Instructables
Picture of Making a knife
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Okay, I promised it, and here it is. This is more of a walkthrough than instructions, but here it is.


I'm making my sister a knife out of 1080 carbon steel, to be handled with pink and purple denim twist micarta (made using this method, but rolling and twisting before flattening).

Visit my blog - eagleeyeforge.com to see more of my projects (mainly knives).


Let's burn it!

Step 1: Testing steel

Picture of testing steel
When using a new steel, you need to test it, either do it yourself, or have a competent assistant help. Here, the new shop assisant boots is testing my 1080 steel. :)

Step 2: Forging

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This is forging the knife, I took a handful of photos, so just follow them. They explain better than me.

Step 3: Rough grinding part 1

this part is where I use an angle grinder to rough grind the knife. The pics only show the work done on one side, but it's implied that you do the same on the other side.

Pic 1 - I don't like the transition of the handle to blade.

pic 2 - cleaned up with bench grinder.

pic 3 - my awesome clamping setup

pic 4 - use the angel grinder with 36 grit flapper to clean handle area

pic 5 - get the blade area as well
 
pic 6 - get the spine and blade areas

pic 7 - better

pic 8 - bevel still needs work

pic 9 - there ya go!


Now that we've rough ground it witht the angle grinder, we move on to rough grinding step 2.




Step 4: Rough grinding part 2

Picture of rough grinding part 2
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First I use a file to even out the areas i ground with the angle grinder. Then I use my belt sander set-up to clean everything. Then I flatten even, and smooth with handsanding to 120 grit. (use a hard backing on the sand paper).
 
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Nice knife, but why next to mnms
Great job! Your handle to blade ratio is excellent, and the design is a good one. One thing to keep in mind when using glue/epoxy for affixing handles: don't clamp too hard or you will get 'squeeze out'. From the picture, it appears that you clamped too hard. I now use medium duty spring clamps for setting my handles after I experienced the problem with 'squeeze-out'. Devcon makes a great 2Ton epoxy that I use on most of my knives.
Keep up the great work.
in the third pic, I could be wrong, but it (the wood) looks like the shaft off of an old (REALLY OLD) sickle mower that went from the blade to the flywheel.
Pretty
in the third pic, I could be wrong, but it (the wood) looks like the shaft off of an old (REALLY OLD) sickle mower that went from the blade to the flywheel.
Pretty
have you tried just using room temp water for heat treating? I usually end up using that, and it works 90 percent of the time even for the relatively unknown recycled springs that i make my knives and tools out of. Lots of guys i know swear by oil, but i've never really tried it! Curious to know what you think. Also- kudos as a fellow young blacksmith/bladesmith! just about everyone I learned from was twice my age at least! my knife making was always looked on somewhat askance, so its good to know there's others out there learning about it too. cheers
Water is a bit fast for the steel I'm using. Good hot oil is almost as fast a quenchant, but less violent, which also means less cracked blades.
handyds2 years ago
And the brother-of-the-decade award goes to...

Nice job! I bet your sister appreciated that a ton!
jackowens2 years ago
Where do you get the steel?
oldanvilyoungsmith (author)  jackowens2 years ago
I purchase my steel from Aldo. Go to NJsteelbaron.com

Great guy, great prices, and great shipping. If you want a great beginner steel, I would suggest getting some 1084 from him, similar to 1080, but a little simpler HT.
Yeah, you'll need to HT. All of Aldo's steel comes well annealed so that you can work it easily. The 1084 is fairly simple to HT if you have a forge or even an oxy-acet kit. If you don't have a forge you can easily get it hot enough by making a dirt forge, and using wood or charcoal for your fuel.

For my knives I like to normalize the blade 3 times, then do a quench in preheated frying oil (canola and peanut are both good). Then follow that with a temper, the tempering temperature I use depends on the blade dimensions and intended use (i.e. a small kitchen knife will be harder than a large belt knife).


If your really interested in knifemaking, go join these forums (below) , read all of the beginner posts you can, and then start asking questions.

