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I Forge Iron

Hori hori with creative corrosion


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Knife number four - 

I found a shovel in the wood. Pretty rusted and dented but I took it home thinking it'll be bit of useful mild or wrought for something. I took a sliver off the bottom to see if it would harden, turns out tightening the vice on it was enough to break it after quenching.  So I decided it'd be a good choice for a hori hori. I like rough finishes so I polished a bit but left a good deal of distress marks in. 

Hammered in a waist at the tang and worked around the edge so I'd have less to grind and kept the curve shallow as I wanted more knife than trowel, I didn't want a serrated portion. Grinding was interesting, I had a play with some offcuts and settled on bevelling the back and doing a flat grind on the front, it's given me a reasonably thick cutting edge. 

 I'd thought I'd do something fun with the depth marker. Electro etch - table salt and 30mins at six volts, the curves on the stem marks 2cm intervals. 

I hadn't expected a strong grain ( or any grain) to the metal but I do like the end result. Gave it an oil quench and two two hour cycles in the oven at 205c. 

The handle's spalted blackthorn, I'd started shellacing but the paler area at the front just soaks it up so I let that dry and went for beeswax. 

I wish I'd gone for two pins now - that one being slightly out of line is bugging me but I'm generally thrilled with this. 

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Shovels and spades are NOT mild steel and they're plenty tough. I found an old one and took it to the place where we did our shooting and even my hunting rifle "a .338 Winchester Magnum" wouldn't put a hole in it. 

I'm unfamiliar with the blade's profile and not a fan of the unfinished look. However if it holds a good edge and performs as desired it's a good tool. All my knives are good tools.

I like the handle wood, it has a good utilitarian look. I agree, two pins maybe spaced farther apart would look well.

All in all a pretty decent job.

Frosty The Lucky.

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If it was for someone else I'd smooth and polish but I like my stuff to look old and battered from the start. How well the edge will hold remains to be seen but I'm thinking it's suitable material for a kitchen knife or two. 

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The rough old look is popular and a matter of taste. A blade for food use needs to be easy to clean without any little voids bacteria can hide out in. Shovel blades are suitable for all kinds of uses. At one time I was contemplating making a damascus blade and saved a couple shovel blades in case. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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A hori hori is a kind of Japanese gardening tool, a cross between a knife and a trowel. Some have a serrated edge to cut through plant roots as well.

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They're very handy tools when your allotment mostly grows horsetail. One edge of my more western style trowel is also sharpened up for when I need a bit of heft on the brambles. 

I've spark tested the handle at a few spots - looks like the full length is similar stuff 

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