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Old 07-29-2014, 10:03 PM   #1
SamHarper
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Default I made a two brick forge

I made a two brick forge today because I wanted to heat treat one of my knives and didn't want to light my coal forge just for that, especially because it's so hot. It worked beautifully. In a very short amount of time, my knife had an even colour all over the blade, and it hardened perfectly with no warping. I'm tempering in the toaster over right now.

Unfortunately, it's not big enough for my big Bowie knife. I don't know how I'm going to heat treat this knife. I hate to send it off to be heat treated because I'd be paying a lot of shipping just for one knife, and I'm a tight wad. I'll probably hold on to it for a while until I figure something out.
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:11 PM   #2
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Looks good Sam.
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:12 PM   #3
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Awesome. You sure are resourceful
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:26 PM   #4
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How did you bore the holes?
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:27 PM   #5
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Awesome. You sure are resourceful
Yeah, I didn't even pay for these fire bricks. I taught a guy how to make a bow, and a friend of his gave them to me (along with some other stuff) just to say thanks.
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:30 PM   #6
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How'd you get the holes bored through?
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:31 PM   #7
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How did you bore the holes?
I started to do a video tutorial, but my camera stopped working in the middle of it. Otherwise, you could've seen the whole thing. But I'll describe it because it was pretty simple.

I put those angle irons on there first. Then I used a 1.75" forstner bit on a drill press and drilled as far as it would go. Then I put a 1.5" spade bit on the drill press and drilled as far as that would go. It still didn't go as far as I wanted.

I took the angle irons of and scraped out the rest with a spoon, using a straight edge as a guide to get the same diameter and blending in the seems.

Then I drilled a 3/8" hole in the back of it. Then I drilled a 5/8" hole in the side near the back pointing kind of up and kind of forward so when the fire goes in there, it swirls around and comes out the front. A little comes out the back, too.

If I hadn't been in such a hurry to get the blade in the quenching oil, I would've taken a picture so you could see how evenly it heated the blade. I was really proud of it. It makes me want to make another knife.
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamHarper View Post
I started to do a video tutorial, but my camera stopped working in the middle of it. Otherwise, you could've seen the whole thing. But I'll describe it because it was pretty simple.

I put those angle irons on there first. Then I used a 1.75" forstner bit on a drill press and drilled as far as it would go. Then I put a 1.5" spade bit on the drill press and drilled as far as that would go. It still didn't go as far as I wanted.

I took the angle irons of and scraped out the rest with a spoon, using a straight edge as a guide to get the same diameter and blending in the seems.

Then I drilled a 3/8" hole in the back of it. Then I drilled a 5/8" hole in the side near the back pointing kind of up and kind of forward so when the fire goes in there, it swirls around and comes out the front. A little comes out the back, too.

If I hadn't been in such a hurry to get the blade in the quenching oil, I would've taken a picture so you could see how evenly it heated the blade. I was really proud of it. It makes me want to make another knife.
It's addicting! With two small kids I don't get to work on them as much as I'd like, but when I do it's something I really love. You seem to improvise well! That'll come in handy.
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:40 PM   #9
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We're definitely gonna need a pic.
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:42 PM   #10
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What do you want a pic of? The inside of it? It's still a little warm right now. When it cools off, I'll take it apart and show you the inside. One of the bricks cracked on me. I don't know if it was the heat or because I tightened those bolts too tight. It stayed together, though.
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:01 PM   #11
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Okay, here's the inside of it.
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:06 PM   #12
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Good job on the forge Sam! Living in Austin, possibly there is a local knife maker or even a pottery sculptor that you could hook up with an use their oven for the big Bowie?
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:12 PM   #13
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I knew knife maker who had a nice big forge, but he sold it. A potter sculptor is a good idea, though! Maybe I could put an ad on craigslist and see if I can find somebody.
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:26 PM   #14
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One of my favorite knife makers is in Austin. I believe he sends off for heat treat, though. If you want to spend a while drooling you should check out his knives.

http://www.hatcherknives.com/
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:39 PM   #15
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Wow, that is definitely some eye candy. I wonder why I never heard of this guy. Thanks for the link.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:08 AM   #16
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Well, dang it, I think I tempered my knife too hot. I bought an oven thermometer and used it to get my toaster oven to 400F, but apparently, it got a lot hotter. Some of my knife turned purple. What do y'all think? Do y'all think this knife is going to be too soft? Should I redo it or just finish it like it is? I'm a little concerned about grain growth if I do it again. Should I be worried about that?
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:17 AM   #17
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I copied the soup can forge idea from youtube and scaled it up a bit . My dad gave me an old anvil and now I just need one of ya'll master knife crafters to teach me how to make my own knives. I'm not planning to sell knives I just want to make my own for the fun of it.
I'll post a pic of my forge tomorrow.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:22 AM   #18
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I copied the soup can forge idea from youtube and scaled it up a bit.
The tomato can forge? :-) I thought about doing that but didn't know where to be refractory cement.

