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red camp knife


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I unfortunately haven't had time for much of anything besides school and work for the past few months, but I've finally finished one.


The blade started out as a large bearing race that i split and treated like 52100, 5 normalization cycles and 3 oil quenches followed by tempering it at 400F twice for 2 hours.

I did some chopping, cutting, and flexing with the blade and a mockup handle just to be sure, and it performed as well as any of my knives. It wasn't very pretty though, with a bit of forge scale smattered along the flats, so i etched the whole blade in vinegar over night. or i thought i etched the whole blade. Somehow only 4/5 of the blade got etched and there was a nasty line running across the blade. So i etched the rest of the blade and did a few mustard etches and wiped it with some FeCl since i didnt have much to lose, cosmetically.


The fittings are copper, which i patinated to match the blade, dabbing with FeCl and then with vinegar. The handle itself is redheart. I must say i was surprised at how vivid red this wood is. it's surprisingly light, and the dust stains everything. Fortunately it washes away with water. I left the handle a bit thinner than usual, and it's one of the most comfortable handles i've made, i think. The tang is peened over the pommel.


The blade is 9.5" long, with a bit of accidental recurve.

The handle is a hair under 5" long

so that gives it an OAL of 14.5"


I'm really pleased with how this knife turned out. It's fairly light and fast and it chops better than any other knife i've made.


anyways, enough jibber jabber. Here are a few pics. I still have yet to make a sheath for it.







thanks for lookin! :D

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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A very well made knife. A few comments on the heat treatment. You are doing over kill on he normalizations; more is not necessarily better. With some of the simpler shallow hardening steels you could bring things to where you might not be able to harden the blade. Three normalizations, if done correctly, will refine the grain to make a strong blade. To test this you are going to have to break a few blades to check the grain. Multiple quenching on top of it is just more over kill. On top of that, each quench is just one more opportunity for the blade to break, a risk that I avoid. Another thing is that all steels with enough carbon in them to make a blade will form at least some plate martensite. If the steel that you are using is indeed 52100 then it will be 100% plate martensite and microscopic cracks can be formed where the plates intersect upon quenching. It would take electronmicroscopy to determine how much these cracks build up with multiple quenches. Being that I cannot afford to send a test blades out to a lab to check this, I feel that it is safer to assume that it is happening and avoid any potential problem of the steel being full of microscopic cracks that might eventually trigger breakage by not performing multiple quenches. I know what I've said is theory, but not having the means to test what is actually happening, I will go with what is standard industrial practices based on that theory.


Also, regardless of whether you use normalizations or quenches to refine grain, you will just be spinning your wheels if you are over heating the steel during the process. You didn't say how you were heating your blades but, for quench hardening, 52100 needs to be heated to between upper and lower critical temperature, around 1475 degrees, and soaked for about 5-10 minutes to dissolve the carbides to release their carbon into solution. For normalizations, I would take the temperature up to about 1500-1525 degrees and hold only long enough to heat evenly though the blade. All you want to do for normalizations is to trigger phase change; you're not concerned with dissolving the carbides.



HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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Really nice Knife, I would listen to Doug on the testing/breaking a few blades advice, helped me a bunch. I dig the bit of accidental recurve, looks like a serious chopper.

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