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  • Types of metal used for making knives

    What makes a good knife blade. I made a few knives from some steel a friend gave me it was slightly brittle but held an exellent edge. He did not know what the steel was it came from a garage sale. I am interested in the type of steel used for making knives low to high quality is it stainless, high carbon or ?
    The only supplier I could find was Warren Cutrely.I can get these blades in Ont. Canada from a carving supplier but I am not sure of the quality.I am sure their are other suppliers for knife blades. I would like to make some more knives and I would like them to be a goob quality.
    How do you sollect a good quality knife?

    Gordo.

  • #2
    Re: Types of metal used for making knives

    I like jigsaw blades, and I am going to try a reciprocal saw blade next time, I think it will be just as good. The jig saw blades have made excellent knives...My neighbor makes his all out of hacksaw blades, but you work and work to get an edge, the jigsaw doesn't seem as hard to get an edge yet it holds one ok.....imho

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    • #3
      Re: Types of metal used for making knives

      Dave, Just regular jigsaw blades???? Hmmm, Got a bunck of used up ones(never throw anything away). I would think hacksaw blades would be to thin. What do you use to get the shape on the jigsaw blades. My grinder is a little to fast or I hold the metal on way to long as it burns the tips blue.
      Safety first, then enjoy carving! Ken Caney, Ks

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      • #4
        Re: Types of metal used for making knives

        I've used hacksaw blades with much success, but only with short blades. They are too thin but make excellent fine detail knives!

        I've also used recipercating saw blades which also work good. I think the best steel I've used in a homemade knife was from a piece of old plow blade. I shaped it entirely with hand files so it wouldn't heat up the steel and lose it's temper. Man, that's ice steel! I've also made a hunting and skinning knife out of it

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        • #5
          Re: Types of metal used for making knives

          I've got somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 or 60 knives (not counting pocket knives). Of the homemade ones my favorites are made from old straight razors. I was given one as a gift and really liked it so made a few myself. It's a bit of work, but well worth it. I don't thing you'll find anything better. You can pick up old straight razors for around $5 or $6 (shipping included) on ebay if you are patient. As to the Warren blades, they are good quality steel and good for shorter knives. Reciprocating saw blades make a decent knife, but flex to much for my taste in anything longer than an inch and a half.

          You can use a bench grinder for the initial shaping if you don't use too much pressure and take your time and quench it frequently (when I start getting close, I dip it every pass) in water. After the bench grinder I move to a belt sander (bench mounted) and continue with the water every pass bit. Then its on to a coarse diamond stone, medium diamond stone, finish off with a pair of arkansas stones, and finally a good stropping.

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          • #6
            Re: Types of metal used for making knives

            both the jigsaw and the reciprocal saw blades I have are thick enough to be rather stiff? The hacksaw blades have some flex to them, not unlike 'Flexcut' brand. I use a bench grinder for the rough shaping, I keep a cup of water there before I even start and touch the wheel and into the water, it takes longer, but I never blue the steel (take out the temper) so is worth the few extra minutes..from there I go to my burke sharpener or a stone or the scary sharp, whatever I am in the mood for, or usually depends on how much of a hurry I am in LOL :

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            • #7
              Re: Types of metal used for making knives

              I make all my knives out of old scissors. Perfect material and you can get two knives from each pair. I have a bunch of knives, but the ones I use the most/everyday are the ones I have made. Simply the best in my opinion.

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              • #8
                Re: Types of metal used for making knives

                The type of steel that makes a 'good blade' depends on the type of blade and its intended use. Carbon steel, spring steel, and heat treatable stainless alloys can all make good blades for certain uses. For carving I prefer carbon steel blades though I do have several pocketknives with stainless blades that work well for carving 'on the go'.

                The carving knives I have made are from Bosch carbon steel reciprocating saw blades. They are stiff enough for making roughing and detail blades and hold an edge EXTREMELY well.
                I ground them to shape with a dremel and coarse sanding drum attachment and sharpened them with stones and strop. I also kept a cup of cold water handy while grinding and dipped often to keep the metal cool.

                I have also built a 'one brick forge' and my next project is forging a set of gouges from carbon steel hacksaw blades. My attempts at forging a carving blade have not been successful yet so I think I'll stick with stock removal (grinding) for those.

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                • #9
                  Re: Types of metal used for making knives

                  how do you fasten the blade in the handle??

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                  • #10
                    Re: Types of metal used for making knives

                    I like d2 tool steel or about any of the 'A' Atool steel's.
                    but with the 'A' type steel you have to really be slow and steady with the grinding as they will air harden really fast. most any steel suply house will have what you need.
                    Old files work well too as do old hand saw blades and old saw mill saw blades.
                    One thing to remember DO NOT GET THE METAL HOT!!!
                    if it gets too hot to hold againse your cheek its too hot and wou will anneal the metal (make it soft) Im at work right now but this afterbnoon I will post some links to some great knife making pages.
                    On the handles I usualy pin and glue(epoxy) them in.
                    on a carving knife I make a slot in the handle for the blade make it a snug fit then drill the pin holes usualy 2(make them a tight fit to the pin). Then I put a good coating of epoxie on the tang of the blade and slide it in place. , wipe the excess glue off and slide the pins in leaving a little sticking out on both sides.then clamp it up and let the epoxie set up for 24 hours. the just snip the pin off as close to the handle as you can and use a punch a little larger than the pin and tap the pin to flare the end and your done.
                    hope this helps some Im not reall good at writing instructions.

                    Tom
                    "Carveone"&&Tom&&&&"If we couldnt laugh we'd all go insane"&&---Jimmy Buffett---

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                    • #11
                      http://wwRe: Types of metal used for making knives

                      Heres a few good links on knife making

                      http://www.scavm.com/gouges.htm

                      http://www.knifenetwork.com/workshop/index.shtml

                      http://www.primitiveways.com/pt-knives-1.html

                      http://www.moorcat.com/apache/makeknife.htm

                      Tom
                      'If we couldnt laugh we'd all go insane'
                      ---Jimmy Buffett---
                      "Carveone"&&Tom&&&&"If we couldnt laugh we'd all go insane"&&---Jimmy Buffett---

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                      • #12
                        Re: Types of metal used for making knives

                        Rick...I tried making a knife out of a pair of old scizzors...they were my mother in laws....and after all was said and done and I had cut everything out and was grinding on it, I found out, the metal had a tool steel plate on the face of the scizzors about 1/32 thick, the rest was some soft metal! Needless to say, haven't tried that again! (I am assuming they were from WWII when tool steel ..all steel..was scarce!)

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                        • #13
                          Re: Types of metal used for making knives

                          Hi, thanks for the information. Always wanted to make a knife. I have to be doing something, and like to try different things. Making a knife sounds like fun. I'm a pack rat also, so have lots of things to make a knife from.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Types of metal used for making knives

                            Here's another link that's pretty good.
                            http://www.knivesby.com/knifemaking.html

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                            • #15
                              Re: Types of metal used for making knives

                              Why not just use blades from Warren Cutlery??

                              They are high carbon steel with excellent heat treat and double temper for toughness.

                              The other suggestions are fine but not the optimal hardness or edge holding that a high carbon steel made specifically for wood carving blades.

                              Regards.
                              Fred Krow

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