where to find pre heat treated steel for knife making?

Joined
Dec 7, 2015
Messages
71
So, I am interested in making some knives at level higher than I have before. I've made a few, but they were never heat treated so they didn't hold much of an edge.

What are some items that I can get good steel that is already heat treated?

New lawnmower blades? Circular saw blades? Files? Looking for things I can go to the hardware store and pick up new and make to my liking.

Again. Just looking for steel suggestions. Not looking for a lecture about anything. These aren't for anyone else but me.

Thanks
 
If you're set on using salvaged/re-purposed steel over a known blade steel, your best bet will probably be an quality, american made file. There are plenty of tutorials out there, but the basic idea is just to temper it enough to bring the hardness down, then you can (carefully) grind and bevel to desired shape on a belt grinder.

Now, that being said, and without trying to sound to "lecturey", your time, money, and efforts may be just as well spent getting a piece of 1084 and sending it out for heat treat. It'll probably be cheaper in the long run, and build as good or better of a knife, especially considering you're not gonna have to spend extra money on carbide drill bits and other necessary supplies to work an already hardened steel.

Think of it this way: For what you'd spend on one brand new 12" Nicholson file, you can get 4 feet of 1/8"x1.5" 1084 High Carbon Steel from the New Jersey Steel Baron.
This will yield at least 4x as many blades, and you'll actually be able to cut, drill, and grind it. Heat treat will probably run around $7 to $10 per blade at the most, and you'll spend more than that on carbide drill bits in order to drill though a file (or other pre-hard piece of steel)

Just some food for thought. Quick and convenient isn't always quick and convenient.

Also, if you fill out your profile, there may be a maker in your back yard that would be more than willing to help heat treat some blanks for you.
 
Why torture yourself? Cutting, profiling, drilling, and grinding will all be extremely more difficult with hardened material. You could literally take a simple steel like 1080, heat it with mapp gas torch from the hardware store, and quench it in canola oil. The steel is much cheaper and way easier to work with than saw or mower blades, and you'll have a much better outcome. Just order a stick of steel from admiral for next to nothing, and experiment.
 
The Count's Standard Reply to New Knifemakers V38

Answers to a student are different than to machinist
With members worldwide, you may have a local supplier, hammerin or neighbour.
Join our community;fill out your profile with (Country, State, City), age, education, work and hobbies so we get a sense of who you are.

Basics
Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives-PDF
http://jubilee101.com/subscription/pdf/Tools/Making-Simple-Knives---12pages.pdf

Web Tutorials
Detailed instructions http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=694673

Things I Advise New Makers Against-PDF http://www.mediafire.com/?8og1ix21j9dcz4n

Handle Tutorial - Nick Wheeler-PDF http://www.mediafire.com/?02ra4do6xyzayeq
http://www4.gvsu.edu/triert/cache/articles/nw1/scales1.htm
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/s...Wheeler-s-Steel-*-Stuck-in-the-metal-with-you
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/956343-Damascus-integral-tag-along

Bob Egnath how to http://www.engnath.com/manframe.htm

Books
A list of books and videos http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9435307&postcount=43

BladeForums - E-books or Google books http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=603203

Books I like:
David Boye-Step by Step Knifemaking
Tim McCreight-Custom Knifemaking: 10 Projects from a Master Craftsman
Clear, organized, available inexpensive.


Forging Books:
Lorelei Sims-The Backyard Blacksmith - colour photos - forging - no knifemaking.

Jim Hrisoulas
The Complete Bladesmith: Forging Your Way to Perfection
The Pattern-Welded Blade: Artistry in Iron
The Master Bladesmith: Advanced Studies in Steel

Machine Shop Basics -Books:
Elementary Machine Shop Practice-PDF Http://www.archive.org/download/elementarymachin00palmrich/elementarymachin00palmrich.pdf

The Complete Practical Machinist-1885-PDF http://ia700309.us.archive.org/6/items/completepractic00rosegoog/completepractic00rosegoog.pdf
Right Click and save

The $50 knife Shop-not recommended
Great title, but NOT gospel.
Forging is NOT necessary; file and grind (stock removal)

"Goop Quench" is Bullsh*t
Back when they used whale oil, it was still liquid oil
Use commercial quench oil & match oil speed to steel type;
Grocery store canola oil works for 1084

Junkyard steel requires skill and experience to identify and heat treat
Forget Lawnmower blades and railroad spikes, start with a new known steel
Good heat treat needs accurate temperature control and full quench
Proper steel like 1084FG from Aldo is inexpensive and quench in Canola

