Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Blade Smith Course June 2010


A weeks worth of work for two apprentices and a Master Blade Smith.
From the top: Damascus Kevin Harvey Master Blades Smith
Utility/Hunter by Kevin Harvey Heavin Forge
Biltong Knife by Heavin Forge team
Hunting knife by Anthony Miles Student
Damascus Dirk by Anthony Miles
Hunting knife by Sean Pattrick Student
Damascus Green River Skinner by Sean Pattrick


There is a lot of finishing that is done by hand and eye. Taking out all the scratches left by the grinder using finer grit sandpapers.

The belt grinder takes a lot to master and can quickly ruin all the hours of work up to this stage, just one second too long or the wrong angle! Any excessive heat will result in a blue colour on the blades and the end of the heat treatment. Blue tips are hard to avoid! as there is less steel and it heats up fast. Short strokes and sensitive fingers are the answer.
Two Blades For Finishing.

The blades have been shaped and refined as much as possible on the anvil and are now ready for the grinder and handles.

The pre-formed Damascus blades, just out of the wood ash were it was cooled slowly but still retains some heat hours later! Hard to imagine the finished blades when all you have are grey blobs!
Heating a billet.

The steel is easy to move when heated and gives off a ringing sound when too cool to move under the hammer blows. A number of heats may be needed before the smith is happy with the shape. The more experienced smiths make this look easy and controlled, they also take far less heats to achieve the desired affect.
Pre-Forming the shape.

From the block or billet of steel the basic knife shape is formed. It is then normalised to take the stresses out of the steel created by the forging process, before being ground on the grinder to the final shape.
The steel in the forge!

This is Damascus steel being heated to be able to fold the three pieces of steel onto one another. The mix of the different steel types gives this steel the magical patterns once the blade has been etched. This Damascus has about 184 layers and is in a pattern known as heart beat.

The beginning and the end product!

A block of 1070 high carbon steel which gets welded onto a metal rod to hold it in the forge and be able to handle it at high temperatures. The block is about 10cm long and 3cm wide, the knife at the end depends on how thin you forge the block and if you are able to move the steel into the shape you would like. As a novice this can be a bit hit and miss! Excuse the pun.

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