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First Knife


R. J. Hoffman

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Yep, in case you were wondering I am "the new guy" 'round these parts. Okay so not really new because I've been coming to this forum for probably 8 months but I'm just getting a membership now. I'd like to thank you guys for helping me on the difficult journey of producing my first knife. (Hopes new guy can avoid getting a swirly ;) )

 

This knife had a violent beginning. I was heating my real first knife up for quenching when i unwittingly left it in the fire too long. Unfortunately, because my forge is a beast and can melt cold steel in just a minute or so when its at full heat, when i pulled the knife out it was a hunk of slag :o . in my furry at losing a knife that was freaking awesome i threw another piece of steel in and in under an hour forged it into this knife. I modeled the general shape after the fighting knife Aragorn (if i spelled that right) in the lord of the rings has. I decided that because this was my first knife I would do some experimenting during the finishing process. I tried doing some inlay, which while a bit rough and primitive actually came out pretty good and even though they are not particularly hard woods i made the sheath out of poplar because i liked the color and the handle out of black birch because its color matched and it is a fine grain wood that is prized by fine wood workers. (I did all this knowing it would sit on a shelf so i wouldn't have to worry about it getting abused with use). Unfortunately i Fudged up the fasteners i used in place of rivets.

 

Specs:

11 3/4 inch blade

High Carbon Steel (don't know exactly what grade)

copper inlay

poplar sheath and black birch grip (polyuerethaned)

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"There are many kinds of courage-sometimes the most potent is silence."

~Emperor George of Zehaun~

from- Rahiem and the Fist of Light

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WOW, that's fantastic! For a fist knife it sure blows mine out of the water!! Amazing handle, very innovative ideas with the copper inlay, that's taking a bold plunge into a pool of hot metal! I applaud you for your skill and your balls, welcome!

 

(the irony of my first post saying "welcome" to someone else isn't lost on me..) :lol::D:P;)^_^

I'm inspired, and aspire, before some of you retire, to work with steel and fire and make tools that you'll admire.

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Thanks Noah, lol. I did it on weekends between writing and school work. I suppose i'm fairly happy with it; i mean it could have been absolutely horrendous.

"There are many kinds of courage-sometimes the most potent is silence."

~Emperor George of Zehaun~

from- Rahiem and the Fist of Light

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Thanks Chuck. Yeah, noah, a lot of people are really reserved when doing their first knives, thanks for the compliment about my approach.

"There are many kinds of courage-sometimes the most potent is silence."

~Emperor George of Zehaun~

from- Rahiem and the Fist of Light

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Welcome to the membership side of the forum.

and congrats on your first plunge into knifemaking.

 

looks like a good start and a nifty knife.

thanks for showing us.

:)

deeDWF4.jpg

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that's excellent for a first knife! you're brave doing an 11" blade as your first.

 

the biggest i've made is 9" and i've made about 35 knives! :o

jared Z.

 

lilzee on britishblades.

 

From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.

-Sir Winston Churchill

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thanks guys. between this knife and my second (two different styles and finishes) i learned a whole lot. Right now i'm working on turning a horseshoe into a skinning knife. nice n' short easy to work with blade :) probably going to polish it and go with gun bluing for finishing.

"There are many kinds of courage-sometimes the most potent is silence."

~Emperor George of Zehaun~

from- Rahiem and the Fist of Light

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welcome,

great start. My main rec is to take your time. You have a good skill set to build on. It is, for most of us, a lifelong process of development. Don't rush each blade. They aren't failures, they are "lessons" or "practice knives."

 

Hell, I wish I could do inlay. Nice start.

Work hard and study on your own, and also try and remember what you do for each knife. That way, you learn faster from experience. If you don't have a great memory, take notes.

 

Really important, listen to what these kind folks tell ya. For them to help people like you and me is a lot like getting Einstein to help you with your highschool physics homework. It is really wonderful (and lucky for us) that a number of these folk like to teach.

 

Great start, keep up the good work. And keep sharing, it is fun to watch people grow and learn (and maybe we can learn from each other's mistakes).

 

Kevin

please visit my website http://www.professorsforge.com/

 

“Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” E. V. Debs

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double post - early in the morning. sorry

Edited by Kevin (The Professor)

please visit my website http://www.professorsforge.com/

 

“Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” E. V. Debs

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welcome. thanks for sharing. :)

 

chris.

i could complain but who would listen.

