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Thread: Knives from old files, first go at forging

  1. #1

    Knives from old files, first go at forging

    Bit off topic, but had a couple of sweaty hours with a blacksmith this evening smacking some hot steel around! Traded a Roe carcass for some lessons. Haven't been able to do any knife work since December! My "Workshop" is currently a hole in the end of the garage!

    Started out with a couple of rusty old files and came up with these:







    They don't look like much at the moment, but you'll see what I'm aiming for when i get them on the grinder.

    I'll update the thread as work progress's.

    Any and all abuse is welcomed as usual!
    Owning a gun or knife and not using it, is akin to not sleeping with your girlfriend to keep her neat and tidy for the next bloke.

  2. #2
    Nice one mate. Got any ideas for handle materials? By the way, got your message about the stockmans belt, much appreciated. Glyn.

  3. #3
    The top one reminds me of a Canadian style of knife but I can't remember the name of it. Glyn.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Glyn 1 View Post
    Nice one mate. Got any ideas for handle materials? By the way, got your message about the stockmans belt, much appreciated. Glyn.
    Thanks mate,

    Not really thought about handles yet, the stick tang one at the bottom will be done as a typical Scandinavian stacked material handle, so antler and wood with p'raps some brass spacers??

    The top one, full tang, i might put some dark timber on, Ebony maybe, with brass plate liners.

    They're both about 11 inches long by the way folks, not exactly sure what I'll do with them when they're finished, they may just end up being a couple of workshop knock abouts!
    Owning a gun or knife and not using it, is akin to not sleeping with your girlfriend to keep her neat and tidy for the next bloke.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Glyn 1 View Post
    The top one reminds me of a Canadian style of knife but I can't remember the name of it. Glyn.

    I know what you mean, think it's called a Canadian Belt knife, something like this:

    Owning a gun or knife and not using it, is akin to not sleeping with your girlfriend to keep her neat and tidy for the next bloke.

  6. #6
    Thats the one, a couple of the lads had those when I worked in the NWT. I picked up a very nice knife the other day, an old Puma, I'll show you and tell you the story when I see you. Glyn.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Glyn 1 View Post
    Thats the one, a couple of the lads had those when I worked in the NWT. I picked up a very nice knife the other day, an old Puma, I'll show you and tell you the story when I see you. Glyn.
    Nice one, looking forward to it already.

    I may grind the full tang with the Canadian theme in mind now
    Owning a gun or knife and not using it, is akin to not sleeping with your girlfriend to keep her neat and tidy for the next bloke.

  8. #8
    Don't know much about it really, but surely a file is made from high carbon steel and would make a very hard but brittle knife?
    I'm always prepared to be educated though and look forward to the next stage with much interest.
    I absolutely love the thought of maybe going to a car boot sale and buying an old file for 50p and then transforming it into a completely unique work of art.
    Please describe the next stages with photos etc..
    Very interesting thread!
    MS

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey Spanker View Post
    Don't know much about it really, but surely a file is made from high carbon steel and would make a very hard but brittle knife?
    I'm always prepared to be educated though and look forward to the next stage with much interest.
    I absolutely love the thought of maybe going to a car boot sale and buying an old file for 50p and then transforming it into a completely unique work of art.
    Please describe the next stages with photos etc..
    Very interesting thread!
    MS
    You're right mate,

    To start with they are too hard and brittle. To make them useable you have to soften or Anneal them, that takes away the hardness. Then you do all the work you need to do, forging, grinding or filing, and then you re do the heat treating. Firstly it's heated and quenched in oil to harden. After that it is tempered by re heating gently to take some of the hardness back out from the oil quench.

    What you're left with is (hopefully) a blade that will take and hold a terrifying edge. Here's one a mate of mine did:




    This one wasn't forged into a knife shape like my two. It was softened, shaped on a grinder and then hardened again. There's a massive amount of folk out there making file knives and they have been for years. So if anybody has any shagged out old files, someone will have a use for them
    Owning a gun or knife and not using it, is akin to not sleeping with your girlfriend to keep her neat and tidy for the next bloke.

  10. #10
    The first knife I made was from an old file. As you say Monkey files are hard and brittle, like digger says the process used will alter the state of the steel. When I did mine I got a crappy old file, heating it in a fire in the garden, next day it was alot easier to work with so ground off the teeth and then made a knife from it. The clever bit is to then get it back to the correct hardness, to soft and its your normal heap of junk knife that wont hold an edge or its so hard you cant sharpen it. My next knife I make with a file will be from a ******* file, the teeth will be left on the knife for show and the etched word ******* too.

    Just edited....as the word missing is ....bast...........ard............................ ..a trade name and a type of file

    As digger says....a terrifying edge....................the one I made I demonstrated to a guy at work, I got a pallet and proceeded to cut it up axe fashion into 6 inch pieces....mate said that will be blunt then..................so I shaved my face and the hairs off both forearms .......kinell was his response
    Last edited by chickenman; 08-06-2012 at 00:41.

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