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#699273 - 01/04/12 06:41 AM Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop
JasonB Offline
Sharp -Shooter
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Registered: 04/27/04
Posts: 14406
Loc: Cape Spencer, New Brunswick, C...
I guess most of you know I have a bit of a hobby as an amateur bladesmith and woodworker. This past holiday, I made a couple of small hunting knives with a friend of mine who visits every Christmas for this sort of fun. He took a whole bunch of photos of the process (and participated in forging the blade too), so I thought I'd post a bit of a "forge along" for anyone who was interested.

My forge is burning oak charcoal (Kingsford Royal Oak Natural Lump), and air is provided by an antique geared hand crank blower. The forge itself is an 18"x9" galvanized steel box filled with refractory cement and a 1.25" air pipe with slots along about 8" of it. My anvil is a relatively modern 250# piece given to me by a neighbour. I've got a 60# post vice on the bench. The forge was built about 7 years ago and has served well for blade smithing and light wrought iron work.

The knives started as the coil spring from a mid-70's vintage Corolla I found wrecked in the woods. This is good steel for knives, tough and hard enough to take a good edge. Very similar to 5160 steel. First step is to heat and straighten a lenght of the coil spring:



Then I cut off the stock I'll need using a "Hardie", an upside down chisel that slots into the anvil.



With the cut stock in tongs (OK, vice grips), I begin to shape the "tang", or the portion of the blade that will be in the handle:





Once the tang is formed, I make the shoulder that will be the heal of the blade, and use the hardie again to cut the knife-to-be off the stock. It's starting to look knife-like:



The next few heats are spent thinning and widening the blade, creating bevels, and trimming the blade to shape with the hardie:





Once I'm satisfied with the blade, I straighten it as best I can. I've never made a truely straight blade, but they're within a mm or so, generally...



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#699274 - 01/04/12 06:42 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
JasonB Offline
Sharp -Shooter
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Registered: 04/27/04
Posts: 14406
Loc: Cape Spencer, New Brunswick, C...
Forging done, I clamp the blade in my vice and use an angle grinder to fair the line of the spine (back of the blade) and create a false edge on the back of the drop point:



Finished forging:



Next, we'll need to create the handle for the blade. It'll be retained by 2 rivets (I use 1/4" OD copper tubing), and that in turn requires matching holes to be drilled in the tang. I soften the steel by annealing it (Heat it to red heat, allow to cool in the coals as slowly as practical):



Then we can drill the holes. Even annealed, a good drill bit can only make a half dozen holes in this steel. The bit was ruined by the time I'd done the second copy of this blade (I made a second one a few days after this one):





This knife is handled with a chunk of cherry cut from the remains of the tree in my front yard that was hit by a truck a few years back. The chunk has been seasoning in my basement since. I chose a piece from the pile, and began cutting away everything that wasn't a handle using my bandsaw:





And then create a slot in the handle to take the tang:



I do most of the finish shaping using a drum sander in my drill press, and drill the rivet holes in the handle using the tang as a guide:





Edited by JasonB (01/04/12 09:14 AM)
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#699275 - 01/04/12 06:42 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
JasonB Offline
Sharp -Shooter
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/27/04
Posts: 14406
Loc: Cape Spencer, New Brunswick, C...

You'll remember I annealed the steel a few steps ago. It's quite soft now, too soft for a blade. We have to harden and temper it to make it useable.

Back out to the forge, by lantern light this time, for that routine. Starting a charcoal forge at night is somewhat spectacular:



I heat the blade to full red heat and quench it in oil:





Now, it's glass-hard. A file won't cut it anymore, but it's too hard for a knife. It's brittle. Tempering relieves some of the internal stresses, somewhat softening and greatly toughening the steel. Close attention is needed, as I'm aiming for a very narrow temperatur window. Oxide colours on the surface of the steel are a good indication of the temperature. I heat the tang till it's blue (springy, soft), the bulk of the blade to purple-brown (harder than spring, softer than pocket knife), and the edge straw-yellow (pocket knife/razor blade hardness). The tip is slightly softer to help prevent breakage (brown/purple).



