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Salem Straub

Integral Chef forging WIP.

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This is a tutorial I did last winter, in response to a request for help in forging integral chef's knives.  Here the starting block is a piece of feather pattern damascus that I'd already forged- the WIP won't show that part.  Instead we show the process of shaping said block into an integral blade, with an emphasis on material conservation.  This is a somewhat machine-centric way of doing the forging, as at the time I was refining my forging process to apply to forging Damasteel integrals from large round bar- and stainless damascus is VERY red-hard and needs force to move.

The steels used here are 1080 and 15n20.  Let's begin!

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Starting block, one side sawed off of a loaf of feather damascus. About .625" thick by 1.4 by 5.5" long.

 

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I start by pointing the bar roughly on the LG 50 with mild drawing dies, and tune up a little by hand. I only run the dies about 2/3 up the bar, saving thickness near the bolster and heel areas.

 

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With the point roughed in, I put a block on the bottom press die and lightly define the bolster area and drop at what will be the heel. This area is all at full thickness. This is just a marking step more or less.

 

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I put a spring guillotine in the press and lighty chomp at an angle to define where the bolster front will be, leaving the heel almost full thick and chomping right at it.

 

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This spring tool draws sideways, light overlapping chomps right at the heel in front of the bolster... it helps to start doing this while the steel is still quite thick.

 

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A few rows of that, alternating sides. Keep it hot!

 

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Block back on the press, keeping the heel pressed down and lessening the hump on the spine from spreading at the bolster.

 

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Some general widening along the blade, with the LG dies.

 

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Widening more near the heel.

 

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Wider, with a bigger hump...

 

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Knock the hump down. Put another block or plate on the point side to restrain the tip from shoving down too far.

 

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Getting there. Blade is still 5/16 thick at spine near bolster.

 

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Cross peening by hand at the anvil, alternating sides, to pull the steel out into a deeper sharper heel under the bolster.

 

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More of the same, moving out into the blade proper a little, widening along the length.

 

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Pull that heel. More and more, both sides. Diagonal blows.

 

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Check your width to the 2.25" mark soaped on your anvil step...

 

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Check to the 9" mark for lenth on the side of the anvil. Dang, I guess it's a 10" blade!

 

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With blade width, length, and general material distributed, shwock as necessary on hollowed stump with soft hammer to adjust profile.

 

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Blade profiled. Try to look for low spots and correct them so material waste on the grinder is minimized, and pattern flows better (with multibar or edged patterns.)

 

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That heel should be pulled out to a point right under the front of the bolster. It is tres chic to do so, among integral knerds.

 

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The heel can lose some thickness, just make sure the heel is centered...

 

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Chopsaw the handle off.

 

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When precision is important, I'll still guillotine by hand. Knocking in the tang step.

 

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Closeup...

 

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Drawing the tang on the LG.

 

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Tang drawn, rebar remainder chopped.

 

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Make visually sure that the blade and tang are aligned, and centered in the bolster. I just correct by hand at the anvil, although a press straightening jig is easy enough to make.

 

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The edge side. Make sure the tang, edge, and heel are aligned, and centered in the bolster. You can see there's still some meat to grind off along most of the edge.

 

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Blade profiled, beveled, normalized, ready for further cycling in the Paragon oven. Don't forget to leave some funk here and there for the grinder to get!

That's it for the forging process.  I could post part II, which is of the grinding and other work, if there is interest.
 

Hope that's been of some value to some smiths out there!

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Masterful!  Thanks for the info Salem.  I will have to try one. Integrals sure seem tricky.  Grinding techniques are good to know too :)

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PINNED!  Provided you post part 2, that is.  Pure gold, Salem, thanks! B)

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Lol!  Thanks for the pin, Alan.  Part two to come later today, then.  There's even a part 3... 

 

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Fantastic work! I too have had some struggle with integral bolsters, more with grinding than forging though. I would love to see part 2!

 

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1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

PINNED!  Provided you post part 2, that is.  Pure gold, Salem, thanks! B)

Is that a new pinning-time record?

 

Keep it coming Salem, thanks.

Edited by Charles du Preez

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9yx4avY.jpg

 

I clean up both sides on the surface grinder, shimming as necessary on the chuck to obtain flat surfaces, with major points centered when finished.
I try to remove a more or less equal amoutn per side, down to the target thickness in theis case of .090" at 36 grit.

 

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This leaves an angle cut in the "plunge" area on both sides. The heel on both sides and parts of the edge are still black.

 

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From the top, stock left to remove is roughly symmetrical.

 

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Grinding the tang some, beginning to define the lines of the front and back of the bolster, with a 12" contact wheel at this time. Also roughing down the unground section at bolster front to the rest of the blade flats.

 

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Blade flats up to bolster roughed in... looking for assymetry now. You can see in this pic several issues to be refined.

 

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The tang is a little to right of the spine center line... but a grindable fix.
 

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I work mostly with the edge of the platen to carve things even now. This way, both sides...

 

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And from the bottom. Angles are kept simple and corners sharp to help see geometry.

 

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Shaping under the heel... the belt can be run out of the platen edge pretty far if needed, a sharp platen edge in one spot would be a nice aid.

 

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Truing the blade flat more at bolster front, evening spine thickness and truing bolster sides more to each other.

 

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Grinding angles... matching all around, using visual cues and references to inspect clearly.

 

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More...
 

 

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I've done this a lot of ways, from files years ago, to small wheels less years ago, but now I generally carve them in with the platen edge, first steep to match then mellowed out for comfort after HT. I think of it as grinding large plunge cuts.
The bolsters are not flat on the sides here... rather they taper a bit larger toward the rear.
I will not be using my file guide later to set them, so I don't need them to be parallel. Ultimately I like them thin up front, and swelling into a continued taper in the handle.
On some I will keep the sides flat and use a file guide at the tang shoulder, before hardening. Both ways work for different styles.

 

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Nothing too fancy and analytical here, just light, eyeballing, carving. I just get it roughly good before HT, no sense making it too pretty yet. 
Just always look carefully, and thoroughly. If you must, checking relative heights of things is not very difficult with a flat surface and height gauge, calipers, or other expedients. Practice is the most important element.

 

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Profile is dialed in...

 

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A witness grind is established. The heel is centered.. the witness grind runs back clean into it leaving .040" edge thickness.

 

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Same on the other side.

 

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Whatever scale may yet exist along the edge will be easy to lose, as the witness grind shows... it's all part of getting a clean blade from a rough forging. Purely stock removal guys may not appreciate what an art this can be.

 

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The rest of the edges look like this.

 

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Some more grinding, and the whole piece is clean and ground to a slight convexity, from .085" spine down to .040" edge thickness, not mush distal taper yet. This is thin enough for quenching.

 

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Blade gets a thin satanite wash for a little extra thermal mass, and anti-scale barrier. Dried off with a torch, and ready for the Paragon.

 

And that's it for part II!   Part III will show finish grinding, and some pics of the final knife.  Thanks for reading.

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Thanks to Salem and Alan for the rapid work here. Excellent WIP.

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Wonderful, Salem!  Did you do this just for me???:rolleyes:

Looks great, and you did answer my main question, blade first.  Still wondering about the apprentice or indentured servant, whichever you prefer. 

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Wow that some good stuff right there. Thanks for the info and the show!!!!! Beautiful work!!!!

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Awesome WIP. Thanks for taking the time to photograph and post, Salem.

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