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How far have you travelled on the Journey?


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54 minutes ago, Pieter-Paul Derks said:

I had to dig quite far, but I managed to find a picture of my first knife, now 6.5 years ago.

mild steel of course, and the picture is horrible too, but we all have to start somewhere.

 

On the bottom a knife I finished earlier this year, which I'm quite proud of,takedown construction, my own damascus and leather sheath. I also got a lot better at taking pictures.;)

 

 

And you got a HELL of a lot better at making knives Pieter-Paul!!!! Inspiring. That's where I hope to be someday...

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I totally forgot about my first stock-removal-only knife.  Made about a year before my first forged knife, about a year after I started smithing:

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Bandsaw blade and walnut with brass pins, hardened in the fireplace.  I made it to replace my grandmother's favorite paring knife she'd had since around 1935 after it finally died in 1999.  She loved it, and I got it back when she passed on a few years back.  It looks just like the old one, except for much less embedded grease and a full-width blade.  The old one broke because she'd "sharpened" it into a hair-thin sickle over the 64 years she used it.  

But it also looks like crap.  :lol:

 

On another note:  One of our members has suggested this thread be pinned, and I agree.  There's a lot of inspiration here.  I recalled that a thread of this sort comes up from time to time, but the only one I could find on short notice was this one from 2017:

 

However, if you REALLY want some humbling inspiration, enter the following text into Google:  "first knife" site = www.bladesmithsforum.com .  

 

That will give you 8 to 10 pages of individual "my first knife" threads dating back to the beginning in 2003.  Happy looking!  You may be surprised by a few of the names you see from the early years.

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Pieter, I cant see how you can improve on that last knife.

 

Thanks for sharing Jaron, good work on that multi bar and carving.

 

Alan that First knife thread has some old gold. I really enjoyed that and seeing the work on this one too.

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Alright, as this is a quite interesting post - I thought I'd throw my progress into the proverbial basket as well. :)

 

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Four years of progress.

 

First blade was a full tang cooking knife in san-mai lamination with folded and twisted 15n20 and high carbon tool steel. Handle in african Ebony. I folded this steel entirely by hand as I had yet to aquire my pneumatic hammer at that time. Damn, I really punished my arms and shoulders with this one. :lol:

Latest blade I suppose is known to most of you as I posted it quite recently here on the forum.

 

I was thinking the other day, and discussed with my wife in fact - how I feel I am wasting my time at my dayjob. I feel that I instead should focus on my forging and knifemaking, improving amongst other things my drawing and engraving skills. I want to do gold and silver inlay, as well as gems... But, there are only so many hours in the day. I really feel as if time is running away from me. :blink:

I wonder where my skill level would have been at today if I had been doing what I love for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week instead of riding this damn keyboard at work for the past 9 years. -_-

 

sincerely, Alveprins.

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I'm barely starting now. Later in line than I wanted to. But I'm putting with towards it. So all I have is really early work at the moment. Stuff I just am trying with. My first knife was all grinding no forging from an old file. This is my second knife I ever made also all grinding and no forging. I have a third one also from a file but it's not done. I've been working on my actual hammering skills more than anything right now. It's a slow process but I hope to get as good as some of the stuff I see on here some day. But I'm definitely motivated to be able to do it

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  • 5 weeks later...

This is such a great thread. The first knife is when I started back in 2010:

 

 and the second is one that I made I believe four years ago of which I am still very proud.

 

The last knife is one of my most recent but personally most significant.

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Great thread! Some of these knives are beautiful! I only hope one day I'll be able to make knives as nice as them. I started about 3 years ago with a blacksmiths knife I made from a piece of coil spring but I don't have a picture of it.

 

Here is the first knife I made with a handle material on it. It's also the first Damascus knife I made and the second knife I ever made. Cocobolo handle.

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These are a few of my very first knives. The top is a 12 layer made from a piece of messed up Damascus, with a stabilized walnut handle. The bottom is a 110 layer, with a Cocobolo handle. The paddle shaped knife is forged from a piece leaf spring with a Bocote handle.

knives001.jpg

 

 

This here is my favorite so far. I finished it about a month ago. I also have a Wakizashi made form ladder Damascus that I love also but still need to finish it up. This knife is 15N20, 1084, and 52100. Snakewood handle, and an experiment on pin placement. Tempered at 430° which gave it a rainbow of colors. First knife I put a fuller in. This is probably around knife number 70 or so.

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Edited by Paul Carter
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Picture in the middle is my 2nd knife ever made....the first is way too ugly to show....

the damascus knife on the left is my latest creation...and the one on the right is somewhere in the middle completed about 3-4 years ago

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow Robert, that middle one blows my mind. Great to see where you started too.


Hi Paul, I have no doubt your work will only get better. You sure seem to be able to pull off nice welds. Look forward to seeing more.

 

Hi Jeff, Thanks for posting. I love that top knife. What’s that handle?

 

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First post here, so far this forum seems great, everyone seems genuinely kind to each other!

 

Started blacksmithing about a year and a half ago and started making knives last December.  I've only made 3 so far on my journey, so best I can post is #1 and #3:

 

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On 12/5/2020 at 1:21 PM, Geoff Keyes said:

This is a very early piece of mine, #3 I think.  A bit of garage door spring, a bit of brass and some oak.  I made this in a class where Gene Chapman was one of teachers.

