Lots of questions about blade material! Please forgive me!

#1
Ok here we go, I am gathering information and materials for my first knife. I have afew questions that I would love some input on. I am wanting to build a durable knife mainly used on camping/boating trips so to speak. Somthing about 3.5/4" blade length, that will hold a good edge, used for cutting various style ropes, shapening limbs for hot dogs and marshmallows ( lol hey I like dogs over the fire, and s'mores,who doesn't like a good s'more.) opening various packages, basically a good all around camping tool, not a survival knife mind you but a good tool to keep on my hip!
I have the capabilities to home heat treat ( I know it won't produce professional results but it's for personal use), I.E. toaster oven/home oven.
1. What material would be best for me to start with, I have grinders, hand held, bench and belt.
2. Do the all blanks have to be annealed before shaping begins?
3. Is there a material that doesn't require annealing, that will work for what I am wanting to do, if so what is recommended.
4. I dont plan on making these as a profession, but i may make a couple for my brother and a couple camping buddies, so is there a company that doesnt sell in bulk but small quantities.
I hope these are not stupid questions, but I am a total newb! And hope to get some good input back from you guys.. I can do back yard annealing if necessary I'd just prefer to cut that step out if possible. I thank you guys in advance, I am a hot rod/chopper guy and this is a whole new ball game for me, so I am mechanically inclined and have a nice selection of tools to do the job, if you guys would like to check out some of my work/projects you can by searching me on instagram user name is RYANF100
 

EdCaffreyMS

Forum Owner - Moderator
#2
Hi Ryan!

I have the capabilities to home heat treat ( I know it won't produce professional results but it's for personal use), I.E. toaster oven/home oven.
This is your first consideration. It limits you to those steel types with tempering ranges that your equipment is capable of handling. You're also going to need something that gets you to the austinizing temps of 1450-1600+F. This leaves you with carbon/alloy steels as candidates.

Do the all blanks have to be annealed before shaping begins?
Not necessarily. If you purchase steel that is in "pre-annealed" form, it can be shaped without anything prior such as annealing.

Is there a material that doesn't require annealing, that will work for what I am wanting to do, if so what is recommended.
Yes, look for the words "annealed" or "spherodized annealed" in reference to whatever steel your purchasing (keep in mind that "knife" steel is fairly specialized steel, and you will likely NOT find it locally.

I dont plan on making these as a profession, but i may make a couple for my brother and a couple camping buddies, so is there a company that doesnt sell in bulk but small quantities.
I'm assuming you're talking about purchasing steel barstock.... and if that's so, then yes, you can buy in small quantities. My recommendation would be: http://newjerseysteelbaron.com/

Your biggest decision(s) centers around purchasing a steel type that not only will produce a good blade, but that will also work with the equipment you have. I would venture to say that you're going to want to stick with carbon steels, and steer clear of stainless steels, based on the information you've provided.
 

ARCustomKnives

Well-Known Member
#3
Ed pretty much covered it. I'd get some 1084 from the steel baron and go to town. It won't need annealing, and heat treat is about as basic as you can get. That said, if you wanted to send it out to somebody, almost any competent smith or heat treater could treat it for you, and it probably wouldn't cost much more than $5 or $10 per blade.
 

Andre Grobler

Well-Known Member
#4
Camping and boating i would probably err on the stainless side - but that would require sending it out or asking a maker nicely... i must say - i would just ask them wht steel they like to heat treat and get that...

The heat treat is as important if not more important than the steel for your application
 

Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
#5
The reason some will advise you to use Stainless is that it resists rusting greatly and your knife will likely get wet in outdoor activities. That is good advice if you do not mind finding someone to do your HT. However, I use 1084 or similar steel for most knives including outdoor knives. The only caveat is they require a little more care. You will need to wipe them down to prevent rust. I do not mind a well earned patina so it does not bother me. I still do simple HT with a forge and wife's oven mainly I get the best results with 1080 or 1084. I have recently begun to try and do real world testing on my blades (think ABS not forged in fire). With a simple HT on 1080 my camp knife will chop through a 2x4 then push cut regular typing paper. That should match or exceed anything I would use it for in the real world. All of that being said a HT oven is on my short list of shop items because I feel the irresistible urge to get more and more out of my knives' performance.
 

Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
#6
One last thing I forgot. There is no need to apoligize or wince when you ask questions here this is a very good group of guys they will help not insult you. When you pick your steel and decide to get started take advantage of the search features here. Chances are you will find tons of info on the steel you choose without having to ask.
 

Casey Brown

Well-Known Member
#7
So, I'll follow up on Ed's comments a little bit, because you are exactly where I was at a few years ago. Based upon that, it sounds like you are going to be making stock removal knives. I couldn't tell if you have equipment that will allow you to reach the temperatures that Ed mentioned for heat treating. I would really recommend that you shape your blades pretty close to shape, with about a dimes thickness left in the edge, and send your blades to a professional heat treater at this stage. After they are returned, you can then finish grind, and attach handle material. You can learn the process of making the blade this way, and guarantee that you have a usable knife when you are done. As your skill progresses, you can acquire equipment that will allow you to do your own heat treats if that is what you desire. There are some really good heat treat companies out there, ie Peter's Heat Treat, Paul Bos Heat Treat, and there are others out there as well. If you use a professional heat treater, that expands the possibilities of metal that you can use to make your first set of knives.
 

Gliden07

Well-Known Member
#8
Steels I would use what was suggested 1080, 1084 and add one 01 tool steel. As for heat treating you may consider using a 1 brick forge. It can be built very inexpensively. If you have a good propane torch I would say you could build it for less than $25, if you need the torch add 50 to 75 dollars for a GOOD torch that can also burn Mapp gas so you can increase the temp in the forge if you need to. Also go to YouTube and check out Aarron Goughs heat treating video. It's an excellent video an explains the topic in an easy to understand format. As far as building the 1 Brick forge again YouTube. I still use mine to HT and consistently get 59-62 Rockwell with temper in a Toaster-Oven.
 

scott.livesey

Dealer - Purveyor
#10
BossDog sells steel thru USAKnifemaker site and Alpha Knife Supply is a good source. another steel to consider is Alpha Knife supply 8670 which comes as thin as 1/16", simple heat treat. If you are just thinking of a few knives, USAKnifemakers and several other sites sell blanks that need a handle. some need the edge ground, some just need a handle.
 
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