The blade then gets wire brushed clean, the handle is mounted. I bedded the tang in JB-Weld, then shot the rivets and expanded their ends with a tapered punch. A wood filler piece fills the tang slot at the butt of the knife, as I'd made the tang too short:







The next day, we finished the handle, coated it with 3 coats of spar urethane, sharpened the edge, and then I made the sheath from leather. I liked the results so much, I then made a second knife for myself a few days later, same techniques, but with a handle fashioned from Desert Ironwood courtesey of our own man in the desert. Here are the 2 finished knives:







Hope you all enjoyed this!

J
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#699278 - 01/04/12 07:31 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
Able_Dog Offline
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Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 35624
Loc: N Georgia
VERY informative Jason, well done and very interesting. That ironwood handle is beautiful. You owe that guy in the desert.

I guess that's an oil quench you're using?

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#699279 - 01/04/12 07:33 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
JasonB Offline
Sharp -Shooter
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Registered: 04/27/04
Posts: 14406
Loc: Cape Spencer, New Brunswick, C...
Yes, I quench in waste oil (from small engine changes, LOL). If I use water with this steel, it'll warp and probably crack from the too-high cooling rate. Waste oil smells aweful, but it's cheap and works well.

J
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#699309 - 01/04/12 09:59 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
DonkeyDave Offline
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Registered: 12/12/03
Posts: 21155
Loc: Florence, Arizona
I'll echo what Able said except you don't owe me a thing. That's what friends are for. Funny thing, exchanging little gifts has the effect, at least for me, of making cyber friendships tangible. smile
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#699317 - 01/04/12 10:44 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
DonkeyDave Offline
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Registered: 12/12/03
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Do you put a strip of leather in the sheath to protect the stitching from the cutting edge?
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#699321 - 01/04/12 10:58 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
JasonB Offline
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Registered: 04/27/04
Posts: 14406
Loc: Cape Spencer, New Brunswick, C...
Yes. It's called a "welt", a strip about 3/8"-1/2" wide, with the stitches passing thru it's centerline, more or less. I use a thicker and harder leather for this than for the sheath itself.

In making a sheath, I cut out the shapes I need to make the sheath itself, and a piece for the welt. Then I punch holes in the belt loop and corresponding location on the sheath back, fold the loop back, and rivet it in place. I'm using alum pop rivets with washers this time, though I often use leather rivets... But have run out this time.

Then I glue and clamp the sheath and welt into its intended alignment, and let the glue dry over the heat vent a bit. Yellow wood glue.

Once dry, I punch and rivet the seam at the top of the opening, so the blade can't cut the top stitch when being drawn or replaced.

Next, I mount a diamond section punch pin (ground from music wire) about 1/16" thick in my drill press with a chunk of end grain softwood to back it up. I wax the pin with a candle so it withdraws easier.. Then I punch the stitch line trying to be as even as I can.

I stitch using 2 needles (one at each end of the thread, so it's knotted only at the tip of the sheath), with artificial sinue (nylon fibres with beas wax) starting at the top, tensioning each stitch firmly, until I reach the tip. I knot in the little hole at the tip where the welt is cut slightly short to accomodate that and allow debris inside the sheath to fall thru.

Now that it's all assembled, and assuming the fit is OK (*sigh*), I use a bench grinder to trim back the edges of the seam for a smooth uniform look. This removes any glue over-spill too.

Finally, I thoroughly soak the new sheath in warm water, and apply a dye to it for aesthetics. Then, while it's still wet, I insert the plastic-wrapped knife, and stretch/mould the leather to the knife as well as I can, being sure the edge centers on the welt and the seam is straight. Set it on the heat vent overnight, and it's nicely shaped and dry by morning, if it was cold enough outside for the furnace to run.

