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Joshua States

A tale of 6 blades.

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Posted (edited)

I decided to try working on knives in a grouping of more than two. I typically only work on one or two at a time. So here is the beginning. It started out as 7 blades. Some got discarded along the way and replaced, some got redesigned after forging, others just got tossed.

First I grab a pencil and some paper and design the whole knife. Then it's take a template (or make one) and choose the handle material and prepare the blade steel stock.

Prep work (4).JPG

Then it's fire up the forge and start banging them out.

Started forging (2).JPG

Forging the round down (2).jpg

I  keep the templates handy during forging. I even draw the profile with a soapstone on the anvil face and hold my forging over it to see where I need to push the steel.

B&T & Bowie V3.jpg

Dagger (2).jpg

Eventually, I wind up with a bunch of forged blades.

Hunter & Boot_opt.jpg

2 of 6 opt.jpg

3 Forged knives.JPG

 

Edited by Joshua States
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Really like the shape of that big bowie in the last pic. 

Looking good, Joshua! Keep em coming.

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Thanks Joshua. Please show how you are going to seat that curved tang.

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4 hours ago, Charles du Preez said:

Thanks Joshua. Please show how you are going to seat that curved tang.

Sure thing Charles. Which one? I assume you mean the Bowie-ish blade in the last photo,  not the full tang model next to the other Bowie on the anvil in pic#4.. 

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Thanks, yeah that’s the one (in the last photo)

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Posted (edited)
On 4/9/2019 at 1:48 AM, Charles du Preez said:

Thanks, yeah that’s the one (in the last photo)

That one didn't make the cut. I was going to do a through-tang take-down and nixed the idea.  I made another one with a curved tang. I'll make sure I show the guard setting. It's much the same as a straight tang though.

Here are the 6 finalists after rough grind. Five in one photo and a cruddy photo of #6 that replaced the one Charles was asking about.

5 rough ground V2.jpg

6th knife alternate (2).JPG

Edited by Joshua States
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I'm really liking the look of that dagger, nice job Josh. Thanks for sharing. 

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These all got heat treated and hand sanded to 320 grit. then I gathered up the materials for the guards and spacers packages so I can fit them. I had to forge out some W-1 for the dagger fittings and there was some casting of plates and a rough guard for a couple of the blades. (Shibuichi plate and red bronze plate and guard).

6 knives (2) V2.jpg

Here are a couple of glam shots of the dagger HT operation.

Clayed blade (3).jpg

Tempered (2).jpg

Hand sanding 6 blades out gets a little tedious. I'm taking a break from knives for a bit. Got some tooling to work on making.

 

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I set some of the guards today,

3 guards set V2.jpg

For the big Bowie, I forged out some 410 SS

Forged 410 Guard (1).jpg

Forged 410 Guard (2).jpg

Got it all slotted and filed for fitting on the knife when,......oops. I HATE when that happens!

Broken Bowie (1) V2.jpg

Tis a pity. I really liked that blade. At least the grain structure looks good.

Broken Bowie Grain.jpg

For those of you interested, that's O-1. I love that steel.

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Ouch! It’s brutal to break a blade at that stage! How’d that happen? 

You’ll have to change your title to “the tale of 5 blades” :(

 

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That sucks :unsure:

Any idea what might've caused the crack?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Adam Weller said:

Ouch! It’s brutal to break a blade at that stage! How’d that happen? 

You’ll have to change your title to “the tale of 5 blades” :(

 

It will be remade.

55 minutes ago, Joël Mercier said:

That sucks :unsure:

Any idea what might've caused the crack?

I usually will draw back the tang ricasso area before I fit the guard. I guess I didn't do it deep enough into the ricasso area. When I fit the guards, I press fit them with a hammer and a couple of pieces of 3/8" plate. This was one hit too hard, and one too many. Probably at a slight angle. This is the second time I've done this.

 

Edited by Joshua States

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That is a big hunk of steel to break, wow. 

Maybe you could drill a hole in the ricasso and make a big honkin friction folder?

 

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Oh man that sucks Joshua, really liked where that blade was heading......

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Perhaps you drew it back into the brittle zone?

