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Here's a tiny knife I bought c.1978 to use as a patch knife, but I never used it.
It's a Damascus blade with antler handle, and razor sharp.

Hmmm, I might just put it up for sale. it would be just right for someone who cuts their patch as they load.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
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.
Spring here is very slow in coming, but when it arrives I have many tings to do, and warming the forge is one of them. I plan a busy summer ahead between my forge, my magnet fishing and metal detecting.

My grandson the corrections officer, besides being an excellent hunter, also does fine wood work. He's getting a device that forces a stabilizer into wood or other material..so it is similar to the Boyd's gunstock material. I plan on generating some interesting handle scales for knives.
 

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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..








Ironglow, I always enjoy your metal working posts, but DANG them is some thin blades. :tango_face_wink:
 

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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 those that I have used for cleaning bullheads and catfish for 40 years. they still make that same design as my son got me one for Christmas last year with a nice leather pouch.
 

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I made a couple of knives after I retired from the phone company back in 07. I made them out of wonder bars for pulling nails. They turned out pretty good. I mean the work real well for butchering deer. You guys that qualify as knife makers would probably turn up your noses as they very utilitarian but they cut meat and hold an edge!
 

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How are you heat treating
Wonder bars don't need to be heat treated if your pay attention when grinding and don't change the metal structure. You have to keep them dipped in water and cool while grinding. Some of the super steels can't be heat treated and I'm thinking that might be true with the good wonder bars. Someone feel free to correct me on that! I know that they make good butcher knives!

When I used power hacksaw blades I usually had my Dad take the temper them down so that they were more workable in a factory furnace(Oliver Tractor Factory where he worked in the heat treat department). Then when I cot the shape I wanted he took them back to the kiln and treated them at I think 1500 degrees in step one and then tempered them as a second step so that they weren't to brittle.

At one time I made a forge from fire brick and fueled it with charcoal and hedge apple wood. My air source was a piece of pipe hooked to the exhaust of a 2 gallon shop vac. It worked! I was not a "knife maker" but a tinkerer that made a few knives. That heat treating and tempering with a forge is a work of art as is forging a knife out of a ball bearing or such. I simply wasn't set up or dedicated enough to be that good!
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Wonder bar should work good. I never used one, but thy are obviously tempered for use as spring steel. So long as you don't overheat and lose the structure, you should be good.
 

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I love the carbon steel blades. I pick them up when I find them, clean them up, put new scales on them if I have to, they are good for another 40 yrs.
 

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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.
Must have been an OLD corvette. I think they went to composite springs in the early 80s.
 

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I have been making knives for 15 years off and on. I started by building a Tim Lively style charcoal forge. I use gas for the most part now. I have used files and springs with good results. I have had mixed results with lawnmower blades.

I also use commercially available steels like 1084, 15n20 and 1095. Carbon steel was my first choice, but I recently got some stainless to work with, mostly for kitchen knives. I will have to send those off for heat treating. That adds to the cost of a knife but it does give better quality control.

As for cost, I sell a small carbon steel knife as cheap as 50.00. That is about a break even point in terms of fuel, grinding abrasives, heat treat cost and effort for me.

I will see if I have some pictures to share.
249997
 

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I have been making knives for 15 years off and on. I started by building a Tim Lively style charcoal forge. I use gas for the most part now. I have used files and springs with good results. I have had mixed results with lawnmower blades.

I also use commercially available steels like 1084, 15n20 and 1095. Carbon steel was my first choice, but I recently got some stainless to work with, mostly for kitchen knives. I will have to send those off for heat treating. That adds to the cost of a knife but it does give better quality control.

As for cost, I sell a small carbon steel knife as cheap as 50.00. That is about a break even point in terms of fuel, grinding abrasives, heat treat cost and effort for me.

I will see if I have some pictures to share. View attachment 249997
Those finished knives look really good! JMO, but I think you should maybe charge a little more!

And I also figure I should buy one! Would you ship to Canada?
 

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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.
Kind of an old post, but wanted to mention that there are a few "store bought" carbon steel knives available now. If memory serves, I believe Ka-bar has one, Mora Bushcraft is a heavier duty Mora with carbon steel, and the Buck "Compadre" camp knife is a decent full tang knife made from spring steel.

Just looked it up, and all 3 are pretty reasonable in price. Some would say cheap, others would say expensive, but I say a good mid-price. I've had the Mora briefly, but it walked away, and I have the Buck now.
 

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Here's a tiny knife I bought c.1978 to use as a patch knife, but I never used it.
It's a Damascus blade with antler handle, and razor sharp.

Hmmm, I might just put it up for sale. it would be just right for someone who cuts their patch as they load.
i love it. Always had a soft spot for damascus knives
 
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