 

chris.

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welcome,

great start. My main rec is to take your time. You have a good skill set to build on. It is, for most of us, a lifelong process of development. Don't rush each blade. They aren't failures, they are "lessons" or "practice knives."

 

Hell, I wish I could do inlay. Nice start.

Work hard and study on your own, and also try and remember what you do for each knife. That way, you learn faster from experience. If you don't have a great memory, take notes.

 

Really important, listen to what these kind folks tell ya. For them to help people like you and me is a lot like getting Einstein to help you with your highschool physics homework. It is really wonderful (and lucky for us) that a number of these folk like to teach.

 

Great start, keep up the good work. And keep sharing, it is fun to watch people grow and learn (and maybe we can learn from each other's mistakes).

 

Kevin

 

What he said, with the following extras;

Your assignment, look at and handle as many high quaity knives as you possibly can.

Each one you view or handle should be viewed with increasing critical judgement as to overall craftsmanship and aesthetics.

We can't stress this enough...DON'T RUSH.

and attend to the details! That's what a lot of this is about...clean and accurate joinery, good finishing(fit and finish)

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hmm thanks for the advice. lol i was rather impatient with the finishing process. J. good idea to look at other knives for handle ideas the horseshoe knife is an integral handle but im planning on doing another skinner with a hamon and a handle out of oak or maple. by any chance does anyone know if their is an easy silver bullet way of shortening and widening a long thin steel blank, because upsetting is quite tedious when the steel bends so often because it is so thin.

Edited by R. J. Hoffman

"There are many kinds of courage-sometimes the most potent is silence."

~Emperor George of Zehaun~

from- Rahiem and the Fist of Light

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hmm thanks for the advice. lol i was rather impatient with the finishing process. J. good idea to look at other knives for handle ideas the horseshoe knife is an integral handle but im planning on doing another skinner with a hamon and a handle out of oak or maple. by any chance does anyone know if their is an easy silver bullet way of shortening and widening a long thin steel blank, because upsetting is quite tedious when the steel bends so often because it is so thin.

I'm not quite sure what your technical problem is.

are you trying to upset the entire length of the bar or just the end?

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I'm not quite sure what your technical problem is.

are you trying to upset the entire length of the bar or just the end?

What are the overall dimensions of the steel bar?

This must be done hot. I'm presuming you know this.

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Hi R.J.

 

Welcome to the quest!

 

My advice, if you have not already done so, is to pick up a few books on making blades, read them thoroughly and then re-read them after you make more knives.

 

I've had my copy of The Complete Bladesmith by Jim Hrisoulas since 1989 and I'm still learning stuff from it. Some other good ones are:

 

Step-by-Step Knifemaking: You Can Do It! by David Boye

Wayne Goddard's $50 Knife Shop, Revised by Wayne Goddard (this is a great one if you don't have a ton of money to spend on equipment!)

 

Buy them from Don's bookstore. It doesn't cost you any more to buy them, but it helps to support Don's site and this forum. http://www.dfoggknives.com/bookstore.htm

 

Good job on the first blade. My advice is to leave off trying to do inlay and other fancy stuff at first. Focus on the basics.

 

In fact, although many on this site might consider this heresy, I recommend starting out by doing a couple of pure stock removal knives when you first start doing knifemaking. Starting with a flat, straight chunk of steel that has been annealed in a factory removes a lot of the variables you'll have to deal with forging.

 

Luck!

 

--Dave

-----------------------------------------------

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly." -- Theodore Roosevelt

http://stephensforge.com

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J.- the bar is 11 inches long an inch wide and 3/8 ths of an inch thick. what im aiming to do is shorten the bar and widen it so then i can work it into a super broad skinner. so far i have been gradually shortening it by heating up the last 1/2 to 3/4s of an inch of the steel to orange and upsetting it. I was wondering if there is any secret technique that you guys might know that might make it a less tedious process.

