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Making knives from old files


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#1 Tuolumne85

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:22 PM

I was cleaning out the tack room at work since it been raining all week and found a whole bunch of old farrier rasps, I've been thinking about trying to make my own knife out of the rasps that I found just curious if anyone here has ever tried it and if it's worth the effort.

#2 ShooterJohn

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:24 PM

I used to make knives from older files and rasps. You will need to anneal the rasp first by heating it to a non magnetic heat and then burying it in ash works okay. Leave it there until cool and then you can work the steel by filing or grinding to the shape you want. Then it's a matter of hardening and tempering the blade. There are instructions on the web. You can find youtube videos that will give you a better idea of the work involved.

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#3 Shoot-it

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 05:23 AM

Can't you make them out of used circular saw blades to I found a few in the shop as well.

#4 ShooterJohn

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 07:29 AM

You really need to find old blades as the new stuff only have a harded rim where the teeth are. The same thing goes for files and rasps too. The older Nicholson files are by far the better ones to use. Saw blades that work well are the old two man bucking saw blades and large lumber making blades both circular and band saws from a commercial operation.

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#5 KNOCKED UP

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 07:47 AM

I have made some out of hacksaw blades, The shorter one, I made about 20 years ago. I have used it to cut deer, and pig bones. It is usefull to cut wood, or metal. The longer one, I made about a month ago. It was made to filet large sturgeon.Both will hold a razor sharp edge.Tom

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#6 Tuolumne85

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 08:47 AM

I have been watching videos and reading articles on making knives all night seems like it ought to be fun. I'll prolly start making it on Monday I'll post pictures.

#7 ShooterJohn

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:20 AM

It is fun and can be addicting. Just be careful with the hot metal if you aren't used to working with it. It only takes one mistake to leave a lasting impression of grabbing something red hot. Also use tongs be careful when quenching hot steel in oil as it can really flare up depending on the oil used.

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#8 Bisley

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 01:42 PM

My father used to make them out of old metal stakes, the kind you use for framing concrete. We had lots of them around and he usually liked to make them with a wider blade. Plus they were exceptionally easy to work with before heat treated. This is the one he made for me on a birthday one year. Posted Image

#9 Shoot-it

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 08:03 AM

That is really nice bisley that knife right there took time and skill.

#10 Tuolumne85

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 09:20 AM

I think it's awesome turning junk into treasure

#11 MikeNC

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 12:09 PM

I knew a friend while in the Army who had a combat style knife made from a lawn mower blade. It was hefty and literally as sharp as a razor. It could chop and cut like nothing I had ever saw and was easy to re-hone to a fine edge. It put my Randall to shame, but I did love that knife as well. Very nice work by your dad Bisely :o

#12 Bisley

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 12:56 PM

Thank you all, it definitely is something I will treasure to the grave. He absolutely blew me away when he showed me the metal stake he started with :o . I was so busy on a reloading press at that age when he made knives that I never learned myself. That thud you hear is a big kick from myself in my own butt. But I do remember he always stressed slow speed machines with next to no heat when making anything, especially on the metal. Patience is a virtue, and apparently I have no virtues at times :D . Oh, almost forgot, one thing I did learn over the years with that knife was that since most knives made at home have no finish on them, just a polished steel, you need to look at them regularly and make sure they don't start to tarnish. A simple car polish (or very light compound if too late) will keep them looking like new. Good luck to all of you. I sure wish I had your guys' patience and talents. I'm a rough grade former Iron Worker, not a Finish Carpenter :D

#13 pete

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 06:14 PM

Did you ever get any work in on it? Also do you think an old shovel head would be good steel source? I kinda like the thinner steel and dont have any old files. Don't know exactly what steel is in it though.

#14 ShooterJohn

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 06:42 PM

Do a spark test on the old shovel head. High carbon steel makes a branching spark pattern when held to a grinding wheel. Low carbon steel has a very straight spark pattern. I have some old shovels that are very high carbon steel and look like sparklers when I sharpen them on a grinder. They should work great.

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#15 Tuolumne85

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 06:57 PM

I haven't started on em yet I have been fishing a lot after work and gold panning a little bit as soon as we move the cows next month I'll prolly start on it

#16 docskinner

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:16 PM

Do a spark test on the old shovel head. High carbon steel makes a branching spark pattern when held to a grinding wheel. Low carbon steel has a very straight spark pattern. I have some old shovels that are very high carbon steel and look like sparklers when I sharpen them on a grinder. They should work great.

What outdoorsy thing DON'T you know about? :-D Should start a new version of teh Foxfire books with your wisdom. I am not a bad writer if you need a partner...

#17 ShooterJohn

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 09:18 PM

I've been making knives and have been a blacksmith for decades.

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#18 Tuolumne85

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 10:11 PM

I agree with doc you should write a book your a wealth of knowledge




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