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Substitute for expensive "bent knives"

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  • Substitute for expensive "bent knives"

    For those doing larger carvings, and particularly anyone thinking of doing mask or totem pole carvings, I've found a high quality, low cost substitute for those pricey 'bent knives'.
    they take a little work, to adapt, but darn little.

    Check at the local tack shop or at Lehman's Harware in Kidron, Ohio, and pick up either/both right and left hand farrier's shaves. These are used for paring horses hooves prior to shoeing, I believe. They have a horrendous hook on the end that has to be dealt with, but I've found that they can be heated red hot with a common propane torch, then hammered into an acceptable hook over a 1 inch black pipe held in a vice. I've done both right and left had blades with equally good sucess. I don't know what type of steel is used in the darn things (made in Sweeden), but this extreme heating does not seem to affect the temper or hardness of the blade.

    I touch up the inside of the hook with, first, a chainsaw file, and then a round diamond hone. The outside edge is just dressed off with a diamond flat stone. I strop it off on a cloth wheel charged with jewelers rough, and I now have two very nice bent knives, all for 30 bucks. The cheapest I've seen comparable bent knives advertized for is around $42 each.

    The handles are large enough and comfortable for heavy material removal and the different handedness makes it easy to cut either away from you or toward you, no matter which handed you are.

    I've only adapted one radius, but you could just as easily turn them either very sharp or very shallow. It might even pay to keep one just as they come for deep and fine radii.


  • #2
    Re: Substitute for expensive "bent knives"

    Bent Knife: I have to agree that the price for bent knives is absurd. Warren makes a very servicable bent blade for thier handles and it sells for about $5. It comes in right or left hand bend.
    Re: Farriers knife. Actually, you did ruin the temper by heating it red hot. This steel is air hardening and is used to allow the steel to harden without distortion after it is heated and bent. It is probably quite brittle since it has not been tempered so be very careful with it as it could snap off in use. I would suggest you polish it up with sandpaper or a wire wheel, gently heat it with a propane torch (or gas flame from a stove) until it turns a straw color, then let it air cool. This will soften it slightly but make it much tougher.


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