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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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  #1  
Old 11-24-2012, 09:35 PM
Zaxxon Zaxxon is offline
 
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Crosscut saw knife advice

Hi,

I want to make my first knife out of an old worn-down crosscut saw blade I have. If anyone can give me advice for going about this it would be much appreciated.

I want to make the knife with just hand tools. I've noticed that some people make saw blade knives using their existing temper. I like that simplicity for my first try but it would make it harder to use hand tools I believe. I tried cutting out a knife shape with a regular hand saw blade using a 1/2" cold chisel. It worked although the metal got a little bent here and there. Filing took a very long time. Anyone use a chisel to cut out a crosscut saw blade?

Should I try annealing? What would be a simple way to do it? Is it possible to do it in a wood stove? Tempering seems pretty complicated but maybe I need to start at some point if I'm going to be making knives for a hobby.

I'm just looking for a basic low tech game plan. I want to start with paring knives, looking towards making a chef knife later on.

-Zach
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  #2  
Old 11-24-2012, 11:00 PM
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NJStricker NJStricker is offline
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I don't know if you mean by "crosscut saw" you mean a hand saw, a circular saw blade, etc.

Regardless, it's hard to say what kind of steel it is. Why is it worn down? Was it a cheap steel with carbide tipped teeth? If so, then whatever knife you make from it will likely perform poorly.

If you want to use hand tools to cut out a blank, then try using a hacksaw. I've used a cold chisel in the past, but I first drilled holes around the outside of my pattern, then used the chisel to cut the steel between the holes. I then spent a bit of time filing down the excess. It can be done, but it takes some time. If your metal is bending from the cold chisel, then likely it is already fairly soft so you may not gain much by annealling, other than possible to take it from a spring temper (most hand saw blades have a good bit of flex to them) to a soft state.
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  #3  
Old 11-24-2012, 11:08 PM
Imakethings Imakethings is offline
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Alright, low tech time!

Should I try annealing? What would be a simple way to do it? Is it possible to do it in a wood stove?

To answer your questions in order, yes, in a wood stove or bonfire, and yes.

You want the steel to get up to it's critical temperature and come down s-l-o-w-l-y, essentially this means get it up to a bright yellow heat in the fire and then let it die down (I usually do this in bonfires toss it in, dig it out tomorrow with a magnet) A chisel should work for cutting it out after annealing, but if not consider a hack saw or angle grinder for rough cutting.

I promise nothing on this, try it and see if it works for you.
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  #4  
Old 11-25-2012, 12:52 AM
Zaxxon Zaxxon is offline
 
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NJStricker, it's an old two man saw. The teeth are worn down very short, I believe just from sharpening for many years. I will give the hacksaw a shot.

Imakethings, great I will try to anneal in the wood stove.

Thank you both for the info!
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  #5  
Old 11-25-2012, 01:02 AM
Zaxxon Zaxxon is offline
 
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I came across a post where someone mentioned this:

"A very good friend,who's also the oldest man in the village now,at 96,makes about a hundred or so of these in a year(they sell like hot-cakes).He files a groove with a needle file that follows the desired shape,then just breaks the waste off,working like one does with a glass cutter!He does that to retain the original HT(with it's usually excellent qualities).Then he grinds the edge keeping it all cool."

http://forums.dfoggknives.com/index.php?showtopic=20958

I wonder what kind of needle file can do that, I feel like the ones I have would barely scratch the steel, granted they are cheap files.
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  #6  
Old 11-25-2012, 08:56 AM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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I want to point out that if you anneal the blade to make it easier to cut then you will have to heat treat the finished knife to restore the hardness. To do that, you'll need at least a good torch or a forge. If you are willing to do all that, then put that saw blade aside and buy a piece of 1084. The 1084 will work easily with hand tools and then you'll heat treat it exactly the same way as you would the annealed saw blade.

If you decide not to anneal first then I like the angle grinder method (assuming you don't have a plasma cutter). Except for the plasma cutter, there is no easy way to cut that saw blade without annealing first ...


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  #7  
Old 11-26-2012, 09:50 AM
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C Craft C Craft is offline
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When I first started making I made a few out of this same thing a 2 man saw. Good steel, has good carbon.
The steel has enough carbon to take a good edge and once sharpened initially a few passes on a stone while using will bring it back to a razors edge.

The maker that advised me when I started making knives from the 2 man saws. He told me that the steel probably had about all the potential that it would have if it were properly HTed at the end of the process. So he told me about how to do it without having to anneal the steel and re-HT!

I was advised if I did not over heat the steel I probably wouldn't have to HT. I used a side angle grinder to most of my cutting. Cut a little large and grind to shape, keep it cool and you will not have to reheat treat.
I spot annealed the handle for drilling. In other words take a torch and heat an area about the size of dime red hot and pop it onto a drill press and drill the heck out of it. It ruins a bit but I found that the cheaper masonry bits would usually cut a couple of holes before it tore off the carbide head!

The key to not having to HT is too not overheat the steel. Grind bare handed and when the steel begins to get hot cool it off.

However in the end it makes a good knife. Like I said once sharpened a couple of quick passes brings it right back up too a razors edge while using!

Here is a few that I made from that steel:

1800' style scalper


friction folder


A couple of skinners





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If I capture those three factors in each knife I build, I am assured the knife will become a piece that is used and treasured by its owner!

