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Author Topic: From bearing to knife - WIP  (Read 20152 times)
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SBranson
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« on: December 03, 2010, 08:13:13 PM »

I thought of waiting until the end to post this but I thought that if I am making any mistakes or omitting any crucial steps, this would be the bunch of guys to catch me. Grin

This is the beginning of what may be a longish thread on making an Ed Fowler styled (in material and method or somewhat at least) bowie knife.

I am starting with a 2?" diameter ball bearing of 52100 steel.
My first departure from Ed Fowler's method is that I am forging it a little hot, initially as doing it by hand at a 1650?F max would take a month to get to a billet size.; My forge is reading around 2000?F but with the size of the steel and the heat cycles, I figure I'm at about mid 1800?'s. Because it's such hard work I can only swing the big hammer for relatively short periods of time so the heat isn't changing drastically.
I will do some normalizing cycles to try to reduce any grain size later.; Also, I will reduce my temps as I get further along in the process.

So.. here's the start.; The bearing has been annealed, checked for grain alignment (or I tried to anyway) and welded onto rebar. I got the welding done at a local shop as I don't have a welder.
I ground off the scale and began the pain.  Cheesy Tongue

Here's some pics and a video of tonight's progress.

The bearing with the annealing scale ground off.


Into the fire


Using the BIG hammer, a 20lb sledge..  Tongue Shocked Grin Not wieldy so I got the wife to help as you'll see in the video.


nearing the end of the evening


where I got to when the weld failed.; About 2 hours of work, plus another 1/2 hour just getting the steel up to temp.



My first youtube video.
   

« Last Edit: December 03, 2010, 08:17:22 PM by SBranson » Logged

Ed Fowler
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2010, 12:23:57 PM »

That is really a trip down memory lane!!

A few thoughts:
First and foremost, keep your bride interested and promote her being a part of your work, believe me it is well worth the effort.

Trying to find the grain flow in a ball is tough, but you can come close, if you miss using a 1" ball you can come up with some interesting grain patterns.

Let the steel soak at forging temp. for at least 2 hours for every linear inch to the center, it looks like you did well.

I put a billet in my forge as soon as I light it and let the steel come up to temp with the forge, this gets me through the first 1/2 of the soak. When you let the steel soak it forges much easier, it does not take long until you know when it is ready to forge, the first hit with the hammer tells you after you know what to watch for (feel of the blow).

My first power hammer was a 10 lb. double jack with a 9 inch handle. I could get 20 hits a minute and a few years ago had to get my shoulder rebuilt. You are using our body a little bit more smarter.


As you get your billet worked down it will not take so long to soak and the temp can be lowered. I fully understand your forging a little harder.

Do not fear too many forging heats, each cycle contributes to grain refinement. When you get tired, heat the billet up to above critical and give it a normalizing cycle while you rest, every one of these also contributes to the quality of the finished blade.

We have on hand several hundred pounds of high quality 52100 round bars anywhere from 1 3/4 to 3 inch. We will forge them down to whatever size you want, the cost $10.00 per linear inch as forged.

When welding the ball to your bar make your first pass with 6010, them cover it with 7018, the welds last longer, also it does not hurt to normalize your welds, this comes naturally when normalizing the billet.

You can heat to 1750 without growing grain, but the finer the grain you develop the lower the temperature at which it can grow, thus we have call 1625 f. our top forging temp. A little hotter at first is not as significant as too hot on the final forging heats.

I sincerely applaud your efforts and sharing them with us.
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Phil Dwyer
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« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2010, 05:55:35 PM »

Yeeee haaaaaaaaaaa.....go man go (and woman)! She earned some pennies in heaven.

Thanks for sharing. Keep those photos coming!!!

All the best, Phil
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SBranson
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« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2010, 07:36:28 PM »

Thanks guys..
Thanks for the tips Ed,  I was hoping you'd chime in on this.

I figured out how to reduce the gas flow a little so I did a couple more sessions at the forge with the temp in the mid 1700?'s this time.