 

Dave- thanks for the advice and the book recomendations. The $50 knife shop one sounds good for me (dont have a very large budget). unfortunately because of my age i cant order stuff online because i cant get a credit card. -_-

Even though i learned a bunch about the inlay and i did it because i figured that if i screwed up the inlay while experimenting like i did it might as well be on my first knife I'm definitely going to take up your advice on sticking with simpler stuff for a while. i did an interesting stock removal project the other day that ill have to post some time soon. I took a gear from a lawn mower transmission and made a rough throwing star out of it. pretty entertaining to play with lol.

"There are many kinds of courage-sometimes the most potent is silence."

~Emperor George of Zehaun~

from- Rahiem and the Fist of Light

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Now I'm not the most experienced bladesmith here but I can think of one way of getting what you want out of that bar, but it may be a little beyond your skill level, it's up to you if you want to try this or not.....

 

If I were you, and I wanted that bar thicker but shorter, I would heat it up in the middle, hot cut about 3/4s of the way through, fold it over most of the way, put it back into the forge and bring it to a dull red, take it out and sprinkle borax down between the two, insert back into forge. Now bring the bar up to where you see the flux bubbling and oozing and hurry it straight to the anvil where you tap it, starting from the fold and working your back in a circular pattern of taps. If you had a high enough temp, and fluxed it well enough, you should now have a bar a little shorter than you want, but a thicker than you want too, which can then be drawn out into your broad skinner. (one other hint, when drawing the welded billet out to the dimensions you want, I would do it all right about welding heat to ensure it stays together bring your first forge weld and all.)

 

Like I said, this may be a bit much for right now, but I think it's the best way to get what you're wanting out of that bar. Really hope that helped, Michael.

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Thats a good idea Michael. hmmm. I should probably do a few test runs on some scrap steel i have to get the hang of it.

"There are many kinds of courage-sometimes the most potent is silence."

~Emperor George of Zehaun~

from- Rahiem and the Fist of Light

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Thats a good idea Michael. hmmm. I should probably do a few test runs on some scrap steel i have to get the hang of it.

Mr. Hoffman,

Do not assume that all steels handle the same; they do not. In particular, mild steels that are the most likely to be found in scrap piles, do not handle under the hammer anything like tool steels, especially where forge welding is concerned!. While the advice of our esteemed collegue seems good on it's face, it should IMHO be attempted after one has a bit more forge time under the belt. Go ahead if you must(somehow I'm thinking you will) but I believe your forge-welding drills should be done with tool steels of known analysis, particularly of the kind you have on hand. If I had the issue you're having with the dimensions of the steel on hand, I would resize the project or get a piece that would yield the result I was going for with far less work and trouble. In the meantime, have fun with it and get some good old imperical learning!

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Nice...Dragon war huh. Interesting choice of kanji. I think you have some nice talent! Keep them coming.

My life is like shaving with a razor sharp machete. It's a bit awkward and I feel a sting every now and then, but in the end I'm happy with the results.

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yeah I no mike; way corny name but its the only think i could think of and i liked the way the letters look lol. J.- hmm, so i should be more scientific in my approach if i try welding in the future? I think i might go with your idea of just getting a different piece of steel. It seems more trouble than its worth to stick with this particular piece and fudge around with it so much:/. In the mean time until i get my hands on the right steel I have an associate who has commissioned me with coal to make him a skinner out of a horse shoe he gave me. Though it is most likely going to be kept on the wall as a novelty knife i am not sure of the actual grade of steel it is and of its edge holding capabilities. (this is the project i mentioned previously) He also wants me to blue it. I already made the knife and am about to begin the finishing process. Any advice on how I could give him a reasonable estimate of its edge holding abilities?

"There are many kinds of courage-sometimes the most potent is silence."

~Emperor George of Zehaun~

from- Rahiem and the Fist of Light

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probably the best way is to have quenched a little snippet of the shoe and see if it gets hard.

thats really the best way of predicting the outcome after heat treat.

 

failing that.. you could try spark testing it .. but i dont find that as reliable personally.

 

most of the horse shoes i used to play about with when i did demo blacksmithing were junk steel.

so i would guess that you are looking at a wall hanger.

but then again, that was at a museum and we were using horse shoes that were ages old.

 

but you could try your normal heat treating methods as a guide and if it doesnt harden ... go to a faster quench depending on the results and just hope for the best.

 

good luck,

look forward to seeing some pics of the finished product

^_^

deeDWF4.jpg

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