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How far have you travelled on the Journey?


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Not counting the two I mention in my profile from ages ago, one of which was just a kit and the other is a mild steel "sword shaped object", my first was a month ago today.  I got some ribbing about my choice of Christmas presents, with doubt expressed about my ability to not cut myself with my own creations given that I am a bit prone to bleeding on nearby sharp edges...

 

So my first completed knife, the day after Christmas, was, of course...

butterknife.jpg

 

A hand-forged, hardened, tempered butter knife!  Not a drop of blood was shed.

 

Most recent is the still not quite finished yet clip-point recurve "slightly more difficult than I can manage" bowie-like knife.

 

bowie.jpg

 

 

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I took my first blacksmithing class 22 years ago this month, October of 1998.  Did a lot of ornamental stuff before trying blades.  Here's #1 (the little one with sheath) and #3: You

This'd by one of my earliest ones Rob (1970's) made entirely with an angle grinder froma piece of burst sawmill bandsaw blade so most likely 15N20. Did a lot of work with it and if it was the only kni

Here's my first "sword." I made it when I was about 13 years old from an old file. Not forged. The copper wire on the hilt is from telephone wire that I stripped the sheathing from. The pommel is a la

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Sorry to bump an older topic, but I gotta say I really love this. I'm just starting out right now (just joined the forums today!), and it's really encouraging seeing people's progress. I know my first blade is going to be absolutely   u g l y   so it's nice to see this so that I'm not completely disheartened after my first try haha. The progress that I've seen here in this topic is absolutely staggering.

 

You guys have all made some positively beautiful blades - keep it up!

 

Edit: I now realize that this topic is pinned, I guess I don't have to feel bad about a topic bump!

Edited by David Kleinfeldt
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3 hours ago, David Kleinfeldt said:

I know my first blade is going to be absolutely   u g l y  

Welcome, David.  If I can be so bold as to make a suggestion:  If you think this way, it will most probably be ugly, but if you start with the idea to make a perfect blade, then you'll be in a much better place to succeed.  It all depends on how much time you are willing to take to get there.

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14 minutes ago, billyO said:

Welcome, David.  If I can be so bold as to make a suggestion:  If you think this way, it will most probably be ugly, but if you start with the idea to make a perfect blade, then you'll be in a much better place to succeed.  It all depends on how much time you are willing to take to get there.

 

Fair enough, thanks for the advice! I was always a perfectionist with my cabinetry and woodworking, I just figured since I don't have much any experience, and my anvil is... well... Let's just say it's not very flat... I wasn't planning on expecting much from my first blade haha.

 

Guess I'll aim for perfection!

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5 hours ago, David Kleinfeldt said:

 

Fair enough, thanks for the advice! I was always a perfectionist with my cabinetry and woodworking, I just figured since I don't have much any experience, and my anvil is... well... Let's just say it's not very flat... I wasn't planning on expecting much from my first blade haha.

 

Guess I'll aim for perfection!

A cabnetry background and having an eye and a hand for doing it right is a good place and mindset to start with. Getting the feel for the new tools and techniques may take a try or two but you will be amazed at the progress as you gain familiarity with them and how to get to what you see in your minds eye (or on paper) before you start. Dont be afraid to change tack if the steel is not playing ball with your plans as that is all in the learning of the use of heat and hammer and even playing with some mild steel to start just to see how these react at the different heats or hammer blows before starting in on your good steel.

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1st knife is kind of embarrassing.  I just winged it and it wasn't attractive to say the least.  The last one I did was posted by the owner on face book.  It wasn't perfect but sure was better than my first.  Just goes to show that nothing can take the place of practice and experience.  Sorry the second pic has some odd shadows.  I copied it off Facebook.

1st knife.jpg

Tom's knife.jpg

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My first "knife" was a piece of mystery steel, ground to a sword-ish shape with an angle grinder. I was 18yrs old.

 

Now, I'm 48- and working on getting better at pattern welding damascus... slowly.

 

My last three blades- my first hand hammered damascus, and an over sized "straight razor" grind requested by my little brother. My first hollow grind.

The cu mai was my first try at that too.

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I started in 2019 and I think this was actually my third attempt, but I don't have photos of the previous attempts. It is just mild steel with scales made from guava wood. I have just started making my first blade from decent steel (5160).

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Hi Everybody!!

 

I'm brand new here and also brand new to bladesmithing and blacksmithing, so please forgive me as I learn the ropes of this forum and also if I ask what sound like dumb questions.

First Blade - Push Dagger.jpg

 

Here is my very first attempt at making a blade. This was originally a rusty railroad spike and I just put the handle scales on about a week ago. (I'm aware that because of the low carbon content in railroad spikes, this blade won't hold much of an edge. It wasn't really about that as much as it was about seeing if I could actually do it.)

 

Anyway, with that said, I do have a couple of questions if I may. 

 

1) I'd like to polish the steel even more and try to eliminate all grinding marks, so that I'm left with a really smooth and shiny blade. What is the best way to achieve this?

 

2) I'd like to then protect the blade and handle from corrosion, rust on the steel, and weather, sweat, oils on the handle. 

 

My neighbor suggested a spray on polyurethane to protect both the wood and steel. Would this work or is there a better way? (Please bear in mind that this blade is more a display piece and won't actually be used as a tool.)

 

Thanks so much to all of you!! I've learned a lot from you in the short time I've been here, but that's a different topic!

 

:-)  

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Jerry- the trick to getting a "mirror" or chrome looking polish is successively finer grits of sandpaper.

Hand sanding with a backer board, go up to finer grits as you go, making sure to get out all the deep scratches from the previous rough grit.

 

Wet sanding with water, windex, or even wd40... with a good sandpaper will make it better.

 

Is your handle pinned and glued on already? Its (polishing ) usually done before attaching handles.

Its easier to clamp the blade to a board clamped in a vise, or to a table, or in a knife vise to hold while you sand.

 

Sand progressively up to a 2,000, 2,500 grit paper- you'll be surprised how it shines. I then polish in a buffing wheel with polishing rouge.

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Edited by Welsh joel
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Thanks so much Joel!!!

 

WOW!!! Now THAT is some shiny steel!!! I'll most definitely do what you've suggested!!

 

As for the scales, yes, they're already pinned and glued. (Noobie mistake. D'OH!!) LOL!! No worries though, I'll find a way to hold it securely while I sand and then polish! Thanks so much for your advice!!

 

Do you think the spray poly is a good idea once I'm finished? Do you think it will "freeze the blade in time" and keep it exactly as is once finished?

 

Thanks again Joel!!!

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It can't hurt- but what you'll find is that it might haze or cloud up on a polished blade.

 

One thing I used on some polished pieces I did- was a dupli color ceramic based high temp spray paint from oriellys. They have a clear, and a very light misted first couple coats did the trick.

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