Simple heat treating simple steels for (and by) simple minds

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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by JoeTosco » Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:49 pm

JamesCannon, this article has put some crazy ideas in my mind, that's why I used the rolling eyes... :wink:
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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by elkhills » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:03 pm

Right on Stormcrow! I am so gonna do this. About ready to start planning another one... maybe a Falkniven clone :wink:

If I could add one thing, don't use Oak for the handle as suggested- it is a poor choice of wood if it might get wet (like a knife handle), as it can turn black and rot. Mahogany, Teak, Cypress, Cherry- all better handle wood choices.

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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by JTNieman » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:10 pm

Or it could be a good time to try out making your own micarta.

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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by elkhills » Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:53 pm

JamesCannon wrote:Or it could be a good time to try out making your own micarta.
http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... 33&t=61468" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by Lionheart » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:22 pm

I've always wanted to make this style of knife. The only knife I've ever made is from a file the I simply used a saw to cut the tip at an angle to form a tanto point then sharpened it with a grinder. Not pretty and doesn't yet work since it seems I'm gonna need to have it professionally sharpened to give it a working edge but hey first attempt.
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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by maldon007 » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:37 pm

Lionheart wrote:I've always wanted to make this style of knife. The only knife I've ever made is from a file the I simply used a saw to cut the tip at an angle to form a tanto point then sharpened it with a grinder. Not pretty and doesn't yet work since it seems I'm gonna need to have it professionally sharpened to give it a working edge but hey first attempt.
Love your sig! :lol: Made me think maybe you were trying to make this knife??? ("the knife")

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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by Storm Crow » Thu Jan 27, 2011 10:10 pm

For those of y'all thinking about trying this, one thing to keep in mind is how thick your bevel ends up. Look at the thickness of his steel (he gives the actual dimension) and then look how far back up the blade the bevel starts. A common mistake I see on beginner knives is putting too thick of a bevel on their knife, making it where it has no chance of cutting well regardless of how much they've sharpened.
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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by Lionheart » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:36 pm

maldon007 wrote:
Lionheart wrote:I've always wanted to make this style of knife. The only knife I've ever made is from a file the I simply used a saw to cut the tip at an angle to form a tanto point then sharpened it with a grinder. Not pretty and doesn't yet work since it seems I'm gonna need to have it professionally sharpened to give it a working edge but hey first attempt.
Love your sig! :lol: Made me think maybe you were trying to make this knife??? ("the knife")

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Thanks. And no I didn't have any other knife in mind I was just trying to make A KNIFE in general that could at least semi cut things. :lol:
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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by Fixxxer » Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:27 am

elkhills wrote:If I could add one thing, don't use Oak for the handle as suggested- it is a poor choice of wood if it might get wet (like a knife handle), as it can turn black and rot. Mahogany, Teak, Cypress, Cherry- all better handle wood choices.
That should be a non-issue if you treat your furniture like it should be treated. Once you're finished with the project, you need to protect it. My preferred method is to melt some beeswax and slather the blade and hadle with it, then blow off the excess with a heatgun (or a good blowdryer). Another option would be to hand-rub linseed oil into the wood over and over until it just won't take any more. Either way should do a fine job of protecting the wood against rot for several years.

All that being said, if you want to, you can buy stabilized wood, which won't rot or shrink and crack with age. Check out eBay for some deals on very nice stabilized knife scales.
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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by cowboyfromhel86 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:31 am

also when your glueing the slabs to the blade just cover the slabes with eboxy let dry sand and repeat.. eventually you will come out with wood scales as strong or close to somthing like plastic..

start sanding with finer grades of sandpaper or coat it one more time for a glossy look.
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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by KentsOkay » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:03 am

This is awesome. I am pissed because I am two thousand miles away from my tools and workshop, which is a mega bummer. Why? Buddy of mine is an engineering student, with access to a CNC and waterjet for free.
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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by Wrangler » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:44 am

mystic_1 wrote:
Jeriah wrote:Wow, that's awesome, and it looks like something I could actually DO. Neat!

Hey Jeriah if you decide to do this let me know, I'd love to participate and I have some tools that would make the job easier.

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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by mystic_1 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 12:42 pm

No! Go make your own knives!

:wink: :wink: :D

Just kidding, I'd love to get together with other chapter members for a day of metal-working madness. Maybe we could make an event out of it.

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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by 6shooter » Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:57 am

This is freakin awesome, thanks for posting this :D


:Edit: one question though. When he says to quench the blade by dipping 2/3ds of the blade edge down in oil, does that mean 2/3rds of the blade lengthwise? IE, dip the entire height of the blade and part of the handle? Or dip the blade 2/3rds of the height, leaving the spine out of the oil?
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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by mystic_1 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:00 am

6shooter wrote: Or dip the blade 2/3rds of the height, leaving the spine out of the oil?
This is how I'm reading it. Generally you want the spine of the blade to be hardened less than the edge, to provide strength. Quenching the blade in the manner described would cool the spine less quickly than the edge, as a result it's hardened less. This is just my interpretation of things, I may be wrong.

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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by elkhills » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:08 am

I'm hung up on the guys heat treayment :?
Will a hardwood campfire really getcha up to 1100+ degrees?
Wondering if you rigged up an air compressor (or leaf blower/shop vac?) to a BBQ briquet chimney starter... would that work? I have to think the heat treat is critical to a project like thi!

