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 Necessity being the Mother of Invention

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Blackhorse
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Blackhorse

Age : 72
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PostSubject: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptyFri May 04, 2012 12:26 am

This is one of the Damascus projects I'm working on currently. It started as a nice billet of Damascus steel, a block of Gabon Ebony and some heavy brass sheetstock. Then it got kind of fun.

I ran into a situation in which I wanted to attach the brass guard to the steel blank and didn't want to drill it from the side in order to pin it properly. And then I didn't have the right size rod stock to make the pans anyway. So...um... This is actually quite funny in a sad twisted way, right? So anyway, I got to thinking about what else I could do to secure it effectively...and I noticed the heavy sheet of brass I had cut the guard from...and there was this groove milled out across the top, and it got me thinking, which is always a dangerous circumstance. Well, one thing led to another and (being a very 'visual' person in terms of how I approach most things) the solution just sort of popped into being...you know...like the Venus...sprung fully formed from the head of Zeus? Yes, well, enough of that. So I re-cut the guard in a slightly different design and started rummaging around in my scrap drawer for some steel (did I mention that this is all done by hand...hack, coping and jeweler's saws...needle and riffling files and the like) none of those fancy machines that would make the work...you know...SANE!

Anyway...the pics below should sort of show what I ended up doing to prevent making one frigging drill hole and stuffing a pin into it.

Oh...and if you're wondering about the handle, and why what likely should have been a full tang design has the tang extending only halfway down the hangle...well there's a story behind that too. <<snicker>> I had a piece of damascus just so long, and I wanted a blade of 6" and a handle of about 5" (to fit my mitt)...but I had plenty of Ebony. So I cut a channel into the Ebony...which is only like twenty times more difficult than cutting the piece into two slabs and all, and of course there's that 'by hand' thing in there again.

I included a pic of the knife in profile...please understand that the butt will have a brass cap the same thickness as the guard...holefully attached my traditional means...but ya just never know...


The parts...prior to assembly:

Necessity being the Mother of Invention DamascusKnifeEbonyhandle017


And assembled:

Necessity being the Mother of Invention DamascusKnifeEbonyhandle004


And roughly what it will look like - though it's finish will be improved of course, and the brass buttcap, etc.:

Necessity being the Mother of Invention DamascusKnifeEbonyhandle026

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huffelpuff

huffelpuff

Age : 49
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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptyFri May 04, 2012 2:13 am

Most impressive. Good luck with the rest of the work. Keep us posted on this.

Jim
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Blackhorse
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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptySat May 05, 2012 11:26 am

OK - this weekend the buttcap is to be shaped and some kind of decorative insert is to be decided upon...agate, special pin, steel dome, sterling truncated cone, etc. Fun...fun...fun.

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dshpipes

dshpipes

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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptySat May 05, 2012 2:55 pm

Nice work, Dave!
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Kyle Weiss

Kyle Weiss

Location : Reno, NV
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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptySat May 05, 2012 8:47 pm

Looks good, but it's certainly an odd bird... nice job! Cool
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DustyRoundup

DustyRoundup

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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptySat May 05, 2012 9:15 pm



Heck yeah ! Thats some nice work there ! and by hand , that in itself is admirable.

OK , I know I probably didnt read the post thoroughly, But ,, did you forge the damascus yourself? or did you buy it premade?

Also, I do a little bit of forgework myself, but I lack knowledge in the tempering area. I do fine with my hand made pritchels and forepunches, and I usually use car coil springs, or h_13 rod,, but when Im using railroad spikes or old horseshoes dinkin around making knives to cut bale strings etc, I cant seem to get a proper temper.
Are you knowledgeable in this field?



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Growley

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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptySat May 05, 2012 9:22 pm

Very cool! It's going to turn out great! I collected knives as a boy and have always admired a good blade. I'd love to get into this, but one hobby at a time I guess.

Looking forward to seeing it completed.

Brian.
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Blackhorse
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Blackhorse

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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptySat May 05, 2012 10:40 pm

Dusty Roundup wrote:

"...did you forge the damascus yourself? or did you buy it premade? Also, I do a little bit of forgework myself, but I lack knowledge in the tempering area. I do fine with my hand made pritchels and forepunches, and I usually use car coil springs, or h_13 rod,, but when Im using railroad spikes or old horseshoes dinkin around making knives to cut bale strings etc, I cant seem to get a proper temper. Are you knowledgeable in this field?"

