Adventures in Knife Making – Part 1
It’s been a long day at Disney World. I’m relaxing in a comfy bed, unwinding after miles upon miles of walking. Or, at least it seems like it. I flip through the channels and see Forged in Fire is on History. I’ve been meaning to catch this show, but with all of life’s hurdles, working full time, kids, dinner. I haven’t had a chance. I don’t recall which exact episode is on, because honestly, I watched three hours of the show before sleep finally overcame me.
The next morning though, I knew, I had to try blacksmithing. Since then, I’ve been collecting tools, workspace, metal, and knowledge all in an effort to make something sharp, with fire. What could possibly go wrong, right?
After talking with people here in the Valley, I watched hours of Youtube, and eventually had enough tools and equipment to start with something simple. Stock removal blade. I had a piece of an unknown type of steel laying around the workshop, something leftover from the previous owner of our house I think.
At any rate, I broke out the angle grinder, shaped the blade into something that resembled a knife and set about grinding a bevel into it. After that, I ran into an issue. I had a gas forge, but unfortunately, it didn’t work right. It doesn’t get the right mix of air and gas. Something I’ll need to fix in the future. I did have a coal forge setup though, as a backup/test-bed. I only had charcoal though. So, throwing a shrug into the wind, I tossed the charcoal into the forge and lit it up.
The charcoal roared to life with the help of the shop vac blowing air from underneath. I tossed the blade in and waited. Sure enough, it got hot enough for an edge. I plunged it into oil, and gave it a quick test with my metal file. It skidded across the blade, as it should have. Holy sh*t, it worked!
After that, it was a test of how to put a handle on properly. Everything I used, I used from random pieces I had laying around the shop. I used some leftover wood, nails for the handle pins. From there, I shaped it up and had something resembling a knife.
The only problem I have with it is actually putting an edge on it. It’s not that it doesn’t hold its shape, no. I beat the crap out of it after I heat treated it. Even dropped it, stabbed it into some wood. Gave it the whole, Forged in Fire treatment. Except. It won’t cut. I sharpened the edge several times, and I’m wondering if maybe either, one: the edge is not aligned straight. Or two, I didn’t make the bevel plunge enough, so the edge is super thick/dense. I think I may eventually revisit the blade, and see what I can do with it. For my first go through though, I’m super excited about it.