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Advice to New and Want-to-be Makers

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith, Mar 27, 2019.

  1. David W Babcock

    David W Babcock Black Metal Forge

    Mar 21, 2018
    I’d try to help but I have little experien
    I’d try to help but unfortunately have little experience with 3V. I have used some CPM steel primarily CPM 154. The only advice I can give is on anything less than 1/8” thickness you probably want to heat treat before grinding. I know some makers have success with thin steel and just air cooling as with stainless you get 2-2.5 min depending on the steel to skip the pearlite nose. Unlike carbon steels that need very quick temperature drops. I however due to the high austenite temps (stainless usually needs a 5-15 min soak at 1900-2000 deg, I use a kiln for this) I find even moving it around if thin it might warp.

    I’d suggest a plate quench (2 pieces of milled aluminum 1.5” thick by however wide/long you want. Mine are actually 2”x5”x18” for larger pieces, but I make some big knives!) in two min with that thickness you’ll be fine and it will prevent warpage.

    Then grind and polish, after temper (stainless usually lower 300’s unless doing a chopper so based on your thickness probably in the neighborhood of 300-350 at least twice for an hour but better to do twice at two hours). Watch your blade heat after tempering, when grinding dip in water often if no cooling mist set up.

    ok just pulled up crucibles page...lol this is why it’s important to understand the steel your working with. They are suggesting much much higher temper temps like 1000 deg.

    here’s the link but do a forum search on 3V from the forum, maybe someone here has a good deal of experience that I don’t have!


    If your an ama

    If you’re an amateur do you have the necessary equipment for this steel I should have asked first! When I started out I dropped a pile on some SN35V and it took a few years before I had the equipment myself without having to send it out for heat treatment!

    Some stainless require dry ice sub zero or even liquid nitrogen to help remove retained austenite and get the most of the steel! I didn’t see this on this particular steel in crucibles sheet! You might want to try something easier and a little cheaper like CPM 154 or AEB-L/Nitro V first
  2. coyotes220


    Feb 24, 2020
    Thanks David and Stacy for the help. I often overthink things like this and get way out in the weeds about angles, edge thickness and what not. The small piece of steel costing $30.00 adds to it. I certainly wouldnt have considered doing HT before grinding but I think I might follow that advice. At .100 roughly it is thin stock. I am just a play around knife maker and the only blades I've made so far have been things like long springs from old traps, saw blades and the like. The HT would be left for a pro to do, don't have the tools or know how. Might try and learn more about this JT individual, only HT people i'd considered so far were Peters.
    David W Babcock likes this.
  3. David W Babcock

    David W Babcock Black Metal Forge

    Mar 21, 2018
    go to kevin Cashens website....he has very valuable information posted, and he is a great metallurgist and pro American Bladesmith. He has some YouTube videos as well. I actually took a 2 year night school course to get a metallurgist certificate and it doesn’t scratch the surface lol but does provide an understanding of the itt and ctt temp charts, atomic structure of steel, heat treating and wear resistance but kevin breaks lots of this down nicely for the layman. His info when I started out I found quite invaluable but joining forums like this also helps review various subjects/treatments etc....well.

    kevin’s website is http://www.cashenblades.com/
  4. knifelover 578

    knifelover 578

    Dec 8, 2019
    alright so i am brand new to knife MAKING. i have personally honed and sharpened just about any type of blade.from knives to chisels to axes and even straight razors. i do lots of restorations. i have a few cutouts made for profiling and are to the size specs i want, 1/8 steel with a 4 1/4 inch blade and handle is the same length. i have a pretty good concept of how to profile and do not plan on heat treating just yet. but how long would it take to do my entire profile with a file? i will cut the blank with an angle grinder i will borrow from a neighbor, and then will focus on doing it by hand for my first knife. i own a vice and its a drop point style knife, full tang and a great profile. thanks
    -too long didnt read: how long to do a knife by hand with a file its 4 1/4 inches long and an inch wide from bevel to spine 1/8th steel spine to bevel will be an inch to 1 1/2
  5. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    It should take from an hour to a day, depending on your skill and the files you have. After roughing them in with a bastard, use a finishing or fine cut to clean up the deep scratches and get to the final bevel.

    To make the filing easier cut a 2X4 board about 18" long. Place the blade on the board and put screws through the holes in the tang where the pivets will go. If the blade is a hidden tang, vclamp the blade securely to the board. Draw a line along the edge, flip the blade over and draw a second line along the edge. Cut out the lines so the edge of the blank will go right to the edge of the wood when screwed/clamped. Screw or clamp the 2X4 to a picnic table or workbench and file asay.


    Use good files. A good size is 10-12". Nicholson is a good brand. Magic-cut files are a really good investment for hand filing bevels. A 10" Nicholson Magic-cut file costs about $22 and will take down a bevel in minutes. If getting a mill bastard file, a 12" Nicholson is about $15-20.

    File the edge of the blank smooth andf then sand it with 120 grit paper, then mark the center of the edge with a drill bit about the same size as the blank thickness. (Search "how to scribe the edge with a drill bit"). Darkening the edge with a sharpie before marking is a good idea to make the scribed line marked show better.

    Don't file all of one side then do the other. File a bit on one side, flip the blade, and do some on the other side. Going back and forth will make the bevels more even and allow for adjustments before it is too late.

    When about 75% of the way filed, about .070" to .080"thick at the edge (thickness of a penny), switch to the finer file.

    When the edge is about .050" to .060" thick (thickness of a dime), switch to a hardwood or aluminum block with 120 grit sandpaper wrapped around it. Once the bevels are sanded to smooth with no file marks left, the edge should be about .030" to .040". This is just right for HT.

    Before HT, sand the spine and edges all the way around to remove any deep scratches. Drill all holes needed before HT!!!!
    Ron Raducanu likes this.
  6. weo

    weo KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 21, 2014
    Also, doing all grinding on one side before doing the other can release stresses in the steel and cause a blade to warp (at least with forged blades, not sure about stock removal).
  7. Ron Raducanu

    Ron Raducanu Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 10, 2021
    I wish I had read this last week!

    I just finished filing my first bevel ever. I used a Beveling Jig I made and filed one side a little too much. I will certainly do this next time. Thanks!

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