J


Edited by JasonB (01/04/12 11:11 AM)
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#699379 - 01/04/12 04:50 PM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
Just_Bill Offline
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Registered: 01/27/02
Posts: 20302
Loc: Wilmington, Delaware
Or you can go to the cutlery store and buy a Chineese junk knife. Not many of us have our won forge.
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#699406 - 01/04/12 08:07 PM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
kickintile Offline
Super Handyman

Registered: 12/12/03
Posts: 1637
Loc: Northern Colorado
very nice jasonb

a lost art no doubt....

kick

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#699423 - 01/05/12 05:25 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
JasonB Offline
Sharp -Shooter
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/27/04
Posts: 14406
Loc: Cape Spencer, New Brunswick, C...
Chinese cutlery was partly the motivation for building the forge. That, and a life-long fascination with basic metal working.

Building that forge cost me about $300. I could have built a propane setup for slightly less, but it would have been somewhat smaller. I've operated it now for 7 years, made about 2 dozen knifes, a few spears, arrowheads, and a few dozen wrought iron objects. I've sunk maybe another 3 or 400 on fuel over the years. Anyone who already has a decent gas torch setup can make a forge with just a few fire bricks. The anvil was, for me, the sticky bit....

Part of my motivation for this thread is to show the simplicity and achievability of such a hobby. I've never received instruction on forging techniques, just read a few books and internet resources, and stumbled along. It's amazing how much information is out there.

I've been surprised over the last few years just how un-lost an art smithing is.

J
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#699426 - 01/05/12 06:08 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
CabinConnection Offline
Bigfoot
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Registered: 01/20/04
Posts: 39790
Loc: The Indianhead's Left Nostril....
AWESOME! Great job on both the knife as well as the thread! Thanks for posting this!

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#699429 - 01/05/12 06:51 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: CabinConnection]
DonkeyDave Offline
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Registered: 12/12/03
Posts: 21155
Loc: Florence, Arizona
I agree on both counts. I think the thread is publishable. If I didn't have a lot of other things going on, with the information here, I'd feel confident to take a crack at it.
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#699431 - 01/05/12 07:17 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
JasonB Offline
Sharp -Shooter
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/27/04
Posts: 14406
Loc: Cape Spencer, New Brunswick, C...
LOL, when I first built the forge, the first thing I made was a crappy door knocer. It was so bad, my wife would only allow it to be installed on the shed door.



Not long after, I tried my first knife, a big ugly Bowie type thing. I cracked badly when I water quenched it. You can see the spider web of cracks if you look....



My next attempt was successful, if ugly...



Things got better quickly after that...

The Wicked:



Oak Dagger:



I've made 3 spear heads from HC railroad spikes:



A utility knife for pocket clip carry:



I've made almost a dozen of these little pen knives:



Some candle stick holders:





Edited by JasonB (01/05/12 07:18 AM)
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#699432 - 01/05/12 07:18 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
JasonB Offline
Sharp -Shooter
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/27/04
Posts: 14406
Loc: Cape Spencer, New Brunswick, C...

A small pair of spring shears... Ernie always wanted a pair, but damn! These are hard to make! Mom got this pair.



Knives, spring shears, bracelets and wrought iron:



Tinder boxes with strike-a-lights:



A different strike-a-light:



Throwing knife:



Socketed arrowheads:



This ironwood furnished dagger:



OSS style coin knives:



Ultimately I've forged about 2 dozen knives (I've lost count!), and several dozen wrought iron articles. This setup has been my Christmas gift factory on several occasions. It's really enjoyable, inherently slow and methodical... And a real workout.

Most of the things I've made cannot be bought at your average store. That's another piece of the motivation.

