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Old 08-16-2013, 22:55   #1
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Railroad spike knife

I decided to try my hand at blacksmithing recently. My great great grandfather was a blacksmith on the family property where my grandma still lives.

I built a propane "soup can" forge and started working on the spike. This was the end result.

The Cutting Edge
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Old 08-16-2013, 23:10   #2
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Now that has got to be the coolest home made knife I've ever seen!

Gonna have to look into doing something like that myself.

I've done plenty of welding, fabricating, metal work, etc.

Can I do that with a torch, hammer and anvil? And then harden in a bucket of vermiculite?
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Old 08-16-2013, 23:15   #3
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Nice . Fun wasn't it?

Around here it's Wire cable. Blacksmiths and hobby folks were doing it decades ago and then the high end guys started in with "wire cable Damascus". I've got gots of it in my shop and have experimented with it.

Next thing for you to do is get an old chipped up FORGED ball peen hammer and make a tomahawk.

I have a full on knifemaker's propane and a blacksmiths charcoal but I still get use out of a kiln-brick unit I made and a larger one out of a stove pipe and kaowool

When I get on a making roll it's more addictive than a video game.

I am using some old family tools as well in the same general spot as my ancestors.
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Old 08-16-2013, 23:18   #4
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Originally Posted by OldSchool64 View Post
Now that has got to be the coolest home made knife I've ever seen!

Gonna have to look into doing something like that myself.

I've done plenty of welding, fabricating, metal work, etc.

Can I do that with a torch, hammer and anvil? And then harden in a bucket of vermiculite?
Vermiculite will not help you harden or temper. It is used for annealing a hardened steel to 'recycle" it. Say a car spring or planer blade . you have to draw the temper out and return it to a neutral state to forge properly.

Don't get me started on knife making I'll be here all night. Only thing in the world as interesting as guns to me, but I don't make guns.
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Old 08-16-2013, 23:18   #5
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I'm guessing it was kinda tricky getting a nice even twist in the handle area?
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Old 08-16-2013, 23:19   #6
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Now that's cool. I wish I had access to the proper stuff to make one.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Ohub Campfire mobile app
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Old 08-16-2013, 23:20   #7
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Vermiculite will not help you harden or temper. It is used for annealing a hardened steel to 'recycle" it. Say a car spring or planer blade . you have to draw the temper out and return it to a neutral state to forge properly.

Don't get me started on knife making I'll be here all night. Only thing in the world as interesting as guns to me, but I don't make guns.
Thanks for that info, I still have lots to learn there.
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Old 08-16-2013, 23:30   #8
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It doesn't take that much gear to make a knife. One of the guy I learned from wrote a book called "The $50 knife shop" I urge everyone to give it a try if they are interested. You can use old steel but really some steels are very cheap actually if you know where to shop and you can save so much fuel just because you don't have to anneal it that it's worth it and that doesn't count the time.

If you have any questions feel free to ask or PM me.
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Old 08-16-2013, 23:32   #9
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A good piece of steel to make say a 6" hunting knife will cost less than that book.
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Old 08-16-2013, 23:35   #10
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Just found this, for those with interest...

Quote:
Metalworking 7: Heat Treatment of Steel

Quote:
We are here dealing with the kind of heat treatment normally done in the small workshop for which we need only use the brazing hearth and torch.
Haven't read it all yet, but sure is interesting to me.
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Old 08-16-2013, 23:37   #11
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Amazon.com: Wayne Goddard's $50 Knife Shop, Revised (9780896892958): Wayne Goddard: Books


A good piece of steel to make say a 6" hunting knife will cost less than that book.
Leaf spring metal?
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Old 08-16-2013, 23:46   #12
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Leaf spring metal?
Heck no. Well you can by annealed ready to work 5160 steel, which is what they make the springs out of and it does make goo knives but I was thinking of 1095 steel which is what Ka-Bar and a lot of the outfits like TOPS and BUSSE, ESSE etc use.
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Old 08-16-2013, 23:52   #13
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I just checked my price a 3/16"x 1 1/4 " 72" inch (six foot) bar is $15.95
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Old 08-17-2013, 09:10   #14
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I really didn't expect this much response. Let me explain a little better and try and answer some questions.

First off I did this knife on the cheap. I built a "soup can" forge. In my case it was actually a family size can of Bushes Baked Beans. I spent $17 on materials. You mount a empty can on some blocks of wood with brackets. Then you mount a 1/2"x2" threaded pipe nipple in the back. That's where the Benzomatic torch goes eventually. Then you fill the can with a 50/50 mix of plaster of paris and playground sand. As it dries you create a lightbulb shaped cavity inside for a forging area. Pictures are worth a thousand words.

My setup and build:
http://imgur.com/a/tMo8n

The video I watched to learn how to do this:


Later I found I had a camping attachment that would attack to a 20lb propane bottle and the hose that would hook up to the Benzomatic torch head. I started using that instead of camp bottles.

