Christmas Work Begins

I’m going to try doing something a bit different this year for Christmas presents for the men in the family. Instead of some neat little trinket from Amazon I’m gonna try to make knives, like 12 of them.

To do this I’ll be making two batches, 6 knives at a time. I started the work yesterday evening shortly after I got home and worked steadily for about 2hrs. Starting with a long strip of steel known to have good hardenability qualities I heated it up and hot cut it into workable sections.  Placing all 6 steel bars into the fire at once, I could work one piece and switch immediately to another without pause. I quickly found out that while this allows me to work MUCH faster than if I were just making one knife at a time, this method wears your arm out quick!

On to the pictures.

Latest Blacksmithing Work

Worked on my first couple of blade attempts EVER over the last two weeks a bit. One being a little hand knife for my father in law that I tried to finish while he was visiting (failed to do so) and the other a big “pig sticker” type knife for my buddy’s 35th birthday present.  I used the same steel (scrap yard cuttings from some metal factory) that had shown promise for being decent carbon %, After working it i’d say its at least 1040 or higher. It appears to be very responsive to water quench and comes to a wonderful spring temper after 30 minutes in the oven at 350F.

Big Forge Fired Up!

A very productive weekend.

Finished up welding together the big forge vent hood. Cut the holes for the exhaust ducting installed & sealed the duct piping. Fired it up and made a set of tongs. Mommy and baby Alexis came to watch the final assembly of the tongs – baby was very curious what was going on and didn’t seem phased by the hammer blows. Proud of that girl.

As expected the big forge produced a tremendous amount of heat over a long area and once the duct heated up the draft suction was impressive to say the least. You can literally hear the air being sucked out of the room up the pipe. 15 feet of hot air rising is much more powerful than I thought it would be.

I plan on making 4 more pairs of tongs and a couple more punches before i move on to fun stuff.

Sweet Score at the Scrapyard

200 pounds of 4340 steel in an annealed state (ready for easy cutting) new condition still in the packaging! It’s very rare to find metal precisely labeled at the scrap yard, knowing exactly what metal this is opens up all sorts of options!

Ni 1.82%, Cr 0.50% to 0.80%, Mo 0.25%, C 0.40%  Atlas4340

This can be hardened to 58 HRC with water quench! For an extremely break resistant steel this is a very high hardness level. After a water quench and a 450F heat treating the blade edges should retain a hardness of about 52-55 HRC. The properties of this alloy should allow me to differentially temper blades to the same extent as 1080 high carbon steel would, but without the lesser impact resistance to breaking. I’m thinking about 55 HRC on the edge, 35-40 HRC on the back. This steel is really good stuff. Any blade made with it will be as strong as a pry bar with an edge almost as keen as the steel used on the edges of Japanese swords.

This is a very tough, very abrasion resistant & corrosive resistant steel alloy with enhanced hardenability properties. The 0.40% carbon places it on the very bottom end of the high carbon steels – meaning it can be hardened but normally not to a degree that higher carbon content high carbon steels can(1060-1095) – but the alloys in it will allow it to harden to a much greater degree than standard 1040 carbon steel AND have the extra toughness and abrasion resistance inherent in this alloy. It’s basically super powered 1040 high carbon steel. All for the same price by weight as rusty rebar (30 cents/lbs) LOL! What a great find!!


200lbs of 4340

Check out the properties of 4340 vs 1095…..

Vastly superior hardness, tensile strength and yield strength.

From http://www.makeitfrom.com/compare-materials/?A=Annealed-4340-Ni-Cr-Mo-Steel&B=SAE-AISI-1095-SUP4-1.1274-C100S-G10950-Carbon-Steel

4340vs1095

First attempt at tongs

It was raining, cold, and all my fuel was wet, but i managed to work out the rough shape of some tongs. Theyre likely useless and need to be rebuilt, but it was good practice working with a small hammer with carefull blows.

I think I got it figured out to where i can make a function set now, but first i need to drill a pritchell hole in the anvil and make a punch.

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Big forge build log

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