Tiring, tiring work... I think I'm going to get a 10-12lb'er to work a little on my own as it's really tough to get us both out to the forge with the 2 little ones awake and running around.  My little boy wants nothing more than to get into the middle of all this.

So here's where I've finished for the weekend.  It's now 1?" by about 1?⁄₈" by about 5?"

Getting somewhere but it's slow going.

Again, beside the other one for comparison


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Ed Fowler
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« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2010, 10:55:05 PM »

It is a good thing that your son in interested. A friend set up a little anvil and gave his son some play dough to forge with a little rubber hammer. Kind of fun to watch him work! He even had the kid wearing safety glasses!
He marked his son's work area with chalk and he could not leave without permission.

Looking at your video it may be that you are running too much gas. I don't know about your forge so am just guessing but when my forge is running with the proper air - gas mixture you don't see any flames coming out of the forge. My 3 burner Mankel is set a little less than about 3 pounds of pressure.

I can forge in my closed shop all day and the carbon monoxide detector never registers any danger. It is a good way to heat your shop while you are working, but don't do it unless you have a carbon monoxide detector, I have two in my shop. This both a safety measure and an easy way to monitor the efficiency of your forge.

Get one that registers the CO level by the numbers and when you see it registering low levels you can immediately adjust your air you can either go with more air or less gas , be sure to air out your shop immediately then see if you have corrected the problem.

Years ago I watched a lady blowing glass, there were no visible blue or yellow flames, just a bright yellow glow where she was heating her glass. I asked her about her set up - she said it was easy and I could do it if I would just experiment with my forge. She was not very willing to share more information. It took some time to figure it out.

One night it was -30f. outside, I noticed that my forge was very hot - very light yellow, with no flames coming out of the door I was able to make my first Damascus weld. Then it shut down, come to find out my propane bottle was freezing up and the pressure dropped thus providing me with a very efficient air - gas mixture.

Another tip many forget: It looks like your billet is cool in the photo so you are OK. When normalizing a billet or blade, always suspend it in still air at 70 degrees. Another maker told me he was having a lot of trouble with blades warping and breaking. I watched him forge and he would just lay the hot blade flat on a heavy steel table or his anvil to cool, this is a thermal shock to the steel, something you want to avoid.

It looks like you are getting along nicely, good times to watch your progress!
Thanks for sharing!
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SBranson
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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2010, 02:21:52 AM »

Thanks again.  Great tips.  I never even thought about the carbon monoxide.  Luckily our winters never get too cold so I always work with the garage door open.

My forge is really starting to show itself as being a problem.  I think that tomorrow I will remove some of the insulation as I cannot reduce the gas enough without it sputtering.  The only way I can is to reduce the oxygen intake.  But then inside I can see temperature bands.  It's one of the 2 burner types blasting the heat from above directly to the floor.  I've put in that half dome section of a pipe to keep the heat from contacting the work directly but that forces the flames out the front.  The thing has always done that though because of the rectangular shape and the flame direction.  There is no swirling.
I am having a real tough time regulating the heat.  I can get it set for a certain temperature but when I put in the work, it acts as a heat sink and the temperature never seems to climb back up to where it was.  I think this is because part of the tang is not in the "zone" and continues to act as a heat sink. It's enough to reduce the temperature by 20?-30?.   

Yes that billet was cool when I took the photo.  I've been just leaving it sitting in the forge but now that you mention it, I will stop doing that from now on.  Does 52100 like a slow cool or is still air better for preventing grain growth.
Whenever I heat treat or let things cool I suspend them edge up or down, never on the side.  Same with heat treating in a forge.
Not an issue with the torch though.

And finally, this is a pic of my son from about a month ago.  He just started playing at forging with his rubber knife and his wooden hammer.  He told us he was making a knife. Grin  He's only 2⅓ years old.