In progress gallery:
http://imgur.com/a/sV8ZC

Video I watched for inspiration:
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Old 08-17-2013, 09:18   #15
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Nice . Fun wasn't it?
Next thing for you to do is get an old chipped up FORGED ball peen hammer and make a tomahawk.

When I get on a making roll it's more addictive than a video game.

I am using some old family tools as well in the same general spot as my ancestors.
My gun buddies were horrified when I told them I had more fun than going to the range. It is VERY addictive.

I am working on getting all my great great grandfather's tools back from my crackhead cousin. He took them to shoe horses without our knowledge.
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Old 08-17-2013, 09:18   #16
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Originally Posted by countrygun View Post
It doesn't take that much gear to make a knife. One of the guy I learned from wrote a book called "The $50 knife shop" I urge everyone to give it a try if they are interested. You can use old steel but really some steels are very cheap actually if you know where to shop and you can save so much fuel just because you don't have to anneal it that it's worth it and that doesn't count the time.

If you have any questions feel free to ask or PM me.
Railroad spikes are bountiful and fun to use as well.
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Old 08-17-2013, 09:19   #17
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Now that's cool. I wish I had access to the proper stuff to make one.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Ohub Campfire mobile app
See my post. I built everything from scratch except my $20 3lb hammer and the baby forge I'm using. I'm doing this out of my garage in the middle of the suburbs.
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Old 08-17-2013, 09:22   #18
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I'm guessing it was kinda tricky getting a nice even twist in the handle area?
Believe it or not that was the easiest part of the entire build. It was ridiculously simple. I was scared to death I was going to run it, but I watched that video I posted.

Get the pommel end just as white hot as you can. Lock the blade end in a vise. Take a good cresent wrench, lock it just under the pommel, and twist that baby 360 degrees. It makes a perfect spiral in under 10 seconds.
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Old 08-17-2013, 09:25   #19
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That's really cool.
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Old 08-18-2013, 10:04   #20
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Originally Posted by codecowboy View Post
I really didn't expect this much response. Let me explain a little better and try and answer some questions.

First off I did this knife on the cheap. I built a "soup can" forge. In my case it was actually a family size can of Bushes Baked Beans. I spent $17 on materials. You mount a empty can on some blocks of wood with brackets. Then you mount a 1/2"x2" threaded pipe nipple in the back. That's where the Benzomatic torch goes eventually. Then you fill the can with a 50/50 mix of plaster of paris and playground sand. As it dries you create a lightbulb shaped cavity inside for a forging area. Pictures are worth a thousand words.

My setup and build:
http://imgur.com/a/tMo8n

The video I watched to learn how to do this:
How to Make a Soup Can Forge - YouTube


Later I found I had a camping attachment that would attack to a 20lb propane bottle and the hose that would hook up to the Benzomatic torch head. I started using that instead of camp bottles.

In progress gallery:
http://imgur.com/a/sV8ZC

Video I watched for inspiration:
Forging a Railroad Spike Knife - YouTube
Thanks for that additional information
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Old 08-18-2013, 10:25   #21
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Interesting piece.

I've been trying to make knives off and on for a couple years now. One of these days I'll get brave enough to post a few.

Wayne Goddard's book is an excellent place to start. Though it will probably cost you a bit more than $50.00 now than when it was written it is probably still the cheapest way to get into it.

countrygun is right, it is very addicting and fun.
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Old 08-18-2013, 19:36   #22
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Interesting piece.

I've been trying to make knives off and on for a couple years now. One of these days I'll get brave enough to post a few.

Wayne Goddard's book is an excellent place to start. Though it will probably cost you a bit more than $50.00 now than when it was written it is probably still the cheapest way to get into it.

countrygun is right, it is very addicting and fun.
Very addicting. I started knife #2 tonight.
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Old 08-19-2013, 21:27   #23
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oh man,,, you guys are rekindling an old flame. I had to give up my short knife making career 10 years ago,, after several sessions of physical therapy on my shoulders, elbows and hands. Click image for larger version

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the long knife was a file with a bone handle. the short knife was a slice off a forktruck fork
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Old 08-19-2013, 22:06   #24
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The only one I ever made that I have a picture of is this one (I was making before digital cameras ) It was the first knife I made with my first "store bought" forge. The wife wanted the first one from the forge and designed it herself as a "left-handed paring knife". I did it in one day after I annealed the 1" ball bearing it came from.

The Cutting Edge

The Cutting Edge

Not the prettiest I ever did but we had a bet about whether I could forge harden, temper and finish a knife in one day and, whether it would be "presentable" if I did.

I won! ( I think )
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Old 08-20-2013, 01:11   #25
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Railroad spike knife

Thanks for posting and all the info you guys put on here. A long time ago I bought a railroad spiked knife a blacksmith made at the State Fair. He has since past away, but my son got a spike for free from another guy who is black smithing now as he told the guy he wanted to try and make his own.

We tried heating it up with just the torch but the heat just wasn't hot enough. We will try and build the soup can kiln next week and give it a try.
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