Motorcycles, tools, and garages! A little bit of everything mechanical and technical.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Labor day- One more Iron in the fire.

Tried my hand at forging a knife this afternoon, since I needed another project to work on.

I made a knife in Grade 9 Industrial Arts class and loved it. Knife turned out okay, but remember, I was a 9th grader. Fast forward 20 or so years. Now I TEACH "Industrial Arts", and while they won't let me have the students make knives, that doesn't mean I can't!

Been thinking about doing one for a year or so. Then I discovered that the school has a little electric kiln oven stored over in the wood shop. AND, I've got several old Nicholson files that are pretty much useless as a file anymore... Hmm.

So today I decide to attempt some blacksmithing. Something I've never really done but have always wanted to try. What's not fun about red hot metal and big hammers!?

Lugged the kiln over to my room, plugged it in and fired it up. Let it bake for a bit while I smash some metal.

The file:

Welded a chunk of rod to the end so I don't have to mess with tongs.

My setup. I don't have a forge, period. Turns out a rosebud works pretty darn good, although it sure got warm in the welding booth...

So I read a bunch on the interwebs (including a bit here on advrider) and watched several u-tube vids. I should be good to go, right?!

Get 'er good and hot,

and start pounding. Really have no idea what I'm doing, so I'll just pretend.

Not your typical knife blade. It'll make more sense when I start to clean it up. I hope.

Pounding the bevels was dang hard. Got it sorta close and called it good enough. The rest will be done the, uh, old fashioned way? Er not. You know, with a grinder and a file. Not the reaallyy old fashioned way, like blacksmiths used to do. 

Here she is fresh out of forging. I stuck it in the oven and let it cool slowly for about 1/2 hour. I know thats not long enough to anneal it, but I'm experimenting here...

Cleaned it up a bit with an angle grinder and spent some time filling it. It's definitely soft enough to file, so I guess thats good enough?!

And a bit more with the sander.

Probably going to leave the crosshatch on the upper part of the blade. It still has a ways to go, need to clean up the plunge cut on the bevel near the hilt and I want to put a short edge on the outside of the "beak". More to follow, eventually...

1 comment:

Shop Teacher Bob said...

If I may offer a little advice -
Unless you want the crosshatching of the file teeth for decorative effect, you should grind the teeth off first. Before putting the bevels on bend the knife blank over the horn to a shape like a banana. When you hammer in the bevels, it stretches that side and it will straighten the blade back out. When you're done forging, heat the blade evenly above the critical temperature (no longer magnetic) and then toss it into a bucket of dry sand or wood ashes to anneal it. That usually gets them soft enough to file or drill for rivets.
ABANA might have a state blacksmithing chapter, if so, check them out. Most blacksmiths will give freely of their time and skills to anyone interested. Most gatherings also have some type of "open forge" so you can try things out with a pro offering advice while you're working.

Have fun and be safe.