Anybody ever made a knife steel?

firephil

Active Member
I had a customer ask this question and I had never thought about it. Would you just do a rough grind on a rod and heat treat?
 

Boatbuilder

Well-Known Member
I made a few. I just used a rat tail file. Grind all the teeth off and then hand sand so the scratches go length ways to 600 grits. I just used a deer horn for handle. Not fancy but is the only steel I've used in over 15 years.
Jim
 

Drew Riley

Well-Known Member
Are you talking about combining the basic elements (iron, carbon, nickel, etc...) into a crucible and casting a "from scratch" billet?

I believe a hand full of makers have done this, including Rick Furrer among others.

Ultimately, it's not very practical from any kind of a production or cost savings standpoint (unless you have a few million dollars to start up your own mini-mill), especially considering you can get just about any steel you want to a specific dimension in an already cast, rolled, and annealed, ready to work state, for a fraction of what it would cost to get properly set up to do yourself, in even a limited capacity.

Now, if you're talking specifically about making somethign like san mai or damascus, that's a whole other ballgame, and much more attainable/realistic for the average maker.
 

Mike Martinez

Well-Known Member
Are you talking about combining the basic elements (iron, carbon, nickel, etc...) into a crucible and casting a "from scratch" billet?

I believe a hand full of makers have done this, including Rick Furrer among others.

Ultimately, it's not very practical from any kind of a production or cost savings standpoint (unless you have a few million dollars to start up your own mini-mill), especially considering you can get just about any steel you want to a specific dimension in an already cast, rolled, and annealed, ready to work state, for a fraction of what it would cost to get properly set up to do yourself, in even a limited capacity.

Now, if you're talking specifically about making somethign like san mai or damascus, that's a whole other ballgame, and much more attainable/realistic for the average maker.

I think he is talking about making a knife steel such as the ones used by chefs when realigning the edge on a knife. :D
 

rhinoknives

Well-Known Member
What I did to make one that matched a culinary set was I looked for old butcher's steels at yard sales and when I found a stainless one of 9" I bought it and ground the handle off and polished it to 600 grit then refitted it with a handle to match the set I had made. It was too expensive & too much hassle to buy and cut & HT a piece that thick.

It worked great! Its the sectional density of the thin cutting edge against a thick round of steel. the steel can be in the low 50's RC and work fine.
 

rhinoknives

Well-Known Member
Good idea Laurence, I was heading toward heat treating but that would be easier.

The exact RC isn't that important and it's much less difficult & costly to just find a used one and give it a new handle, polish and life. If it a old German or English they still make them to aggessive with the heavy lines or nuralling. I polish them to 600 grit and they work great.
 

Diamond G Knives

Well-Known Member
I have a question.
Ive seen older steels pre 1960 that were smooth as in slick polished smooth, and I have also seen some that were finely grooved running lengthwise.
What is the diffrence?

Thanks, and God Bless
Mike
 

rhinoknives

Well-Known Member
Mike,
My 2 cents on this is the older model with the grooves was kind of like a fine grit file to shave some steel off of older Euro carbon steels to get an edge and these older blades seem to a few RC points softer when the show up for sharpening at my shop. The Germans still refer to a Butcher steel as a Sharpening steel.

The smooth and diamond coated steels which I prefer especially for modern stainless are what I refer to as a Honing steel/Butchers steel. You are simple realigning the edge. The way I explain the actions of a Honing steel to my customers is to say that edges don't go dull as much as they get rolled over and distored with use. You want to realign the edge and you will get about twice the life of on the edge by simple giving the edge 3-5 light to med swipes on the honing steel at least three times a week for a home culinary knife. More often if you are cooking for a living.

Does that help?
 
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