New Member...wanna make blades...

Discussion in 'Blades' started by Eadams, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. Eadams

    Eadams Monkey++

    I surfed to this site last night and saw this sub forum. I have wanted to start making knives, etc for a few years now but never had the "push" to do it but after seeing the threads and tutorials I decided to go for it. My great great grandfather was the last blacksmith in West Kentucky and I still remember playing around his forge in his later years. Twoard the end he still put handles on hoes, axes, etc. I hope to follow in his steps.

    Can you fellas give me a small starting list of what I need to start? Equipment, books, and DIY forge instructions?? Thanks!!

    BTW: I wish I was close enough to one of you guys to apprentice but it looks like it ain't gonna be. :) Gonna learn on my own I guess.
  2. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I do stock removal so I can't help much with forging, but I would recommend "The $50 Knife Shop" by Goddard. Ed Fowler is probably the most famous maker that pounds his knives out so I'd look up stuff by him. He had videos out about making knives from 52100 ball bearing steel, which is all he uses.
  3. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    When I get a little more time, I'm going to put together a waste-oil furnace for forging and casting. I found these two links here somewhere:
    and saved them to my favorites so I could read them when I had time. Way too much info to digest at one sitting! From there, I'm planning on getting my 15" piece of hardend rail head back from a friend of mine. I just put a lift kit on my Jeep, so I have plenty of coil springs to pound on. I'm hoping to one day make a knife out of a railroad spike. I've seen some before and they were beautifully crafted creations. I only have a couple of spikes, so I better wait until I know I can do it!
  4. Eadams

    Eadams Monkey++

    I was planning on starting with that method. I figured I'd need a forge for some part of it, tells you what I know of it currently. :)

    For that method I need what equipment? I plan on the cheap method adn after I make a few gradually step up to better equipment. At this point it'll be a small scale hobby.

  5. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    You can do stock removal with files - that's how I did my first one. Mucho hard work though, and I'm lazy, so I bought a Grizzly grinder which runs about $400. It does the job but has one speed: full speed. I made some knives on that and then got a deal on a Bader B3 grinder for $1800. These are the big boys, lots of power, attachments and variable speed.

    Get you a couple of soft fire bricks, hollow them out and wire them together. Make small hole in one side and stick a MAPP gas torch in the hole. Instant "Ghetto Heat Treat Oven" and the one I still use.
  6. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Here's the Ghetto Oven:

  7. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    If you want to do stock removal a cheap way to get your feet wet on equiptment isto go to the hardware store and get a belt sander for $25-30 and several belts of various grits. If you have a vise you can lock the button on for most of the sanders then put the handle snugly (not to tight) in the vise with the belt faced up and grind on it. For anothe $20 or so you can get a cheap angle grinder and a few wheels to do some of the major removal like to get a general knife shap piece of metal out of a larger chunk.

    If there are any lumber mills in your area, particularly the mom and pop type, stop in and find out what they do with their lod saw blades. I get industrial bandsaw blades that way that are like 20' long and around 2" tall by 1/8" or so thick that make real decent knives with no heat treat needed IF you watch it when you grind it and dont get it to hot there which can be a little tricky but can be done.

    You will also want a decent drill and a good set of bits.

    If you decide to try the forgeing meathod your first thing would be to find or build a basic forge, get an anvil (a section of railroad rail will work in a pinch) and say a 2-3 lbs cross peen hammer. With that, fuel, some scrap iron and a little sweat you can make most of the rest of your tools. You can then make a punch and a chisle from the ends of some longer pieces of round stock the cut them to length with an angle grinder or hack saw. Then put the ends of a couple round rods in the fire to heat up so you flatten a section back a bit from the ends, and punch a hole in each, heat a rod a bit smaller than the hole to put through and pound out as a hinge pin and shape the ends to make your tonges. Have a metal or wood bucket of water (old oil if working with hard steel) to quinch in. Use an old cast iron skillet to melt a bunch of wheel weights in and pour into a soup can with a piece of rod in the middle for a handle and you make the lead mallet for bending hot stuff when you dont want to hurt the piece being beat. From there with some practice you can pretty well do what ever you want includeing your hardening, anealing and tempering of whatever you want to make.

    Gunbunny, Ive made a couple of the spike knives, they can be pretty cool. If you want some more to play with just take a walk along the tracks some time, theres generaly a ton of them laying around on the rail beds NOT in anything.
  8. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    So where's pictures of knives being made? Huh? Huh? LOL

    Come on, get to busting some steel! [ROFL]

    I just got this one done:


    Easy stuff. [chopper]
  9. mage2

    mage2 Monkey+++

    I really like that one Valk, one day ill be able to afford one of those perdy things. But then i would be scared to damage it. hehe
  10. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I should show you guys the ton of absolute crap I made at first! I have my first knife, only because the wife won't let me throw it away!

    Ask Monkeyman about how they last - you're not going to hurt it. Looks yes, but that can always be fixed.
  11. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Yep, our Monkeyman could destroy an anvil. If it makes it past him, it's a good 'un. :lol: [troll]
  12. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    Here was my first. I didn't make the blade, I only made the handle and guard, and formed the sheath. I thought it would be nice to have a thin handle... Now I know why knife handles are as thick as they are. The black linen micarta was nice to work with.
    IM000723 (Small).JPG IM000726 (Small).JPG
  13. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    You must have been talkin to someone....I actualy DID break my granddads anvil a few years back and yes Im just as hard on most tools including knives.

