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Well it made it past heat treat without any catastrophic failures. I will have to polish it up before the etch to have a better look for any other problems on the edge later. I think the differential heat treat went ok. I wanted to leave some non-hardened material at the end of the blade since I don't really have a ricasso here. I'll have to see how visible the HT line is after the polish and etch as well.


It was tricky for me to do a longer thinner blade with a torch, but the edge got up to temp and it seems have held it right before the quench. The edge is nice and hard. It was tempered @ 500 for 4 hours. Sad to say I got distracted and forgot to pull it out after two and put it back in so it went straight through.


Getting ready to set the handle and finish it up! I'm glad, but at the same time see so many areas that can improve on my next one. I never meant for this thread to get this long, but I can humbly say I didn't realize there were so many things I didn't know at the start of this project and greatefully appreciate everyone's help along the way. I still don't think the handle is very traditional, but that just means if I make another one I get to try again and hopefully do better. Thanks for reading my novel.

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Did you use a torch because of forge limitations? If so, you can come use my forge next time. It aint pretty, but is has a pass through for longer blades.


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Brian-thank you for the offer, mine isn't really pretty either. I ended up using the torch because I wanted a definitive HT line. Every time I use my forge to HT 5160 I don't really get an active line as it heats the whole blade, but if I only heat and quench the edge then I seem to. I would rather have used my forge because it was pretty tricky to get just the edge up to and hold critical temp...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well for the first time ever probably, I've had something done for about 2 weeks now, but not had/taken the time to post it. Work sometimes has to come first i guess. The dirks done and a simple curly maple scabard was made. Jake was right on when he commented that the hand should lock in between the pommel and the guard. My handle is about 1/2" to long for this with my hands, ironically which is the amount longer than what he commented on what the OAL should be for these. Sometimes I learn the easy way, sometimes not so much.

The HT line didn't come out like I would normally like, but I didn't want to polish this blade as much as I normally would, either. Glad it's done, learned a crap load out of it, and it looks nice resting in a juvenile elk antler in my living room. Best of all my wife loves it - I'm just going to make sure she never see what you guys make on here and she'll never know the difference.


Thank you all again to those who helped or commented. This is my first blade over 14" and it took way more than I thought it would to make it. I'm looking forward to the next one. :)












Edited by Andrew Hardesty
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  • 3 weeks later...

That's really a nice blade! I especially like the detail on the blade and the pommel cap.


If you're interested, I'd be willing to trade some mountain mahogany for any of your hardwoods. Mountain Mahogany is a scrubby little tree that grows out here in the west. Brutal to ride a horse through. It'll scratch the tar out of you. When the county, USFS, or BLM goes to clear a section of it, they hook a chain between two dozers, and then drive the cats back over the trees to break them up. It'll destroy chainsaw blades.


It's got a beautiful grain when it's polished, but I usually use the same grinders I use on steel to work it. It's brittle and can chip, and ate my bandsaw blade in a matter of moments. But if you can stand all that, it looks really nice when it's finished.



Truth simply is. Whether you like that truth or not is totally irrelevant.


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Andrew, about that edge quenching......

You might want to use a different method to get maximum results from that edge quench.

You can heat the entire blade up in your forge or kiln or whatever,and just quench the edge. This provides a uniform heat along the blade edge and uniform hardness as well. Ed Caffrey has a description of how to do this on his website: http://caffreyknives.net/js_test_blade_art.html

This is an article on how to create an ABS JS performance test blade from 5160. He describes the heat treating methods about halfway down the page starting with the paragraph titled "Hardening", although the entire process he describes (forging through finish) is well worth pursuing if you plan on doing differentially heat treated blades on a regular basis.


I'm liking that Dirk. Good job.

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  





J.States Bladesmith | Facebook



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BrIan - Thank you. I do need to come watch you make some more of that great damascus like you did on your dagger.


Gabriel - thanks!


Alan - I kinda made it up as I went, glad it didn't turn out too bad. Thank you!


Buck- I'll PM you, thanks!


Joshua- Its about time for me to go and read that article again. I must be doing something different because every time I heat a 5160 blade and just edge quench in pre heated oil I lose my temper line. The spine also gets harder than I like as well. I think it has something to do with how 5160 is a deep hardening steel, but I'm on the cusp of my knowledge there. I would really like to figure this out as my gas forge is much cheaper and quicker to use than a torch set. Time to keep digging. Thank you!


Couldn't have done it without all the help and info on here. Thanks again to everyone!

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