Cable damascus is an advanced project has no place in a beginner’s book

The grinders are the best thing about this book, but 2x72” belt grinders plans are now free on the web


Video

Don't be this guy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEOTtslHARQ

Heat Treating Basics Video-downloadable
Right click and save this. Watch it daily for 10 days http://www.archive.org/download/gov.ntis.ava08799vnb1/ava08799vnb1_512kb.mp4

Safety-video
Right click and save this. Watch it daily for 10 days http://www.howtomakeaknife.net/FreeStuff/SafetyVideo.wmv

Many videos are available, some better than others

The best beginner videos I have seen:
“Steve Johnson-Making a Sub-Hilt Fighter”

"Ed Caffrey - Basic Bladesmithing-Full DVD-ISO"

“Custom Knife Sheaths -Chuck Burrows - Wild Rose”
Paul Long's sheath work & videos are recommended, but advanced-with inlays, tooling and machine stitching

Green Pete's Free Video
Make a Mora bushcraft knife, stock removal, hand tools, neo tribal / unplugged heat treat
Use a piece of known 1084 steel, not a file. This as an example of doing it by hand with few tools
"Green Pete" posted it free
Be sure to look at the other titles I mentioned too – search knifemaking torrents

Greenpete Knifemaking Basics-on TPB
http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/499...femaking_Basics_-_Make_a_Mora_Bushcraft_Knife

How to download that video
http://www.utorrent.com/help/guides/beginners-guide

Videos for rent,read the reviews, Some good, some bad, expect to wait months and there have been no new videos in years.
http://smartflix.com/store/category/9/Knifemaking


Knife Design:
Think thin, small, simple and fixed
Forget Damascus, swords, 1/4” thick stock, saw-teeth, guthooks, crazy grinds and folders for your first knife

Look at hundreds of photos
Lloyd Harding drawings, Loveless book & Bob Engnath Patterns
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=603203

Bob Engnath Patterns PDF http://www.mediafire.com/?qgx7yebn77n77qx

http://knifemaking.altervista.org/index_disegni_en.html

Start with a drawing and post it before you work on steel, we love photos and can comment before you start
French curves, graph paper and erasers are vital tools
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_bHFtVNs9tWA/TEj5Quiq1ZI/AAAAAAAAAI0/rn2EoHoXpVc/s1600/The+French+Curve.jpg

http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/1147466-How?p=13120810#post13120810

Then a cardboard cutout template & with handles, pins and such
Use playdough to shape a handle, good handles are not flat

http://versteegblades.com/knife-handle-design/

How to post a photo
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/s...AL-Displaying-your-photographs-on-BladeForums



Draw Filing Demonstration
YouTube video -Draw Filing-for a flat finish http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dec78RQsokw

Nick Wheeler- Hand sanding 101 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4I4x4QLpfnk

Steel
The “welding steel” at Home Depot / Lowes is useless for knives
Buy new known 1/8” annealed blade steel
Forget lawnmower blades ,files, railroad spikes and other unknown junkyard steels
For the work involved, it is very cheap to buy and use known good steel
You will spend more money on sandpaper or soda pop than you will for steel

If you send out for heat treating, you can use
Oil quenched O1, 1095, 1084
Or air quenched A2, CM154, ATS34, CPM154, 440C, Elmax plus many others.

For heat treating yourself with minimal equipment, find Eutectoid steel and quench in Canola oil.
1084FG sold by Aldo Bruno is formulated for Knifemaking, Cheap & made for DIY heat-treat.
http://njsteelbaron.com/
Phone # 862-203-8160
His telephone service is better than his website.

Suppliers List
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=699736

Heat Treating
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9143684&postcount=7

You can send blades out for heat treating $10 or $15 for perfect results

Air Hardening Stainless Steel Only
Buck Pau Bos -Be sure to check the Shipping and Price tabs
http://www.buckknives.com/about-knives/heat-treating/
http://www.texasknife.com/vcom/privacy.php#services

Oil Hardening Carbon Steels and Air Hardening Stainless Steel
http://www.petersheattreat.com/cutlery.html
http://www.knifemaker.ca/ (Canadian)

FAQ's
http://www.hypefreeblades.com/faq.html

1095 is a bad choice for a beginner with limited equipment to HT themselves
1095 is "Hypereutectioid" and needs precise temperature control and proper fast quench oil Like Parks 50 or Houghton K
Kevin Cashen - 1095 - hypereutectoid steel
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/673173-Working-the-three-steel-types

If you are sending one or 2 knives out for heat treatment, use 154-CM or CPM-154 CPM-s35vn Elmax, and ship it out to TKS -Texas Knifemaker Supply
It's the cheapest way to do 1 or 2 due to minimum charges


