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New to blade making with a tool question or three

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Hi all!

   I am just getting started in the world of knife making.  As of right now I have a AOS, rail road track pieces, files, angle grinders, flap disks, and cutting blades.  


   I do have a lot of practice metal in the form of scrap to learn on.  I just acquired some more in a auction cheap.  I do not have a forge, but 2 propane torches.


My questions:


  1. Do I need to really get or make a forge?  Im kinda handy, but feel a bit uncomfortable with making burners.


  2. Bels sander is a needed piece of kit or go files for now?


  3. Is it better to make my scales with wood I have, after I use Cactus Juice?  I seen the prices of scales and if I can make em, it would save a lot of money.


  Lastly, I got some of these odd files at a auction.  Its called a body file.  Only way I found out is the one in its package, Blackhawk Shell Body File.  Is this good for removing a lot of   metal?  Picture is of a flat and rounded body file.IMG_20210109_205725365.jpg



Any advice or help is really appreciated!  Just something about creating this vision in your head is so appealing.

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Welcome to the madness!


It sounds like you want to hammer stuff into shape, which means yes, you need a forge.  If you're not ready to spend some money, you can use charcoal and a few bricks to get you started.  It's that simple!  


You can go as low-tech or high-tech as you want, depending on what you want to make.  If you want to forge stuff, you'll eventually want so tongs to hold hot steel with. 


You don't need a belt grinder, they just make things faster.  I used files and angle grinders for about eight years, during which time I made around a hundred tomahawks, fully polished and engraved.  Good files are the key, though.


Speaking of files, those body files are for use on lead.  Back in the pre-Bondo days, body shops used lead/tin solder to fill dents and such, and those files were used to scrape off the excess. Probably not sturdy enough to last on steel, unfortunately.  They do make a file with similar teeth for steel, but they are thick and not at all flexible. 


Finally, I've never bought a set of wood scales in my life.  Nor have I ever stabilized anything or used stabilized wood.  I figure plain wood/bone/antler was good enough for the entirety of human history until about 20 years ago, so it's still okay now. :lol:  Stabilized woods do have a place, of course.  It's just not an absolute necessity. 

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basic wood block/scales were under $6 each from the suppliers back in the day before i started buying in bulk and cutting to size ( unless you have unlimited shop space buy your woods i have shelves and shelves devoted to my wood collection :unsure:) easiest to do when starting out use colorful woods ie ebony amazon bloodwood purple heart ( purple heart is cheep and can be heated to turn anything from purple to black and in between) ect they don't cost much and work with an oil finish nicely and look fancy and no dry time for stains, find a wood shop in town online or even a big box store you need wood that will look good in the space of a handle and close to 1 inch thick. save burls and stabilized for when you start doing some of your best work which unless your a savant will be several years what looks good to you your first year will make you cringe in another 5.


files will make a hell of a knife if you put the effort in a belt grinder can screw up a knife just as fast as it can make a good one you can also do a lot with an angle grinder but you will have to finish with a belt grinder or by hand.



i have forged from just a torch before i used almost enough gas in the end that buying a proper forge looked cheep and it was a pain to do as i had to keep putting the torch down safely before i could hammer again, stear away from the amazon or ebay forges there there to make a buck not to make a good forge nc tool makes forges for working smiths there's proly a few others but i haven needed a forge in the last 12+ years as mine is holding up fine




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2 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

you'll eventually want some tongs

want????:huh::blink:;) (j/k)

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Thank you everyone.  I was trying to figure out those files.  They were saying smoothing out body panels on cars.  This would fit with all the automotive items at this auction.  Old T-bird and parts.


I have looked into a forge.  A Hells Forge 2 burner.  From the reviews it seems solid, not a wallet killer, and best of all it helps support our Veterans.  


As for tongs, kinda figured they might be nice.  Why burn your hands? lol

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Those are okay entry-level forges, but for the money you can build a much more efficient one.  Most of us like 2" of wool with a layer of castable refractory on top, and save the brick for doors.  But, as I said, for starting out and general forging, that will work.  You may or may not be able to weld in it, I've never played with one in person.  

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had to look it up the hells forge or whatever it is definitely on my list of forges to avoid materials for a better forge will run you about the same and you will likly have it for longer


if supporting a vet tickles your heart strings offer a vet a ride to the va for an apointment or two

Edited by dragoncutlery
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