    I havent had my knife from Don all that long but have had it long enouph to say with assurance that aside from maybe getting it dirty or even staining the handle if you work at it (I fitted mine in the sheath I made for it to soon after dyeing the leather) you WONT hurt it with anything even resembleing normal use.

    I have been around metal working most of my life in one form or another and have gotten so I can NORMALY tap a blade and tell how it will hold up by the tone of the ring. Based on the ring from his blade I had thought that it would hold an edge well but suspected it would be susceptable to chiping or breaking because its 'tone' would generaly indicate a blade thats nearly glass hard and thus rather brital. He asked me when he sent it though to put it through its paces and use it as a workhorse to be sure it would stand up to whatever a person might put it through since a lot of these knives go to soldiers and he wanted to be SURE that one of our guys didnt wind up in the sandbox with a busted knife or one that just wouldnt do the job. Well Ive been putting it through its paces and then some....

    When I got it it had a decent edge to it but it didnt shave very well and I like a sharp knife so I took a couple hours and 'fine tuned' the edge untill it would shave my arm bald in one pass and cut through news print without freying the edges of the paper then strapped it on my hip to be put to work. I had to build a sort of car port roof over a camper we use as a guest room and I put a tin roof on it. Well toward one end the corigated tin for the roof was 3 layers thick and I got tired of smashing my thumbs when the nails bent rather than going through so I took out the knife, set the neelde tip where I wanted the nail to go and tapped the end of the handle with the hammer and used it as a sheet metal punch to make holes for the nails to go through. I made holes for about a dozen nails this way and while it did dull the tip slightly it DIDNT break and it DIDNT bend and the 'damage' was simply dulling that a good visit with the whet stone will cure. Once I had the structure up, it is free standing and needed to be secured in place so I drove fence posts at each corner then cut sections of rope with the knife to tie the corners down and as most who have done much of it know few things dull a knife as quick as cutting rope. I got it tied down the set up a canopy off the front and used a 2x2 to hold one side of the canopy and it needed grooves by the ends to hold the 550 cord so the knife got to carve/chop out the grooves and cut the tie down lines of 550 cord for that.

    The next day I had to help clear around a pond and used a weed eater to take down most of the stuff but when I would come across saplings and such that the blade on my weed eater (its a steel blade not the string type) wouldnt cut, out came the knife and chopped the stuff down. Now the knife is NOT weighted tip heavey like a machette so its not ideal for chopping chores but it IS balanced nicely to be light in the hand so that despite the weight it could be used for long periods without tireing the had or becoming dificult to be precise with. I also used it several times in the kitchen and garden to slice up tomatoes and such and will chop it just dont carry energy of its weight like a machete so its a trade off for which its primary use is and it works on this one well.

    The next day I had to run a new electrical curcit for the front pourch. So the knife got to cut a few smaller wires, strip the romex and cut a section of the vinal sideing off the side of the house. Those were some of the highlights of its use in addition to some lighter mundane use to open packages and nip strings and so on.

    After about a wek of that type of use the blade was geting to the point that while it would still take off a few hairs it was no longer truely shaveing sharp so I had to touch it up again on the stone. The edge did also come back a lot easier that it had been to fine tune it the first time.

    The balance of the knife is also decent as a throwin knife which I found the other day when out bucking hay and a copperhead crossed my path and I didnt have my gun on me (took it off to keep from rusting it from the sweat) so employed the knife to try to take its head off with a toss. Well Im a bit out of practice at throwing a knife so while it appeared that I nicked it (and clearly convinced it it didnt want to be in the area anymore) I didnt cut its head of or pin it with the throw but the ground wasnt abnormaly soft and the blade did go up about to the handle in the ground without a particularly hard toss.

    The knife has also seen other unkind use like cutting a bit on sadle leather, chopping small saplings out of the way, cutting cord/string off the mower shaft etc. etc but to put it simply, I have am indeed the type of guy that is liable to break an anvil (and literaly have) and have if anything been intentionaly hard on this knife largely so I could say without reservation that unless you are truely abuseing the knife and trying to chop up cars with it and use it as a crow bar and other insane crap (I'll let you know when I get around to that stuff) you will NOT damage these knives beyond at most minor cosmetic scuff by putting them to work and if you are abuseing them....from what Ive seen so far they stand up and ask for more. As I have discussed with Don, aside from possibly fighting, the design of this knife (a retro fighter) is one that while not the ideal design for any job is about as good as you can realley get for a knife that will work for almost EVERY job.

    The true art in any tool is how well it works as a tool and these seem to be fine art by that messure and have the looks as a bonus.
  14. Valkman

    Valkman Knifemaker Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Now that, my friend, is a knife review! I want soldiers to be able to jack up a Stryker if need be and I want this knife to not give out under any conditions. If only one soldier ever depends his life on my knife it has to be the best. Thanks MM for the report!
  15. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Not a problem, thanks for the oprotunity to put it through the wringer, it seems like its going to be nice to have around.
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