J
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#699434 - 01/05/12 07:28 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
DonkeyDave Offline
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Registered: 12/12/03
Posts: 21155
Loc: Florence, Arizona
There are few things more satisfying than making a gift.
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#699519 - 01/05/12 03:57 PM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
Punky Offline
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Registered: 06/01/05
Posts: 4082
Loc: Springville, NY
in regards to the railroad spike implement - i assume it was made in the same ways as your pictured demonstration - heated, quenched, etc.

i have a spike that was cold flattened by a train whistle whistle and is in the perfect shape for a knife design. what would be required to make a knife from this 'cold forged' steel?
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#699529 - 01/05/12 04:59 PM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
Just_Bill Offline
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Registered: 01/27/02
Posts: 20302
Loc: Wilmington, Delaware
My BIL met someone on one his western trips(Arizona I think), made him a beautiful Bowie knife with and Indian style scabbard. VERY nice work. I admire somone that can do such work!!!!
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#699554 - 01/05/12 07:39 PM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
DonkeyDave Offline
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Registered: 12/12/03
Posts: 21155
Loc: Florence, Arizona
How did you create the socket for the spear head?
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#699563 - 01/05/12 09:03 PM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
galacticroot Offline
Handyman

Registered: 01/07/03
Posts: 1164
I've been thinking about trying to make some fancy knives/swords.

Unfortunately, I don't have a forge or anvil yet. I've been looking for an anvil, but haven't found one that isn't new and really expensive.

My idea was to use tool steel bar and cut them out with the plasma cutter, leaving some offset around the edge so I can grind off the HAZ.

The only issue is that I don't have a belt grinder or surface grinder, which seem to be needed for blade grinding. I am working on designing a belt grinder which will probably have some blade grinding attachments, but it is far from completed. I'm wondering if a plain old bench grinder would be sufficient.

What do you do as far as blade grinding?

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#699564 - 01/05/12 09:07 PM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: galacticroot]
DonkeyDave Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/12/03
Posts: 21155
Loc: Florence, Arizona
A radial arm saw can be used as a surface grinder.
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#699584 - 01/06/12 05:36 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
JasonB Offline
Sharp -Shooter
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/27/04
Posts: 14406
Loc: Cape Spencer, New Brunswick, C...
Punky,

There are a few different classes of RR spike. Most are mild steel and cannot be hardened. The ones that are useful for knife making are usually stamped "H" or "HC" on the head, denoting "High Carbon". Now, high carbon is relative, and in this case denotes an alloy near 1040, essentially just enough carbon to allow hardening. The spear heads I've made are hardened by heating and quenching as per the knife writeup, but are not then tempered, as the steel is not hard enough to warrant that. It'll hold a workable edge, perhaps as well as a cheap stainless Chinese knife.

If it is workable stuff, then one can grind away anything that doesn't resemble a knife and sharpen what does. When you've got the shape you want, heat to bright red and quench (oil's safer for the steel, water'll make it slightly harder). Should be no real trouble water quenching this steel.

Dave,

The socket of the spear is the "head" end. I start by driving the "point" of the head back into the body, and then just keep hammering. They are a frustrating object to forge, because I change the shape of the steel rather completely. Once the head's been made but a bulge on the end of the spike, I continue forging it flatter and flatter, leaving about 3" of the spike's point to later forge into the blade.

By using ball peins and straight or cross pein hammers, I can control what direction the metal spreads in. Balls and regular hammers spread it in "all" directions. Cross pein and straight peins spread it perpendicular to the pein, so I can cause it to lengthen and widen more-or-less as I wish. I aim for a triangular form, with a bit of a "spine" down from what will be the blade for about the top 1/3rd of the future socket. I continue spreading until the socket base is wide enough to encircle the wood that will be the staff. This part took about 6 hours last time I did it (I haven't made a spearhead in 5 years, so could probably be quicker now)

The next day, I trim the socket to a neat triangle, and forge the blade, much as the hunting knive above. Once everything's about right, I roll the socket using the anvil's horn to get it started. Bend in the edges first, then carry the curve towards the midline. There's a forge-a-long on Anvilfire (a smithing website) that describes the method, calling it a saxon spear point, IIRC.

Galactiroot,

I don't own any fancy grinders either. All I have is a 6" bench grinder and a 4.5" angle grinder.

This was my first anvil, upon which many of my knives were forged. I made this from a section of rr track, with an angle grinder:



I did it in the basement, resulting in black rings of iron dust around all the magnets in the house for months after. The wife was.... displeased. But the anvil served surprisingly well! Weighed about 25# I still use it for light work in the basement today.

