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Posts Tagged ‘handforged’

Kitchen knives haven’t ever been my main focus, I’ve made a few here and there but it really wasn’t an area that I had dialed in. This year I’ve been trying to change that. Whenever I have time that isn’t taken up with commissions I have started working on kitchen cutlery.

It’s cool to see just how thin you can get a blade while still maintaining it’s edge. Super thin, hard knives are an excellent test for your heat treating skills. There is always room for improvement, but I get excited when I make a knife that is stupid thin and it holds it’s edge well.

Here is a chef’s knife that I made for myself. Finally after being a bladesmith for 9 years I made the conscious decision to make a full sized chef’s knife for home. This has a 1095 blade with a Claro Walnut handle. The blade has a sturdy spine, but tapers down to a super thin edge.

 

The next two are a paring knife and a petty/home chef’s knife. They both have 1095 blades and Masur Birch handles. The paring knife has a 4″ blade and the petty has a 6″ blade. Both are super thin and light. These two are available for sale. Email me Nrunals@gmail.com if you are interested.

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It’s been a little over a year since I’ve updated this site. I have not been idle though. It’s easy to let social media and other online platforms slip away. I won’t be able to update you on all the work I’ve done this past year, but here are some of the highlights.

I’ve made quite a few friction folders, lots of different styles. I enjoy making folders, it’s satisfying to get the action just right. It takes a little experience to know what works and what doesn’t with these little guys, and if feels like I’m getting the hang of it.

antlerfolder2 boakfolder2 copperfolder5pwfriction-2

 

I’ve also made quite a few of my standard length sheath knives, here are some of my favorites.

bemlam2 gilbertsonseax2 pwblackoak robert2

There are lots of other types of knives and tools I’ve made since the last post, but I’ll leave you with one last style, one of my personal favorites. The seax. Here are two very different examples. One pattern welded, and one with a mono-steel blade with an auto-hamon.

pwlambertseax4 pwlambertseax7 oakseax oakseax3

Wait, here is one more! This seax is available for purchase! Curly maple, birch bark and copper handle with a 6 bar pattern welded blade. Email me Nrunals@gmail.com for more info.

 

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Several seasons ago I was asked by a customer to make an everyday knife for him. He’d be traveling all over the world, and needed something useful and reliable.  On his latest visit home he told me that, without realizing it he dropped his knife at the edge of a camp fire over night. When he found it in the morning the handle was burned, but other than that the knife was in fine shape. However, since the handle was smaller it didn’t really fit in the sheath anymore.  I made a new sheath for it, and sharpened it up. He wanted to keep the burned handle, and I’m glad he did.

The wood used on this knife was Osage Orange, I chose it because it’s natural oils help it remain stable in changing climates. I never would have guessed that it would hold up so well to being in a campfire!

Notice how the middle pin acted as a heat sink, the area right around it isn’t burned.

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This end, with the exposed tang can be used as a bottle opener now!

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Here are the new and old sheaths next to each other.

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Here is a small little knife I made for a friend. It is a simple design that isn’t based off of anything other than my own thoughts. It’s intended to be a useful knife that is also nice to look at.

The blade is wrought iron/1084. The handle is beechwood, antler, and brass. The sheath is vegetable tanned cow leather.

Dimensions are:

Blade: 70mm
Handle: 95mm
thickness: 4mm

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I generally use new materials on all my knives, especially for the blades.  With a lot of used materials there is no telling what it’s really made of (metallurgically speaking) so it can be difficult to get the best heat treat out of the steel. When I sell a knife I like to have peace of mind, and know how it will preform over long term use.  There are some things that I love to repurpose for blades though, and good quality files are among my favorites.

This blade is made from an old Nicholson file that was dulled beyond use for much of anything, however it makes a wonderful knife! The handle is a black walnut cutoff from a local wood worker that I know  Chris Otto. The blade is 4″, and is very handy for all sorts of different tasks. This knife is for sale at my etsy store.

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This is a knife that I actually made for myself. I tried to make it look well used by a Viking commoner. I spent a long time trying to achieve the proper patina on the blade and handle, I used things like lemons, vinegar, onions, soot, coal dust, and raw linseed oil to get the desired look.  The blade is 1084 high carbon steel, the handle is maple with a brass bolster and an inset brass rivet block. The sheath is veg tanned leather “stained” with soot and sealed with beeswax.  The metal on the sheath is brass and copper.

