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R.R. Spike Knife Tutorial


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Before we begin let’s spend a few minutes developing our “concept”. The concept will be made up of the primary thoughts or ideas that govern our actions.

 

Without a good solid concept to start with, we will be open to all kinds of negative chi, my children...

 

The idea here is to make a funky “blacksmith knife“. Let’s break this down and take a look at it. What is a blacksmith? It’s a person who uses fire and hammers, taking full advantage of the metal’s “malleability“, to make things from it! It is not a metallurgist or a laboratory technician. The blacksmith makes things that are both utilitarian, aesthetic and “artistic“. History shows these facts very clearly, at least to the average modern western mind. This is not an ordinary person, so we want to play that part up. A "bladesmith" is a blacksmith who specializes in making functional, aesthetic and ceremonial knives and blades! Historically this carries a mystique not unlike that of a wizard, magician, guru or sorcerer. We want to keep that part!

 

What is a knife? A knife is a tool used to cut with. However, It is not a letter opener, chisel or a saw. This will be a “real knife”! So we will be making a “blacksmith knife”. The primary concerns will be to “have fun“, show the “blacksmithing process”, the malleability, strength, and hardness of the material and “to learn” what we can from it.

 

Are you with me so far? :)

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All one needs to begin with is a sincere desire, and a choice piece of “medium/low / high/low carbon steel“!

 

Now where might we find an ambiguous piece of steel like that?…

 

This is where the true journey begins!

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As we begin our journey, let’s all join hands, close our eyes, take a deep relaxing breath,... and make this our collective mantra…

 

According to the book of Goo:

#1. A bladesmith is a person who uses fire and hammers to make metal blades.

#2. There are two kinds of bladesmiths, #1. Yourself, #2. Everyone else.

#3. Dung works best when it's dried.

#4. Don't suck carbon out of the steel.

#5. Don't sell your blades too cheap.

 

This should help clear our energy fields of any negative vibes.

Edited by Tai
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As we are beginning we will need to talk a little about the R.R. spike itself, where it comes from and why we've chosen it for our blacksmith knife.

 

R.R. spikes come from the railroad. That's why we call them R.R. spikes. I live close to the tracks. It appears that when they do routine maintenance on the tracks, some spikes are discarded to the side of the tracks. People pick them up and give them to me all the time, because they know how much I like them.

 

The R.R. spike is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of a blacksmith knife,... it's a tradition. Blacksmiths have been using them for a long time to make this kind of novelty knife. It's a classic!

 

Here's an example of one of mine, which we will use as a model in this tutorial.

RRknife004a.jpg

 

RRknife003a.jpg

 

Although other materials can be used, there are several reasons that the R.R. spikes have become the standard. First, the relatively low carbon content makes this material "easy to forge". This is important because we want to show the "malleability" and fluidity of the material, the blacksmithing process. This is our primary goal, remember? Also, the stock has a beefy semi square cross section. This will also be an advantage over flat stock, as we will have more mass to work with and show the blacksmithing process through "radical changes" in the form, geometry, cross section and charactor of the stock...

 

With the carbon content being border line, "low/medium /high/low" and ambiguous, the margin for error will be quite narrow. This makes it a good learning experience. One will have to have a basic foundation and understanding of bladesmithing in order to make a "real knife" from it. This will also add to the element of mystery, controversy, astonishment and awe, when we finally get to the finished product and cut things with it.

 

Now let's all bond together, join hands and sing a few verses of...

 

"FIRE"

 

(By Arthur Brown)

 

I am the god of hell fire and I bring you...

Fire, I'll take you to burn.

Fire, I'll take you to learn.

I'll see you burn!

You fought hard and you saved and learned,

But all of it's gonna burn.

And your mind, your tiny mind,

You know you've really been so blind.

Now's your time burn your mind.

You're falling far too far behind.

Oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no, you gonna burn!

Fire, to destroy all you've done.

Fire, to end all you've become.

I'll feel you burn!

 

You've been living like a little girl,

In the middle of your little world.

And your mind, your tiny mind,

You know you've really been so blind.

Now's your time burn your mind,

You're falling far too far behind.

 

Oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no,

 

Fire, I'll take you to burn.

Fire, I'll take you to learn.

You're going to burn!

You're going to burn!

You're going to burn!

You're going to burn! burn! burn! burn!

 

Fire, I'll take you to burn.

Fire, I'll take you to learn.

Fire, to end all you've become.

Fire, I'll watch you burn

 

I am the god of hell fire, ha ha ha ha ha!

Edited by Tai
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Tai, dyoo mean, when you say we will use yours as a model, that the tutorial will go through how to make the face, and twist?  :)

36919[/snapback]

 

Yes, my child.

 

We will cover all those things in great detail. :)

 

I can already hear the sound of neo-tribal drum rhythms approaching in the distance...

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Aye- lay us down a Phat Neo-Tribal Beat ;).

 

I can't wait to see how the twists were done!

 

"I am the god of hell fire, ha ha ha ha ha!"

36922[/snapback]

 

Now that's what I like to hear!

 

Someone give my child Peter an "A" for attitude!

 

Some other highlights of this project will be, de-scaling, stock reduction, heat treating, finishing and finally we will put a "surgical edge" on and do some practical field testing with it...

 

The "edge" is an imaginary boundary or line, that separates one thing from another.

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Splitting toads  Good

36951[/snapback]

 

Let's give it some more thought, my child. I have a great toad splitting technique I've always wanted to share.

 

If not we'll butcher a chicken. :wacko:

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Before we begin,.. we will need two R.R. spikes from the same place with the same markings or lack of markings. One will be for the knife and the other to do some preliminary testing on. This will help assure us that we have a good piece of low/medium/high/low carbon steel to start with.

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The first test will be the "spark test". This is to determine whether or not the spike is "low carbon" or "low/medium/high/low". You will need some type of electric grinder for this test. The idea is to observe the differences in the sparks issuing forth from the wheel.

 

If it looks like this, it is "low carbon". Forget it!

It won't work for this project.

d5ff17ce.jpg

 

If it looks like this, there is hope. It might work! Now it's in the low/medium/high/low carbon range. Notice the difference in color and texture of the sparking.

9663b0e5.jpg

 

Here is a close up of the "starbursts" from the low/medium/high/low carbon steel. You want to look for the most of these, closest to the wheel.

starbursts.jpg

 

We will still need to do quench, hardness and malleability testing before we actually begin.

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So, my children as you can see, the more "starbursts" there are closer to the wheel, the more carbon there is...

 

The spark test is merely to determine whether we are in the ball park in terms of alloy and carbon content, or not. It is a quick easy test. The next series of tests will be to determine the "actual working properties" of the low/medium/high/low carbon steel.

 

Be sure and spark test both spikes and then set one aside for the knife and the other for the next series of test.

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This is great. I need this.

37004[/snapback]

 

Thank you my child. If nothing else, it should be a fun learning experience for the beginners and a good test of skill for the more advanced.

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