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I need some critique from you experienced bladesmiths


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It's finished!!!!!    Well, the rough prototype is finished! :D  I won't post any more pics until I'm actually working on the real thing.  :rolleyes:

 

p3759574238-4.jpg

 

Edited by Chris Christenberry
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Well, as promised, here is my first forged knife.  It was forged at David Moonyham’s shop.  He can correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think he physically hammered on the knife.  I did all the work……

Conventional "wisdom" would lead me to say that it's a bit big for a 3 finger, but a bit small for a full sized handle.  It also looks a bit skinny up by the guard and the palm swell is a touch asymme

It's finished!!!!!    Well, the rough prototype is finished!   I won't post any more pics until I'm actually working on the real thing.     

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Thank  you, Gerhard.  This is pretty much the way I always design.  I was a custom furniture builder for 17 years and I labored over drawings and sketches for a long time before putting blade to wood.  I've never really made a sheath knife before.  So you got to see the evolution.

 

Now on to the "real" thing, I guess.  Have to get my forge build finished and get up and running so I can start work on this knife.  Never having forged a blade, I've a lot to learn so figured starting out with a simple knife would be the way to go.  Still haven't decided if it's going to be a full, tapered or hidden tang.

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On your prototype, the only things I can see that are "questionable"

1.) the ever so slight hump about 2/3rd down the top of the handle, its very slight, a touch more off that section would have the line be smoother. 

2.) Perhaps round the inner part of end of the handle ( where your pinky goes ) just a hair more. 

All in all, its a great design, so light a fire and make it happen captain..... 

And just remember, all of our suggestions are just that, suggestions. If you like it as is, Make it that way.... 

 

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Thanks, Robert.  That "hump" is where I added the new piece of wood to make the new bird's beak.  Guess I forgot to put a French Curve on it.  Must have eyeballed it incorrectly.......................so I agree with you.  I actually went back and worked on the "pinky" part after I posted the pic, but thanks for the heads-up.

 

I've made a rough prototype of a Bird and Trout and also a 3-finger EDC.   B&T will be for my brother and the 3-finger is "singing" the songs of the Sirens to me, so eventually I'll have to have it. :D

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The finger for which it's intended?  Seriously, though, no, there's no "typical."  I've seen everything from a sharp 90 degree (not aesthetic) to a full circle the size of a silver dollar (also not aesthetic, to me).  It's an object made to interface with the human hand, which comes in a range of sizes.  I find a smooth radius between nickel- and quarter-sized fits most people.  

 

Then again, on little knives like that I usually don't use a guard or pommel, or even much of anything beyond a very slight bump to let you know the handle is ending and the blade is beginning.  A very slight sort of choil-ish thing so your finger knows not to go forward is all you really need for most stuff.  In my opinion!  And once you've achieved the intended function, everything else is opinion. B)

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Thanks, Alan, your input is appreciated.  So, typically for a 4-finger knife, the guard would have a radius between that of a nickel or quarter.  Okay. 

And for the 3-finger, you wouldn't use a brass guard, or any guard for the matter?   I'll put that in the "pot" and stir it.  Thanks.  Lot's to learn here..........not only "given's" but opinions.

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Thanks, Rob, I appreciate that.

 

Another question:  Since this is going to be an EDC, what would a really good steel be to use in the making?  I'm studying up on everything I can find and keeping in mind the "edge retention-ease of sharpening-toughness-corrosion resistance" aspects of each.  As an EDC and as small as the blade is, it's not going to need to be tough like a chopper.  The other three criteria are probably more important, I'd think.  I stumbled onto this last night and have been reading up on all these steels.............most of which I've never even heard of.

 

https://www.bladehq.com/cat--Best-Knife-Steel-Guide--3368

 

It seems the more I read, the more confused I become.  Corrosion resistance is important to me because I don't want to have to be wiping it down with oil every time I  use it.  I used to carry an Opinel folder when I backpacked.  Bought it in 1976 and still have and use it today.  Great little knife.  Sharpens easily.  Edge retention is good.  But it quickly showed a patina that I'd rather not have on an EDC.

