Sunday, June 23, 2013

List of Knife Making / Bladesmithing sources (Part 3 Youtube)

Youtube Videos

There are quite a few Youtube videos showing the techniques you will need in order to make a knife this is where I will post the ones I use for reference and inspiration.

Stock Removal Videos

Nice video showing what you can do with some files and time. He also has a pretty cool filing jig for making bevels. Here's a link to yet another knife making forum with some more info about the knife in the video.

Another video showing what you can do with minimal tools. I do have to cation everyone that it is extremely dangerous to remove the guard from an angle grinder like he did in the beginning of the video. Other then that the video is really good.

Making a scandinavian knife

How to make a survival knife by hand

Forging Videos

Forging a knife

Knifemaking - a knife from old bearing

Simple Discussion about Making Medieval Steel

Catalan Forge located in Andorra and called “Farga Rosell”
Image also posted by miquel on the forums. 

Making steel during the medieval period was a bit of a gamble. On one end you have your basic iron on the other you have cast iron. In between these two you have steel. The only difference between steel, iron, and cast iron is the carbon content. Too much carbon and you end up with a very brittle material known as cast iron. Too little carbon and you end up with iron also known as wrought iron. Like Goldilocks, you want the iron with just the right amount of carbon (around 1%) that way you would end up with steel. The problem is that there is no "real" control in the medieval smelting furnace. You put in a high carbon fuel (charcoal, coal, etc) and some iron ore and then you heat it up and hope for the best. This process is still used by hobbyist today and it is definitely difficult to get truly repeatable results. With time and experimentation you would be able to better predict the outcome, but you still might end up with a lot of material that was  unsuitable for your intended purposes. Even if you did end up with steel after the smelt you would still need to process the bloom into a usable piece of steel. This process was typically done through heating the bloom until a red heat and gently compressing the bloom down (either with hammers or with a press). I do mean gently compressing it, if you try to over compress it the bloom will crumble into many pieces leaving you with a whole bunch of small pieces. The purpose of compressing the bloom is to squeeze out the impurities and work the smaller pieces of steel together into a forgeable piece of steel. There are quite of few sources out there on the internet and also a couple of interesting books on the smelting process. Hopefully this may have peaked your interest and you'll look further into it.

Two images borrowed (without permission) from miquel @

miquel has been testing out the catalan style of forge with some very good results. Jesus Hernandez also did some work with this style of furnace. Some of his information can be found here

Monday, June 17, 2013

List of Knife Making / Bladesmithing sources (Part 2 Books)


There are quite a few books that an aspiring knife maker / bladesmith should look into reading or getting.

The first one I suggest to anyone interested and also the first book that I purchased when I decided I wanted to start making knives.

Wayne Goddard's $50 Knife Shop, Revised 

by Wayne Goddard 

This book comes highly recommended because he takes the approach that you don't need thousands of dollars worth of equipment to make a knife. 

The rest of the list is in no particular order.

Step-by-Step Knifemaking: You Can Do It! 

by David Boye 

This book is another one that takes you through the steps of making a knife.

The Wonder of Knifemaking 

by Wayne Goddard 

Another one of Wayne Goddard's books although if you have the $50 knife shop I would probably just pick this one up from the library some of the information is the same in both books but this also has some pretty good tips and tricks that are only in this book. 

The next three are a little bit more advanced but are packed full of information. Each one is written by Jim Hrisoulas who is an active part of the blade making world and actually contributes to a few of the forums on my list of forums. Right now he is actually working on book #4 which i am quite excited about. 

The Complete Bladesmith: Forging Your Way To Perfection

By Jim Hrisoulas

This is the first book that was written and is geared more towards the beginner compared to the other books he's written.

The Master Bladesmith: Advanced Studies In Steel 

By Jim Hrisoulas

This is the second book he released and it is definitely more advanced then the first but I was still able to follow along with the ideas presented. 

by Jim Hrisoulas

This book gets into pattern welding and while being way above my abilities I was still able to follow along with everything he was talking about.
He also has a dvd about Forging Damascus: How to Create Pattern-Welded Blades (DVD) The DVD seems interesting but is a little out of my price range. 

