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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 07-10-2011, 04:57 PM
gsimmo gsimmo is offline
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Question Unknown steel and knife designing (?)

I have been fighting myself with a decision that I made. I have some 1/8" by 2" by 36" steel that I picked up about 16 years ago, when I first thought about making my own blades. Just found it when cleaning up some of my stuff from moving. However, I do not know what kind exactly the steel is. With so many versions out there, I decided to use this steel to make cutting outlines and try to work on my grind/file and sanding work. The downside to this is, I got a bug to do heat treating on my designs now.... and lack funds to get steel. Am I right in not trying this out till I have a better idea of what exactly I'm working with?

-Geoff
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Old 07-10-2011, 05:19 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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You're right to be suspicious of the steel. You say you 'picked it up' some years ago - did you get it at a hardware store? If so, it's worthless for knife blades. Otherwise, it might be OK or it might not. My recommendation would be to put it aside for now and buy some known good blade steel to make your blades (it's cheap). After you have made some blades and successfully heat treated them you'll be in a better position to evaluate your piece of mystery steel, i.e., you'll know how to do a successful heat treatment so if the mystery steel fails you'll know it was the steel and not your heat treatment. Since it goes without saying that once you start making blades you will likely continue for many years then you can see that following my suggestion won't cost you any more and will probably save you money in the long run. It will also keep you from becoming frustrated if you find that after all that work making a blade from the mystery steel you still don't have a working knife but you're still not sure which one of the many variables is the culprit.

You say you lack funds to buy steel. Knife making doesn't have to be an expensive hobby but even buying files and sandpaper and a few other hand tools can start to add up. Get a Sheffield Knife Supply catalog and also check out alphaknifesupply.com and then send an email to Kelly Cupples at octihunter@charter.net asking for his price list. With those three sources you can find simple blade steels for $3 to $5 a foot. If that is beyond your financial reach then salvaged steels may be your only option but with those you'll find you must invest quite a bit of time and a lot of fuel (propane, coal, gasoline, etc) for that to be successful. You can make great knives from salvaged steel and it's very 'green' but it likely won't be any cheaper all things considered ...


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Old 07-10-2011, 06:37 PM
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ARCustomKnives ARCustomKnives is offline
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I agree with Ray. For less than $20 you should be able to get about 4 feet of 1084 from Aldo (AKA the New Jersey Steel Baron)

http://njsteelbaron.com/index.php?pa...mart&Itemid=55

He's in Jersey, so shipping should't be all that much to New York.

As for your current steel, do you remember where you got it? There are ways to make educated guesses as to whether or not it's a carbon based steel and can be hardened enough for a knife, but chances are you may be wasting any time that you put towards trying to make a usable knife out of it.

I'd just see about getting a couple feet of 1084 from Aldo. It's about as forgiving as your gonna get for heat treatment, and about as cheap as your gonna find for quality knife steel.


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Old 07-10-2011, 06:40 PM
gsimmo gsimmo is offline
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I got the steel from shop class at my high school. But I didn't get serious about trying this out till about three years ago. Over the summer, when I'm not in college, I have less money because of bills and such. It's really just a matter of me being patient, something that when I want to do something I'm really bad at. at least it is good practice material. And I still have a couple of kit knives I can finish up. Kits were cool, but I wanted to do something more.... So I've been expanding my workshop and all that. My brain says thanks for the back up, my heart is pissed but will get over it.

-Geoff
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:47 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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You got the steel in shop class - what was it for in shop? If it was for knives you're probably good to go. If it was for any type of decorative iron work then it is probably low carbon and unsuitable for blades ...


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Old 07-10-2011, 08:46 PM
gsimmo gsimmo is offline
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I never actually took the shop class. So I have not a clue what it was to be used for. I asked the instructor for metal that could be made into blades, but I also don't know if he was giving me the right stuff. I was just of age to buy knives in general... I will hold off as much as I'd love to get working on these. Summer is lots of time, and little money. Fall will have more money, but less time... It is better that I wait. Thanks for your time, look forward to more learning on here and in the shop.

-Geoff
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Old 07-10-2011, 11:15 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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You might want to invest in a book or two on knife making. The $50 Knife Shop and How to Make Knives are pretty good. The latter is more for stock removal and the first discusses both.

Doug


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Old 07-11-2011, 05:27 AM
gsimmo gsimmo is offline
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Yeah, I got a wish list going for stuff (including books) that I want/need for my shop. If anyone has other suggestions I'm well open to them...

-Geoff
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  #9  
Old 07-11-2011, 05:01 PM
son_of_bluegras son_of_bluegras is offline
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Have you looked into inter-library loan to get the book you're interested in? You would be able to read them even though you wouldn't be able to keep them in the shop for reference.

ron


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Old 07-12-2011, 12:35 AM
gsimmo gsimmo is offline
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I'm going to stick with my head on this one and not try to HT yet. I'll use what I got for designs and practice my file work, sanding and soldering (guards that I am also making). Thanks to all who answered, hope to have some work done before the end of the year to share.

-Geoff
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Old 07-13-2011, 05:16 PM
dennie dennie is offline
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Since you're in college, you may be able to contact one of the professors in the chemistry or engineering field and have them analyze it as a project. If they have metalurgy courses, they may be able to help a fellow student?

dennie
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Old 07-13-2011, 09:43 PM
gsimmo gsimmo is offline
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That is something I will have to look into. There may be someone I can talk to there, but no one is really around till fall. But I will look into it. Thanks.

-Geoff
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  #13  
Old 07-18-2011, 10:16 AM
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Geoff,
Even if it's mild steel, if you just want to practice your technique, this will still work. Also, if you were happy with a "wall hanger", you could turn the mystery steel into a purely decorative piece. Finally, there are ways of telling the composition of the steel by observing the sparks when grinding it. You can look it up on the internet. Good luck!


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