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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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  #1  
Old 07-07-2012, 08:22 PM
Blaflair2 Blaflair2 is offline
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newbie

hi my name is bruce, i am interested in learning to forge knives from scratch. ive built a few knives with blanks ordered from ebay. i dont yet have the tools i need to do so. i have been messing around with files and such. i have a angle grinder, but no success with trying to hone my blade. i was looking for input on how i can make the angle on the blade. i get some stainless from work and other welding steels to practice on. like i said no success. i would appreciate any info you could supply. ive been stalking this site ever since i got interested in knife making. i finially joined and hope to become as knowledgable and accomplished as many of you. thanx for your time.
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  #2  
Old 07-07-2012, 09:39 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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Hi Bruce, and welcome. Do I understand correctly that you're asking how to hone (sharpen) your blade using an angle grinder? If that is what you're asking my answer would be not to do it that way. Some guys use angle grinders to grind the bevels into their blades because the don't own a good belt sander and can't forge but sharpening the blade is another matter altogether.

When sharpening you're trying to make the steel very thin. Angle grinders generate too much heat to be useful on a thin edge - the heat would ruin the temper of the edge. Learn to sharpen on stones by hand or get a tool like a Lansky or some similar sharpening system - they aren't terribly expensive. An angle grinder is a crude tool, use it for the crude (rough) work and find a different way to handle the relatively delicate edge ....


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  #3  
Old 07-07-2012, 09:51 PM
Blaflair2 Blaflair2 is offline
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i guess i meant the bevel. i have some stones and files for the final edge. what is the easiest way to make the bevel? it always ends up round. maybe i just suck lol
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  #4  
Old 07-07-2012, 10:39 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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The easiest way to make the bevel would be with a 2x72" belt sander or, some would say, by forging it in. Since you don't have those options yet, the next easiest would probably be a good file. Using a nice big file would also solve the round problem you're having trying to use the angle grinder. Lots of practice with the angle grinder might also solve that problem but I still think you'll achieve success faster with a file.

It is usually a good idea to make your first few blades just using files and sandpaper. You intimately learn all the processes that way and that is very useful later when you do have a grinder. Power tools make things go faster - even your mistakes happen faster - so learning the process by hand first will pay dividends when the power tools enter the picture. Even if you forge you'll still need a grinder (belt sander) so no matter what you do later files and sandpaper are still winners right now ...


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Old 07-07-2012, 10:59 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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First of all, the welding steels are probably structural steels that don't have enough carbon in it to make a good blade. Just because a steel is stainless doesn't mean that it will make a good blade either. It all depends on the carbon content of the steel. You will need something with at least 0.6% carbon content for it to harden enough to take an edge. Stainless steel is also a poor candidate for forging, especially for the beginner. Get something like 1070, 1075, 1080, 1084 or maybe some 5160 from a supplier such as Admiral Steel, Kelly Cupples, The New Jersey Steel Baron, or Alpha Knife Supply.

First of all, I would suggest that you take a time out and get some books on the subject to read up on. Jim Hrisoulas' book The Master Bladesmith is one of the best out there. Even though it is geared towards the bladesmith, it also deals with stock removal because that's part of bladesmithing too. Don't let the subtitle Advanced Studies in Steel throw you, it also deals with the basics.

To form your bevels with a file you need to employ draw filing. That consists of pulling or pushing the file, depending on how the teeth face, along the length of the blade with the file at a right angle to blade. It would help if you had a way to scribe the center line of the edge of the blank. Start out with the file at about a 45? angle to the face of the blank. Draw file at that angle until you get just a little short of the mid line that you marked. Then decrease the angle of the file to the face of the blank and draw file some more passing the bevel farther up the blade. Do not go past the point you stopped at with the 45? angle on the edge. You don't want to make it thinner, you just want to move the bevel up towards the spine. When you have reached where you stopped with that first filing decrease the angle of the file again and repeat until you get the bevel up to where you want it. Then flip the blade over and repeat the process from the other side. Your aim is to leave an edge at this point before heat treatment no thicker than a dime. If you're having to form your secondary bevels with stones at sharpening you might want to be just a little thinner than a dime.