When I started, I did surface grinding on knives by clamping them by the tang to a piece of angle iron and using an angle grinder very carefully. A glazed wheel cuts slower and produces a smoother finish, this is helpful. Wheels become glazed by using them too aggressively and partially melting their surface. In the photos of my past work above, the spear head, "the wicked", the oak dagger and the utility knife blades were all shaped with the angle grinder, by hand.

This dagger was done without any power tools. All the blade work was done by hand with an axe file (double cut 1 side, single cut the other, safe edges). Surprisingly, this took only a few hours with the blade clamped in my vice. I finished it to 400 grit for the "brushed" look.



Any filing or grinding done on a blade has to be done BEFORE it's hardened and tempered. A file won't cut a hardened blade very well, and indeed will be destroyed quickly by it. A grinder risks overheating the steel, especially at the edge, and thus ruining its temper, something most of us have experienced when attempting to do evil things like sharpen chisels on a bench grinder....

For an inexpensive forge like my own, look at Tim Lively's forge. Mine is a slight variation on his design. I know folks who've used everything from hair driers (inadequate, but workable if you do it right) to shop vacs for blowing the fire. In truth, a charcoal forge needs only little air to make great heat.

One day I hope to make/buy a belt sander like you're talking of, but not today. I really enjoy "making do" with what's at hand. In the golden ages of smithing, no power tools were available. Worth considering that. You can do ALOT with a file and a bench grinder.

As you can see in the originating posts in this thread, I've largely turned to making "as-forged" blades as my skills with the hammer have improved. I like to emphasize the "hand forged" aspect of my work. The only drawback to this is it makes the blade a tich more difficult to clean, and being carbon steel.... Cleaning them is important to prevent rust.

Give it a try! You've only got time to loose.

J


Edited by JasonB (01/06/12 09:02 AM)
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#699666 - 01/06/12 01:30 PM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
3phase Offline
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Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 6849
Loc: Licensed Electrical Contractor...
Jason, I am seriously considering getting into blacksmithing, seems I had a Grandfather who was one so it's in the blood. How well does charcoal work? Seems some of my books advise against using it but seems to do well for you. Might pirate your forge design with permission. I too lean towards knives but it seems my wife likes wrought iron stuff also. The price of some of it store bought is ridiculous!


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#699698 - 01/06/12 06:53 PM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: 3phase]
JasonB Offline
Sharp -Shooter
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/27/04
Posts: 14406
Loc: Cape Spencer, New Brunswick, C...
3Phase,

Charcoal actually works very well for forging. It is important that you are careful in choosing your charcoal.

Briquettes WILL WORK POORLY. DON'T use briquettes. LOL. They're made of a compressed mixture of real charcoal, green sawdust and sand to control their burn rate. We don't like this.

Use a "natural lump" or "old fashioned" type charcoal. 'Round here, the most common brand is Kingsford Natural Lump Oak, big blue bags. I used about half a 15#ish bag in making the 2 blades above. When I started out, however, it was one of those bags per day (due to poor fire management. You need less fuel and less air than you think). A large bag costs me about $15. Cheap enough for the quantities I burn.

Charcoal is an excellent fuel for a few reasons: Of course, before the 1800's, it was the only forging fuel. Coal is a new adaptation.

Charcoal contains no sulphur and few impurities. These things would affect steel. Sulphur makes steel weak and crumbly at high temperatures, and can make forge welding impossible. I can burn a whole bag of charcoal and have only a cup of ash.

It smells good.

It is easier to keep happy than a coal fire. More forgiving. Like running a bbq grill. In fact, I've put a grate over this a few times and it makes a wonderfully seared rare steak... smile

It _feels_ like a REAL forge, LOL.

It's got a few drawbacks too. It is more expensive than coal, and one can certainly achieve easier to run forges by using propane. A simple one popular with bladesmiths is little more than a torch and a single fire brick, with a large hole bored thru it lengthwise for the work, and a small hole entering it perpendicular for the torch head....

