Discussion in 'Blades' started by melbo, Aug 6, 2005.
WHat do you need....(other than patience)?
One of the great misconceptions is that you have to be skilled - I had zero skill going into this. Knifemakers are made, not born! I've ground about 60 knives now and at least half of those are in the discard bin. That's how you develop skill - standing in front of a grinder.
Patience? I have none and what was killing me at first was wanting to cut corners. No corners can be cut though, and pretty soon there is only The Process. It's the list of things that must be done to make a good knife.
There are some great books and videos out there. "The $50 Knife Shop" by Goddard, "How to make Knives" by Loveless/Barney are great books, and there videos by Wally Hayes, Loveless and Johnny Stout that helped me alot.
I started with a tutorial on how to make a knife with hacksaw and files. That's alot of work! You need a grinder of some kind - I bought a Grizzly 2x72" for my first one.
Here's the tutorial I used to make my first knife:
I meant it as amplitude to run tools and the like, I can build houses and things with the best of them, but I can in no way paint to save my life!
I always built models as a kid, but couldn’t paint them, it made me give up on them, so I went hunting and never looked back.
Everyone can do just about anything, but being great is a whole new horse to ride! and Valkman you look to be riding that horse!
You also need a way to heat treat your knife - this is what stymied me for a while. But I got to be friends with Bear at WR and we were talking, and he had stuff that I needed so he just sent it to me. He sent me 2 soft firebricks, which I hollowed out and wired together. I put a small hole in the side for a MAPP gas torch used bricks (and a Amazon.com box - that was temporary but it's still there!) to build the whole thing up to the height it had to be at for the torch, and so I could sit in my drafting chair while heat treating. Now you can get firebricks from http://refractory.elliscustomknifeworks.com/ - Darren Ellis is a great guy.
I still use it, and have heat treated 25-30 knives. A MAPP gas torch lasts much longer than I thought it would and I did about 20 knives on the first cylinder - the same small ones you buy at Home Depot.
I use O1 Tool Steel, which is oil quenched. I use a roasting pan full of olive oil. The only other thing you need is a magnet, and when the steel is hot enough to be non-magnetic then you quench it in the olive oil.
If you want to go farther then you get refractory cement from Ellis and put some along the spine of the knife. When you quench the spine will not be able to cool as fast so it will not get as hard as the edge, which is a good thing and why I like to do this myself. When you send knives out for heat treat the whole thing gets hardened. Using refractory cement not only keeps the spine soft, it is what gives you neat temper lines. I think it's the only way to do it and use it on all my knives. As a result I can put them in a vise and bend them 90 degrees and they won't break, which is a big deal if you're out in the middle of nowhere.
yeah? cool! that is good info Valkman, hey when we go public, we need to get Bear Back! He was good people for sure!
I always wondered how they heat treated it to bend like that and hold a edge.
thanks for the pointer!
We definitely need Bear here! I talk to him on the phone sometimes and he's a great guy who really knows about knife stuff.
Wow. Nice setup Valkman! Someday maybe I'll give it a try
Hey All.... I just saw this one..... Here's and offer you can't refuse..... if you're really interested in trying you hand at this.... I'll send you 2 fire bricks and
some o-1 steel flat ground stock to grind on.... they you can try your hand at this.... you gotta come up with a propane torch which I think everyone has, a pan, olive oil and some files.... oh and some patience..... if you have a grinder it will go all the faster..... oh yeah and Valkman is always here to give advice... I am even willing to send you the videos that "twinkled" Valkman's toes into giving this a try..... So there..... it doesn't get any better than that.... but hurry.... I think I have enough to maybe send 4 or 5 people a new hobby..... just send me your addy.... ............
Bear really did help get me started with materials and videos, and I have to make him a great knive to say thanks.
I just did that where I sent Cousin Jack my videos to help him get started. Helping people make knives is fun and I get alot out of it.
I'm going to get a couple more fire bricks and expand my chamber so I can do longer knives.
If you want to try it there's no better opportunity than this!
