Monday, August 30, 2010

The Chronicles of One Man's Journey to Create a Damascus Viking Sword

This is one of my favourite sword making topics. The man creates billets of layered damascus, forges and twists them into rods, to create his sword.

Read about the whole thread HERE!
It's a really exciting journey. Be sure to read the whole topic- the smith posts all the way to end! He even links to some videos of his process of sword making.

A couple things I'd like to mention:
  1. I am a knife maker. I am not a blacksmith. I use a forge, but I do not hammer steel into shape. That's something I'll eventually do, but at this time I don't even have an anvil to do this on. What I do is buy the steel in 18" long segments, and I grind away stock using a belt grinder. I may heat part of the steel and hammer it a bit to give it a curve, if it's needed, but this is the extend of my "smithing."
  2. I am checking up on all my followers, at least every other day! I may not always leave a comment, but I assure you I am here, and I am paying attention! Some of you have really interesting things to tell the world, and I am all ears.
  3. If you want to know more about knife making, feel free to sign up for that forums I posted. They're all very friendly people, and more than happy to help out beginners! And you can always email me at, too. This is the kind of hobby that benefits from as many practitioners as possible, so have at it!
Edit: >A couple things I'd liek to mention
        >Three things
        >Your faces

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Knife making is for the patient.

It's not a quick process. I can't churn out a knife in a day, or two, or three. It takes time.
Right now I've got a blade coated with some refractory cement, seen here:

I'd love to toss this in the forge and quench it right now, but doing so would not be to my advantage. There's likely plenty of moisture still in that cement, and that means steam. Steam creates bubbles, pulling the cement away from the steel.
I'll need to wait at least another day for this to be ready to be fired and quenched. How sad. ):

In the mean time, I'll probably link to posts and topics on other forums, where more accomplished knife makers show off their talents and works. I find things like that are great for motivation.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hi there visitors!

Don't be shy! Feel free to leave a comment here, and I'll do my best to get back at you. It's always nice to hear from people. :3

First Knife

A few days ago, I finished tempering my first blade after my quench (A video of the quench can be downloaded here.) Unfortunately, there are some very deep scratches in the steel from being careless with a file.
Some of the refractory cement was being very stubborn in coming off the steel, and the file was all I had to do it. Unfortunately, it bit too deeply since it's still a fairly fresh file. It's not a big deal, though. This knife was something of a throw-away.

After the tempering, I went at it with 80 grit sandpaper for a while. As you can see, the bevel on the edge isn't particularly good. This was something I was struggling with during the initial grind. I have no real intention of fixing now, either.

Here I've been using the same piece of 80 grit sandpaper for too long. The result is that it's become something of a higher grit, resulting in more of a polishing action than scratch and scale removal. It still looks like a regular piece of steel, at this point.

I bathed the steel in a mixutre of vinegar, lemon juice, and salt that I'd microwaved for approximately two minutes. This etched the steel, and let the pattern from the refractory cement appear. After the bath, I gave it a quick rubdown with a used piece of 80 grit. The result is evident, but not particularly striking.


I returned it to the bath for about 15 minutes, this time. Once I pulled it, I gave it a good rub with 1,200 grit sandpaper. Now, usually the etch comes last, after moving through 80, 120, 220, 400, 600, 800, and then 1,000 grit sandpaper. However I'm a lazy ass and this knife is more of an experiment.

Anyway, the etch is quite visible now. In the right light and angle, it's a very striking image. It's spackled, not at all what I'd originally imagined. However, I'm fairly confident I know why this happened, and I should be able to counteract this next time.

Now, there's a reason the pattern on the blade looks speckled. I didn't wait nearly long enough for the refractory cement to dry out. This meant there was still moisture in it, and during the firing of the blade, that moisture turned into steam and bubbled up. This pulled the cement away from the steel, creating the look seen here.

My forge itself.

It's faily plain. About six days ago I got the materials I needed to make a forge for my hobby knife making (a body, refractory cement, and some ceramic insulating foam.) Tonight I fired it up in earnest for the first time, and tried to treat one of my knife blanks I've got (I've got one more I can fire. I ground them from O-1 tool steel using a belt grinder long before I even had a forge to finish them with.)

It's uh... made from the corner piece of some ventilation duct, and ceramic fiber insulation coated with some refractory cement.

My new home!

Here's to hoping I make good use of this. I probably won't.