Finally finished up my first knives *Pics Working?*

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Finally finished up my first knives *Pics Working?*

Postby Dave B » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:20 pm

Well I joined the forum a couple months ago to mine some information and I finally completed my first couple of blades. I had a long way to go as I didn't yet have a means of hardening my blades when I purchased my O1 steel from amazon so I went down the long road of research to build my own kiln.

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I came up with the above calculations based on what I wanted to build and started acquiring the parts. I got some insulating fire bricks, bought a flat sheet of steel to break into a box. Then ordered my element wire, thermocouple, etc. in order to piece together my frankenkiln. Eventually it all came together and I started making some heat.

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As I had free time between my various projects I roughed out my knife blanks. I thinned the blades prior to hardening (to about .030" at the edge) by various means from files to handheld belt sanders clamped upside down in my woodworking vise and made a mess of my workshop in the process. I learned a lot as I went, I was making the top knife (image below) for my dad for xmas so I had a deadline on it, but I did most of my learning on the bottom knife (mine). Also pictured is the thuya burl I bought from Bell Forrest.

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I don't have any pictures of the hardening process as I was trying to move pretty quick but I did have a minor issue that could be due to a couple different things that I'll get to later. I tried to bring the knives up to temp slowly so over the course of a couple hours I brought them up to about 1550F (depending on the accuracy of my thermocouple)

I got a small amount of warpage during the hardening process. I'm not sure if it is because I ran a wire through the holes in the handles to pull the blades out with or that my oil was an even heat. Running the wires through the holes at the back of the handle meant there was more pressure on the tip as they heated up than there was a the middle. And my oil temp issue stems from using an empty acetone container with the lid cut out for my quench container. I heated the oil in the oven to about 150 F but I didn't completely fill it to prevent spilling on the way back out to the garage. So once it was in the garage it was topped off with coldish oil and it didn't get mixed creating a stratification that could also have been my issue. Either way the knives weren't warped that bad and are acceptable for my first attempt but I would like to improve on the process next time.
- I used peanut oil as it was easily available in my small town and didn't require ordering proper oil online and having it shipped.

After hardening they went into a 180F oven for about 2 hours then out to air cool to room temp. At this point my blades were ugly, black, and I had no idea if they were hard or not. So then I got into finishing them and it wasn't until I hit them on the belt sander again to start thinning them out that the telltale sparks of hard steel started to show themselves. After thinning and attaching the handles I went to sharpening and boy do these seem hard. It is the first time I've put an edge on a knife from nothing before but man was it a long process to get them to a keen edge. They did finally get sharp though and I believe they will hold a good edge, I haven't cut anything with mine yet and my dad has only used his a little so far.

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Last edited by Dave B on Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:45 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Dave B
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Re: Finally finished up my first knives

Postby Andre Grobler » Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:52 am

Welcome! pity we can't see the images, or at least I can't... Having built my own kiln, I admire others who do it...Just one concern... you absolutely do not have to "slowly heat up" the blade by putting it in a cold kiln, then ramping the temp from zero to 1550f - if that is what you are doing... you risk overheating the blade substantially in many cases, there are exceptions, but definitely the blade will spend too much time near the right temp. typically we preheat the oven, let it sit for a while at the temp, then open the furnace put the knife in, close it and wait for the oven to come up to temp again, if it dropped, and start timing for about about 8-15min, depending on thickness, then quench...

Have fun!
Most of our's not to reason why, but to control heat or die... ;-)
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Re: Finally finished up my first knives

Postby Dave B » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:45 pm

Thanks for letting me know about the pics, I think I have them working now but they are clipping. To see the whole image right click and "View Image".

That's good to know, the website I was looking at was probably referring to thicker pieces of steel in regards to the ramping. I'll give your method a go next time.

I've had a chance to use my knife a bit, this is my first single bevel knife and I've found it cuts a bit funny on thick hardish veggies but from what I've been reading this is to be expected. It does cut very well when making thin cuts and on smaller veggies. (It tries to cut a curve in an onion) Also, that same onion tarnished the blade quite a bit. I was a little bit bummed by that as I was hoping to keep it shiny for a bit longer but I may just have to submit to it looking more akin to my Old Hickory knife in the long run. I was able to get it pretty much scary sharp, with not much pressure at all it wants to stick into my end grain cutting board. With a firmish pressure I can get the knife to stand up in the board. I assume that this is mostly due to the low angle it is sharpened at.

Thanks for looking and let me know if I'm still having picture issues.
Dave B
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Re: Finally finished up my first knives *Pics Working?*

Postby Stuart Davenport » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:05 pm

I'd love to seem 'em too, Dave, but still not showing up. The word "image" appears where the pic should be.
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Re: Finally finished up my first knives *Pics Working?*

Postby Dave B » Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:47 pm

It looks like I'm going to have to upload them somewhere other than google photos to get them to show. I'll try and come up with something tonight, this is driving me nuts.
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Re: Finally finished up my first knives *Pics Working?*

Postby Andre Grobler » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:34 am

Japanese single bevel knives are actually complex bevel knives... good on you for doing it... they have that main bevel - i am assuming you are referring to an Usuba for veggies... But it actually has a kind of convexing going at the end of that main bevel and then a very small back bevel on the flat bit, which counteracts the main bevel "steering" quite a bit, you balance these two angles to make it work more straight, but it will steer a little - and it doesn't work for cuts in thick stiff veggies - for that you have a thin bladed nakiri... btw what appears as a single beveled knife varies all the way from a 100/0 bevel, through to a 90/10 80/20 70/30 and 60/40 bevel and obviously the 50 5/50 grind, on most of these the right hand bevel is more pronounced and steeper the back bevel is shallower... You may or may not know this, i would really like to see pic.s
Most of our's not to reason why, but to control heat or die... ;-)
Andre Grobler
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