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Old 07-06-2011, 08:37 PM
Ruckus559 Ruckus559 is offline
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I really want to attempt to make my own knife but all the intrutionals i find on the web seem to require a forge and i dont have access to one. I know they can be made but I was wondering if there is any way I can do without. I want to make the knife from a file. I know I can shape it with just a hacksaw and a drill with a grinder attachment. But will not using a forge affect the durability of th eknife of how sharp it can get?
Old 07-06-2011, 08:51 PM
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First, welcome to the forum. I'm no blade smith so I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure you want a forge to temper the knife. In this case, so the file isn't so brittle. Tho if you're skillful and have the proper tools, I'm sure you could get the file sharp.
Old 07-06-2011, 08:55 PM
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Im pretty decent with a file and a wetstone so im pretty sure I could get it sharp. But the strength of blade is a concern because it will be used for a lot of different things. S if it will be brittle without a forge then I guess Im going to have to make 1.
Old 07-06-2011, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruckus559 View Post
Im pretty decent with a file and a wetstone so im pretty sure I could get it sharp. But the strength of blade is a concern because it will be used for a lot of different things. S if it will be brittle without a forge then I guess Im going to have to make 1.
Again I'm no blade smith. However, I'm sure one will post here sooner or later.
Old 07-06-2011, 09:49 PM
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In order for the file to not be so brittle you would use the forge to heat up the blade and let it cool slowly. This will actually anneal the steel, making it more bendable. if you prefer you could start slowly by using a 10'' saw blade. Just google ''making a knife from a saw blade.'' Good luck and keep us posted.
Old 07-06-2011, 10:02 PM
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In order for the file to not be so brittle you would use the forge to heat up the blade and let it cool slowly. This will actually anneal the steel, making it more bendable. if you prefer you could start slowly by using a 10'' saw blade. Just google ''making a knife from a saw blade.'' Good luck and keep us posted.
what exaclt is the difference between the file and the saw? other than shape of course... is the saw already a dependable and less brittle metal?
Old 07-06-2011, 10:38 PM
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Its been a few years but there are places you can find from the Internet that you can pay to have someone else heat treat it. It is mandatory you won't be happy if you don't.

Also look at jantz supply www.knifemaking.com I always ordered my tool steel and handle material from them. They have been around since I was kid.
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:02 AM
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Hair dryer and coal........... the rest is gravy.

If you look on youtube there are some primitive forges tbh it wont be pretty but it'll get the job done
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:31 AM
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Kind of in the same boat -- would like to try my hand at knife-making,
but don't think I have the heat-treating skills or the willingness to invest
in the equipment of buying or building a forge.

So -- as others have posted -- not a knife maker. From what I do know:

- A file is extremely hard. (Has to be, to cut steel). It will put up a serious
fight as you try to shape it with it's existing temper.

- A file is so hard that it's brittle. Depends on how you want to use your
new knife, but any sort of hard impacts (chopping), or sideways bending
(prying) has a good chance of chipping or breaking your file/knife (assuming
you don't change the temper of the steel.)

- Using a grinder is a quick way to mess up the temper on the file steel.
Not saying it can't be done. But you have to keep the blade from overheating.
Dip it in water frequently. If you change the color of the steel as you're
grinding it (i.e., you see a blue tinge forming on the edge), you've probably
already jacked it up.

- The proper way to turn a file into a knife is to reduce its temper. Heat it
up very hot (red hot), and then let it cool slowly. Then shape your blade.
It will shape a lot easier. Then, as others have said, you need to re-heat
treat it to restore some of the hardness. (Heat and quickly quench,
basically, but of course, WAY more to it than that.) That of course is where
the art and science come in, and an unskilled hack like myself will surely
screw it up. If you like how the shaping came out, maybe pay someone who
knows what they're doing to have it heat treated properly. Or try it yourself,
probably screw up the first few, but count it as a learning experience.

If you're dead-set against messing with the heat treatment process, I would
look for a piece of steel that's more appropriately tempered in the knife range
right from the get-go. I've always thought a lawn-mower blade might be a
good place to start, but I don't know that for certain. A lawnmower blade
needs to be able to hold a decent edge, but at the same time put up with
a fair amount of impacts and abuse. If I had to guess, I suspect the lawn
mower blade would tend to err more on the side of impact resistance at the
expense of being able to hold an edge. And again, patience and restraint
with the grinder. Overheat the blade and existing temper at that location
is toast.