Quenchants for Oil hardening steel
Forget Goop Quench and Motor oil

Use commercial quench oil & match oil speed to the steel type
Explanation and classification oil speeds
http://knifedogs.com/showthread.php?28197-Hardening-II-Quenching

Grocery store canola oil works well -if you use the right steel like 1084

Brine and water are cheap for "water hardening" steels W1 and 1095, but use fast oils Parks 50 & Houghton Houghto Quench K
If you use water or brine, expect broken blades

Hot steel beats plastic, Don't quench in plastic pail

Glue – Epoxy
Use new slow setting 30 min high strength epoxy to attach handles and seal out moisture
Slow epoxy is stronger and gives you time to work
prep, measure, mix are key in gluing.
Surface Prep is vital, drill tang holes/ grind a hollow, roughen the surfaces with abrasive or blasting is best
Ensure the surface is clean including fingerprints, wear vinyl or nitrile gloves
Use Acetone or Blasting
Don't over-clamp.A “glue starved joint” is weak

West Systems G Flex http://www.westsystem.com/ss/g-flex-epoxy/
Find it locally http://www.westsystem.com/ss/where-to-buy/
Brownell's Acraglas
JB Weld-leaves a grey line


Grinder / Tools

Hand Tools
You can do it by hand with files and abrasive like the Green Pete video.
Use 1084 instead of a file, spheroid annealed steel is butter soft

Stacy - 10 Tools
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/1049666-Ten-Tools?p=11983527#post11983527

Filing jigs
http://www.flemingknives.com/imagesPrime/FileStation/KPicB007.jpg
Http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8486/8152684286_312b9fc8da_b.jpg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9iNDRwwBQQ#t=330

Grinders
A professional three or four wheel 2x72 is worth it
In my opinion, variable speed and a small wheel attachment are essential on a good grinder.
Tracking problems are usually solved with belt tension. It needs to be way tighter than you first think.

Entry Level Grinders
Sears Craftsman 2x42 belt grinder
Low Speed Modification Craftsman 2x42 belt grinder http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qfYT_m2Tw0


Commercial Production 2 x 72” Belt Grinder Reviews
http://www.prometheanknives.com/shop-techniques-3/grinders


DIY 2 x 72” Belt Grinders

KMG Clone Free Plans
There are some things that need to be modified
http://www.knifenetwork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=62944
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_e1p6D-UyycWHd2V0VMTFVJMDQ/edit

NWG No Weld Grinder $25 plans
http://usaknifemaker.com/plans-for-the-no-weld-grinder-sander-nearly-50-pages.html

EERF Grinder (EERF =“Free” backwards)
http://www.wilmontgrinders.com/Pages/EERFGrinder.aspx
http://blindhogg.com/blueprints.html
http://polarbearforge.com/grinder_kit.html

What Belts to buy?
Every maker has a preference, new belts come out all the time, search for recent info
Ceramic, trizact and structured belts are expensive and have long life. Aluminium oxide are cheap and wear quickly
Some belts have rigid backing, J-flex have soft backing and can blend curves.
Blaze and Cubitron are popular


VFD Variable Speed made simple

Step pulleys are not as cheap as you think
Maska steel pulleys, plus shaft, bearings, belt

It all adds up to 1/2 the price of a sealed NEMA 4 VFD like a KB Electronics KBAC-27D

I like direct drive with no belts, a VFD and 3 phase motor for about $200 over the price of the step pulleys with fine instant control.

NEMA 1 VFD’s metallic dust intrusion will smoke it.


Motor
3 phase 220v 1.5 HP motor, TEFC, frame 56 or 56C,
RPM is up to you some use 1700 RPM at double speed.
Make sure it has a foot base for the KMG and NWG, a C flange face mount for Bader, Bee, Wilton and GIB styles.
I get them on ebay, even with $100 shipping to Canada I save $ on used motors

The 1.5 HP combination is the most common
It allows you to plug into any 110vac, 15 amp outlet.
A 2 HP motor requires a 220vac input.


VFD
KBAC-27D
http://www.kbelectronics.com/Variable_Speed_AC_Drives_Inverters/AC_Drives_NEMA_4X.html
http://www.kbelectronics.com/manuals/kbda_manual.pdf
Use the Distributor Locator to find a local source, online sources may be cheaper.

There are cheaper, but the only VFD I found that runs a 1.5 HP motor on a 110v 15 amp input is the KBAC-27D

It is NEMA 4 sealed
Good community and company support, manuals, diagrams, photos and settings.

