Bigger hammer

New knife

The main reason I built a forge was to make my own wood carving tools. Last week I made my first knife.

These were my raw materials: a rusty, blunt old file G gave me, and the broken and slightly wormy handle of a hammer I found at the tip.
knife1
knife2

I ground the teeth off the file, then forged it to roughly the shape I wanted:
knife3
knife4

Then annealed it to make it easier to work:
knife5

After quite a lot of filing and grinding, it looked like this:
knife6

I fired the forge up again to harden it, then tempered it in the high-tech thermostatically controlled electric furnace (while wibble_puppy heated a tin of beans on the top):
knife7

I cut off a non-wormy piece of the hammer handle, drilled a small deep pilot hole in it, and burnt the tang in (heating just the tang with a blowtorch while the blade was in a tin of water to keep it cool so that it didn't lose its temper). I'm not sure what type of wood the handle is made from - maybe hickory? It's very hard indeed.
knife8

After a few hours of whittling, sanding, oiling, polishing and sharpening, I ended up with a very nice wood carving knife:
knife9

Here it is alongside my other, commercially-made knives for comparison.
knife10
From the top there's my knife, a Mora Erik Frost 106, a Mora 120, a Ray Iles whittling knife, and a Flexcut KN13(?) detail carving knife.

I haven't used it yet other than whittling a point onto a bit of scrap dowel to try it out, but I think it's going to be pretty nice to use. The blade is quite thin (thinner than I originally intended - I had to grind quite a lot off to get it completely flat and smooth) and very sharp and pointy, so I suspect it will be better suited to fine work on green or soft wood than heavy roughing-out and hard stuff. For a first attempt I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.

Comments

*is impressed*
Thank you!
It's absolutely beautiful - great job :)
Thank you!
Fascinating! Really good photos too.

Could you repair a knife with a broken tang? I have an old knife with a lot of sentimental value. It's Sheffield stainless steel and has a serrated edge. the handle is wood.

Richard's tried glueing with metal reinforcements, but that didn't work.

I don't know if it's possible, but I figure that if anyone can do it, you can.

(It was a knife my grandad gave me, and it went to university with me and both my children)
Probably not. The tang (or a new replacement) will need welding onto the blade and I'm not set up to weld thin stainless steel. You would ideally then heat-treat the repaired blade to anneal the locally hardened area around the weld (otherwise it would be prone to fracturing near the joint), and that's also a bit of a specialised thing with stainless.

Your best bet may be to look for a local college that runs an advanced welding course and ask the instructor what they recommend.

If the broken stub of the old tang is buried in the handle, getting it out without ruining the handle might be impossible. I could probably carve a new handle if somebody else put a new tang on the blade.

Badazz knife doggie

YEAH!