Also, you can buy knife-blanks from a variety of places if you just want to
go through the experience of putting together a knife. Add handles, build
a sheath, etc. Obviously doesn't get you into the actual blade crafting,
but it's still kind of fun.
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:41 AM
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OK Annealing a file is actually pretty easy. Just build a large wood fire and throw the file(s) in. Keep it hot and allow plenty of coals and ash to develop as it burns. Leave the file(s) in and allow it to cool of it's own accord.(probably 24 hours or so) Then you can grind/file it to shape, drill your pin holes. Where the edge will eventually be leave it about dime thickness and send it off to be heat treated. OR you could again build a hot fire and heat it to hardening Temp (When the steel reaches Non-magnetic) Then Quench it in pre-warmed oil(@ 140 F). Then Temper the blade. Now finish your edge slowly so as not to heat the metal and keep it cool by quenching frequently in water.(In case you are using a grinder Or other Machine) Then clean it up, put handles on it and enjoy.

NOTE: This is an EXTREMELY SIMPLIFIED version of how-to make a knife. There is more to it, but not much more. I know a guy who used a "Chimnea" for annealing and heat treating his knives, then tempered in his oven. A "Forge" is not necessary, but simplifies things. The better the tools the easier and better quality job you'll do. My advice is to join a knife making forum like knifedogs.com and ask advice from knife makers who are plenty happy to help you out. Some may even have extra materials they may give you. Perhaps some 1095 steel or such.
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:31 PM
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look around for a book by Wayne Goddard called the $50.00 knife shop (might not be completely correct but close). Tells you how to go about making a knife "shop" for next to nothing. tells about forges, anvils, etc and what to use for subs. just takes some scrounging. a good read for starting. I set up a small forge using scrounged materials and the only thing I bought was a propain torch to use. although I'm going to take a crack at using coal before long. Use old motor oil for quinching, stinks like hell but works
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:41 PM
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I know it will take longer but if I shape the blade with a hacksaw, grinder, and files, is there a way I can make it less brittle by heat treating it in the oven? Most of the instructionals i find on the web tell me to heat the metal before shaping to "make it easier" but if im willing to slave over the metal can i skip a step?
Old 07-07-2011, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruckus559 View Post
I know it will take longer but if I shape the blade with a hacksaw, grinder, and files, is there a way I can make it less brittle by heat treating it in the oven? Most of the instructionals i find on the web tell me to heat the metal before shaping to "make it easier" but if im willing to slave over the metal can i skip a step?
Maybe I underestimate you oven, but I don't think it's going to get hot
enough -- even on the broil setting -- to have much of an effect.
But I could be wrong.

As far as working the file steel without removing the heat treatment,
I think that depends on what you're planning on doing. You can grind
it, or even better, use a belt sander and remove metal pretty effectively
regardless of the temper. However, if you're planning on drilling any holes
for rivets / pins / screws / whatever to attach your handle, you may find
yourself challenged. I bought a premade knife blank for my first limited
attempt at knife making. I wanted to drill an additional hole for how I
wanted to mount a brass guard on the front of the handle. The tempered
steel laughed at all my attempts to drill even a small hole in it. It devoured
drill bits, milling bits, and even a special cobalt drill bit. No progress at all.
I finally just gave up and changed my handle design.

(The thread on that, if you're interested: http://www.survivalistboards.com/sho...d.php?t=122052)
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Varmit View Post
Maybe I underestimate you oven, but I don't think it's going to get hot
enough -- even on the broil setting -- to have much of an effect.
But I could be wrong.

As far as working the file steel without removing the heat treatment,
I think that depends on what you're planning on doing. You can grind
it, or even better, use a belt sander and remove metal pretty effectively
regardless of the temper. However, if you're planning on drilling any holes
for rivets / pins / screws / whatever to attach your handle, you may find
yourself challenged. I bought a premade knife blank for my first limited
attempt at knife making. I wanted to drill an additional hole for how I
wanted to mount a brass guard on the front of the handle. The tempered
steel laughed at all my attempts to drill even a small hole in it. It devoured
drill bits, milling bits, and even a special cobalt drill bit. No progress at all.
I finally just gave up and changed my handle design.