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Honestly Chris, before you pick the "best" steel, you need to decide if you are going to be doing the heat treating yourself or sending it out to have it done.  If you are going to have it professionally done, or are willing to invest the money into purchasing the proper equipment, then the sky is your limit.  If you are going to do it at home in your forge, then I would highly recommend that you lean more towards 1080/1084, 5160, or any of the other "simple" steels.  A lot of the "super" steels on that list require a very specific heating and cooling regimen that just aren't practical to try and replicate with a forge and a toaster oven.

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Thanks for the suggestion, Alex.  Saving my money for a good oven, so I'll be doing it at home. (eventually) In the mean time, I know several people locally who have good ovens.  I imagine I could work up trades for services.  Had one ask if I could stabilize some wood blanks for him.  I wouldn't even begin to think about heat treating in a forge, though I know a lot of people do.  I want more control over the process than that. 

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First and foremost, never look at that web page again. ;) It's designed to sell you a factory folder made from one of the "premium" stainless steels listed and has little to nothing to do with actual properties.  While all the steels listed there are good for certain uses, they do not give you the properties you need to decide what you want. I second Alex's advice on using simple steels, especially when starting out, and particularly if you want to forge your blade.  While it is possible to forge most of the stainless grades, it's usually not recommended because it does bad things to the structure the factory took great care to set up in the steel, and with these steels a simple normalizing sequence will not fix it like it will a carbon steel.  

 

If you absolutely have to have stainless, then start thinking about the properties that are important to you.  For instance, if ease of sharpening is important to you, avoid all the steels that guy listed under "premium" and "high-end."  Most of those can't be sharpened by hand without diamond stones, and almost all of them are fairly brittle compared to straight carbon steels and some lower-alloy stainlesses.  Hint: 12c27 and AEB-L turn out to be amongst the best all-around performers for the stuff EDC knives are typically called upon to do.

 

If you are absolutely serious about getting into stainless steels, go to http://knifesteelnerds.com/ and search for what properties interest you (surprise! for maximum toughness combined with ease of sharpening and good corrosion resistance, the experimental data show that the Sandvik steels that guy calls "low budget" far outperform the "premium" steels!) but be prepared for some brain-twisting.  Carbon steels are pretty straightforward when it comes to guessing what the properties are based on alloy content.  Stainless is not in the least straightforward.  For instance, higher carbon equals harder steel with better edge holding, right?  Not in many stainless steels.  Higher chrome equals better corrosion resistance?  Not necessarily, especially if there's a lot of carbon present.  I know just enough about these to get myself in trouble, so I'll stop there, but I do know enough to tell the guy who wrote that web page to go jump in a lake.  Or at least to stop revving the hype machine.  

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Thanks, Alan.  Guess the "newbie" in me was exosed for all to see!   Looked as if it was a lot of good info..........guess it was just a sales pitch.

 

Spent the day with David Mooneyham and forged my first blade, and even with distal tapers on both ends.  I'm pleased with the result.  Now to clean it up and prepare it for scales.  Was lots of fun............learned a lot............and talked a lot about steels.  David is a really nice guy and super patient he was to work with me like he did.  

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Dave is indeed a great guy.  I'm glad you got to hang out, you now know a heck of a lot more about this stuff, no? B)

 

No worries on the stainless thing.  As a general rule, any time you see a ranking of steels like that someone is trying to sell you something and it's time to put on your waders. :lol:

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Well, I'm just "green" enough to be easily sucked into stuff like that.  I did think it interesting I'd never even heard of most of those steels here on the forum.  Oh well, I'll learn.

