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new blade for military friend.


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so i got a buddy who is in the army, going to ranger school. and he asked me if i could make him a tactical blade for him. so what would be a good steel to use. i was thing either 5160 or getting some w2. but would stainless be better?

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Just my personal opinion, but I HATE STAINLESS!!

 

I dunno. Unless if you were doing welding, I would go for 5160.

Trying to make each knife just a little better than the last

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Stainless (good stainless) requires very precise heat treating. Both 5160 and W2 make fine blades. I'm fond of W2. You can make a knife that will stay sharp and can be used as a crowbar out of either. I guess it would come down to finish with me. If he wants a bright finish they both polish well but W2 is more prone to corrosion and unless taken very good care of will grow rust sitting in his locker. Would use 5160 for a bright blade the chromium will be just a little better at fighting off corrosion. If your going for a blackout blade (nonreflective) then W2 would be my choice. Heat treat it, bead blast it, and cold blue it and you've got a black blade that is protected from further corrosion by the oxide layer made by the blueing.

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everyone will have their own take on this, but really steel choice is not the important factor here - heat treatment is: so pick the simple, low alloy carbon steel you are most familiar with and have done the most testing on. while it is possible to make a good high alloy or even stainless knife in a backyard setting, your buddy is basically putting his life in your hands here, so this is not the time to start getting fancy. good heat treat, good geometry - everything else is just window dressing...

Jake Cleland - Skye Knives

www.knifemaker.co.uk

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."

 

Albert Einstein

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and no recycled steel.

Jake Cleland - Skye Knives

www.knifemaker.co.uk

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."

 

Albert Einstein

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everyone will have their own take on this, but really steel choice is not the important factor here - heat treatment is: so pick the simple, low alloy carbon steel you are most familiar with and have done the most testing on. while it is possible to make a good high alloy or even stainless knife in a backyard setting, your buddy is basically putting his life in your hands here, so this is not the time to start getting fancy. good heat treat, good geometry - everything else is just window dressing...

 

thank you all, yeah i was thinking 5160 because i have worked the most with that. and it is scary that he basically putting his life in my hands

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I have never been disapointed in 5160. Yes, use virgin material instead of recycled. Use a good browning solution to dull the blade. Keep it simple. Maybe a modified tanto point. Skull cracker on end of hilt. 6 in blade tracks and handles great. maybe micarta for grip material.

OOYAH.

If you run, you will only die tired.

 

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yeah its gonna be tanto blade. he wants it based off the crkt FE7. so im changing as much as i can with keeping that look. but a tanto and mircarta or g10

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The best place is a spring shop. Get some drops or even a 3 or 4 ft piece. Use a cutoff wheel and rip it down the center to end up with about 1 1/4 wide. This will leave you with plenty of material to work with and make it easier to handle. Personally I have never had a problem with used springs failing and I have made between 50 and 60 knives. But the new stuff is not very expensive. If you can't find a spring shop give Aldo a call. The NJ Steel Baron.

Don't work it too hot or too cold. Try to keep the spine about .200. .250 will be too thick and 3/16 [.187] may be too thin.

Good luck and have fun

If you run, you will only die tired.

 

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The best place is a place that can guarantee that what you are getting is really 5160. Personally, I'd give Aldo (google new jersey steel barron) a call, the price may be a bit more than rooting around for free drops from a spring shop, but materials are the cheapest part of making a knife

 

Zeb

 

 

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would O-1 tool steel be good? i want to know which is the best steel to use. im still new all the steel types and what not. i just use old springs and saw blades. so this is all new to me.

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I am going to take the chance and risk getting a good argument going here. No, I would not use O1 because it is not really one of your low alloy carbon steels that Jake mentioned. It needs a more constant range of heating to austinize than is obtainable with a gas forge. It's also been debated on another board and it was felt that it lacked toughness and was more subject to brittle failure, all other things being equal, which they seldom are. Something like 5160 or 9260, which you might also find at a spring shop, depending on what they're using, will need only a couple of minutes of heat at around 1500-1600° to austinize properly. If you do a differential hardening with it the pearletic section with be tougher (at a bit of a sacrifice in strength) which will help with rough use. With the 9260, if you can find it, will even take clay quenching.

 

The "plain steels" like 1070-1084, even being augmented with a tough of chromium or tungsten, still only require a short simple austinization without close heat control to get the carbon into solution. Also the the carbon is low enough that you won't have to worry about retained austinite.

