Knife #1

My first knife: a blacksmith's knife of mystery steel.

blacksmith knife blacksmith knife blacksmith knife
Blacksmith's knife, rough. Blacksmith's knife, starting to grind. Blacksmith's knife, grind partly done.

My first attempt at a knife was made from an automotive leaf spring I picked up cheap at a junkyard. I'm not sure what the steel is, so this one's purely for skill building. I chose a self-handled "blacksmith's knife", a little like the pre-Viking "Kvinde Kniv" ("Woman's Knife") of Beth Holmberg's pattern someone showed me in class at Adam's Forge. I like how the handle turned out, but I clearly need more practice with a grinder.

Before starting, I'd made a few drawings of knives I wanted to make. One of the drawings, visible in the second picture, was the inspiration for this knife. I wasn't that interested in following the drawing exactly, knowing my skill probably wasn't up to doing that and also making something I'd want.

To make it, I cut a piece from the leaf spring with a hot chisel, about an inch and a half wide by the length I wanted the completed knife, about 9 or 10 inches. I drew out half the piece long and thin, tapering the end, and rounded it (square, octagon, round), for the handle. I left the handle straight while I shaped the blade portion, first shaping with the tip pointing down but no thinning of the blade. Once I began thinning the blade, the tip bent upwards to the shape in the first picture, almost a complete reversal of the shape it had had before. Once the blade was roughed to shape, I curled the tip of the handle tightly, then curved the "guard" portion, and put in the curves working back towards the blade.

With the handle and blade shaped hot, I used the grinder to shape the blade some more. The Adam's Forge grinder is a very nice KMG, but the belts are a hit-or-miss proposition. Just for fun and experience, I decided to try for a hollow grind. It took me a while before I could even come close to grinding evenly, but I was able to see an improvement as I went along.