If you used coal, this forge design doesn't work well. If you copy this forge design, stick with charcoal.

Also, this forge is designed to provide fairly even heat over a longish area. It's not great at intense spot heat, as one would use for forge welding. That's not to say that I haven't melted a chunk out of the odd workpiece by accident from time to time. It is a good bladesmithing forge.

Please feel free to copy it. I adapted it from a design offered up by a fellow named Tim Lively. Feel free to ask any questions you might have.

www.timlivelyknives.com/

What might you use for a blower? Something very controllable with decent backpressure capability is important. A real forge blower is a nice luxury I was lucky to find at a flea market. I might consider a squirrelcage blower from an oil burner, with a butterfly valve throttle... Or electric speed control (since you can probably manage that, LOL).

An excellent book for the basics and some advanced tips in smithing is The Art of Blacksmithing, by Beale. Worth finding. Basically general forge technique, with only 1 page on knife making, but it has been my most valuable resource. Basics are always important.

Please try!

J
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#699923 - 01/08/12 01:37 PM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
3phase Offline
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Registered: 09/09/02
Posts: 6849
Loc: Licensed Electrical Contractor...
Thanks for the info on charcoal. No briquettes just lump. I can get coal if I join an association but it is expensive and I don't have enough storage room for quantity I would have to buy. I have been looking for a blower. We do use a 120V one, where I work, on DC motors that could be speed regulated.
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#700040 - 01/09/12 05:55 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
JasonB Offline
Sharp -Shooter
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/27/04
Posts: 14406
Loc: Cape Spencer, New Brunswick, C...
LOL, so I was out of town on Saturday, visiting my sister and thier family who had just welcomed a new baby boy on New Year's Eve. Being me, I brought my new hunting knife along to show my BIL and my mother. Sadly, tragedy struck while showing the piece to my mother, and she accidentally sliced the sheath when re-inserting the blade. It happens. Don't worry, Mom, I've done it to my own sheaths before... And it gave me an opportunity to document making a sheath.

Since I'm copying the existing sheath, figuring the shapes I need is left out. I wouldn't be able to put that into words too well anyway, I figure. In short, the sheath should be big enought to allow the blade and handle to insert, without being too loose. Mine tend to be a tight friction fit for this style. This is not a quick drawing knife.

This is the old sheath, cut open and flattened to use as a pattern. You can see it's 2 pieces, the sheath, and the welt that protects the stitching. The belt loop in integral. The welt is cut from very thick leather, or can be built up of 2 or more thinner pieces.



Once I've laid out the pieces I need on my leather (Try to use tooling leather, as it can be wetted and stretched and shaped), I cut'em out. I try to always use the knife I'm making the sheath for to cut the pieces, I dunno, seems _right_ to do..

Now, I punch the rivet holes for the belt loop. Rivet the belt loop. On this piece, it's pop rivets with washers. Leather rivets are great too, but I'm outta stock. I pop the core out of the rivet once its set and use a hammer to flatten the expanded end. Smooth as necessary with wire brush or dremel.

With the belt loop done, I use yellow glue to assemble the sheath and welt. Many spring clamps. Set over the heat vent to dry for a while. This gluing step isn't strictly necessary, but it makes keeping things aligned while punching the stitch line much easier. Once the glue is dry, I punch and rivet the top corner of the sheath, this rivet prevents accidentally cutting the top stitch.

Now, I chuck a diamond section pin I ground from music wire into my drill press, and some end grain scrap clamped to the table. I use the drill press as a simple press here, it is not turned on. I set the depth stop appropriatly. Here's what the punching setup looks like:



A bit of bee's wax makes the punch withdraw easier, but it's still necessary to rotate the chuck to withdraw it often enough. Keep the stitches evenly spaced and in a nice line. Keep them near the midline of the welt.