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Last edited by C Craft; 11-26-2012 at 09:58 AM.
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  #8  
Old 11-30-2012, 11:16 AM
Zaxxon Zaxxon is offline
 
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Ray, thank you for the advice, point taken. I will at some point not to far in the future order some 1084. You're right about the non annealed metal. It took me hours to cut the blank with a hacksaw, and I still have not finished. I will keep working on it just to finish it by hand but not again with hand tools.

I annealed another piece of the saw in the wood stove and boy, now I get it. The hacksaw and files worked wonderfully with it. One thing that happened was that the piece of metal bowed down in the middle because I rested the two ends on logs with fire underneath. I bent it back pretty well, but the blank I ended up with is not perfectly straight. I keep fiddling with it and gently bending here and there it to try and get it in line again. I put another piece of metal in the wood stove last night this time on the floor of the stove on a level bed of ashes, surrounded on the top and sides with wood. I hope it annealed OK with most of the heat coming from the top and sides.

Now the only time I am required to hacksaw the non annealed metal is when I cut off sections of the saw blade to anneal. I can probably live with that, but I would love to figure out the scoring technique of that elder in Alaska. It would be nice to score and break the saw blade to get the sections to anneal. I am going to look for some better needle files. The ones I have were ineffective.

C Craft, thank you for all of the info, and nice looking knives. Although I am going for using all hand tools now, I think at some point I will try to make some non annealed knifes and will use the power tools. Your info will be very helpful. I love seeing what people have done with crosscut saws for knives. I love the idea of using stuff that's just lying around to make nice things.

I also have an old pedal powered grinding stone with a water trough. I got it this summer at a farm sale and tried it for the first time, just briefly, in shaping the non annealed blank and it seemed to work great. I haven't really used the stone since because I don't want to use it inappropriately. Im wondering between the stone and the files, which are better suited for what tasks. Should I be using annealed steel on the stone? Or is it better for shaping hardened steel, or just sharpening? I don't want to somehow gum up the stone if that makes any sense. It already has some streaks of something or other in a few places. Overall it seems like a great tool though, I'm very excited about it.
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  #9  
Old 11-30-2012, 11:30 AM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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Those stone wheels are intended for sharpening hardened steel. If you use it to grind your bevels you'll just wear the stone away quicker and maybe wear off part of it (wear off edges or put grooves in it). In the old days stone wheels were used to grind bevels but those wheels were 4 or 5 FEET in diameter and very heavy - and they wore out over time too. I'd value your wheel as an antique and try to take better care of it ....


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  #10  
Old 12-01-2012, 09:45 AM
Zaxxon Zaxxon is offline
 
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Jim, thanks that is just what I needed to know.
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  #11  
Old 05-04-2016, 05:21 AM
jmccustomknives jmccustomknives is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WorldO View Post
I've noticed that some people make saw blade knives using their existing temper. I like that simplicity for my first try but it would make it harder to use hand tools I believe. I tried cutting out a knife shape with a regular hand saw blade using a 1/2" cold chisel. It worked although the metal got a little bent here and there. Filing took a very long time. Anyone use a chisel to cut out a crosscut saw blade????




0
Generally saw blades will be a tad to hard to cut with a chisel. But the existing temper is way to soft for a useful knife. Look into getting a small side grinder (4 1/2") and some cutting wheels. This tool will cut through those saw blades pretty fast, just wear your eye protection.

Years ago a gentleman brought a "saw blade" knife to me because he couldn't get it to hold an edge. Turned out the guy that made it used it "as is" and even said he'd used the original temper because it was "good enough". That blade was useless. If the maker actually used and tested his knives he would have found that out.
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  #12  
Old 05-04-2016, 05:51 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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Lots of info here most good some bad. Heating to anneal in a wood stove or bonfire is an iffy thing at best. Yellow hot is way to hot especially on thin sawblade steel. Creating more problems with both grain growth and carbon burn out (notice the big scales when removed from the ashes? not a good thing). Your best be there is to wait until the fire is out and you are down to hot coals, slip the steel in under the coals in the ashes and leave over night.
Careful temp controlled annealing is important in thinner material. And as mentioned above, you will have to reheattreat the steel.

If you can cut the steel with a cold chisel, it is most likely too soft to make a serious quality blade. You need to look into reheattreating the steel for good performance.

A lot of the old two man crosscuts (we called them "misery whips" or "gator backs" growing up) were actually only partially hardened - the cutting edge/teeth. Pretty much an edge-quench kind of thing, so the back is usually a good bit softer. Can make a big diff when cutting out a blade you don't intend to heattreat.

Good thing is most were made out of good hi-carb steel and can be made into decent knives with proper heattreating. Lot of nice dimension (thickness) steel to work with that is a shame to waste. While I agree wholeheartedly with Ray on starting with known steel such as 1084, I am not against recycled steel use. Do it all the time, just a lot more to it than meets the eye. Heck of a bigger learning curve and a whole bunch of testing - retesting - and testing again.

Cheap HB sidegrinder with metal cut-off disc would be the quickest and easiest method to cut out blade blanks. It can also be used to profile and set initial bevels with practice. Fast and dirty but very efficient. Wear safety glasses and gloves, do it outside.

Lot of you guys are missing the boat by not filling out your profile. You might be living just down the road from some of us and can get some "hands-on" help with your learning curve. Worth the extra effort.


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