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Thread: Making sharp stuff again

  1. #1
    Inactive Member

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    Default Making sharp stuff again

    Hi all, my name is Rudi and i have been lurking on the forum for some months. I recently moved back to Port Elizabeth from Botswana. Initially my plans was to to run a construction business but after a few months of losing my mind with the local labor and generally not enjoying the work i found myself looking to an old interest. Knife making. I spent many late nights partitioning my fathers garage, i moved back with my folks while i got my business moving, with salvaged hardboard (from a shipping company) and some par pine. Thankfully i have most of the machinery needed thanks to various metal working businesses i have done over the years i just have never had everything in place to start making knives efficiently so other than the occasional workshop knife i haven't had a complete build in a while . I don't intend the knife making to be a business rather a hobby to prevent early onset madness from the day to day staying alive and maybe a few sales once i make a knife i don't end up torching in frustration.

    My early knives were all done with big bastard files and i suspect i will still use files on forged blades since i found it to be very effective. But i now have a belt grinder and need to learn how to use it, after turning a expensive stack of steel into scrap i decided to build a jig from scrap... seriously i only bought the lock nut everything else i picked up on the side of the Botswana bush roads. The plan now is to have a bunch of mild steel blanks cut for free hand practice and use the jig on the good steel. The jig works lovely on straight grinds and on straight hollow grinds. Oh and credit for the design comes from many many pictures online. Thought i would share the weekends work with you all!






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  2. #2
    Marksman

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    Awesome to know that there is talent in PE. We need more, post some pics when your craft more works of beauty

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  3. #3
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    Haha thanks! Not so sure about talent at this point but i am persistent!
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  4. #4
    Sharp Shooter

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    Very cool Jig you got there Rudi.
    I too have resorted to a jig. Not having the time to practice that much or the finances to afford that many losses. A great option for good results.

    I'd also like to see some of the finished items later on. Thanx for sharing
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  5. #5
    Sharp Shooter

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    Well done so far show as some more ones you are further along.
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  6. #6
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    Fishman, thanks The jig really makes it much easier. At the moment i have loads of time so i am trying to get as much practice and build time in as possible before having to behave like a responsible adult.

    Nico Nel, Thanks i will add some complete knives when they are done. At the moment i am building equipment and setting up the workshop as i progress with each stage of the knife build. Built a small ht furnace today so i can finish with some of the 5160 blades...

    Modified (to run off a higher pressure regulator) ribbon burner from Fennels, ceramic fiber wool and "brown glue" from Hayward refractories in PE. Hate working with fiber wool.


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  7. #7
    Sharp Shooter

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    Yip fiber glass is a bastard to work with send me a PM and i will send you some picks of what i have made so far ...
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  8. #8
    Sharp Shooter

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    Good going! I am now trying to earn a living off knifemaking... not easy, but i dont have to chew through the straps every morning...

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  9. #9
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    Andre, Wow very impressed with your work, makes my fumbling work seem somewhat unrefined. But apparently it takes practice to get good at what you go so i live in hope. I am currently kinda unemployed since i really do not want to go back into contractor work and i have not been able to find an employer who is willing to pay anything like a reasonable salary. So i may still have a go at selling knives at some point. As a bachelor i am fairly content to live with my folks and help them renovate their place while i figure out my next move.

    Built a forge burner to hopefully become part of a pid controlled salt pot ht station:

    SS pipes and reducer



    gas injection nozzle thingy



    Air flow control screw plate



    Test burn. I have modified the design slightly with a nozzle flair cap and slightly different camber mix ratios and it runs like a beast with full pressure burns that are painfully loud or gentle candle like flames. Will add some totally complete pictures once i get it all pwerded up,


    Thanks for looking!
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  10. #10
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    Oh i finished my first two knives this weekend... did not put much effort into finishing them properly because i have bronchitis and did not feel like spending too much time in the garage.

    5160 steel, normalized and quenched in canola oil, tempered to a dark straw twice. I found the ribbon forge i built has a very neutral flame: there was no scale build up during the HT only discoloration and no warping. Not sure if that is normal with gas forges and 5160 or no.
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  11. #11
    Sharp Shooter
    WP HFT/Springer Champ '15

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    When using a file as material,do you soften it first? And if so,how is it done?
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr H View Post
    When using a file as material,do you soften it first? And if so,how is it done?
    Mmm, its been a heck of a long time since i used a file to make a blade. But my usual process was to first grind off the teeth using a flap disk with a angle grinder taking care to get rid of any stress points in the steel. Then just slowly and EVENLY heat it to non magnetic using a clean charcoal fire (i would cut the charcoal into pieces more or less the size of a golf ball). Once the steel reaches non magnetic let it soak for a minute or two and then shove the file into a mixture of HOT sand and ash (which i would heat on the fire before hand) cover the whole thing with coals and leave over night. I never actually finished on of the files knives i worked with but it was what i did to get the steel drill-able and it worked well.

    I love the idea building new tools from old dead tools; i have a ancient farriers file and a timing chain from my dads first 4x4 that i am going to attempt forging into knives. I'll post the process on the thread once i get to it.
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  13. #13
    Sharp Shooter

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rudi du Plessis View Post
    Oh i finished my first two knives this weekend... did not put much effort into finishing them properly because i have bronchitis and did not feel like spending too much time in the garage.

    5160 steel, normalized and quenched in canola oil, tempered to a dark straw twice. I found the ribbon forge i built has a very neutral flame: there was no scale build up during the HT only discoloration and no warping. Not sure if that is normal with gas forges and 5160 or no.
    I like...😆

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  14. #14
    Sharp Shooter

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    Those look GOOD! I would suggest the forum hypefreeblades for metallurgical knowledge... and saltpots are the ultimate... but dangerous... i want some too... and those look like galvanised fittings... at the flameside galvanised fittings can kill you through zinc poisoning...
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  15. #15
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    Thanks i don't know if its just me but all i see when i look at my knives are little mistakes but each build gets things better.

    That site is EPIC thank you. Will read though it today, still ill so i have some time . I have been having some issues with my HT process: tiny tiny fractures in the steel about 2/3 from the cutting edges. I noticed them when i was trying to polish up those first two but so far all my blades have the cracks. At first i thought the oil was too cold during the quench but 56C should be the right oil temp (i think). Anyway i'll have to read up on it and check though it all.

    I actually tried building one using standard galvanized plumbers fittings but they are cast iron and hell to weld. The burner up there is surgical grade stainless, the same stuff Alpha pharmaceutical uses in their plant here in PE. Surprisingly easy to weld, corrosion resistant and not that expensive. When i get my lathe running again i am going to attempt making a tiny spin vane for the gas inlet nozzle. Which should give a few extra btu's on the flame side of things.
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