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Thanks for the help, I made something!


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I've received some great advice here, and I want to thank you all because I was able to make a thing that actually seems like a purposely built knife that mostly looks like what I intended it to look like!

 

1075, ebony, and padauk. I definitely learned somethings. I hammered the profile and hammered in the bevel then finished it up on a belt sander. I actually ended up heat treating it twice since after the first one I decided I could refine the shape in the forge more, so annealed and went back to work. I was much happier when I finished up the second time. From there I learned an awful lot about working with ebony, something I'd never worked with. Who knew it smelled weird? Padauk does too! I certainly made some mistakes, but nothing I couldn't learn from. 

 

Now to get better (at the knife making AND the sheath making, my leather work is not great). 

 

 

CAD98B58-F80D-4346-9542-CB17896E3B72.jpeg

Edited by PatF
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1 minute ago, Geoff Keyes said:

Looks way better than my first 50 blades, nice work.  The thing I always ask is, what would you do differently on the next one?

 

Geoff

 

Thanks! I had been making a few decorative tent stakes and some other steel bits and baubles, so this was my second blade but I still had a bit of time under my belt at my forge. I finally figured out how to get a neutral or reducing atmosphere in the forge, and that makes me happy. Next time, I'll be more patient, hammer it thinner, hammer in better (and steeper) bevels, hammer the tang a little longer rather than shorter, and give myself a little more material to work with on the handle. 

 

The long version is below:

Mostly, and firstly, patience. I think it's overly thick, and really that's just a result of me getting tired of hammering on the thing and sort of losing focus on the end. I think the bevel starts too low, and I could have fixed in by grinding more but I REALLY wanted to hammer in that bevel. I'm working with a piece of railroad track for an anvil and unless I stand it on end there's not a flat place on there. I feel like that's suboptimal but not a deal breaker. I was able to reign myself in when it came to grinding, a lot of that was me thinking "well, if I do more work on the forge I can spend less time grinding". 

 

Secondly, I need to get over this idea of absolutely minimal waste. It's always been a thing with me, I have a consumable and I don't want to waste it so when it comes time to cut out things like scales they start at a pretty minimal width, etc. At that point I have so little room for error that small mistakes end up with larger consequences. I think I need to give myself a little more room and realize that cutting things bigger, or thicker, or whatever to start with isn't waste; it's giving me a better opportunity for a positive outcome. 

 

I tried to outsmart myself when I went to drill the pin holes. I didn't do a great job cutting the ebony slabs for the sides and they ended up tapering (that is when I tried to cut a block in half I ended up cutting it on a bit of an angle). I 'fixed' it by flipping one over but didn't take that into account when I set up a jig to make sure I could drill a 90* hole (no drill press), I guess it's good you can only see one side at a time ;) I think it would have come out straighter had I eyeballed it. 

 

I would have liked to have drawn out the tang a bit longer, and have a more pronounced shoulder from the spine to the tang. It's a good shape, but smaller than I had planned and I just kind of rolled with it. 

 

I like working with ebony, but I need to slow down and keep on top of my abrasives. I didn't have any major issues with heat, but I count myself as lucky as I definitely felt it get pretty warm. Also learning to lighten up my touch on the belt grinder. It's just a Harbor Freight 1x30 but I definitely had to make the handle a bit smaller around than I had intended because of small mistakes. At some point I just need to call it quits on the grinder and hand stuff. 

 

Lastly I guess, make sure my quench tank is big enough! I was using one of those disposable meatloaf pans partially filled with veg oil. When I got the knife out and stuck it in the oil the first time I did a heat treat it barely went over the bevel. Not exactly a disaster, but that gave me something to think about. The second heat treat I added a bit more oil.

 

Long post I know, but you got me thinking about my lessons learned and what I feel I can improve on, so thank you!

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For what you described as "working conditions"- it came out pretty decent.

 

My most?- impression from it? 

 

You learned from the process... which is priceless if you want to make another, ten more, or your next 100 knives.

 

I really like the orange line running through the black in the handle. Striking combination.

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Nice looking knife! You think Ebony smells weird, wait until you do ironwood. It smells just like the inside of an outhouse.

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6 hours ago, Welsh joel said:

You learned from the process... which is priceless if you want to make another, ten more, or your next 100 knives.

 

I really like the orange line running through the black in the handle. Striking combination.

Yup, I learned and now I can move forward and hopefully apply those lessons on future knives. I may need a new knife drawer....

 

About the handle, thanks! That padauk is beautiful. My next knife might have to be the reverse; orange on the outside with black in the middle. 

 

1 hour ago, Paul Carter said:

Nice looking knife! You think Ebony smells weird, wait until you do ironwood. It smells just like the inside of an outhouse.

I know some people dislike the smell of working with ebony, neither my wife nor I thought it was bad and I thought it was almost pleasant. What that says about me I have no idea....

 

I have a piece of ironwood in the cabinet, looking forward to that outhouse smell, lol. 

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Posted (edited)

I forgot to mention, in use the knife feels pretty good and balances right around the choil. It's actually really nice to use in a pinch grip like a kitchen knife.  Holding it in a hammer grip back from the choil it's a little front heavy. While I hadn't intended to make the handle quite as small as it is, one positive consequence is the edge is a bit lower than the handle which gives some knuckle clearance if using the knife on board or something. If it were thinner with a higher bevel I think it would make a pretty good camp knife in regards to food prep and such. As it is it wedges and breaks the harder vegetables and fruits. I'll take it camping and hunting this year and see what I think of it after some more use. 

Edited by PatF
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