 

 

 

These are more recent

 

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love this one Geoff. That handle is beautiful.

On 12/9/2020 at 10:08 AM, Adam Reggie said:

First post here, so far this forum seems great, everyone seems genuinely kind to each other!

 

Started blacksmithing about a year and a half ago and started making knives last December.  I've only made 3 so far on my journey, so best I can post is #1 and #3:

 

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Awesome knife too Adam

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Great thread! For a while now I've been considering running my first knife (mild) through a hearth furnace and carburizing it, then reforging into another knife. I think I'll hold on to it now for purposes exactly like this, it's a good reminder of the journey indeed. Maybe I'll hearth melt knife number two instead :rolleyes:

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I got started in 1998 after befriending a fella I owe everything to for helping and sharing his knowledge.

Irony is we never met, spoke on the phone as everything was directed via email and photos. Yes the first forge was a coffee can with vermiculite/Portland/fire clay mix and 2 propane tanks with hoses (JT***?)
I have early photos of my first knives and post as soon as I can find them.

However, here are photos of my first anvil and I used a 4 x 21” hand sander held upside down in by lap. I later built a 2x72” belt with wooden wheels and shims everywhere!

The anvil was an old “Sad Iron” turned upside down and was secured to two 2x4 cemented into a Home Depot bucket. Every time I hit, it traveled, and I chased it all over the garage.:huh:

A neighbor asked me what I was doing  and I proudly said “making knives”!

Anyway...... the handle did not last long and broke off. But the iron itself held up okay!

I am saying all this because.....

if you hit the “Want-To’s”, you’ll do anything to get there!

 

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6 hours ago, Gary LT said:

I later built a 2x72” belt with wooden wheels and shims everywhere!

 

 

 

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My drive wheel is a hardwood one I made as is the 4 and 6 inch contact wheel and they have accounted for 500+ blades so dont discount a wood wheel if you have to make a start without the good alloy models. I keep saying I will replace them when they go bad but while they hold up square and true I dont see the need to.

Edited by Garry Keown
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@Garry Keown, I totally agree with and why change something that’s working. The wheels stayed square but I was replacing the bearings too often.

When you add other pieces of equipment, tools and work aids, I spending more time building/repairing stuff than forging/making knives!

Gary LT

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2 hours ago, Gary LT said:

@Garry Keown, I totally agree with and why change something that’s working. The wheels stayed square but I was replacing the bearings too often.

When you add other pieces of equipment, tools and work aids, I spending more time building/repairing stuff than forging/making knives!

Gary LT

My wood wheels are still on the original bearings

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@Garry Keown

Hi Garry, I’d be pleased to get a better source or different type of bearing if you have one. These all came from TSC, a retailer in the US. With every replacement, there was more tear away to the wood the bearing was seated. I am sure you have something better.

I could use the larger wheel again.

My best, Gary LT

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3 hours ago, Gary LT said:

@Garry Keown

Hi Garry, I’d be pleased to get a better source or different type of bearing if you have one. These all came from TSC, a retailer in the US. With every replacement, there was more tear away to the wood the bearing was seated. I am sure you have something better.

I could use the larger wheel again.

My best, Gary LT

Gary, it isn't so much the bearing as the turned spacer in between them to ensure they are held 100% in line with each other. I laminated three hardwwod layers (Australian Jarrah) with alternating grain and the bearing is seated against the spacer with press fit into the turned wood so the fitting is the same as for a alloy wheel. I went through bearings in cheap chinese idler wheels either side of the main platen and that was because there was no spacer between the bearing for the inner race to bear against but when I replaced the wheels with good alloy ones and included the spacer and they have not broken down since then either. The 4 inch and 6 inch work wheels are wood and have the same spacer between ther bearings inner races and I would have no trouble with the idea of a 12 inch wood wheel if I didn't have a rubber covered alloy 12 inch wheel. It is not the wood that is the problem but how the bearing are set into it that causes the problem.

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I gotta say thank you Garry!  I got the picture and principle and I see what needs to be done.

I’ll PM you with any further questions so as not to Hi-Jack this excellent thread! Sorry all!

Thanks again!

Gary LT

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  • 3 weeks later...

Learning about forging as I go...  maybe it's the pandemic but I have had an urge to do something creative with my hands (insert jokes here) so I built a forge burner from a YouTube video (SUPER SIMPLE PROPANE FORGE BURNER! - ELEMENTALMAKER) and parts from Home Depot.  Before I did any investigating I built the forge body from fire bricks ($2 a piece) and slotted angle iron...  After investigating other forge designs I found that I would have better performance if the mouth of the burner was inserted flush with the brick so I bought a ceramic fire brick (softer material) to carve out the hole for the burner as this was impossible for me to do with traditional firebrick because it is so hard and would crack...  Then I found a local tool seller that has a selection of anvils.  I am starting a forge on a budget to see if this is a hobby I would enjoy and am willing to invest in so I bought a broken anvil for $475 (sweet 225 pounder).  My son helped me move a nearby cut down tree stump that I levelled, I borrowed a hammer and vise from my dad and bought a blacksmith hammer from the anvil guy Ted.

I remembered I found a railroad spike two summers ago at my sons camp and picked it up thinking it's a cool souvenir...  It turned out to be my first forging project.  

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