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Discussion Starter #1
I enjoy forging knives using "re-purposed" steel. I like high carbon steel. If you use repurposed steel, what are some of your favorite sources?

I have forged knives from roller bearing cups, rake tines auto springs and many other items, but one of my favorites are lawn mower blades. Just think, lawn mower blades will cut the finest blade of grass..or whack off sapling stubs an inch in diameter..yet hit rocks without shattering.

I have suggested these on other forums, only to have some say that lawn mower blades are of inferior steel, not suited to knife making. I can't agree with that, since my experience with them has been positive.

Of course, I always use a quality, name brand blade such as John Deere, Cub Cadet or Kubota...

Here for instance, is the info on JD blades;

https://jdparts.deere.com/partsmkt/document/english/pmac/4382_fb_Lawn_Mower_Blades.htm
 

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I like carbon steel knives, but around here they charge so much for a forged knife I can't afford one. They have'm at trade days and places like that, and even in knife shops, but their so high I don't know who's buyin'em.
Skinnin squirrels, deer and coyotes doesn't require a $150.00 to $400.00 knife, so I'm mostly stuck with a stainless steel knife.
Their good, but my last good carbon steel knife I bought when I was still workin, went to my youngest son on his deployment to Afghanistan.
And I've heard some of these local knife smiths say they like certain mower blades.
I've got a very old hoof rasp out in my shop I started to make a knife out of but, quickly realized I didn't have the equipment required.
 

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i only know one guy here that actually makes blades. Talked to him once about it and he said his favorite was truck springs. He said he wont use car springs and wont even use 1/2 ton truck springs that REAL truck springs use better steel. He figured a lot of the light truck springs were even alloyed to make them lighter. He said to look for a 1 ton to ton and a half truck. this is just what I was told. I'm so far from being knowledgeable on this that I should even be wasting your time. Guy did make nice knives though.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I like carbon steel knives, but around here they charge so much for a forged knife I can't afford one. They have'm at trade days and places like that, and even in knife shops, but their so high I don't know who's buyin'em.
Skinnin squirrels, deer and coyotes doesn't require a $150.00 to $400.00 knife, so I'm mostly stuck with a stainless steel knife.
Their good, but my last good carbon steel knife I bought when I was still workin, went to my youngest son on his deployment to Afghanistan.
And I've heard some of these local knife smiths say they like certain mower blades.
I've got a very old hoof rasp out in my shop I started to make a knife out of but, quickly realized I didn't have the equipment required.
There are still some carbon steel bladed knives available, although they are not as common as when grandpa used them.

Bear & Son still make them, but of course they make SS blades too, so if somebody buys one, they should make sure they have the real McCoy. I believe
Bear is located near where Graybeard lives. I've never checked out the Bear carbon blades, but have no doubt they are good.

https://www.smkw.com/bear-son-carbon-4th-generation-lockback-with-yellow-synthetic-handle

One carbon knife brand I can by experience, vouch for, is the Opinel brand..made in France in the Alps, near the Swiss border. These Opinels will produce an amazingly keen edge, and the price is very attractive.
https://www.knifecenter.com/brand/91/Opinel

Utica..Utica cutlery, Utica NY, is a grand old American company.. They have carbon and high carbon stainless knives..The stainless ones are made overseas, while the carbon blade knives are made in Utica.
http://www.knifesupply.com/utica-cutlery-co.html
 

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Discussion Starter #5
i only know one guy here that actually makes blades. Talked to him once about it and he said his favorite was truck springs. He said he wont use car springs and wont even use 1/2 ton truck springs that REAL truck springs use better steel. He figured a lot of the light truck springs were even alloyed to make them lighter. He said to look for a 1 ton to ton and a half truck. this is just what I was told. I'm so far from being knowledgeable on this that I should even be wasting your time. Guy did make nice knives though.
I quit using automotive springs about 4 years ago, when I had a "Forged in Fire" moment. My mechanic friend gave me some Corvette leaf springs, so one day I decided to make a chef's dicing knife (small cleaver). I had it nearly completely forged..when it cracked from the edge almost clear back to the spine. If the crack were half an inch deeper, the piece would have fallen in half! Sometimes such things can be discovered by a color changed at the crack..but this one gave no clue.
Closer examination, showed a stress crack had opened up..It had been invisible when I started. Obviously many, many miles of continuous flexing caused metal fatigue to set in. Same thing can happen to coil springs. No doubt new springs are probably fine.
So far as spring material is concerned, most vehicle manufacturers use carbon steels..such as 1095 or 1560.,.and generally do it right up through their line.