1. The Damascus came to me in a billet, a gift from a good friend...nice slender rectangle.

2. I know very little about tempering, and depend on the friend I mentioned above...and on the interenet for information. And since I don't know what you DO during your process I can't advise you...and likely wouldn't anyway. BUT...I assume you soften (anneal) the spikes prior to and during your forging it...likely a number of times. Then after you're done shaping it, maybe by 'stock reduction' you heat treat the steel. I would guess that it's during this or the following (hardening) step that you're doing something wrong. You can look up the proper temp. that it needs to be brought to...what it needs to be quenched in (brine, oil, air, etc.) and all on charts if you know the steel it is. RR spikes should be a known item. With the Damascus you have to get it to non-magnetic temp (I forget the exact temp) and then oil quench it. Anyway...after you quench it you have to harden it by putting it into an oven and heating it to a low temp. (like 350 - 450 F depending on the steel) for a longer period of time...and then let it cool very slowly...again accomplished by different methods. So there's the tempering and then the hardening. If you're doing both of those to the correct temps and times, you should be good. The only problem is that a spike doesn't have enough carbon in it to result in a really good knife blade...so there's that.

One of the overall best resources that I've seen (though there are many out there) is one done in memory of Bob Engnath.....lots and lots of detailed information.

Here's a link:

http://engnath.com/manframe.htm

Here's some other links:

http://bronksknifeworks.com/railroad-spike.htm

http://www.anvilfire.com/FAQs/rr-spike.htm

Below is a quote I found on another site...it makes good sense. It says that you never ARE going to get a good temper or hardness out of that spike...it just doesn't have enough carbon in it to make a really good blade. The quote is below:

Quote :
Another "high carbon" misconception involves railroad spikes. Nearly every bladesmith has made knives from railroad spikes. Railroad spikes are readily available, usually for free, they are a novel item, and they can make a perfectly useable knife. However, they simply do not contain enough carbon to make a good blade. One big misunderstanding comes from railroad spikes that are marked "HC" for "High Carbon". The problem is that what the railroads consider "High Carbon" is equivalent to what a knifemaker would call low carbon mild steel.

According to specifications set forth by American Railway Engineering Association there are two classes of railroad spikes, low carbon track spikes used on straight sections of railroads and high carbon steel track spikes used on curves and switches. According to the specifications, low carbon spikes may contain no more than 0.12% carbon and "High Carbon" spikes may contain NO MORE THAN 0.30% carbon.

Knife blade steels typically contain between 0.85% and 1.5% carbon, or 3-5 times as much carbon as a "High Carbon" railroad spike.

The reasoning is that the railroads want mild steel that will bend rather than break. A bent spike will still hold a rail whereas a broken spike will not.



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DustyRoundup

DustyRoundup

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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptySun May 06, 2012 10:34 am



And there it is !
Ive always thought about that issue, ie . the spikes should be soft to not break and hold track.


I have done alot of research online, (thats where I came upon alot of cool spike knives)

Thanks for the links and the info there Blackhorse, I will definitely be looking them up tonight.
Just gonna surf a bit more and head to work.

Thanks again for taking your time to answer my question.

I'll be looking forward to seeing the end results of your knife.
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huffelpuff

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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptyMon May 07, 2012 12:18 am

Dusty

There is a solution to your problem with the spikes and horse.shoes. Just take a chisel to the edge you want to sharpen. Insert a piece of high carbon steel with plenty of borax. Heat together until white hot, then hammer it together. You will now have laminated steel. Which is quite durable, easily heat treated and should sharpen nicely. Let me know if you need more information.

Hope it helps
Jim
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jefe1037

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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptyMon May 07, 2012 7:32 am

huffelpuff wrote:
Dusty

There is a solution to your problem with the spikes and horse.shoes. Just take a chisel to the edge you want to sharpen. Insert a piece of high carbon steel with plenty of borax. Heat together until white hot, then hammer it together. You will now have laminated steel. Which is quite durable, easily heat treated and should sharpen nicely. Let me know if you need more information.

Hope it helps
Jim

A blacksmith I used to work with used this method for hatchets... a piece of blade steel laminated between two milder billets to create a sharpenable blade while lowering the brittle factor. ... i think he made them for the Army Rangers.... (could be way off, the hatchets were a tradition in the unit that went back a ways, i want to say civil war.... details lost in my mush of a brain)

Borax is good flux, but white hot is not quite hot enough for a forge weld... you need coal to get the metal hot enough. To practice forge welding, he gave me a big pile of bar stock and told me to make an 8 ft chain. by the time you are done with that, you know how to forge weld.
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Kyle Weiss

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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptyMon May 07, 2012 10:50 am

I know eff-all about blacksmithing or metal working--this thread has been very cool. Cool
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Brurobas

Brurobas

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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptyWed May 16, 2012 10:36 am

Very nice looking!

