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its a good quetion id like to know some terms that i dont reconize as well

 

Like what? Post them, and I'm sure they be quickly explained.

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Like said above this thread could be used to make such a section.

We can gather terms here that might be confusing and then piece them all together in a list later.

 

One that I've seen people wonder about.

 

EDC = Every Day Carry

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Well, I'm not exactly the most experienced knife maker in this neck of the woods, but what I do have a tenancy towards is note-taking. So I'll toss in my .02 and see if I can help any.

 

Knife making Terms: (please pardon my odd humor and sarcasm in my notes; I'm somewhat snarky)

 

Tang - this is the part that shouldn't cut you three main kinds; mortised, full, and hidden; full tang can be seen on both sides of handle scales(to be defined, not to fear) and held in with either pins, screws or rivets; mortised tang is similar, except the tang is hidden inside the handle slab material again held together by screws, rivets or pins; hidden tangs are made by drilling holes through the handle, and widening the hole enough to shove the tang through. can either pein the tang or thread it with a threading die and tap a pommel for the butt of the knife

 

Scale - there are two things generally referred to as scale in knife making; one we like, one we don't. The scale we like is, well technically are, pieces of material used to make a handle for a knife. Comes in pairs, and can be used on either full or mortised tang knives.

Bad scale is what happens when hot steel oxidizes. It's also known as decarb(urisation) This ugly, tough coating can happen while forging with a overly oxygen rich flame, and will occur in some amount as soon as you pull the steel out of a fire. You can work against it by using a reducing fire as you forge, and by wire brushing your steel once and a while while working. Not as much of a worry with stock removal, but will still happen during the hardening process to some degree.

 

Blade grinds – Okay, we've got three main grinds for blades, and quite a few major blade shapes. Our three main grinds are flat, concave, and convex. Concave grinds, or hollow grinds, are... well, concave. You have a slight(or not so slight on some knives) inward curve from the edge of the blade up to the spine.(remember, concave, like with caves, goes in. This is generally a grind made on a large wheel on a belt grinder, so is more often seen on stock removal than forged knives.

Flat grinds are... okay, we get it, they're flat. Flat. You have a triangular cross section for this edge.

Convex grinds are a major favorite by some, and called a lazy way out by others. You can look up the debates and decide for yourself, I'm just being the dictionary here. They are somewhat seed shaped, like taking a thin oval and making one side the point, and you have a convex shaped edge.

 

Oh yeah, and I can't forget Primary and secondary bevels, as well as edge angles. So, your primary bevel is your first line, the general angle from the spine of the blade to the edge, it is usually a very shallow angle, and a major factor in your knife's cutting ability. Your secondary bevel starts nearer the edge of your blade and is usually at a more obtuse angle. These exist for two purposes, as far as I can tell, and they are; to give the edge a greater deal of durability, in allowing the more obtuse angle to be the one that actually connects with the cutting media; and to prevent the blade from becoming overly wide. If you took a .25” bar of steel at a 10 degree angle, you'd need a lot of steel to reach a edge, a secondary bevel helps reduce this issue.

 

I'm not going to go into blade shapes on my own, but feel free to ask, and I'm sure anyone here will chip in with what they can(myself included), it's just too big of a topic for me to try to type up without a week or so of writing it out as a whole thread, if not a whole book. It's a big topic.

 

Bolsters and Guards – Pretty much on par with tang shapes, there's not too many general concepts here; the main difference being how they are attached to the knife. Bolsters work like handle scales, and are again, pinned, screwed or riveted on. A guard is fitted up along the tang, sliding up from the butt of the knife to fit right beneath the blade.

 

Now, for me, it's getting late, and the fiancée is threatening me with bodily harm if I don't get off the computer soon so she can sleep, so I'll try to add more in the next day or so. Please feel free to drop a reply or a PM if you want me to cover something in more detail or if there's an certain term you want defined

 

Unless asked otehrwise, I'm planing on explaining more parts of the knife, and then heat treating terms.

 

-Doug Bostic

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could someone post a diagram of japanese blades with the terms marked on it, I think I am picking them up slowly but if I could see a blade labeled then it would be alot easier.

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Well, I'm glad to see that my rambling is actually od use for once.

 

charred; I did a quick search, and couldn't find a diagram of a blade on its own, but if you don't mind a bit of reading(which I'm assuming you don't, since you're bothering to listen to me) check out this link, I've had it bookmarked for a while. probably the best compiled resource of information on japanese blade terminology I've found.