Frankly, I likely would not use a leaf from too large a truck. They are so thick, it takes a lot of useless labor to pound it down to.0035 to .0060 of an inch for blade thickness...and I have too much arthritis already..

Now I am going to remove some "mistique'..and I may get some custom knife makers peeved. Dee, don't feel bad about turning to an American, German, French, Swiss or Scandanavian carbon steel knife maker for your work blade..
For most of us , we use the same steel the quality knife makers use.. then we heat it to forge, do basic forging..then normalize. Follow this by grinding and then we get the tempering oil as close to 125F as we can to harden what I want hardened..then place in our oven at about 425F for about an hour to draw the temper. Then do finish grinding and then polish if desired.
With a good factory knife, the use the same steel and do basically the same things. Except..all those steps are done under supervision of computer controlled conditions..the heats, times and other conditions will all be more precise..so what does that tell you. Times temperatures and ambient temps all computer comtrolled..
I know I will get some mad, but for quality I say the best custom is not likely to be better, for use than a top quality factory knife. Of course, it is a nice feeling to enjoy owning a one-off "custom" knife..and nobody should deny that.

I have a bit of an advantage, in that I live in "knife country". Case (Bradford) is about 35 miles, Alcas "the knife makers knife maker" is about 25 miles, K-bar (belongs to Alcas) about 22 miles... and Ontario about 5 miles.
In fact, the boss man at Ontario is a fellow church elder with me..and sometimes I will pick up a mis-stamped machete blade or two (1095 steel)..to make knives from. That's nice, because the thickness is already set for most hunting/survival blades.

For those interested, perhaps I should make a few utilitarian blades for $40-$50 and offer them here on GBO. No fancy work, but a good basic knife for that price...and still "custom". My aim is to make knives which mimic the look of the 1800-1840 fur trade blades.
 

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IG, if you decide to make some, I'd be interested in a finished blank. I had to leave my knife making shop in storage when we PCS'd here, but I did bring a few things I could use to put handles on. I've not used reclaimed steel, usually stuck with Aldo's carbon, but I can appreciate the appeal! I used stainless, D2, and a couple other odd things, and carbon just works.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'll see what I can do..If the weather stays mild enough. My shop is not heated, so if it is really cold I refrain, because in very cold weather, as soon as something a thin as a blade hits the cold anvil..the heat too soon bids adieu.
 

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My favorite knife is a shrade sharp finger made before they went chinese.
My Dad made a small forge many years ago and fashioned a heavy machete from a lawn mower blade, and that thing would do any small chopping job you gave it.
So, I imagine a small knife of that material would be a keeper.
 

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My favorite knife is a shrade sharp finger made before they went chinese.
My Dad made a small forge many years ago and fashioned a heavy machete from a lawn mower blade, and that thing would do any small chopping job you gave it.
So, I imagine a small knife of that material would be a keeper.
This is a 1980s Shrade I gave to my dad back in the early 80s. It was new in the box with a scrimshaw whale. Unfortunately dad was not a knife guy. I found it in his tacklebox after he died 11 years ago. He had used it to cut chicken liver and didn't bother to wipe the blood off. Sand paper and a buffing wheel later, its no longer a collectable but, a user.
 

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This is a 1980s Shrade I gave to my dad back in the early 80s. It was new in the box with a scrimshaw whale. Unfortunately dad was not a knife guy. I found it in his tacklebox after he died 11 years ago. He had used it to cut chicken liver and didn't bother to wipe the blood off. Sand paper and a buffing wheel later, its no longer a collectable but, a user.
That's a good looking knife. If it's like mine it sharpens easy and keeps an edge very well.
It's all I used from about the same time you bought that one.