Quote:
My dad gave me an old anvil and now I just need one of ya'll master knife crafters to teach me how to make my own knives.
I learned by reading forums and watching YouTube videos. I also got a book called The Complete Bladesmith. I haven't forged a knife yet. I tried forging one out of a railroad spike, but it was more difficult than YouTube made it look. I just use the stock removal method.
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Old 07-30-2014, 05:56 AM   #19
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Here you go.

http://www.hightemptools.com/
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Old 07-30-2014, 06:07 AM   #20
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Good job Sam; you'll find the more you get into knife making you'll come up with ideas for jigs, clamps, drill press and other resources to help you in the process.

In knife making you have to thinks on your feets.
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Old 07-30-2014, 09:26 AM   #21
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Thanks for the link, Kevin.

So no opinion on whether I should re heat treat this knife? Last night, I was googling around to see what other people did in this situation, and one person said it's possible to get a little purple from the residual oil left on the blade after quenching. I tried rubbing it with my thumb, and most of the purple came off, and it's yellow underneath, so I'm thinking maybe it's okay. What do you think?

Here's a before and after picture.
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Old 07-30-2014, 09:39 AM   #22
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Nice!
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Old 07-30-2014, 09:41 AM   #23
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Are you just doing 1 temper cycle? I usually do 2 and after the second one my knives are typically more gold in appearance than your picture. Are you using a thermometer that stays in the oven? If so, you should be able to monitor the swings in temperature as the oven cycles on and off. You want to make sure that whatever temperature you are aiming for is at the very top of that cycle.
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Old 07-30-2014, 09:48 AM   #24
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I only did one cycle with this knife because I wasn't sure whether I should re-harden it and start over or not.

I had the thermometer in the oven to get it to the temperature I wanted (400F), but I took it out to put the knife in there.

I seem to have better luck with my big oven, but it sure does seem like a waste of energy to heat up that big oven for just one knife. I thought about maybe heat treating multiple knives at once, but I'm not sure how that would work either since the oil would get hotter and hotter with each knife I quenched. And I don't want to leave a hardened knife sitting around waiting for other knives to get hardened several hours later because I've heard of them cracking and stuff while just sitting around. What to do, what to do. . .
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Old 07-30-2014, 09:50 AM   #25
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Maybe on my next knife, I'll try tempering it with the blow torch.
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:41 AM   #26
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I think the kitchen oven with a thermometer sitting next to the knife is your best bet in the long run. My experience in knife making so far is I find the best success when I use methods that are easily predictable and repeatable. I know that is not always possible when working within the budget I have but when talking about using your oven, I think you are not really using as much electricity as you think. Below is a table from the Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings.


Appliance

Temperature

Time

Energy

Cost

Electric Oven 350 1 hour 2.0 kWh $.16
Electric Convection Oven 325 45 minutes 1.39 kWh $.11
Gas Oven 350 1 hour .112 therm $.07
Electric Frying Pan 420 1 hour .9 kWh $.07
Toaster Oven 425 50 minutes .95 kWh $.08
Electric Crockpot 200 7 hour .7 kWh $.06
Microwave Oven "High" 15 minutes .36 kWh $.03

So, I temper my knives for 2 hours at 400 degrees, twice. That means I am probably spending around 75 cents. When you take in to account that I can easily control this and repeat it, as well as do other stuff while the oven is doing all the work, it is well worth 75 cents to me.
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:12 AM   #27
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Thanks for providing that information, Akey. I feel a whole lot better now. I'll just use the oven.

I decided not to reharden this knife. I'm going to give it one more tempering cycle, then finish it out.
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Old 07-30-2014, 11:21 AM   #28
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Here is my soup can forge. The refractory material was 50/50 mix of play sand and plaster of Paris.

I used the nail in the picture to forge the knife. It looked nice enough for my first attempt but would not hold an edge.

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Old 07-30-2014, 11:40 AM   #29
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That's pretty cool. At least you got some practice forging. According to a book I'm reading, nails don't have enough carbon to really get hard.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:20 PM   #30
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Hey sam if you haven't hardened the bowie by the time you come to canton, I have a friend that is a knife smith that would probably help you out. Do a google search for Tommy Gann knives and you will get an idea of his skill set.
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Old 07-30-2014, 12:51 PM   #31
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Thanks, LM.

