Introduction: Rail Spike Knife

Picture of Rail Spike Knife

In this Instructable, I will show you how to Forge a knife out of a rail spike or other steel. This requires patience and a LOT of caution!

Step 1: Step 1: Tools, Skills, and Setup

Picture of Step 1: Tools, Skills, and Setup

The Tools and Materials you will need are as follows

1. Forge with Propane or other fuel

2. Anvil

3. Forge Hammer, 4 lb or 2 lb

4. Rail Spike or other piece of steel that you would like to forge

5. Grinder

6. Leather Gloves

7. Tongs

8. Blowtorch

9. Bucket of Water

10. Safety glasses

Skills

Basic Metalworking Skills are needed

Caution is to be used when handling glowing hot metal

Caution should also be used when grinding the metal

Setup

Hook the fuel up to the Forge and light the Forge with the blowtorch

*Note that if you are using propane the optimal heat of the forge will be achieved when small flames are just barely clearing the opening of the Forge. It will sound like a jet engine.

Go ahead and get used to the tongs by picking up your Rail Spike and putting it in the Forge

Step 2: Step 2. Heat and Hammer

Picture of Step 2. Heat and Hammer

Now that your metal is in the Forge, you must wait until it is glowing red hot. As it gets hotter and hotter, it will change in hue, with the optimum hue being close to yellow-orange and bright.

When it is finally this color it will be easier to hammer out, so take your metal out with the tongs, put it on the anvil, and hammer away with the forging hammer. Sparks will fly, so use safety glasses.

*Before you start going crazy, you may want to have an idea of what you want your blade to look at, so you may want to draw it on paper. But you do not have to do this.

As the metal cools it will be harder to mold, so when it loses that deep orange glow, it is time to put it back in the forge.

Repeat this step until your blade is roughly the shape that you want it. This process should take over an Hour and a Half.

Step 3: Step 3. Cooling and Grinding to Shape

Picture of Step 3. Cooling and Grinding to Shape

Now that you have the blade roughly to the shape that you would like for it to be, it is time to cool it in water.

This should be a slow process, where you put the blade end in first slowly and carefully put in the rest of the blade.

After the blade is cooled, go over to your grinder and smooth out the rough edges and sharpen the blade by putting it at an angle to the grinding wheel or belt.

You have a lot of wiggle room in this part of the process to put your own creative spin on how you want the blade to look, so get creative.

These blades tend to be extremely sharp, so be careful with them!

Step 4: Step 4. Optional Buffing

Picture of Step 4. Optional Buffing

You have the option to buff your knife to make it shiny if you would like to. Just use a buffing wheel on an electric drill if you would like to do this step. I think it looks cool whether or not you decide to make it shiny.

Comments

gsp668 (author)2017-09-01

Cool it in water? No no no no no no no no no, just no. Mineral oil, used canola oil, or used motor oil as a last resort.

Midgaardssmeden (author)gsp6682017-11-26

Why on earth would you cool a RR spike in oil?

The carbon content is so low that the spike will never harden, it's practically mild steel. Even RR spikes marked "HC" are mild steel.

On a side note, only use motor oil if you really, really want to get cancer!

There's no end to all the arguments against used (or new) motor oil. If you want to harden steel, use veggie oil, like canola oil. Or use water for waterhardening steel alloys. And Yes! they do exist!

Swansong (author)2017-09-01

That's a neat idea, I like your forge setup too :)

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