I hope ironglow knows how to post pictures of his work.
 

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IG,

If you are comfortable with forging Scandi single bevels I’d be interested in a 3-4 inch full tang blank. I’ve been ordering blades from Ragnar’s Ragweed Forge. So far I’ve worked with Laurin and Karasuando blades which are stamped. I’d like to Finish out some forged blanks as my skills improve.
 

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This is a 1980s Shrade I gave to my dad back in the early 80s. It was new in the box with a scrimshaw whale. Unfortunately dad was not a knife guy. I found it in his tacklebox after he died 11 years ago. He had used it to cut chicken liver and didn't bother to wipe the blood off. Sand paper and a buffing wheel later, its no longer a collectable but, a user.
i have one of these, only not in whale scrimshaw, that accompanied me on many bow-hunting adventures...great knife. i keep it on my dresser now.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
A couple days ago the weather came off cold and snowy, so I won't get back into my shop until it eases off a bit. We have a blacksmith's Christmas party coming up this Saturday evening.
We are to take a candlestick for each table, as well as to if we have a talent , something to perform. Photo shows a candlestick I made last week, while the weather was still tolerable.
A rather simple design, I call it by a couple names, either;

A) Crusader's candlestick

...or

B) Infidel's candlestick

Note: The horse shoe signifying a knight..and the cross as a base and the spiral..always reaching upward to God!

I guess I will also read a poem I composed, which is entitled "The Incident at Paddy's forge".
 

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Nice work IG!

Sent from my SM-S765C using Tapatalk
 

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Thanks, when the weather breaks, I'll try to get out in my shop again..
 

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It's a skill I don't have so I enjoy checking out other people's work.

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I like to make my knives from old saw mill saw blades. The big round ones. I also use band saw material from big saw mills as well as they makes great fillet type knives and small skinners. The band saw steel is also flexible enough to make very good spear blades as long as the shafts aren't to heavy. I use oak to attach the blade and old hollow aluminum ski poles as the main spear shaft. They fly like darts this way. I use leaf springs to make big choppers, but anneal them first to make working them to shape easier. Currently trying to make a gladius out of a 3/4 ton leaf spring. I have it annealed and already straightened and I'm trying to work the point down. I wanted to originally do all the shaping at the forge, but after having pounded on it for a while I might reconsider and go to stock removal. I also use "older" files to make very good knife blades. Don't use the newer files as most are only hardened on the surface and won't make good knives. I only quench my blades in pre-heated canola oil. I don't have a hardness tester, but generally get my blades in the mid 50's on the Rockwell scale. This makes them hold an edge, but also relatively easier to sharpen as well. I am by no means an expert and never will be, but I enjoy making knives, spears and tomahawks. Plus and occasional long bow. Sorry for ranting on.
 

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There are still some carbon steel bladed knives available, although they are not as common as when grandpa used them.

Bear & Son still make them, but of course they make SS blades too, so if somebody buys one, they should make sure they have the real McCoy. I believe
Bear is located near where Graybeard lives. I've never checked out the Bear carbon blades, but have no doubt they are good.

https://www.smkw.com/bear-son-carbon-4th-generation-lockback-with-yellow-synthetic-handle

One carbon knife brand I can by experience, vouch for, is the Opinel brand..made in France in the Alps, near the Swiss border. These Opinels will produce an amazingly keen edge, and the price is very attractive.
https://www.knifecenter.com/brand/91/Opinel

Utica..Utica cutlery, Utica NY, is a grand old American company.. They have carbon and high carbon stainless knives..The stainless ones are made overseas, while the carbon blade knives are made in Utica.
http://www.knifesupply.com/utica-cutlery-co.html
I have an Opinel #8 "carbone" in the watch pocket of my jeans at this moment. It takes an edge and holds it. I knew nothing about Opinel but thought the simple, light weight design was appealing and they are so cheap there was little to lose by trying one. Now I'm sold, I can't imagine how one could get more knife for fewer bucks and they weigh nothing in the pocket.
 
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