Once the stitch line is punched, I've got this:





You can see the welt sandwiched inside the sheath here:



Now it's time to sew. I use artificial sinew, which is plastic fibre string, untwisted, bound by bee's wax. Strong, easy to work with. 2 heavy duty needles and a pair of pliers to pull'em thru. I start at the top and work towards the point, the needles stitching a continuous series of figure-8's thru the leather, passing thru each hole in opposite directions. Tension each stitch firmly and individually. Keep the leather straight, as if you let it curve while stitching, the stitches will hold that shape forever. For the thread, it takes 3-4x the lenght of the seam to do the job. I usually use 6x the lenght to ensure I don't run short. You only let yourself do that once.





Once you get to the tip, the free ends are knotted repeatedly in the hole of the tip of the sheath:



Cut the ends and tuck'em up inside.






Edited by JasonB (01/09/12 05:56 AM)
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#700041 - 01/09/12 05:56 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
JasonB Offline
Sharp -Shooter
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/27/04
Posts: 14406
Loc: Cape Spencer, New Brunswick, C...
I use a bench grinder to fair up the edges of the seam, to make all the fuzzies go away, and to finalize the shape of things. And there, the sheath is basically complete:



Except it's floppy, flat and poor fitting. Leather is magical stuff. If you soak it in water and allow it to dry stretched into a particular shape, it'll hold that shape. So, I tape up the blade of the knife with electrical tape, and wrap it in plastic wrap to protect it from moisture. I soak the now completed sheath in warm water until it's soft and pliable. A few minutes. If I were dying the leather, that would be done now, with the sheath wet. I didn't dye this piece.



Fit in the knife, and work the sheath to hug its curves. Make sure the edge lies on the midline of the welt, not between the welt and the sheath side.... Make the drop point fit. See it mould to the handle and guard.... When satisfied, set it to dry. Overnight on a heat vent, or a couple days without.



When it's dry, the sheath will hold the form. The knife will "snap" into place like it was meant to be there. But if the leather gets wet again, well... It's soft again. I tried a new thing (for me) on this piece. I wax impregnated it.

Melt about half parafin and half bee's wax in a double boiler. I used a skillet and a bread pan, as the sheath fit well. Once the wax is heated, soak the sheath in it, being fairly quick. When the wax penetrates, it turns the leather dark, beautiful. Don't let it sit in there, be quick, as the heat will begin to shrivel and kill the leather in short order. I take about a minute to be satisifed with this step.

Then I used a hair drier to melt off the excess wax, inside and out. With the sheath still warm and soft, insert the knife and perfect the fit. Put it in the fridge to cool. Here's the finished result:





The sheath is now a beautiful dark ruddy brown, stiff and hard. Knocked on, it sounds like a thin wood carving. The knife arrives home with an audible "Knock". It's all but water proof.

Hope you enjoyed this.

J
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#700043 - 01/09/12 05:59 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: 3phase]
JasonB Offline
Sharp -Shooter
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/27/04
Posts: 14406
Loc: Cape Spencer, New Brunswick, C...
Go with the charcoal, 3phase, or a gas burner. A speed controlled DC motor sounds great.

That blower I'm using is meant for a far larger forge. It's easy to spin the handle at about 60-100rpm, and sounds like a revving V-8 if you do. In forging, however, we spin it maybe 6-10rpm, the blower lazily spinning, the coals glowing brightly....

J
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#700164 - 01/10/12 04:56 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
Adam Williams Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/09/12
Posts: 16
Such a great job....excellent work..
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#700167 - 01/10/12 05:01 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
CabinConnection Offline
Bigfoot
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/20/04
Posts: 39790
Loc: The Indianhead's Left Nostril....
Fantastic Jason! And SUPER job posting this for all to see. smile

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#700176 - 01/10/12 06:07 AM Re: Making a Hunting Knife - Forge and Wood Shop [Re: JasonB]
JasonB Offline
Sharp -Shooter
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/27/04
Posts: 14406
Loc: Cape Spencer, New Brunswick, C...
I figure the sheath making part is useful to just about all of us. Sheaths don't last forever, and many stock sheaths... Well, they suck.

It takes me about 2 hours total to make a sheath.

J
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