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SBranson
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« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2010, 02:31:37 AM »

By the way, do you discuss how to process the horns for your handles anywhere in your books?  I know the "bolster" parts are in the video.
A guy I know just sent me about 3 sets of sheep horns but I think they will be hollow too far into them to work.  Maybe they just aren't robust enough.
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Gus Mundt
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« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2010, 11:04:24 PM »

Great Job!!!  All i can say is you have allot of ambition, that is a cool video, and it is very neat that you have your wife helping you and you son is allready interested very neat, you will have to keep us all posted on your progress.
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Gustav Mundt
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2010, 07:39:14 PM »

Tough week to get both of us away from the kids so I've been working alone with the 5lb hammer.  Not a lot of progress but I'm getting there.
Started watching Ed's video on making these and just realized it was subtitled "Bearing to Blade" .  Must've subconsciously remembered that when I made the title of this thread.   It was discouraging to see him forge out that bearing in about 10 mins...  I've been at it for about 3-4 hours of pounding... Shocked Grin
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SBranson
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2010, 01:21:07 PM »

Here's some progress. I've had to switch to working on my own as my kids seem to need constant supervision these days.  Hopefully we can steal an hour this weekend.

I've only had two 1 hour forging sessions this week and have reduced the billet to 7" long by about 3/4" thick at the tip and about 1 1/8" thick at the tip. You can see that it's tapered as I've decided to only work as much as I need for the knife I'm making. It's just too much work by hand.  Also the weld failed again but I can grip it with tongs so I think I won't bother getting this re-welded again.   You can see in my little video though that this 52100 likes to bounce and it's tough to control. Is this normal? Shocked Tongue

I left the bright lights off so you could see the glowing billet but it kinda killed the rest of the action. oops.



« Last Edit: December 11, 2010, 01:26:15 PM by SBranson » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2010, 03:29:48 PM »

When you are working it and it bounces it is usually because you have:
a) not let it soak enough
or
b) it needs to be hotter, from what I see, but come on up another 100 degrees or so.
The billet being a little cold usually results in the weld breaking. It is much easier to use the bar welded to the billet than tying to work it down with tongs.

Keep after the man welding the bars for you and he will figure out how to make it stick.
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SBranson
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« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2010, 04:34:49 PM »

Thanks Ed.  I did notice the correlation between the heat and the bounce.  That's a problem with the tapered billet.  The tip heats faster and hotter so when I get it lined up there it forges well but when the heel (which is cooler) sits on the anvil it bounces more.
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SBranson
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« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2010, 11:25:07 PM »

Thanks again Ed.  I decided to cut the billet so that I can focus on the steel for this particular knife.  Also the tapered shape was causing heating problems and the bouncing.  You can see in this video that it's much more manageable.


And here's where I stopped tonight.  Starting to feel like I'm making some real progress.


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Phil Dwyer
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« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2010, 01:02:08 AM »

I may have missed it, is that S for Steve or Scott or... Huh In any case, greetings and salutations!

Looks like you're making progress slow, but sure. Have you tried any other hammers? A hefty straight or cross peen might come in handy, perhaps even working over the anvil's horn. Here's a photo of one I remembered from a thread of Ray Richards. Here's the link to the first post in the thread where he mentions it, http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6179899&postcount=1.



The narrower elongated hammer head can often be more effective to stretch/thin out metal than a full hammer head. For serious metal movement like you're doing it might be worth a shot. You can see the marks left by the hammer in his hawk head. Traditionally there are even more dramatically formed heads for this kind of work called fullers.



You probably already know all this stuff, but sometimes I just need to sound like I know too. Wink Cheesy Grin

I look forward to seeing more of your progress. Thanks for sharing.

All the best, Phil
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 01:09:59 AM by Farmer Phil » Logged

Phil Dwyer - Hawaii
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« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2010, 01:34:54 AM »

Thanks Phil for the suggestions.  I have a 5lb cross peen and a 2? lb diagonal peen that I've been using but I find the cross peen very awkward.  I think I will get rid of that and get a heavier straight peen.
The 2? lb is surprisingly effective.  

PS.. the "S" is for Stuart Smiley
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 01:59:47 AM by SBranson » Logged

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