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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by mystic_1 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:48 am

The magnetism test should address any questions as to the suitability of your heat source. When the metal looses it's magnetism, you've heated it enough to be heat treated.

That said, the tip of a lit cigarette can reach over 1000°F, so I can sure believe that a hardwood fire can reach those temps also.

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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by Storm Crow » Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:57 am

mystic_1 wrote:
6shooter wrote: Or dip the blade 2/3rds of the height, leaving the spine out of the oil?
This is how I'm reading it. Generally you want the spine of the blade to be hardened less than the edge, to provide strength. Quenching the blade in the manner described would cool the spine less quickly than the edge, as a result it's hardened less. This is just my interpretation of things, I may be wrong.

mystic_1
Yep, that's it. Differential harrdening to get a hard edge that will stay sharp for a long time and a tough spine that will resist breaking under stress. You can fully harden the blade if you want, but I don't do that unless I'm working a long blade that I will go back and differentially temper afterwards. Since this is being tempered in the oven, makes better sense to differentially harden. One thing that I do is immediately plunge most of the blade in the oil, then slowly rock it up, leaving the edge always covered, then rock it back down. I repeat this until I'm ready to pull it out of the oil. That gives you a hard edge, springy middle, and tough spine. I've begun rocking the blade just enough to bring the tip out of the oil for a second before going back in, leaving the rest of the edge submerged. The tip is a weak point that can snap under stress. I harden it slightly less to make it tougher and less prone to breakage. When I immersion quench my long blades and differentially temper afterwards, I always draw the tip back a little more than the rest of the edge.

I've noticed students often will pull the blade out of the fire, then hesitate before quenching. You need to *immediately* get the blade in the quench. Don't get panicky about it, but in one swift, smooth motion pull the blade out and quench, then begin rocking up and down. No side-to-side motion or you can warp it.
elkhills wrote:I'm hung up on the guys heat treayment :?
Will a hardwood campfire really getcha up to 1100+ degrees?
Wondering if you rigged up an air compressor (or leaf blower/shop vac?) to a BBQ briquet chimney starter... would that work? I have to think the heat treat is critical to a project like this!
The fire probably would get that hot under the right conditions, but I'd make it a bit more controlled (more like 1330 degrees Fahrenheit). A hair dryer and a piece of UNGALVANIZED pipe coming in from the side would probably work best. If you are going to be using charcoal for this (an excellent forge fuel for millennia and still used all over the world), avoid the briquettes and get or make some chunk/lump charcoal. It'll work much better and be a much cleaner fire.

You need to be careful to not get the fire *too* hot and burn up the blade that you just worked so hard to make. It'd be best to use the pipe muffle furnace method in which you take a piece of UNGALVANIZED pipe of sufficient diameter to easily slip your knife into without bumping the sides and heat it in the fire/forge. If you can, close off one end of the pipe and put in a good handful of wood shavings, saw dust, twigs, etc. These will burn and consume the oxgen in the pipe, meaning that it will form less scale to clean up off the blade after the quench. The main purpose for the pipe at this point, though, is to even out the heat and prevent the blade from over heating. Get the pipe glowing evenly (may need to rotate it with some tongs to get it even), then hold the blade in the pipe to bring up to critical temperature. Check with a speaker magnet or similar (not a refrigerator magnet which is made of rubber mixed with ground-up magnet), then quench when ready. Check with a worn file afterwards to make sure it hardened. If it bites into the steel, it didn't harden sufficiently and you might want to try again with water as your quench. If it skates across the steel, it hardened well and it's time to draw temper.

Read my Hall of Fame :D thread about simple heat treatment before tackling this:

http://www.zombiehunters.org/forum/view ... 33&t=48217" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Last edited by Storm Crow on Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by 6shooter » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:17 pm

Excellent, thanks mystic1 and StormCrow. That's what I figured, but I wanted to be sure.
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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by rainbow_pact » Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:06 pm

Is there a place to get the steel online?

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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by Storm Crow » Thu Feb 03, 2011 12:58 pm

A number of different suppliers available, but I get it from McMaster Carr: http://www.mcmaster.com/#steel/=avhqzo" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by rainbow_pact » Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:32 pm

What do you think of A2 tool steel? It's my understanding it's air-hardening.

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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by Fixxxer » Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:01 pm

rainbow_pact wrote:Is there a place to get the steel online?
Admiral Steel is popular.
What do you think of A2 tool steel? It's my understanding it's air-hardening.
It is. The problem with that is that by the time you've taken it from the forge and to your anvil, it's already begun hardening, which makes it really difficult to work with.
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Re: "Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives "

Post by Storm Crow » Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:02 pm

rainbow_pact wrote:What do you think of A2 tool steel? It's my understanding it's air-hardening.
Never worked with it. A quick Google search says it makes a tough blade. Not sure if it would come soft enough to file like this method does.

Ninja edit: http://cartech.ides.com/datasheet.aspx? ... &c=techart" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; Looks like you really need a heat treatment furnace to do it right.

5160 is a very simple steel to heat treat and makes a great knife if done right. You can heat treat it by eye (a magnet will help figure critical temperature). Not that hard to quench in veggie oil.
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