Got one taker already..... Hey Valkman.... the phone is gonna start ringing pretty soon.... Hot steel is coming!!!!
I was just wondering, you mentioned that you can bend the blades 90 degrees and they dont break, when you release the preasure do they come back to thier original shape or stay bent?
mm, I believe they come back to their original position.
Actually that's a really good question and one of great debate.... depending on the knifemaker and their affiliated Knifemaking Organization.... they will say that the test of a great knife is that it bends (not breaks) at least one time to 90 degrees and then springs back somewhat with no edge chipping.... typically it does not spring back to its original position... the blade is typically put in a vise and with only your hand and body strength .... bent to 90 degrees.... which is why this is the "destructive" portion of a Journeyman or Mastersmith test.... some have even bent it several times with no cracking or edge chipping.... Ed Fowler and his students are famous for his studies and achievements in steel and heat treatment....
However, there is another school of thought in bladesmiths that say "what the hell good is a knife that bends?".... actually you would rather have a knife that bends under pressure instead of cracks, shatters or breaks and leaves you with a broken knife in the field when you need it the most and that's the reason for this high performance test..... but.... as I said there are some bladesmiths that say a true high performance test is a blade that bends somewhat ... but not necessarily 90 degrees and then because of the heat treat... returns to absolute true with no cracking or edge chipping..... in other words... you put your blade in the vise, typically with some wood blocks because any blade or steel for that matter would develop stress along the sharp hardened edge of the vise jaws, then flex it and it springs back... of course smaller blades and pocket knives don't require this nor would they pass.... but a bigger blade should flex and then actually pull you back to true..... That's the true test of a tough hard performance blade.... so they say
Its all in the heat treatment.... hard edges and soft backs.... hard edges and soft cores etc.... there's all matter of "recipes" out there as well as claims.... the proof is in what could be destructive testing.... if you need to hack through a door or stab your knife into a hollow tile wall and step on it to get over, then yeah... your gonna wanna decide which school of thought you subscribe to.... truth is that most people will never use their knives to this extreme or find themselves in situations that require it.... being prepared means you have the right tool or the mindset not to have destroy an key piece of equipment for whatever you are doing ..... So there you go..... that's the short version.... and there are many opinions and views..... and they all have great points.... knowing what your knife was designed to do, what you are going to use it for and what the maker says it will withstand is a good idea.... I carry a Victorinox.... most of the time..... its small... has everything I need for around the house and chores... but I know it won't pass this test.... that blade or tip will break pretty easily.... but then I'll never use it for that.... now if I going out on a potential SHTF situation ... I'll probably take my BUSSE Straight Handled Battle Mistress or a Strider Fixed Blade.... oh and don't forget my multi-tool or my good old victorinox......
I wasnt sure, I know to me I would prefer that it resists bending and if it dose bend that it springs back just so I dont have a boomerange shaped knife but then too I guess a boomerange shaped knife even would beat a bunch of little shards.
My knives will bend 90 degrees without breaking so that if you are out in the wilds and lost and need it to do something you wouldn't normally do it won't break. I think it's a big deal - it's alot easier to make a non-flexible knife than it is to differentially heat treat it and keep the spine softer than the edge.
If you send knives out to be heat treated they harden the whole thing, tang and all. Bos especially won't differentially HT anything. I like having control over all the precesses and doing my own.
If you bend them 90 degrees, mine anyway, they're gonna stay at 90 degrees. Now that I'm done with orders I can experiment more and try flexing them - I haven't done that. Maybe also bend one 90 degrees and try and straighten it!
I wanted to be sure, for the brick forge for heating the blades, dose propane work for the tourch or do you want to use the yellow canisters of MAPP gas like you would for glass and such? 99% of my experience has all been with a coal forge so didnt know on this.
Propane isn't hot enough in the small can, but MAPP gas does the trick! I HT the small blades in about 5 minutes tops with one cylinder going. For larger blades you can put another hole in the side and use two cylinders at once.
Cool, Ill see about picking up some of those then.
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