Travis W reports running 2 HP on a 110v circuit, but I haven’t tried it.

Hookup is simple
http://www.beaumontmetalworks.com/VS-setup.html


Safety Equipment
Protect -Eyes, Ears, Fingers, and Lungs – remove jewellery and use safety gear.

Respirators
Chronic lung disease and cancer really suck the joy out of life.

If you can't breathe, nothing else matters.

Wearing a mask and glasses on the top of your head doesn't Count.

The minimum I use are silicone half masks with P100 Filter
The soft silicone masks fit better
3M 7500
http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/mediaw...Ox_Uev7qe17zHvTSevTSeSSSSSS--&fn=CH7500FP.pdf

and North 7700
http://www.amazon.com/North-Safety-770030L-Silicone-Respirator/dp/B002C08YCW
http://www.amazon.com/North-7580P100-P100-Particulate-Cartridge/dp/B000UH6PSE/ref=pd_bxgy_hi_img_b.

Use VOC & P100 combo cartridge for acetone and glue fumes.
Prefilters can snap over the main filter for longer life.
There are 3 sizes of face get fitted in person

Shave, test the fit every time.

For beards
3M PAPR
Resp-O-Rator
3m Breathe Easy
Trend Airshield Pro
Air Cap II


Search

This searches BF well.
http://www.google.com/cse/home?cx=011197018607028182644:qfobr3dlcra

Get rich making knives ?
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/s...knife-making-worth-it?p=11980504#post11980504

Visit a shop in person
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/s...stions-for-visiting-an-established-knifemaker
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/1166688-How-to-get-a-shop-invite

V38 July 2015 Shop visit Etiquette
Countavatar.jpg
 
I met a guy down in Skagway who made his knives out of big planer blades he got from a local shop. He never heat treated anything, just took it nice and slow during his cutting and stock removal. His knives were excellent.
 
The thing is , for sure you can make them that way too.I did for a year or so way back in years. On the other hand you can buy some great steel that isn't hardened, shape it, and sendit out for heat treating and end up with a knife that has better edge holding and much easier to sharpen. Large planer blades are still available in the market place so you can still use those.
Frank
 
Why torture yourself? Cutting, profiling, drilling, and grinding will all be extremely more difficult with hardened material. You could literally take a simple steel like 1080, heat it with mapp gas torch from the hardware store, and quench it in canola oil. The steel is much cheaper and way easier to work with than saw or mower blades, and you'll have a much better outcome. Just order a stick of steel from admiral for next to nothing, and experiment.

Times 2 what Kevin said!!!!

Jay
 
Coming from someone that was given a pile of farrier rasps to make knives from the above advice is sound... Files and rasps are not easy to work with.
 
Only the tips on the circular saw blades are hardened. Lawn mower blades are relatively soft, low carbon boron steel-tough but that is about it. A good file is your best bet.
 
Power hacksaw blades are another 'old school DIY knife maker source.
How about HSS parting tool steel. those can be had bevels already started !

Seriously, as everybody has already said.
It can be done, but a fools errand to make knives of already hardened steel.

:)

It's not that hard ,except drilling holes :D All knives / some is not finished yet/ in the pictures are made by hand on file jig .Instead of files I use silicon carbide grinding stones .... Steel is HSS and HSS-E .........M2 , M35.......... If you have free time , and nerves as... It can be done :thumbup:

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Only the tips on the circular saw blades are hardened.

This is a common myth. From an engineering standpoint, it would make no sense to use mild steel for the body of a tool that spins at thousands of RPMs, is subject to side and torsion loads, and is expected to stay flat and true.

As an example that supports my claim, see the Vermont saw blade website (for example http://vermontamerican.com/products/industrial-dyanite-series-carbide-tipped-circular-saw-blades/). "Fully hardened steel blanks will not distort under heavy loads, yielding a blade that runs truer and provides more accurate cuts."

I've tested the hardness of several types of circular saw and mower blades - most of the readings were in the 40's RC. So too low to make a good cutting knife.
 
This is a common myth. From an engineering standpoint, it would make no sense to use mild steel for the body of a tool that spins at thousands of RPMs, is subject to side and torsion loads, and is expected to stay flat and true.

As an example that supports my claim, see the Vermont saw blade website (for example http://vermontamerican.com/products/industrial-dyanite-series-carbide-tipped-circular-saw-blades/). "Fully hardened steel blanks will not distort under heavy loads, yielding a blade that runs truer and provides more accurate cuts."

I've tested the hardness of several types of circular saw and mower blades - most of the readings were in the 40's RC. So too low to make a good cutting knife.