-bladesmithsforum.com
-knifedogs.com

I can also recommend you get Tim Livelys dvd "knifemaking unplugged". And some books "$50 knife shop", "step by step knifemaking", and many others will help you out.
Thanks a lot! :) And being a beginner in knife-making, should I heat treat it and temper it? Or is it necessary? And what is the easiest way? Thanks!
its a great idea for a handle! i have read your instructable on making it but im just here to clarify. when you rolled it was it just like wringing out a cloth really tightly before you clamped ? how did you apply the super glue also ? its such a great result !
repear92 years ago
Awesome smith, awesome knife, awesome cat, awesome instructable.
ibuild223 years ago
ok so i feel really stupid asking this but in what step did the blade actually get "sharpened?"
oldanvilyoungsmith (author)  ibuild223 years ago
umm, I don't think I mentioned that. You're the first one to notice that.

I sharpened it after finishing the other steps, I used a dull 120 belt to bring it down to an edge, than a progression of stones to bring it to a nice keen almost razor edge, than a leather strop to bring it to razor. Eventually I might do an ible about it.
rstumph3 years ago
nice handle now you can do an instructables for the handle cues i would like to know how to make one with that material . thanks

oldanvilyoungsmith (author)  rstumph3 years ago
Already have - http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-homemade-micarta/ Only thing I did different was use different material (pink and purple denim) and before flattening roll it up and twist it.
k thanks had a hard time finding the right one for my specified knife .i like that Handel how reliable is it.
oldanvilyoungsmith (author)  rstumph3 years ago
It's pretty reliable. Basically it's a plastic, so it isn't affected by water, sun might bleach it, but only if left out in the sun. When working it, theres no grain like with wood, so it won't want to split on you at all, etc...

All in all, it's a great handle material, cheap, easy to make, kajillions of color choices,durable, and easy to work. I don't use it all the time, but I do use it fairly often.
DanteDante3 years ago
What is the container and fuel you use for the forge? Looks like a car tire rim of some sort... maybe a brake drum? And could one use the bagged fuel intended for use in a coal-burning stove... anthracite, is it?
oldanvilyoungsmith (author)  DanteDante3 years ago
I'm using a brakedrum forge, me and my dad made it 2 years ago. I'm burning mineral coal, I don't know if you can use what you mentioned or not, but I do know that some people use charcoal. real wood charcoal and not briquettes, briquettes I've heard are bad to forge with.
EmcySquare3 years ago
Great Work !!!

I'm a beginner in knife making and that is awesome. Some questions I'd like to learn:

- dont' u use a jig or something when grinding the bevel? How can you be sure you do it right? I mean: should I do it lik eyou I'd make a lot of mistakes and ruin it all... So I'm looking for error poof ways of doing it.

- how can you be sure the HT process got right? I made a electrik kiln
[ http://www.instructables.com/id/Electric-Kiln-the-cheaper-ever/ ] but still I'd like something more "scientific" to say the steel is hard enought??

5 stars, great colors !!
oldanvilyoungsmith (author)  EmcySquare3 years ago
I do not use a jig, I just flip it over and check the bevels by eye pretty often during grinding. There are jigs you could use, but I don't have or use one.


As to HT, I'm sure I got the HT process right because after tempering I put a rudimentery edge on it and tested it against brass rods and other edge tests. With simple carbnon steels such as 1080, you can get very good, and fairly consistent results by simply using your eye, and a magnet (for checking critical temp) to normalize, and to heat for the quench. But, as I'm not an expert, I didn't want to go into detail on the HT process, so as not to mess other people up by them not understandning what I'm saying.
So, if I get it right, you test the hardness of th eblade against a brass rod.
The idea is to "shave" the rod? and the blade shouldn't get any damage... right?

Thanks a lot
oldanvilyoungsmith (author)  EmcySquare3 years ago
Basically, I cut through the brass, shave the brass, and use it to flex just the edge of the blade. If I don't like how it performs, I will either temper it a little hotter to make it softer, or requench it and temper it harder. This all depends on the performance during the test.
Mr.Sanchez3 years ago
Man..I love Knifes....I´m gonna Try this....Thnks for share.
ironsmiter3 years ago
WAY TOO COLD... on your forging tempature...

Get that blank up to a nice mild yellow heat!

The metal will work easier, requiring less heats.
plus you'll be done twice as fast :-)
oldanvilyoungsmith (author)  ironsmiter3 years ago
That's not how hot I had it for forging, I was handling a 4 foot hot piece of steel and a camera. Not a fun juggle. You'll notice I don't have action shots.