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Bummer.  :(

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23 hours ago, steven smith said:

That is a big hunk of steel to break, wow. 

Maybe you could drill a hole in the ricasso and make a big honkin friction folder?

That knife started life as about 5 inches of 1" diameter drill rod, so not much lost. The folder idea is novel, but I think I should hang this on my bench with a sign that says "remember to draw back the tang enough!"

20 hours ago, Gerhard Gerber said:

Oh man that sucks Joshua, really liked where that blade was heading...…

This is one of my standard blades. I have a template to forge to and have used it several times including here and here. I will be remaking another version with the coffin handle, but with an S guard.

16 hours ago, Joël Mercier said:

Perhaps you drew it back into the brittle zone?

I don't think so. Look at that grain structure. It's like perfect HT on both sides of the break. When I look at the break line it is not straight. It's curved, much like the temper color spread that happens when you draw back the tang. Using the hardness chisels, the tang side is around 58 and the blade side is like 61.

15 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Bummer.  :(

Yeah well, I had been meaning to make a test blade from O-1 just to check and make sure the equipment and the method is still working and accurate. Now I know.

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Small update.

I did re-forge that Bowie. It's a little shorter than the original, but I like it. Still need to profile and rough grind before HT. This is as-forged

Bowie Blank 2.jpg

I also took the full tang B&T to 400 grit, etched my mark, soldered the bolsters on and fit the scales.

Fit up 1-V2.jpg

Fit up (2) V2.jpg

Then I fit the guard on the small hunter, finished the blade to 600 grit, etched my mark, and got all the pieces-parts fit together

Fit up V2.jpg

I also cast a 3/32" pin. Next up is indexing the blind pins to keep it all straight.

Cast pin V2.jpg

 

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Joshua, these are all turning out beautiful. Your work (and several other notables on the site) is extremely inspiring. A lofty goal to shoot for.

I noticed in your original pictures, most (if not all) the forged blanks have fairly well defined (AND STRAIGHT!) plunge lines forged in. How do you do that?

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On 5/2/2019 at 8:03 PM, Joshua States said:

I don't think so. Look at that grain structure. It's like perfect HT on both sides of the break. When I look at the break line it is not straight. It's curved, much like the temper color spread that happens when you draw back the tang. Using the hardness chisels, the tang side is around 58 and the blade side is like 61.

For the record, the "blue brittle range", will still have that fine structure.  Those hardnesses indicate that this isn't the problem here, but just wanted to point out that that brittleness is a state in (tempered) martensite, so a fine grain should still be expected.  

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2 hours ago, Jerrod Miller said:

For the record, the "blue brittle range", will still have that fine structure.  Those hardnesses indicate that this isn't the problem here, but just wanted to point out that that brittleness is a state in (tempered) martensite, so a fine grain should still be expected.  

Thanks for the clarification Jerrod. It's welcome.

7 hours ago, Bill Schmalhofer said:

I noticed in your original pictures, most (if not all) the forged blanks have fairly well defined (AND STRAIGHT!) plunge lines forged in. How do you do that?

Tooling and hammer control. (it took me a long time to gain any control, and it's still a WIP, so I rely on my tooling quite a bit)

For those of you with a power hammer or a press, get your dies set up so the ends are aligned and use the machine to set the plunge cuts. If you lack either of those, you can make a spring fuller or scissor fuller tool to do it by hand. You can also do it on the edge of the anvil with no tooling. The trick is using the right tongs and using them to limit the area affected by the hammer, press or fuller. 

There are two camps in blade forging. The first camp likes to forge the tang first, because it is easier to grip with a small pair of tongs. The second camp forges the blade out first and the tang last. If you are in the first camp, you will need a pair of offset tongs, the second camp can use a box-jaw tong or offset tongs, the tongs just have to fit the size of the stock.

Mark the location where you want the plunge cut on one side of the blade blank with a soapstone or white charcoal pencil. Remember to leave yourself some extra room for the grinding process. Bring the steel up to heat and grip the tongs on the hot steel at that line. Butt the tongs up against the tooling or the anvil edge and strike the plunge on the first side, flip it over (don't move the tongs!) and strike the other side. Repeat as necessary to develop the plunge cut.

Edited by Joshua States

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