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DustyRoundup

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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptyWed May 16, 2012 12:21 pm



Dang, sorry it took me so long to see this.

Well, I have a two burner atmospheric forge, with an insulated door.
(with a port in the door, ) and a hinged metal flap door on the backside for longer barstock.
Its an NC Forge Whisper Momma.

I know they have other forges that are specifically made for knife making , and I think they are the same as mine , but with doors on the ends/sides.

I guess I could crank up the pressure to try and get a white hot, but that scares me a bit. as I think it would be above the recommended psi.

But, aside from that, which I may diddle with, that is an excellent idea. I have a pretty cool planer blade form a saw mill that might do the trick.(If you dont ever hear from me again, you can figure i tried and blew up Shocked )

But, its getting up in the high 80's around here, and shoein is makin this old body sore, so I dont plan on standing in front of my forge, any more than I have to Very Happy

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i.keenum

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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptyThu May 17, 2012 7:57 pm

Damascus steel and knifes has always amazed me. Like a good grain in a piece of briar. Nothing like seeing something so ancient and beautiful in technique.
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Brewdude
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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptyThu May 17, 2012 8:05 pm

BH works magic. A true artisan!

cyclops


Cheers,

RR

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Blackhorse
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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptyThu May 17, 2012 8:34 pm

I just started working with damascus recently and the guy that supplies me with material (a good friend) got me started. He told me how fun it would be, and it is.

1. It's soft and works really well.
2. Some patterns have a certain way the the design comes out when a billet is carved into a blade (I have a huge dagger I've been working in for some time and since the blade shape is uniform on each side of the centerline, the pattern of the damascus is like that too, in that the left side of the blade mirrors the right side...and it looks just amazing.
3. When you work the steel by 'stockl reduction' you can hardly see the patten...but after you grind and file away all the stuff you don't want and sand it smooth and then buff it...and after you temper and heat treat it...it's time for magic! You etch it with acid and out comes that pattern again. The steel turns grey or black and the nickle is bright...so the pattern just shines.
4. You can easily put a differential temper on the damascus using an oxy-fuel torch so the edge is hard and the spine is soft and absorbs shock...in a way like a Katana, but using a different process.
5. There are lots of outlets that carry it and it's really cheap. NOT! But it IS very cool!


I've got half a dozen big (for me) damascus projects 'in process' right now...and I've just been waiting for decent weather to do the heat treating via the torch thing. It's be soon, very soon. Then I'll post up some very interesting photos. Three of the projects I've done (2 being damascus) are knife and pipe combos (that I've already posted here somewhere...in DIY maybe) that are, to me anyway, fairly nice items. Literally, it's what I do...all day, every day...get up in the morning and look forward to the day, go to bed at night thinkin' about what I need to do the next day...totally absorbing. Being 'retired' it's a dream come true. And since I work in an outdoor shop which has a solid wall on only one side (yes, I work out there every day...Winters included) with one little heater (yeah, welll, it's parka and pac boots in the Winter) I've got a pipe stuck in my mouth just about the whole time...sippin' away. If I could do this for twenty more years...it'd be way to short.

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i.keenum

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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptyThu May 17, 2012 9:23 pm

That sounds like a great retirement. I have to pace my self because anything I pick up I just want to dive into. Hope you have another 40 years to do it. On a side note have you checked out the instructables website black horse?
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Blackhorse
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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptyThu May 17, 2012 9:36 pm

Quote :
On a side note have you checked out the instructables website black horse?


Oh yes, of course. I especially liked the 'how to' on making knife sheaths out of duct tape. Very festive.

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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptyThu May 17, 2012 9:47 pm

Blackhorse wrote:
Quote :
On a side note have you checked out the instructables website black horse?


Oh yes, of course. I especially liked the 'how to' on making knife sheaths out of duct tape. Very festive.





what is the count on uses for duct tape now anyway? I wonder if it can be used to hold the remains of the bombees bombshelter together lol.

once I get my saw fixed I am looking for some very particular wood that will really make BH's blades pop! Hopefully some shed antlers as well, plus I will have something in my hands to keep the bear away in the form of an ECHO CS 5000 chainsaw with a 20" bar! Redneck boys don't Play games with bears!
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Blackhorse
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PostSubject: Re: Necessity being the Mother of Invention   Necessity being the Mother of Invention EmptyThu May 17, 2012 9:55 pm

Did you ever see the "MythBusters" episode about duct tape?


Classic

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