Monday, what on earth am I doing at the Forge on a Monday? Well let me say we were trying to finish up the knife project because I plan to go camping on the weekend, provided it doesn't snow. Also this should give a review of what happens from start to finish, when you take on a project, such as a knife.
To start with I made a drawing of what I wanted to make, as a somewhat of a beginner Blacksmith and that would allow me to gain the required skills and development, in learning how to hammer, strike correctly, and how the steel reacts to the hammer blows, as well as learning about Quenching and Heat Treating the steel to obtain the best results.
Brother Dave with his excellent skill with the zip-cutter, cut out a mild steel 1/8 inch template which we could follow while forging the blade.
Then choose the steel which was 1/2 inch thick by 3 inches wide and about 10 inches long, which was the rear Leaf Spring from a big old dump truck.
We cleaned most of the rust off it, welded a chunk of round bar on one end to use as a handle and put it in the forge. Using mostly the power hammer we drew (drawing something out means you do not loose any steel you just make it longer or wider and more dense by hammering it) it out to about 19 inches long and about 2 1/4 inches wide, tapering it down on one side which would become the blade edge. Also somewhat of the shape of the template, Dave went at it with the Disk-Grinder and it started to take the shape we wanted.
The next step in this process was to see what it would really look like when completed. So I got some Brass and again Dave with the zip-cut made it the shape I wanted, while I cut out a couple of Oak Scales to mount for the temporarily handle.
Now comes the scary part, the Quench and the heat treating of the blade. If we quench too cool it will not take, if we overheat it it becomes too hard, it must be just the right temperature which is between 1450 & 1500 degrees Fahrenheit (also known as critical temperature). This nonmagnetic, and must be quenched in warm oil at about 130 to 140 degrees. We are so lucky because we got it right, on the first try. Next comes the tempering, which makes the blade neither too hard or too soft, but is durable and will take an edge. This is done by placing the blade in a 500 to 550 degree oven for an hour, then shut the oven off and allow everything to cool. When it comes out of the oven it will look like this.
The colouring now has to be cleaned off and the blade returned to normal colour. Again luck was on our side, and the blade turned out perfect, with the help of a little elbow grease and some emery paper. At this point all we have to do is install the Cocobolo Wood handle scales and Brass pins, sand everything smooth and make sure it feels good in the hand and we are done.
Well, almost done, every knife needs a leather sheath to carry it in, and no you can't buy one at any store to fit this knife, so the only thing to do is make one. Something new to learn.
Which is exactly what I did, and there you have it. One completed project. Hand made right from scratch. This story is my way of of saying to anyone, that if you want to do something, anything, then figure out what you want to do, then just go do it and don't stop till you have it completed.
Should you ever wonder what this old Square Dance Caller would do when I retire from calling, I'll tell you I don't know off the top of my head, but I'm sure there is something out there somewhere I might want to turn my hands or mind to.
That's all I have for today, hopefully you will enjoy reading this and have a wonderful summer. Take care of yourself and each other and I'll see you when I see you.