It probably depends somewhat on the make and manufacturer of the blade. I know I've seen at least a couple of the more popular woodworking channels on youtube show how to make a marking knife, carving knife, hand plane blade, etc... using circular saw blade steel heated by a torch and quenched in oil. It seems to get hard enough to make a few cuts for youtube, but how well it holds a fine edge, I don't know. I know I've tried to drill out an arbor hole to fit a larger arbor and it dulled the bit pretty quickly, although I may been overheating it and work hardening it, since I didn't have a slow enough drill press for the size of the bit I was using. Other blades I've cut with a band saw to make parting tools for my lathe, and they didn't seem hard at all.

As for hardness vs RPM, you certainly don't what a super soft blade spinning thousands of RPM, but you don't want something that going to explode or fracture because it's too hard either.
 
This is a common myth. From an engineering standpoint, it would make no sense to use mild steel for the body of a tool that spins at thousands of RPMs, is subject to side and torsion loads, and is expected to stay flat and true.

As an example that supports my claim, see the Vermont saw blade website (for example http://vermontamerican.com/products/industrial-dyanite-series-carbide-tipped-circular-saw-blades/). "Fully hardened steel blanks will not distort under heavy loads, yielding a blade that runs truer and provides more accurate cuts."

I've tested the hardness of several types of circular saw and mower blades - most of the readings were in the 40's RC. So too low to make a good cutting knife.

Thanks for the info. I guess I have been spoiled by the carbide tipped blades:) In the future I'll (try to) be more concise.
 
I hadn't thought of inexpensive hacksaw blades. They should make a good paring knife - on par with the old Old Hickory. They would need to be tempered back. Two of the knives would already have a hole for pinning to the handle.
 
Here is another consideration. Get your metal shaped to the outline wanted and send these off for heat treat. You can drill all needed holes before heat treat or do them after with carbide bits or even cement drilling ones. I do all my grinding after heat treat.
Frank
 
I met a guy down in Skagway who made his knives out of big planer blades he got from a local shop. He never heat treated anything, just took it nice and slow during his cutting and stock removal. His knives were excellent.

This^ You can find large planer blades for industrial planers in many of the same sizes as commonly available barstock, also there are a few different steels to choose from, D2 and M2 are the most common, as well as T-1. Yes its a PITA to grind, but the upside of using HSS is that it is much more difficult to ruin the temper.
 
Why torture yourself? Cutting, profiling, drilling, and grinding will all be extremely more difficult with hardened material. You could literally take a simple steel like 1080, heat it with mapp gas torch from the hardware store, and quench it in canola oil. The steel is much cheaper and way easier to work with than saw or mower blades, and you'll have a much better outcome. Just order a stick of steel from admiral for next to nothing, and experiment.

THIS^^^^

The thing is , for sure you can make them that way too.I did for a year or so way back in years. On the other hand you can buy some great steel that isn't hardened, shape it, and sendit out for heat treating and end up with a knife that has better edge holding and much easier to sharpen. Large planer blades are still available in the market place so you can still use those.
Frank

Like Frank, I tortured myself with reusing File, Mower blades, Mystery Steels etc, It was fun at first and then I decided to get serious and use known stainless steels like 440C, Ats-34 etc and sending them to Paul Bos HTing.

Not that there is anything wrong with carbon steels, but I live by the ocean and could literally watch the steels rust as I worked on them.

Have fun & stay safe!
 
How much generally would it cost if I wanted to send just one knife for heat treating?

I want to work with 1095 steel, and have been doing some research. Would need to make a little furnace out of firebrick, drill out a hole for the tip of a propane torch and another hole for a high temp thermometer, put the knife in there, bring it up to 1475 degrees, or until a magnet no longer sticks to it, hold it there for about 10 minutes, then quench the blade in canola oil brought up to around 150 degrees. Then temper it at 500 degrees for 2 hours, and then I have a finished knife.

Am looking into making big chopping blades. What is a good temper temperature for a big blade used for batoning and chopping?

By the way, I have limited equipment. I am planning on cutting out the blade outline with my bench grinder, quenching often. Then using an angle grinder (handheld) to grind the primary bevel. I have tried to grind a bevel with a bench grinder and not being able to actively see what I'm removing is bothersome to me. I'd rather freehand with an angle grinder because I can see where I'm grinding. Then drill a few holes for the handles. Heat treat and temper. Coat the blade in a black powdercoat. Make the handles, affix them, then pass the knife through a sharpener at a 20 degree angle.

Again, only done practice on mild steel bought at fleet farm, is the above process good for making a knife?
 
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