I started blacksmithing / bladesmithing about 4 years ago. I couldn’t find anyone to teach me, so I am completely self taught. Reading, YouTube videos, and trial and error were my teachers. Lots and lots of trial and error. I started with some ornamental work with plain mild steel. I tried to utilize a lot of scrap metal to keep the cost down and to keep some things out of the trash. As my knowledge progresses I have learned more and more about metallurgy. Learning the characteristics of different types of metals is super important. Up until April of this year the only real, known steel I used was 1095. It’s a good, standard knife steel.
In April I had the opportunity to compete on the History Channel show Forged in Fire. Which, by the way, will be airing on July 25th. So if you want to see 4 goobers making knives, me being one of them, tune in to the History Channel. It should be interesting.
Anyway back to steel. On the show we used 5160. It’s a harder and more finicky steel than I’m used to. But competing in general was a great experience and I learned a lot from some really great smiths. This week, I ordered some D2 and O1 steels to learn and experiment with. These are both considered “tool steels”. They are very hard and much more difficult to forge and heat treat.
That blade is the one I made here at home with a piece of 5160 to see if I could forge it as well as I did on the show.
I love to learn new things and working these two new steels is interesting. You can see on the label for the D2 it says air hardening. That throws a whole new wrinkle into heat treating. Leaving out a liquid quench!
I decide to make a little knife for my lovely Maria. I’ve been meaning to make one for her to use around the house and the farm.
For the handle I used some balsam fir needles that came from her home state of Maine set in some epoxy resin. For the blade, I used a little of the O1 and that little thing came out super sharp!
This post is getting a little wordy, so I will wrap it up. The kukri blade in the first photo (5160 steel) should have the handle finished by tomorrow evening. Maybe I’ll write a little post with photos of that one.
If you don’t have any plans on July 25th, sit back, relax, and watch some entertaining competition on the History Channel.
All the best,