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The Outpost This forum is dedicated to all who share a love for, and a desire to make good knives, and have fun doing it. We represent a diverse group of smiths and knifemakers who bring numerous methods to their craft.

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  #1  
Old 11-05-2003, 01:01 PM
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The ten basics of bladesmithing

I've been working on this outline for teaching purposes. Tell me what you think?

The Ten Basics of Bladesmithing.

#1. Blade concept.
#2. Steel selection.
#3. Forging to shape.
#4. Normalizing and/or annealing.
#5. De-scaling.
#6. Stock reduction.
#7. Hardening.
#8. Tempering.
#9. Finishing.
#10. Sharpening.

Last edited by Misternatural?; 11-05-2003 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 11-05-2003, 01:23 PM
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The reason I added "de-scaling" before stock reduction is that the scale is much harder than the steel itself and if not removed first, it will wear out files, belts etc... and requires more energy in general to do the stock reduction. It is preparatory to stock reduction along with normalizing.
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Old 11-05-2003, 02:08 PM
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11. selling


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Old 11-05-2003, 02:09 PM
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de-scaling is an important step IMO.

B&D 4-1/2" hot cut is my favorite method


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Old 11-05-2003, 02:48 PM
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looks fine to me!
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Old 11-05-2003, 06:06 PM
Dana Acker Dana Acker is offline
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I usually add another normalization in between stock reduction and hardening. Might be overkill to some, but in my opinion there's less risk of cracking and warping if the steel is relaxed before hardening. Stresses can creep into a blade during the stock removal process, depending on the methods used. Better safe than sorry.


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Old 11-05-2003, 06:29 PM
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Is somewhere between #8 and #9 the entire handle? Or are you simply talking about the blade itself? That said, do you put an edge on your blades before the fitting of the handle and guards (if equipped)? (Dumb me for really not knowing... :confused: !)

As a beginner/student/novice myself, I like the simplicity of looking at a list. Good work.

Coop


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Old 11-05-2003, 08:45 PM
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Good point Dana. If power grinders are used or if the blades is bent, or heated during stock reduction an additional normalizing cylce is a good idea. Since I do the stock reduction with files, I don't normally have a problem or need an extra normalizing cycle. I think it saves a lot of time and energy not to have to back track at all. If normalizing needs to be repeated, then by all means do it. To me this would be the exeption rather than the rule.

Coop, I'm talking just bladesmithing here. I pre-sharpen before I put the handle on, but don't really sharpen it until it's done. I've cut myself enough times to know.
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Old 11-05-2003, 09:33 PM
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Order of steps

Does the list mandate that they be followed in order, as printed, or are they simply the categories one needs to focus on while bladesmithing, regardless of what order you perform them in or include cycles of methods?


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Old 11-05-2003, 10:55 PM
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I follow the order of it as much as possible, trying to get each step right the first time. However, if it becomes necessary to repeat any step or back track, then I will.

Ideally, in that order, straight through to the end.

Sometimes the concept could be fit to the steel, rather than fitting the steel to the concept,... but then that becomes the concept.

I generally try to pay equal attention to each step, so that each step sets up the following steps and so that the whole of the process is greater than the sum of it's parts.

Last edited by Misternatural?; 11-05-2003 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 11-06-2003, 10:16 AM
cactusforge cactusforge is offline
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A alternate list may include heat treating after normalizing then the balance of the operations to finish the blade. Also if the smith uses a torch to temper the spine that needs to be considered.
There are probably as many different orders as there are smiths. Gib


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Old 11-06-2003, 12:44 PM
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Sure Gib, but what I'm looking for here is just a solid set of "basics", suited to a "basic" shop set up,... a starting point that alternatives and variations can evolve from, with nothing left out or nothing added,... as straight a line as possible from point "A" to point "B".

Something even the most advanced smiths could benefit from.

If you were to take all the variations on the process of bladesmithing and boil them down to there most "basic" elements, what would you have? What is the most logical and "efficient" order of steps?

We talk a lot about the importance of basics, but have we ever defined what the "basic process" is? There must be one don't you think?
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Old 11-06-2003, 01:38 PM
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You are right we all need to start some where and the basics is the best place. Gib


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Old 11-06-2003, 02:01 PM
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... a solid point of reference, and a "good" way to make a knife.

That's all... and that's everything!

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Old 11-06-2003, 02:03 PM
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I love the basics...

To "master" the basics, is to "master" the art!
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