hasmat wrote:Knife thread
I would also like to try and forge a knife from a railroad spike. If I can find some marked "HC" (high carbon), it would be even better. I ordered some O1 and 1095 steel and will try those, too.
Coming from my experience in forging, don't bother with the railroad spikes. The low carb ones won't take and edge, and you'll have a fuckin hell of a time scrounging around for high carbon ones.
O1 is good steel...in fact too good to be fucking around with on your first time. Keep that shit around for your magnum opus knife.
10 series is ofcourse awesome and cheap to boot, but you have to order it, and the shipping prices for steel can be crazy sometimes.
Do yourself a favor and go down to the local scrap yard and find some leaf and coil springs.
I've had really good success with coil springs from hondas- just cut off a piece and get to it. Only pain is that you have to forge the round stock down into a flat, but that'll help you learn how steel likes to move under the hammer.
The big, thick leaf springs from american trucks I've had less success with. That stuff is fuckin tough, and really hard to forge into shape.
Most automobile springs are made out of 5160 which, after doing some destruction testing with my own forged knives, I'm pretty sure is fuckin indestructible in any realistic application (provided it has a good heat treat). (doesn't take as good an edge as 1095 or O1, but still more than decent).
Also, check around garage sales and swap meets for old, used up tools. Tend to be either 10series steel, tool steel for the better ones, and 440 range stainless (which is decent with a proper heat treat). Also ask around if anybody has any files they've either worn out or don't use anymore. I've gotten good results with crowbars and tire irons in particular.
a cheap shop vac (with a variable power setting) on the "blow" setting makes for a very convenient, cheap, and durable bellows.
An angle grinder is paramount. Harbor Freights hand tools tend to be shitty Indian steel, but their power tools tend to be awesome for some reason. My 15 dollar angle grinder that I've used and abused since back in middle school is still working like a champ.
There are tons of tutorials on how to make charcoal forges. Stick to lump charcoal, not briquettes. You don't get enough surface area with the briquettes. Lump charcoal is more expensive, but....you can always just make your own charcoal.
My first anvil (which still came in handy even after making my bigger, ghetto railroad track anvil) was just a large pvc bucket filled with cement, with a large sledge hammer head plopped into the center.
Sounds really stupid, but it worked like a fuckin charm. Nice tempered had that got a whole lot of rebound (which means less effort into moving more steel)- only problem is that you don't have a whole lot of anvil space to work with, but with knives with blades 12" and under, it works just fine.
Most if not all your work can be done with a 4lb and 2lb hammer. 4lb for getting your knives into rough shape, and 2lb for the detail work (choil, ricasso, taper, false edge, bevels, etc). My favourite all-around hammer is a 2.5lb.
Vice grips make for awesome tongs until you can manage to forge some by yourself. Don't bother buying tongs, they tend to be way too expensive for what they are.
The video that helped me get into forging was "Knifemaking Unplugged" by Tim Lively. Shows you how to set up shop and forge with no power tools required.
Also, the "50 Dollar Knife Shop" by Wayne Goddard is a classic for a reason. However videos help you see things that books just can't show; better to have both.
Good luck on your forging!