(The thread on that, if you're interested: http://www.survivalistboards.com/sho...d.php?t=122052)
well ive seen a vid where the guy did the final temper in the oven by putting it on 350 for a few hours. But from what your telling me, i can make a blade but not drill holes without heat treating? if so, i can work with that
Old 07-07-2011, 11:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruckus559 View Post
well ive seen a vid where the guy did the final temper in the oven by putting it on 350 for a few hours. But from what your telling me, i can make a blade but not drill holes without heat treating? if so, i can work with that
I'll defer to your video on using the oven. I wouldn't have thought that
would be hot enough to have an effect, but I'm not an expert.
Got a link on that vid you can share?

On drilling the holes -- not saying there's no way to do it. Just saying
you have to be smarter than me to figure it out. But, that's probably
not too much of a challenge. Drill bits, milling bits, and a cobalt
bit didn't scratch it. I think I even tried a diamond-dust coated bit
(for cutting tile) but it wore off the diamond coating too fast to be
of any use. So those don't work. If you find something else that
does, I'd love to learn about it.

Post some pics and a report as you make progress.
Old 07-07-2011, 11:56 PM
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here a link to the vid, seems like a good idea but expertvillage is kind of retarded so im not sure it will work.

Pretty much all i want is something that will hold an edge and not brake of i use it to pry, split wood, or hammer. if theres a way i can do that without a forge id like to know about it
Old 07-08-2011, 12:43 AM
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No I don't think you will anneal it with your oven either. It will fall short by a couple of hundred degrees or more. Tempering is a different process than annealing. I still think you would be better off getting accurate advice from the pro's at knifedogs.com They are glad to help.
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Old 07-08-2011, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruckus559 View Post
here a link to the vid, seems like a good idea but expertvillage is kind of retarded so im not sure it will work.

Pretty much all i want is something that will hold an edge and not brake of i use it to pry, split wood, or hammer. if theres a way i can do that without a forge id like to know about it

Kind of circling back over covered ground, but if you're looking for a knife
that will put up with prying, splitting wood, and hammering, a file (with
the original file tempering) is not where you want to go. Files are extremely
hard and hence brittle. I just think you're headed down a road where you're
going to spend a boatload of time shaping your knife project and then it's
going to break on you under that sort of use.

If you still want to move forward, I would suggest an experiment: Take
a cheap file and give it a couple of solid whacks on a vice, or with a hammer.
Lock it in a vice and do some of that prying (bending) action you mentioned.
Wear some thick leather gloves when you do this -- I predict you'll snap
that file off. If you manage to break it, you're out a few bucks but you've
saved yourself a whole lot of wasted work. If the file holds up to your
satisfaction under whatever level of abuse you decide to throw at it, then
you would be more confident moving forward with your project, knowing that
the steel you've chosen appears to be up to the task.

Or just run with it. Personally, I'm no stranger to the "lost cause" project
myself. Done more than my fair share of those. And if it fails, its still a
valuable learning experience. People can tell you all day long that an
untempered file isn't the best choice for a rough-use knife, but work the
project yourself and see if it works or not -- no amount of discussion
forum advice can replace that sort of actual hands-on experience.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:55 PM
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Ruckus unfortunately Varmint and Poco are correct in their assessments. First of all most newer files are only case hardened mild steel not tool steel. If your file is an old one you would stand a better chance of success. Do you have any kind of torch? Or propane fired weed burner? Is there a masonry supplier in your area where you can buy fire bricks? You only need 4 and they are roughly $2.00 a piece. Go here http://ukbladesforum.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=156 for some pretty clear ideas on heat treating and you can use the same methods for annealing except you don't quench the steel in oil for annealing you let it cool slowly in wood ashes to anneal. This guy is a very prominent knife maker in England and he doesn't use a forge per say...just some fire bricks and a weed burner.
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Old 07-08-2011, 01:03 PM
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