 

Art; glad to help. I know how hard it is to understand all of these things, I had no technical background before starting to try to do this myself, as I was born an inner city kid. But, enough about me.

 

Harrison; I'd be happy to. it'll be in this post unless it get's too long again, then I'll chuck it on to the next one.

 

Knife making terms, part 2

 

Moving up the knife from to guard/bolster; we have the ricasso. This is the space between the guard and the actual blade of the knife. Usually, this is where the maker's mark ends up, either via a stamp or an etching machine and stencil. A ricasso isn't seen on every example of a knife, but they are a consistently on most knives. They serve a few purposes, one of which is to give you some room to put a guard on your knife so you're not working right next to the blade. They also give a knife user the ability to choke up on the knife for increased stability and control.

 

A quick pitstop before the blade, we have the choil. Some people swear by these, others swear at them. The choil is a small notch at the base of a knife's edge, usually a semicircle, though some of the Spanish Notch's you can find on bowie knives are highly elaborate.

 

I've gone into blade shapes, so now I'm going to go into blade/blacksmithing terminology. By the way, if any one, Anyone who has noticed me screwing up on something so far, please feel free to chime in and correct me, even if it's just to correct my spelling.

 

I'll start with the basics of the basics here. We have a few main kinds of hammers that are used, though I'm sure there are others that I've either forgotten or never heard of. First off, I use two general classifications of hammers, sledges and peins. A sledge has two faces, of identical shape and size. A pein hammer also has two faces, but the shape of each one is different; and there are three main shapes for the off-face, cross, straight, and ball. (All descriptions of hammer faces from here on out are based on the flat face sitting down, with the handle towards you)

A ball pein is a round, mushroomed dome, it will spread material in all directions equally. A cross pein is quite possibly the most common “blacksmith's hammer”, and it looks like a rounded wedge, perpendicular to the orientation of the handle. A straight pein is almost identical, but the rounded wedge is in line with the handle. The benefit of these peins is that the will draw material out in th exact opposite direction as the orientation of the wedge. If that makes no sense, think of a cheap piece of play-dough, or get one if you need an actual visual, and then push your finger into it. You'll notice that it thins where you push your finger, and spreads on the left and right of your finger. Your finger just did the same thing a pein does to hot steel. Note, you can us play-dough as a great modeling material before you try making your first knife; I recommend it. I didn't, and I've had to go back and essentially relearn how I thought the material would work; don't do it, it's time consuming and not exactly cheap, either; play-dough, on the other hand is both quick and cheap.

 

Anvils; you may have a “real” one or you may not. Never fear, you can work none the less. If it's heavy and flat, or even heavy and mostly flat, you can make a perfectly good knife on it. About the only thing you want is something you can hold your basic anvil tooling, called hardies(sing. hardy) in. These tools can be a great help, especially before you can afford a lot of the more expensive tools. The two most use tools, for me, are a cutoff hardy, and a bottom pein. A cutoff hardy is essentially a chisel, my personal one is just that, a cement chisel that I was able to get to wedge still in my hardy holder. I bought a second one, and dulled it massively, and it became my bottom pein. A note about hardies; never, ever hit the hardy itself; you'll wreck your hammer, and the tool, and if you're working with an improvised one like mine, you may cause it to break and hurt you.

 

This reminds me; ALWAYS WEAR SAFETY EQUIMPENT. ALL OF IT. It may seem overly paranoid, but you must respect your tools, and your materials, and know that any one of them can hurt you. Never do anything in your shop without safety glasses and a respirator mask, at the least. Even the cheapest of either can guarantee you so much protection that you can't afford not to have, it's mind boggling. Never go lax on your equipment, because the shop environment certainly won't be forgiving.

 

Back to hardies. My bottom pein gets used as I draw out my tang, and pretty much no where else. Some makers, with the tools and equipment to do so, have made what I believe are called guillotine fullers, and they are a lot nicer than the set up I have, giving a mot more consistent force on the steel. Hopefully one of them might chime in to put up a picture, or I may bug one of them for permission to put a picture up myself.

 

I think that's all I've got there for now. I'll come back later, and see if I can actually get to trying to define heat-treating terms themselves.

 

 

I'm really happy to see that this can be a contribution to the knifemaking community for beginners; if you're new here and reading this, trust me, this is one of the coolest, friendliest groups of people I've ever seen.

Have fun, all.

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could someone post a diagram of japanese blades with the terms marked on it, I think I am picking them up slowly but if I could see a blade labeled then it would be alot easier.

 

As much as I dislike suggesting it, you can find such a diagram for some blades on Wiki - you just have to look them up individualy.