I just came up with a way I might be able to heat treat my Bowie! I can make a forge as long as I want by cutting each brick in half, creating brick squares, then drilling holes through each square individually, then stacking them together as long as I want, then binding them together with angle irons and long bolts. I just wonder if I can get it to heat evenly the whole length. It's worth trying, though, right?
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:30 PM   #32
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Could always use more than one heat source as well
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Old 07-30-2014, 01:33 PM   #33
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That's a good point.
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:09 PM   #34
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I think you have a good idea there Sam. The multiple heat sources is an idea. Just make sure you are keeping the blade moving so it gets heated evenly. Here is a good video by Josh Dabney. It shows him heat treating in a paint can forge.

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Old 07-30-2014, 02:42 PM   #35
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this is what I used when i first started out. The ammo can protected the brittle fire brick. I used a high heat or fire place caulk to bond the two pieces of fire brick together and to the bottom of the ammo can. It worked well for me at the time.

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Old 07-30-2014, 02:50 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akey View Post
Good job on the forge Sam! Living in Austin, possibly there is a local knife maker or even a pottery sculptor that you could hook up with an use their oven for the big Bowie?

curtisk on here I think is from down there (cs/bryan) if I remember right from reading one of his posts today.
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Old 07-30-2014, 05:53 PM   #37
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Sam , will you be posting info on your forge on your web site?
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Old 07-30-2014, 06:06 PM   #38
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I wasn't planning on it, Ex Sparker. I did try to make a video while I was building it, but the camera shut off in the middle of it. I'll have to make another one if I want to do a video.
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Old 07-30-2014, 10:16 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamHarper View Post
Maybe on my next knife, I'll try tempering it with the blow torch.
NO; it's too easy to get it too hot and it's rarely even. Two, two hour tempers will do it. I'd put in in the oven again for another two hours, the color is from the oil residue. All you did was hot blue the knife a little bit. That happens to me when I don't clean off the knife before I temper it; sometimes I get lazy. but on my second temper use my scotch belt on the entire knife.
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Old 07-31-2014, 05:58 AM   #40
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Thanks, Bjankowski.
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Old 07-31-2014, 10:02 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamHarper View Post
I knew knife maker who had a nice big forge, but he sold it. A potter sculptor is a good idea, though! Maybe I could put an ad on craigslist and see if I can find somebody.
Sam I could heat treat it for ya I'm only 40 minutes from austin
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Old 07-31-2014, 03:01 PM   #42
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Great ideas
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Old 07-31-2014, 05:13 PM   #43
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Sam I could heat treat it for ya I'm only 40 minutes from austin
That is really nice of you! I'll send you a private message.
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Old 10-02-2014, 08:41 PM   #44
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Where did you get your fire bricks I'm looking for some?
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Old 10-02-2014, 09:35 PM   #45
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Where did you get your fire bricks I'm looking for some?
High temp tools has them.


http://www.hightemptools.com/firebricks.html
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:58 PM   #46
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Quote:
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Where did you get your fire bricks I'm looking for some?
It was given to me by a guy named Eric who used to make knives. But there's also a place here in Austin that sells it.

http://www.mpi-austin.com/products/

I suspect there are places in Dallas, too, if you just google around. I just googled "fire brick dallas," and this was the first thing to come up:

http://www.gartexmasonry.com/#!fire-place-materials
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:32 AM   #47
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Old 10-03-2014, 10:04 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamHarper View Post
It was given to me by a guy named Eric who used to make knives. But there's also a place here in Austin that sells it.

http://www.mpi-austin.com/products/

I suspect there are places in Dallas, too, if you just google around. I just googled "fire brick dallas," and this was the first thing to come up:

http://www.gartexmasonry.com/#!fire-place-materials
Thanks. I tried to make a paint can forge and it was a fail, so i'm going to try and go this route.
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Old 10-03-2014, 10:05 AM   #49
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Thanks. I tried to make a paint can forge and it was a fail, so i'm going to try and go this route.
I get mine at clay structures in seagoville....I see you're south of dallas...
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Old 10-03-2014, 10:26 AM   #50
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Quote:
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Thanks. I tried to make a paint can forge and it was a fail, so i'm going to try and go this route.
Mine didn't last long before cracking in half, so you might try something else to hold the bricks together, like maybe chicken wire or something. Or maybe some refractory cement.
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