Doug


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Old 07-10-2012, 07:38 AM
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Draw filing is a fairly "simple" process in concept and becomes easier with practice. There are a few things about it you will need to learn in order to be reasonably successful.
Use good quality files with reasonably wide surface. Nicholson makes a "Handyfile" that offers both single cut (fine) double cut (medium coarse) with a paddle handle that is pretty easy to get started with.
>Keep the file clean as you work with a file card - stiff wire brush made for cleaning files - great investment, also have a wire pick or needle to get the tough clogs out.
>Support your work solidily and completely and make sure it is secure enough that it will not move under pressure.
>Use clean even strokes - this takes practice.
>Make sure your object to drawfile is secured at a level that allows you to be comfortable and still apply some light pressure with control.
>Never drag the file backward (opposite the cutting direction) or use in a "scrubbing" motion. This will dull the file quite quickly.
>Work on being consistant with your strokes and maintaining flat even contact with the work surface.

It does take a bit of practice to get good at it.

Hint - if you are reasonably good with a sidegrinder, you can remove a good bit of the bulk metal with it before you start drawfiling.

When you get through with the drawfiling, use the same support/clamping system for the sanding steps.
If your drawfiling is done properly you will have a nice flat surface for the follow up sanding process.


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  #7  
Old 07-10-2012, 02:48 PM
Blaflair2 Blaflair2 is offline
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Thanks a lot. This really helps. I just finished putting a handle on one of my blanks. It turned out pretty nice. What do you seal the handle with? I use super glue after I sand it with 600 wet paper and the so the same after the glue is applied. It turns out like polished stone. How do I post a picture?
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  #8  
Old 07-10-2012, 06:00 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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Sealing depends on the wood. I favor those woods that are pretty stable on their own such as the rosewood group, lignum vitae, osage orange, and African blackwood. With them, it's just sand out to a fine grit and maybe apply a little paste wax.

Doug


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  #9  
Old 07-11-2012, 05:03 PM
Blaflair2 Blaflair2 is offline
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I have a question... Circular saw blades make nice knives I've been told. Do they need to be annealed?
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  #10  
Old 07-11-2012, 05:17 PM
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Well, yes and no. That's one of the reasons we usually suggest that beginners buy blade steel so that we know what it is and what state it's in. Yes, saw blade can make good blades but many don't. Yes, it needs to be annealed if you don't have the tools to cut and shape it without being annealed. To get the most out of that steel you'll want to heat treat it as a knife blade rather than a saw blade so annealing it would just make the rest of the work easier. It will make a passable knife without annealing - assuming the blade you have is actually reasonable blade steel.

My advice is, if you need to ask this type of question then you should put mystery steel aside for now and concentrate on learning the basics. That will be a lot easier if you just buy a few dollars worth of 1084 ...


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  #11  
Old 07-11-2012, 07:57 PM
Blaflair2 Blaflair2 is offline
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Ok thanks. I'm just running some ideas by. Things I've heard. I have a design I wanna try so maybe I'll just get some of the 1084
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  #12  
Old 07-12-2012, 05:47 AM
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"My advice is, if you need to ask this type of question then you should put mystery steel aside for now and concentrate on learning the basics. That will be a lot easier if you just buy a few dollars worth of 1084 ... "

Spot on Ray.


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  #13  
Old 07-12-2012, 08:51 AM
Blaflair2 Blaflair2 is offline
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I've searched for where to by 1084 steel? I cannot find anywhere that I understand. There's all these different grades and stuff. Any ideas?
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  #14  
Old 07-12-2012, 09:08 AM
EdStreet EdStreet is offline
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http://www.njsteelbaron.com/


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Old 07-12-2012, 09:09 AM
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Yup. I'll name a couple and someone else will probably throw in a couple more. Look for 1080 or 1084. The New jersey Steel Baron is a good source, alphaknifesupply.com is good, Kelly Cupples is good too. There have been so many threads on this same question you should be able to find all the info you need on these names and others with the Search button ....


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