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Great to see some other people chiming in, please, anyone can feel free to add some more information to this topic; there's more knowledge out there than any one person could know.

 

Now with my next bit, this will start of applying more to the forging folks out there than all the stock removal guys and gals.

 

Knife making terms Part 3

 

There are two basic processes of blacksmithing; shaping and joining. Shaping comes in two main forms; tapering and upsetting. Tapering draws things out thinner, for bladesmithing, this would usually be an edge or a point; this can also be used to taper a tang, but I can cover that later. Upsetting is the opposite; where instead of drawing material out, you're trying to shove it back together, making it thicker and broader. This can serve a few different purposes, but is mainly to help generate the correct shape you want for your blade.

Joining in blacksmithing can be done in one of two ways, as far as I know; and they are rivetting and welding. Rivetting, as when I mentioned it before, is used to attach things together via a rivet, ergo the name. A rivet is a rod of metal, usually round, upset on one side to stop it from sliding all the way through a hole, genereally made to the size of the rod. the benefit of a rivet is if you use just one, things can rotate; this is how tongs are held together. You can make a rivet out of any material, from steel to copper, brass, gold, silver; ect. They can be functional, to hold things together or support things being held together, or decorative.

Welding, as far as the term is used in blacksmithing, is more accurately called diffusion welding, or coliliqually, forge-welding. For bladesmithing, the most common time forge welding is talked about is for pattern welded steel, but that's a whole nother topic, there.(geez... I've got to describe pattern welding, heat treating, and blade shapes... I could spend days on any of them... my poor fingers..) The process of forge welding involves a few simple ingredients, and a whole lot of practice. All you need, for making a test piece, is steel, heat, flux, and pressure. The process, in gross terms, is to take the steel, heat it up a bit, add flux to prevent oxidization and lower the melting point of the steel (flux corrodes steel slightly at high temperature, making it easier for two pieces to join. After heating it anf fluxing it, you should heat it more, and then apply a lot of pressure, and voila, you forge-welded. Pressure can be applied by hand, with a power hammer, or a press.

 

Now that I've talked about tongs, I'll describe the kinds I've used, as best I can. The three kinds of tongs I've used have been wolf's jaw tongs, box tongs, and pick up tongs. Wolf's jaw tongs are a very nice, useful general use pair of tongs, mainly because they can hold a large variety of steel stock in many different ways. Box jaw tongs are mainly useful for a single size and shape of stock, but can hold it very tightly, allowing for a great deal of manipulation. Pick up tongs look like a over sized pair of needle nosed pliers, with the tips bent downward to allow you to, well, pick things up. Very nice for the things you drop in your shop that are a bit warm to just pick up with your hands.

 

Forges usually come in two flavors; gas or solid fuel. Some crazy folks out there have made ones that run on waste oil, but I'm not quite skilled enough at tinkering to try that yet. Now, I've only ever used gas, so I'll let the solid fuel topic sit after a overview of that I mean by it. Solid fuels are your "olden time" fuels, charcoal, coal, wood chips, cow dung, ect. You take something solid that burns well, and add extra oxygen. This is done using a blower; either cranked or electric. That's all I know there.

Gas forges I know a little better; I built mine and I like it. Now with Gas forges, there is your first main choice, Horizontal, or vertical; this refers to the orientation of the cylinder's (that is your forge) faces. In a vertical forge, your cylinder sits like a soda pop can. Now take that can, and cut two little windows in it's rounded sides, so you can see straight through it. You then cut a smaller round hole for your burner, nearer the bottom, perpendicular in orientation to the windows. That's your general forge shape. (Bear with me here, and if this isn't making too much sense, check out Mr. Don Fogg's website proper, I'm pretty sure he still has pictures of his, that I based mine off of, there.)

The horizontal forge is built nearly the opposite of that, with your burner tube being in the center of your cylindrical wall, and your pop can's lid and base being cute open or off to make space for your work. Hopefully someone has pictures that can make all my babbling make some more sense here...

 

Eventually I will get to heat-treating, I swear I will... There's just so much I want to cover with this.

 

Hopefully the rest of you are having as much fun as I am. Again, feel free to leave any questions you want answered here for me to find them, if i don't know, I'll do what I can to figure it out.

 

:edit: I must also say, I'm surprised to see that this got stickied, but I'm glad it will be here for everyone to learn from, or at least have a laugh at me over (oh, and I added in a chunk I forgot, on welding

Edited by Doug Bostic

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I just got a reminder that some of the "trade terms" are still a mystery to a lot of people; the kind of things that you forget aren't normal after you see/read/hear them a few thousand times.

