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My second knife


Matt H
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Hello everyone! I'm new here to Bladesmith's, as well as bladesmithing in general. I wanted to post this quick little topic in hopes of receiving some opinions, suggestions and such on the second knife that I have successfully forged. Once I take some more photos I'll work backwards and maybe post the first one!

 

This knife is forged from a railroad spike (1060 or so) with a bolster of 416 stainless. The handle is made from macadamia nut wood held by brass pins.

 

On a side note, I had a lot of trouble finding info on macadamia wood, so I wanted to describe my experience with this piece in hopes to help anyone who might consider it. From the pieces that I have my experience is that it is kind of a soft wood that allowed the pins to move a lot more than I have had happen with others (osage orange, ironwood, paela, or cocobolo), which required a lot more work than anticipated in trying to peen them. I also found that this piece was very open grained and got dirty extremely easily. Now on to the knife!

 

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looks like you owe it to your self to use a better quality steel as it looks like everything else is coming along nicely

 

also most makers dont peen pins in wood even if it looks good on day one a few days/month/years later the wood can crack from the pressure and expansion/contraction of humidity changes

 

once that has happened to you a few times the fix is to scuff your pins (i use a cut of wheel and spin the pin against it lightly fluting the surface in the middle of the pin so it wont get ground in to when shaping the handle)and rub them down with epoxy and placing some epoxy in the holes themselves before pushing them in there respective holes if done right if you ever need to remove them later you will need to drive them out with a hammer and punch

Brandon Sawisch bladesmith

 

eagles may soar but weasels don't get sucked in to jet engines

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That's a nice looking handle on that knife. It has an interesting design and and looks like it is well executed. If the wood seems to be too soft, compared to the harder woods that you've worked with, you might want to look into stabilization. The process is not the cure all that some make it out to be but it definitely has it's applications.

 

As far as the railroad spike goes, it's no where near 1060. Railroad spikes only have about 30-35 points of carbon in them at best and that's the high carbon ones. They also have a lot, comparatively speaking, of copper in the alloy their made from to increase toughness. For their intended job they have to be tough enough to be able to bend almost over double. Unfortunately, what increases toughness almost always deceases hardness, strength, and wear resistance. Railroad spikes are really only marginal for making knives.

 

It would be much better to get a known steel. The W series are good, except that they care really vary in carbon content. I think the range is like 60-140 points. It would be important that you find out what the exact assay is for any that you get. As far as the simple steels I'd stick with something like 1070, 1080, or 1084. 1095 is usable but you have to pay closer attention to the heat treating to avoid problems. 5160 would be a good choice in a tool steel. It has a good reputation for forgability and heat treats without much in the way of special needs. CruForgeV is an alloy designed for the bladesmith. I think that USA Knife Maker Supply and Alpha knife supply carries it. It's also supposed to forge well and heat treat easily, though it can be a little slow to grind due to it's vanadium content. The vanadium, however, will retard grain growth during the soak.

 

Personally, I think that you do too good of work to waste your talents on railroad spikes.

 

Doug

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

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I agree with Brandon and Doug. Do your self a favor and up grade your steel. If money is tight like it is for most of us there are lots of sources of reusable steel. Also some known steel that is inexpensive as well. Check out 1095 I use it the most and love it. Great work on the knife I love the handle, keep them coming and welcome!!!

 

Kip

A man is no better than his word! Check out the web site @ www.thekaisercustomknives.com

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looks factastic! sweet detail on the dovetailed bolsters :)

 

My only suggestion is not to try and 'fit' to much into one knife, its a nice elegant shape and may not have needed the filework!

 

Im in full agreement with the other guys on upping the steel grade, its good practice (and fun) to get a bit of an edge on a knife before its fully finished and chop / slice -n- dice some stuff to see where your heat treatment is at.

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I think that is great for a 2nd knife! I agree with all the people about the steel though. Railroad spikes are trash for knives unless you weld in a high carbon core.

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Thanks for all of the comments and advice guys!

 

@ Dragoncutlery - I appreciate the peening advice, it will sure be useful on future projects!

 

@ Doug Lester - Thanks for the heads up on stabilizing. I was reading up on that as I was making this knife, but had already peened and epoxied the wood and the processes that I read of did not seem like they would be a good idea in that type of situation.

