Monday, 16 December 2013

Field Cutlery, part 2, or 3 maybe

Having made and shaped the blade and tang of one knife i thought i would try and make a few more, as it would cost me the same in electricity to temper three as it would one.

So i made three to the same set up as before and lit up the wood burner in the van
Wood burner heating up.
with the door shut and the draw opened full i would produce the highest heat for making the steel go red to orange hot.

With the door shut there is a good draw making it hotter.

to get yellow hot  i would need to use coke or a more solid, hotter burning wood than beech, but with the door shut and the baffles open i could at least case harden the metal.

This was actually orange hot though it looks red here.
There are plenty of plans on youtube to make a forge from wheel hubs and i have already started sourcing materials, this is a pretty slow process as i tend to have a lot of commitments with family and work.

Oil waiting at my feet.
At the back of the van i had a small bucket of the mystery oil waiting to quench and harden the red/orange hot knives,

In goes one of the heated knives.
this luckily was one arm movement from fire to oil so the metal lost no heat or colour. There was no flame from the oil but a lot of smoke, so maybe it was not hot enough or hopefully it's hydrolic oil.

There was a lot more smoke than this at first, i had to shut the wood burner door before i took the picture.
I had shaped three blades with full tangs, one with 3 mm thick steel and two with 5 mm steel and all came out nicely oil blacked.

Simple test was to scratch the hardened metal with the already hardened steel of the chisel, there were no scratch marks on the blades but a little on the tangs. Success.

Once they had cooled i used some wet and dry to remove the oil black from the blades, then went into the kitchen and turned the oven on to 200 degrees celcius. 

Yes, it's a picture of the oven.
It just needed turning up from 100 degrees as i had been making Fimo dread beads, people like them and i enjoy making them once i get my lazy ass around to it.

Owl and badger dread beads.
With the three knives on a baking tray i put them in the hottest part of the oven and left them for one and a half hours, this tempers the hardened steel and gives it some springiness.

In they go.
When they came out the steel had turn to a yellowy colour, this if i remembered correctly means they had tempered correctly.

Not the best background to show the yellow tint to the steel.
Some people recommend doing this proceedure again, but for now i was happy enough with the results. 

Once they had cooled they were transfered to the shed where i cleaned them up with sand paper and wet and dry, this part is one of the more time consuming aspects of making knives. As a test i took the smaller two and a half inch blade and gave it an edge, i the tested it on hard wood, leather and whatever else came to hand. I was happily relieved to see that the blade kept it's edge after various tests, and i sat back and admired my work for a while.

Once i had stopped being a smug git i started too polish up the blades by working down through different grades of abrasive papers and clothes, i left the tangs clean and sanded waiting for the scales to be attached. As i write this up i am trying out different ideas and materials for the scales, so hopefully in the new year i will be posting a blog about it.

It's been fun so far.


Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe    

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