Blade length: 4 1/2″
Handle length: 4″
Blade thickness 3/16″

 

Like I said this is my personal knife and is not for sale, but I can certainly make one just like it for you.

 

 

 

 

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I love making and using axes, however sometimes it’s a little hard for one person without the use of a power hammer or press, so I don’t end up making as many as I’d like. The method I’m about to show you is really great for a one man shop. It’s nice because unlike the standard “wrap around” eye this axe still has a poll (the back part of the axe) which balances everything, both physically and aesthetically.

This is a very small hatchet, the whole thing weighs only 1 pound making is capable of the most precise work.

The materials are wrought iron from a 100+ year old wagon tire, and brand new 1084 high carbon steel.

The first thing is to mark everything out. You want to decide on the length of your pole and measure out from the center of the bar the length of the pole in both directions. In this case I want a 3/4″ pole so I found the center, center punched it, measured out 3/4″ on both sides and marked that.

You also need to decide how large you want your eye. This is probably dependent on the size of your drift. There are formulas for determining this, but what i do is just measure the diameter of the drift and divide by two. From your last markings measure out the however far the diameter of the drift was divided by two, do this on both sides.

It’s important to leave enough material for the drift to just sort of ease open the eye. You don’t want to stretch the material (especially with wrought iron, but we’ll get to that later) because it’s already pretty thin, and your hole will not be as nice and consistent.

Next step is to draw out the cheeks of the axe. This will be the inside of the eye. Between the first and second set of markings from both sides is where your eye will be, drawing down the cheeks in this manner is much easier than trying to draw them down on the drift. Having pronounced cheeks on an axe really help when it comes to fitting a handle, it allows for much more wood to metal contact.

Use a ball pien, or a rounding hammer for this.  I guess you could use a small cross pien, but the ball just seems like a good way to do it.  If you’re working wrought like I am here be sure you’re only hitting the iron when it’s very hot otherwise it will split on you. This happened to me on the cheek, but being wrought it’s extremely easy to weld back together. Just heat, flux, and tap back together.

The next step is to flip the bar over, opposite the side you just forged, and cut half way through in the dead center of the bar. This will be the outside of the axe.

Fold the bar in half. Be sure the wrought is real hot when you do this otherwise it will snap in two, which wouldn’t be a problem really, this method just makes welding easier.

As you can see, the cheeks aren’t exactly the same. This isn’t a problem, as I’ll be profiling with a file or grinder later. Just a little extra work to reward the carelessness.

The next step is the welding, weld the pole together, then insert your high carbon for the cutting edge and weld that in place.

There really is not any magic to it just heat, bush, flux, heat some more, and weld. When I first started blacksmithing I was so intimidated by welding that I pretty much never tried it. One day I was frustrated that I couldn’t weld, so I went out to the shop and welded up a bunch of steel, since then I’ve had no problems.  I really think that the biggest obstacle that a young smith has is themselves.

Not to mention wrought iron is about the easiest thing to weld on the planet.

After it’s all welded up it’s time to drift the hole. No secret to this either, just drive in the drift almost all the way on one side, flip it around and do the same on the other side. This creates an hourglass shape which allows for a very good fit with your handle. If you’re making a tomahawk, or a different sort of friction fitted tool, only drift from one side.

Next start forging, use dies available (hammer faces, anvil parts, etc.) to move the metal in the direction you’d like.  Always work at a very high heat,  a little lower than welding temperature.

As you can see here the blade end of the wrought started to split again, no big deal. It’s easy to weld back, and in this case I’ll be trimming the edge a little bit anyway.

The axe is all forged out now, time for profiling, and stamping my mark.

Even with the heavy forging done to the high carbon steel, the grain will still be too big because of the multiple welding heats. The cure for this is to heat it up to critical (which is non magnetic for 1084 being that it is eutectic) and let it slowly cool. Depending on the rate of cooling it is either normalization, or annealing. I usually triple normalize my work prior to hardening.  Again this reduces the grain size making a more durable tool that obtains and keeps a better edge.

After the normalization cycles the blade is heated again to non magnetic, and quenched in warm oil.  Then it is tempered 3 times with a torch. An oven works well, even using the fire to temper is fine. The key is doing it multiple times.

Here is the head all sharpened up and ready for a handle.

For the handle I choose some nice straight grained shagbark hickory from my property.

A good axe needs a sheath

This is a very nice mini hatchet. It’s great for fine detailing work. Being only a pound it would be a great tool to bring hiking.

If you’re interested it can be purchased here.

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