 

As for the steel, the first couple of knives I made are railroad spikes, but I have since read up on various steels and am in the process of testing some out. I currently have a blade that I am working on that is made of O1, and I have a piece each of D2, 440c and 1095. I'm also in the process of testing a S7/A2/S7 san mai. As for the remaining spikes I was planning on using them as the low carbon steel in my first shot at damascus.

 

Does any of that sound like a winning solution? I enjoy the forging aspect of knife making and some of those steels seem as though they might work better with stock removal.

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Matt,it sounds to me that you are trying to fly by the seat of your pants here with your steel selection. The O1 that you are working with can be forged but, to get the best out of it, needs a regulated oven to heat treat. The 1095 is very usable but it can be more demanding for heat treating that other higher carbon steels in the 10XX series. The D2, 440C, S7, and A2 are all air quenching steels. The S7 and A2 are both high in chromium and will cause problems with forge welding them together due to the oxides that the chromium forms on the surface of the bars. I know that people do make san mai with stainless steels that have even more chromium but it requires an oxygen free atmosphere to do it. Do you have the equipment or knowledge of how to do this? Any reference material describing the process or are you just winging it because it sounds neat?

 

Also all air quenching steels present problems when it comes to forging. For one, they cannot be normalized. To soften the steel for grinding you will need to do a subcritical anneal which pretty much requires an oven and you will need to anneal after forging. They also are very demanding when it comes to the temperature ranges that they can be forged at. If you forge them too cool they will crack and too hot they will crumble. Even at the proper range they will be slow to move under the hammer.

 

If you don't have any books on bladesmithing then you really need to get some. One of my favorites is The Master Bladesmith by Jim Hrisoulas. Don't be put off by the title. It also deals with the basics. It just also goes beyond them.

 

I don't mean to beat you up here. By all appearances you are a highly talented craftsman. It just seems that you are going off in all directions and making steel selections that not well considered.

 

Doug

Edited by Doug Lester

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

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Again, thanks for all of the advice! No worries on beating me up Doug, I would rather hear harsh facts than present anyone with inferior work (which is why the spike blades are going to stay with me, and there will only be two of them made).

 

On the steels my current selections have been just a test group based on what is easily available, so they are all over the place as a direct result. Much more of a test group to see what I like the feel of and what processes work the best for me than any serious selection. The advice is very welcome because through these tests I have noticed that I have more interest in forging blades than removal methods.

 

I have certainly noticed that the air hardening steels are hard to move, and have had some S7 crumble on me in a test run (consisting simply of heating and forging a bit). On the san mai, yes it sounds cool, and looks like it would work on paper. I was trying to use a reducing atmosphere similar to that used for forging mokume gane (thin walled box with charcoal to burn off excess oxygen, borax flux between the pieces). An experiment for sure, that I was attempting as a result of receiving a fair amount of S7 from a machinist buddy of mine. I'm considering abandoning it...

 

As for heat treating, I am limited to a conventional stove (verified working temperature of 500 F with a separate gauge), which does present problems with many steel types (the long soak times of the S7 will require some contract work on the heat treat).

 

Any and all advice is appreciated, as I am still searching for a solid forging steel. The 52100 seemed like a good one based on my reading. I haven't read up on the W series enough to be familiar with it.

 

I will look into that book, I don't have anything specific to knifemaking. My current reading has been on general metalworking, forging and welding from a few various books in my collection, the machinist handbook, and of course the internet.

 

Matt

Edited by Matt H
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  • 2 weeks later...

That is one of the best use of a spike i have ever saw well done . I would love to see what see what you could do with a good slab of steel . keep up the good work .

 

sam

Robert D. Yates , 13 & On Forge

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If you live in a rural area, a good source for high-carbon steel is farm scrap-bins. This is especially true now, as harvest is coming in, and the scrap pile of any farm will be piled high with worn out plow blades, plow-shears, sod blades, tilling knives, etc. Pretty much any steel that digs or cuts the earth is going to be 1070 or higher. Mind your manners and you won't have to pay a dime.

 

In the city, your best bet is spring steel from an auto scrap yard. Some are made of weird alloys however. Made in the USA is your safest risk there.

 

Develop a scavenger mentality, and you can find the steel you need just about anywhere. I once made a very functional knife out of a broken socket wrench handle.

 

Good luck

 

Thanks guys. Hopefully I'll have another piece or two to post in the next week or so. I've got one going with some O1 and another made from an old file.

"Your gun will run out of bullets before my knife runs out of sharp" Terry Pratchett

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