 

Blade furniture - this is all the stuff that's not the knife. Handle and fittings; your guard/bolster and pommel... I never defined that, did I? (sonava...) Okay, your pommel is a plate or similar piece that covers the butt of the knife. This is usually helpful when you have a hidden tang, so you can pein it over (peining is pretty well the same as riveting) or screw on a end bolt of some sort.

 

Forging Temperatures - these vary somewhat depending on the individual steel you're using, but it's generally a range from your glowing cherry red to a neon orange-yellow. Some steels need to be worked nearer the higher end of this, some will fall apart if you heat them that much. I have no clue why, probably something to do with carbide distribution.

 

Steel Versus Iron versus Cast Iron versus Wrought Iron

 

Okay, this is a bit of an odd one here. Iron is just that. You can find it on the periodic table, under Fe. Pure iron, as far as I know, unless you're smelting ore, it's not much good for anything. Steel is an ferric(iron-based) alloy with the alloying element being carbon. Generally, anything from around .2% to 2% carbon content is labeled steel. A tool steel, which is a term usually applied to a steel with enough carbon to harden(we want this for a knife, it's pretty useful) has at least .4 - .5% carbon content. Once you get above the ~2% mark, our term forthis fun ferric alloy changes back to iron, but this time we call it cast iron. Now, I mention this because it pertains to a lot of people's 1st anvil issues. Cast iron is brittle. Like mom's old cast iron griddle, if it falls, not only does it make a ear-killing ringing noise, it cracks, and chips. With a frying pan hitting the floor, that's not too much of a safety issue (at leastnot until your momma catches up with you for dropping it on the new tile) but with an anvil you're wailing at with a hammer, at about chest level, sharp chips of cast iron flying off suddenly seems a bit scarier.

Now, wrought iron. Here's the fickle child of the bunch. As far as I know, it is no longer commercially produced; nearly any modern thing found that's called "wrought iron" will probably be a low carbon steel(mild steel). This is the same thing as what you can find at your big box hardare stores(Ace, Home Depot, Lowes, ect.) Wrought Iron is different; it was made from a porous bloom along with whatever impurities it may have contained in the process. This gives it the tell-tale "stringyness" and fibrosity that it is know for. For knives, it's mainly used for fittings, though some will forge weld it to tool steels for a more rustic or aged look; the almost wood-grain pattern of wrought iron lends itlsef well to that, especially when etched.

 

now, somehting else I know a lot of people get lost with, since I know not many knife makers are big on the whole internet age thing, I figured I'd throw in some basic internet acronyms.

 

AFAIK - As Far As I Know

IMO - In My Opinion (also can be, IMHO - In My Humble Opinion, or JMO - Just My Opinion)

WTF - What the F***

LOL - Laughing Out Loud

J/K - Just Kidding

BTW - By the Way

 

I think that's all I've got for now. I'm working on a heat treat post, I swaer I am, I just don't want to leave it too short, but I dont' want to bore everyone's brains out with all the terms.

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I'm attaching some diagrams of a katana, a folder, and a bowie with the parts labeled, that way nobody has to go clicking through links that may no longer work later on down the road of this thread. And here is a bit of textual contribution:

 

Clip Point: A knife tip with a concave curve from the spine to the tip

False Edge: Generally a clip point that has been ground at an angle to appear to be another edge

Drop Point: A knife tip with a convex curve from the spine to the tip

Spear Point: A knife tip similar to a drop point, but the curve is sharpened

 

EDIT: I really hope those attachments aren't too big. If they are, I can probably just host them on a Flickr account or something.

Katana_Parts.jpg

lock_compression.gif

Knife_anatomy.jpg

Edited by Noah M Legel
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Ah, there's what this whole thing needed. In one post Noel has now gone through and contributed more than all my pages and pages of blather.

Many thanks, hopefully with those, my words will make a slight bit more sense.

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Thank you to everyone who posted here, it really got a lot of my questions answered.

Doug~ Don't worry, I understood you perfectly!! Thank you for taking time to write everything down!

 

Noah~ Thank you for getting those diagrams!

 

~~Hogan

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As long as we're hunting for definitions, what is the difference between and o-wakizashi/o-katana and a wakizashi/katana?

 

An o'katana is slightly longer than a katana, but significantly so like a no'dachi. Generally, they were made for taller/longer-limbed people. I'm not sure about an o'wakizashi, but according to Wikipedia, it was about as long as a katana, and carried during a period of time when the definition of a katana, a wakizashi, and a tanto were being confused by the more common people starting to carry swords.