 

You will probably want to remove the shine from the blade. The etching solution (ferric chloride) from Radio Shack will leave a nice flat gray patina that won't attract attention. He can reinforce it with a pack of mustard if he can find the etchant where he's at.

 

Doug

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

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thank you very much man. that was helpful. I'm gonna get some 5160. and ill upload a pic of the design of the blade soon.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Lose the notch on the spine. That is a stress riser that creates a place for a crack to start. No sharp corners anywhere. Plus it would just get hung up on stuff.

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yeah i was gonna not put that in after talking with my friend. i just forgot to get rid of it on the drawing. the blade that he wants to be based off of has a hook there. so i thought that looked good to. but it would get hung up on stuff.

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Make sure the finger grooves are big enough to use while wearing gloves.Rangers handle a lot of rope, strapping and chains.

also forget the etching nonsense ( sorry guys---it's BS) Get yourself a little bottle of Ospho blue from Brownells and apply over a lightly glass beaded finish.It'll wear almost like stainless. I've got a machete(A2) on my boat that's finished like that and hasn't seen oil in 8 years ( freshwater rig) Naturally the edge need attention now and again but that's why God invented leather ! Consider some horse stall rubber mat as handle material. Steingass built a couple using it and I just rehandled a couple of machetes with some. My guys love it !

1/2 x 3"

 

horsemat.jpg

Edited by Doug Ward
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Just my personal opinion, but I HATE STAINLESS!!

 

I dunno. Unless if you were doing welding, I would go for 5160.

Young man once you "get into" stainless you'll develop a love for it. You nearly have to forget anything you knew about carbon steels. If you never worked cast iron you'd hate it too as all of the rules change yet again ! I won't even get started on the various aluminums. They can cause severe mental illness !

Start hitting the knife shows and talking with the stainless guys for tips and tricks. Mostly involving belts, saw blades, drill bits, taps,lubricants(when applicable).

 

You'll find a heavy love hate relationship between knifemakers when it comes to D2 as well. It's fantastic ! When you know how to handle its unique quirks. I'm learning it slowly.

A2 and 440C ( and an Argentine 420HC) are what I work with since the machinists and heat treaters here handle it daily for home baked agricultural processing machines and folks that handle dairy products. A macadamia nut cracking cam hardened to 64rc in A2 will crack shells and run 24/7/365 for 50 years ! Zero wear.The oil in the shells keep the cams from rusting.

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thanks for the info man, i never have worked with stainless. i will have to get some and try it out.

here are some more pics of progress of the blade. any comments welcome.

IMG_0494.jpg

IMG_0500.jpg

IMG_0502.jpg

IMG_0508.jpg

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Blade looks nice so far.

Are you going to round off the points between the finger grooves during final fitting?

 

As this knife might be going into a combat zone, I have to say: Test it hard!

Not talking about a bend test or other destructive test, but at a minimum you should do some chopping tests and everyday abuses testing. That can tell you how the blade will hold up and how it will feel in the hand under use.

If it fails or causes blisters etc., it is much better to find out during testing than at 0Dark:30 in Heliphikno.

 

Keep it up!

James

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear. Except a creature be part coward it is not a compliment to say it is brave. ~Mark Twain

SageBrush BladeWorks (New website is in limbo...)

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thanks man. i have been the grip is alot better..... but unfortunately the blade cracked during hardening...

so i will restart tomorrow.

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thanks man. i have been the grip is alot better..... but unfortunately the blade cracked during hardening...

so i will restart tomorrow.

Show us some pics of where it cracked during hardening. Then someone will explain "why" it cracked /where it cracked. Steel is even more strange than wood when it comes to "fracture lines". It's really hard to describe by typing but think about a 3/4 inch piece of glass with some sort of strange score mark on it. A kitten jumps on it and you can hear it "break" 100 yards away. Steel can act in the same way.Especially when it gets "glass hard". Finger grooves and fancy file work can give you a hard time when you first start hardening.The ricasso area is famous for causing temporary insanity too.Cut one side just .020 deeper and when you pull it out of the oven you'll go WTF? It took a right-or left hand turn.

At that point it's press straightening time. Another art form in it's own right.

That's why a lot of us lazy bastards send our blades out for heat treating. It becomes someone elses problem LOL

Edited by Doug Ward
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