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I Forge Iron

First iron knife


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I've forged a few from copper ages ago as an exercise but this my first try with the good stuff. The steel was a weirdly flared very rusty wood turning chisel, I tried to pull the heel back towards the handle a bit with a cross peen and I kinda like the curve it's made. 

That misalignment will bug me forever though even if it's hidden by the handle - which is blackthorn with a couple of layers of shellac. The pic was taken before I had another go at it. 

The surface finish was an accident - I oil quenched, decided to have one more go at sorting out the tang so reheated. I'd have thought it would have polished out - I did 400grit before treating then 1000 after. Chemistrywise what am I seeing? Is it a tiny amount of carbon migrating from the oil to the steel? I like the effect, any reason why I shouldn't try to repeat it? It's lasted through slicing many acidic things. 

It is a lovely kitchen knife to use - I might be a little biased.... 

sideknife-01.jpeg

knife-01-01-01.jpeg

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For that misalignment, you can (to some extent) straighten it out by placing bolster of the knife over a gap (ie, hardy hole, partially opened vise jaws with angle iron jaw covers, etc.) and working the tang/blade to be in line with each other. Similarly, you could place the tang in a vice with the jaws against the bolster and while holding the tip of the knife with some tongs, tap the side of the blade over to move it into position. Just be careful the vise jaws don't contact quench the tang when you close it in there or you will end up with a much shorter knife ;). Once the tang/blade are close enough you can finish aligning them at the grinder. 

I'm not a bladesmith, so there may be a nicer way to do this.

As far as the surface finish goes, that is essentially just scale and residue from the oil it was quenched in. There is no carbon migration from the oil into the steel. After hardening/tempering, I usually go back to a ~100 grit belt to finish my grinds, then hand sand from 180 up to whatever finish I am going for. Starting at 1000 grit, it would take a long time to get through the scale to bare metal.

There is no reason the scale has to be removed. Brut de forge is a whole style where knives are forged to finished dimensions and the scale is mostly left behind.

1 hour ago, Scalebar said:

I oil quenched, decided to have one more go at sorting out the tang so reheated.

I'm a little confused by this statement. So you hardened, then forged the tang some more? Did you normalize, harden and temper the blade again after it was forged? Pardon me if that's an obvious question.

Nice job, yours is much nicer than my first knife. Keep it up!

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Yeah - sorry, I did the whole heat treat again after going back over the tang, a tiny bit of the tip cracked off but that's not even visible after sharpening. 

Thanks for info, I'll put it into practice on the next chisel - I have a pile :)

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I figured as much; just clarifying that one part.

I do like using my knives in the kitchen and elsewhere. I have carried a knife in my pocket for years and while my Spyderco's have better grinds, I still prefer to carry one of my fixed blades. I too will admit there is some personal bias there B)

It's always good to have a pile of useful material(s) since it does just take practice. I like knives, but I only make them here and there as side projects. All of the fiddily, fit and finish work just isn't for me.

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Note: Frazer's fist bit about alignment is done HOT before hardening, right Frazer?  In general tangs do not need to be hardened and if they are they should be tempered way back to avoid brittleness!

Now is that an iron knife as the title says or a steel knife as the content says?

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Yes, that would be done hot while forging the profile. It's much easier to fix small alignment issues as you go rather than trying to correct bigger ones at the end.

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Most straightening and aligning done cold with a hardened blade ends up in tears in my experience!  JHCC whats the correct version of E Pluribus Unum *backwards*; I'm sure E Unum Pluribus isn't correct...

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