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For a lot of the questions about japanese blade terminology, check here

http://home.earthlink.net/~steinrl/nihonto.htm

 

It's a great comprehensive resource of information about practically any term used with katana.

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Alright, as promised, I'm going to try to cover heat-treating tonight. For better info, i recomend checking out Kevin Cashen's site, here since he has a lot more know how than I have by a few order's of magnitude. but what i will do, is try to define some of the basic terms that can easily lead to a beginner getting lost.

 

The -ites;

 

Ferrite, martensite, cementite, austenite, pearlite, and bainite, are all the forms of a steel chemical compound I know of that are used in knife making.

 

As far as I understand it to be, ferrite is the baseline structure of most steel alloys; combined with trace amounts of pearlite and cementite. These chemical compounds are softer forms of steel, generally allowing for greater ductility at the expense of hardness. They are usually generated by either a slow cooling of steel from the critical temperature(which I'll discuss in a moment) or via tempering a blade with martensite formations.

 

Bainite is, as far as I understand it, a tougher, harder form of pearlite. I honestly am vastly under informed on the topic of that still, so I'll not spread information I honestly have no clue on; the rest of this BS I'm spewing I at least am somewhat sure about.

 

Austenite and Martensite are closely connected, both of these having a very necessary role in arguably the most important step in making a knife, hardening and tempering.

 

Austenite is the formation that occurs when steel has reached it's critical temperature, where the carbon atoms mingle tightly with the iron atoms, transforming steel from a FCC molecule to a BCC molecule. FCC means Face Centered Cubic, which is the normal form of steel alloys; where the carbon atoms exist connected to the faces of the iron atoms. Body Centered Cubic(BCC) occurs at the Austentite Point, where the carbon atoms float inside the expanded iron atoms. Also near this point is the Curie Point, which causes the magnetic material steel to no longer behave like a magnet; this is the source of the magnet test for temperature.

Now, if you let the steel cool slowly from the Austentite point(the critical temperature), it will revert to the ferrite/pearlite/cementite structures that existed before. If you cool it rapidly, though, it will convert instead to martensite. We like martensite, it's hard and allows a steel to take a very fine sharp edge. Now, what we don't like about it is it's very brittle. It can break like glass, ad is quite willing to. This leads to our tempering cycle, where we heat the blade to a lesser degree to introduce our happy friendly ferrite/pearlite/cementite mix back into our steel.

 

I think that should cover a lot of the basics there, except for my admitted lack of knowledge about bainite... but hopefully this should give you at least some ground to stand on for heat treating.

 

You may note that I did not include numbers for heat-treating steels; mainly due to the number of variables involved. My one statement on that is that I recommend using a known steel; thereby eliminating one of the variables in the equation of making your knives. I occasionally forget my own advice, and have recently run afoul of this very piece here; and I must say, it's horribly frustrating to make a knife you're happy with, start to rough out a handle and everything and then try to heat treat it, olny to find... nothing works... Days of effort lost, due to using an unknown steel, that wouldn't harden.

 

Again, please feel free to post here, or PM me with any questions you might have; I'm always happy to try to help.

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I was just reading a post and found a term that I did not understand, and could not discern from the context.

 

Drifting.

 

If someone has the time, could they help me out with this.

 

Sincerely,

Daniel

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I was just reading a post and found a term that I did not understand, and could not discern from the context.

 

Drifting.

 

If someone has the time, could they help me out with this.

 

Sincerely,

Daniel

 

drifting is enlarging a hole (either punched or slit) by forging around a drift, , which is pretty much a tapered bit of tooling with a set final dimension.

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Thanks Jake. Would you use the same term for the following scenario:

 

I want to forge a small camp axe or hatchet, and in my limited knowledge I don't know how to make and enlarge an eye hole for the handle to go in. I was planning on starting with a piece of stock around 1 inch thick where the eye would be, and then using a custom made punch, or a set of them, to drive into the center of this and expand it. Is this considered drifting, or something else?

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I see many different knives that are labeled as "integral." What does the term refer to?

 

Thanks,

Hogan Baker

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I see many different knives that are labeled as "integral." What does the term refer to?

 

Thanks,

Hogan Baker

 

It means that all parts of the knife except the handle material are forged and/or ground from a single piece of steel. No added guards, bolsters, or buttcaps. Usually you see them forged from a round bar, leaving a section of round as "integral" bolsters, thus the name.

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