 

Yes, I learned a lot yesterday.  I not only came home with a forged blade (80crv2) to turn into a marketable knife,  but a blank of steel to make the EDC (Nitro V) of which I recently posted pictures.  It will be made by stock removal and David has offered to heat treat both of these knives.  I will do my best to not get ahead of myself and be sure to chronicle the build process.  I always seem to get caught up in the process and completely forget to take pics along the way.   I'll try and do these two knives without asking questions here on the forum.  Will try to just make them, post the pics and then ask for critique.  Got to learn somehow.  I tend to learn more from constructive criticism than any other means.  And I gladly accept it.

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:D............I haven't seemed bashful, have I?   I never mind asking for help.  Learned that while going through my late wife's illness.  Pride is a rather worthless emotion if it leads to failure.

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On 12/21/2019 at 3:44 PM, Chris Christenberry said:

Spent the day with David Mooneyham and forged my first blade

Can I see????

 

2 hours ago, Chris Christenberry said:

Pride is a rather worthless emotion

I'd leave it there.....

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Billy, I'm going to chronicle the project as I go and then post the entire thing when I'm finished.  That might seem selfish, but I think if I start posting pics I'll start getting suggestions that will end up changing my original idea.  I think I'd learn more if I design the knife myself and then learn from the critiques.   I'd rather finish the knife and then stand up to the "firing squad". :lol:  When we shut down the forge last evening, I started asking David about what shape knife I could make out of that blank.  He simply said "I don't know..........it's your knife."  (good advice)  I want to keep it that way.  I've traced the profile of the knife and am seeing what kinds of finished profiles I can create from it.   I realize that's going at it backwards but at this point I don't have enough skill at the anvil to create what my mind sees.  I'll get there eventually though.

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I know I'm a little late to the party, but I just wanted to say that you are light years ahead of a lot of people starting. You have the right mindset. You will make the first knife good enough to carry with pride, which is a lot more than I could say for most of the knives I have made yet.

 

A few ideas that you may benefit from:

-Don't let the idea of making a 'perfect' knife stop you from making dozens of really good knives. I had to look back and realize that I was whining that my work wasn't as good as I wanted, when I had finished less than two dozen knives in several years. If I had just grit my teeth and finished one or two a week I'd be way ahead right now.

-Get the best tools you can afford as soon as you have the real use of them. Some tools will really make the process 10x faster and the result much better. What I mean by that is that as soon as you see a bottlekneck in your process find a way to make it better faster. At the same time don't go crazy and spend tons of money if you are only making one knife a week.

 

The last idea is for designing a handle, get a hold of some clay, roll it into a one inch round cylinder then squeeze it in your hand to see what shape it makes, then find a way to work that sort of shape in a pleasing design.

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On 12/22/2019 at 5:12 PM, Chris Christenberry said:

at this point I don't have enough skill at the anvil to create what my mind sees.

A lot of this is controlled by the shape of your hammer face and the angle of the strike. Very rounded faces push steel in a different direction than flatter faces.

I realized that choosing a hammer is often something that takes a few years, or at least it did with me.

Imagine dropping a bowling ball in a mud puddle, which way is the mud going to move?

Now imagine dropping a log in the same puddle. Which way does the mud move?

You now have the difference between a rounding hammer and a cross peen. 

Use the same analogy for various shapes of hammer face. Tilt the hammer in 3 dimensions. and visualize the direction the mud will move.

Now grab your hammer and make 100 leaf hooks! :o 

 

 

On 12/22/2019 at 5:12 PM, Chris Christenberry said:

I've traced the profile of the knife and am seeing what kinds of finished profiles I can create from it.   I realize that's going at it backwards

That's not backwards, that's called planning. Almost every knife I make starts out as a full scale drawing.

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Thanks, Josh.  I understand what the shape of the hammer face does.  What I meant was I'm not proficient enough with the (any) hammer at this point to create a duplicate of a drawing of a knife I've made.  What I did was to forge a knife shape................then trace around it.................and then try to design a knife that fit within that outline.  I'd say that's the backwards way to design a knife.  In this case, it worked out okay.  In my opinion, this is going to be a knife most anyone would be proud to call their first forged knife.  Can't wait to get it finished and post pictures of the build process and finished product.

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