Although there are quite a few more books out there this list will get you started. All of the links are to my amazon affiliate store so it is completely safe to purchase them there.  

List of Knife Making / Bladesmithing sources (Part 1 Forums)


Here's a list of forums I lurk at and / or contribute to in no particular order.     < Not a lot of info there yet but I am trying to fill it with good information  and build a good community of like minded individuals.

There's probably a lot of other ones that I'm missing so let me know in the comments if you frequent one I should check out.

Forums are a great source of up to date information and theory about everything you would like to know about knife making. Almost anything you would want to know is on the forums or can be answered by one of the many contributors. If you decide to go hang out at any of the forums make sure to read the stickies before asking any questions a lot of times your question may have already been answered.

There are two main types of knife makers stock removal and forged. There are no major differences in quality between a forged blade and one made through stock removal as long as both are made from good quality steel with a proper heat treatment (there have been many heated debates about this over the years). My interest is more in forged knives but there are many exceptional knife makers using the stock removal method.

Very Basic Definitions

Stock removal is taking a piece of "stock" (steel bar) and removing everything that is not the knife you want, through grinding, filing, sanding, etc.

Forging is taking the stock heating it to a red heat and shaping it with a hammer into the shape that you want. Once forged to shape you will still go through a stock removal stage fine tuning the shape and putting the edge on the blade.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Getting Closer

So I put in an order with Aldo Bruno the New Jersey Steel Baron ( for a few bars of 1084 high carbon steel. Aldo is one of the few people supplying steel to hobby knifemakers. In fact NJ Steel Baron is the only place selling 1084 in quantities I can even afford. I decided I would get enough steel (4 bars of 1" x .250" x 48") so I could play around making a few different blades out of it and see how I do. I always wanted to make knives, swords & axes and I've been gearing up for it slowly. I have 2 "anvils" one real anvil (100lb Vulcan, London pattern) and one is a 50lb round of unknown steel. The Vulcan is a little rough but the face is still usable but the edges are mostly all rounded over. Other then that it's still a decent anvil and I got it for $75 off of craigslist so no complaints from me. As I  mentioned before I got/bought a majestic forge for Christmas and although it's not the best design for knife making it should work just fine until I decide I need bigger one or know better of what I want. I have quite a few hammers from harbor freight that I have modified. One of them is a 2lb engineers hammer I modified to have a straight peen and slightly rounded face. I used that one the most while working on my tongs and it seems to swing fine with no major issues. I also bought a set of ball-pein hammers from HF before they stopped carrying the wood handled ball-pein sets. So I got lucky with that. The last thing I really need is a metal quench tank with lid (garbage can anyone??) and quenchant (water, oil, cooking oil, or maybe some parks 50). Oh yeah and I need to refill my propane tanks still......  I should just get a 100lb tank so I stop running out. Maybe not as close as I was thinking but I'm starting to get impatient.

As an aside

I've also been thinking about modifying a HF drilling hammer
Into a hammer similar to a Hofi blacksmiths hammer

From what I have been reading about hammers the Hofi hammers are very well respected in their design and function. But right now I do not have the money to be spending on trying to get one. So that's why I'm thinking about trying to mimic the design with a drilling hammer. Maybe this will curb some of my impatients. 

Friday, June 14, 2013


This video is really long (~59 minutes) it's a reality TV show from Britain  about 3 people who try to learn how to be a blacksmith in a very short period of time. Most of the things they work on are basic blacksmithing projects (nails, scroll work, leaves, forge welding, etc.) . Later on in the video they smelt some iron which is quite interesting to watch. After smelting they then help refine the bloom into a workable piece of iron. Overall its an enjoyable video.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Jim Austin's Bearded Viking Axe.

This is a really cool video about creating a bearded axe in the forge. He covers most of the steps you would take to forge one out. I'm hopping one day I will be good enough to be able to forge an axe head.