my first thought was a brass bolt I could fill it with. Had no luck finding one. Was at my desk and spied a piece of brass tube I had bought 20 years ago for launch lugs of high power rockets I used to make. And it perfectly fit the hole. I cut off a small piece of tube and stuck it in the hole. I put 8 pieces of 14 gauge copper wire in the tube and a piece of 8th in brass rod I've had forever. Filled the empty bits with JB Weld. Let it cure and filed it down. The hole is gone. The pommel is 80% filed down. Couple more days and I'll be able to start polishing the blade.

 

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I let it cool slowly on it's own. How do you preheat a flux core welder steel? Propane torch? The first weld on it had a small bit attached together. The second one had it all melted together. It hasn't budged and I'm almost to the point of polishing it. 

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I had a blade break when I dropped it after heat treat and before tempering.  I welded it up, cycled it several times and when I was going to heat treat it again I noticed an uneven heat across a straight line.  It had cracked again right along my weld.  Would that had happened if I had preheated?  Not sure but I've done it every time since. 

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If the actual blade itself broke, welding it back together isn't going to help unless you have some fancy tool steel filler. A bead unhardenable material in there will lead to warping or cracking along the weld, not to mention the edge in that spot will be compromised,.

If the crack formed before quenching (after welding), then yes, preheating and slow cooling would have probably mitigated some of the risk of cracking. If you have ever welded a frame together, you know that as the bead cools it pulls the two pieces together with a significant amount of force. When you're welding high carbon steels, you are heating a small area above critical temperature, which rapidly cools due to contact with the surrounding material and hardens. At the same time, the weld bead is pulling in on the surrounding area as it cools. This can lead to cracks.

Preheating the whole area to be welded and allowing it to cool slowly lowers the risk of these cracks forming.

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Contact quenching is an issue when welding high carbon steels. Preheating can help avoid the formation of cracks in the HAZ from untempered martensite.    This is why the good anvil repair methods always include preheating the anvil.  (Heating a 400# anvil to 350 degF takes a while and a lot of propane!  I know; it was my anvil we used an optical pyrometer to check the temp and propane weed burners for the BTUs.)

Now if you have to ask folks how to heat steel up; perhaps blacksmithing is not a good match for you!  A lot of folks I know use two firebricks to make an angle and a torch for small pieces; up through using a pile of charcoal briquettes or the weed burners.   Steel won't know it gets hot in the proper pre heat ranges.

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Actually RR spikes ARE the best steel for . . . holding rail down. The steel is specifically made to NOT get hard, the last thing you want is the spikes keeping they rails in place (holding gauge) to work harden and snap rather than flex every single time a train wheel rolls over it. 

If you've watched some of the youtube videos where the "smith" demonstrates a RR spike knife will hold an edge. Watch closely, every cut is a different knife or there's sufficient break in continuity for them to have sharpened it. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Take the opportunity to practice small details whenever the shape of the blade allows.

 O7 combined with copper and Burma ironwood. Blade length measures 4 inches.

Tang is riveted on the butt.

Cheers:blink:

 

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Here's the one I ground out of Lowe's bar steel. It's how my dad made them. And compared to forging it is super simple to do. How did he get $350 per knife back in 1984?  According to Ebay custom made knives go from $20 to $75. Have to find some super glue before I can finish the one with the pin and a welded tang. 

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I wouldn't trust eBay as a source for information about the custom knife market; true handmade knives from reputable makers go from the hundreds to the thousands of dollars. 

How are you heat-treating the blade? My understanding is that the steel from Lowe's is lowe-carbon.

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And here's the one that I welded the tang and placed a pin in the pommel. I concentrated on those two aspects so I neglected others. Plus it's the knife a split my pinky finger working on. Should have got stitches. The wound is healed but it still hurts to move it.The handle is purple leaf plum. I keep finding bits of it and using them. Still getting better at the knifemaking. Not as good as some of the knives posted in this thread. You guys put me to shame.  Really good knives.

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