View Full Version : First Bowie/First Knife Forging that actually looks like a knife

04-11-2010, 06:59 PM
I used a piece of spring steel from an industrial spring that I straightened out with a torch on the job. I followed Kevin Cashen's article closely on shaping a bowie and his techniques work, although I made it harder on myself quite a bit with inaccurate hammer strikes and the like. As you can see, the I haven't completed the tang yet, as I don't know how to bring the tang down that far. I "think" i want to do a hidden tang although I believe a full tang would be easier at the moment correct? I have no grinder, so files will be my method of finishing.

I'm open to all criticisms and opinions.

My take on this so far:

I can see the steel pushing under my hammer which is good as I can push it just far enough to make the blade edge look even going up the knife.

I have a hump in the spine of the blade, BUT i'll just have to take it down with files, as I have no clue on how i can push it in and then out without affecting the shape of the knife.

This first picture is showing my working area...forge, Anvil Like Object, etc.


Next, an upclose pic of my ALO. Yes it's heavy as hell, the round stock is threaded and threads onto the 1 1/2 plate on the bottom and those hammers on either side of the flat plate are 106 lbs each.


My first three undertakings in my forge. The top is my first, a railroad spike, the second is a punch that as you can see I didn't drop the tip before hammering out so it rose like a persian hahah and the third my newest, and one i'm proud of :)




04-11-2010, 07:12 PM
Good job Christopher. On the middle one give it another heat, lay the spine down on your alo and tap, tap on the edge to make it straight. Then get some of the heavy hammer marks worked out. It'll be a usable blade.

Hammer on my friend.


04-11-2010, 07:17 PM
Looks great did you build the forge also.

04-11-2010, 07:50 PM
Yes sir sure did on building the forge. Both of the forges you see in that picture are made by me. The second one is going to Dan Unger though. Was surprised at how easy it was to build a forge though :)

Patrick, i'll put the second one in for another heat and do just that.

One good question i've come up with is tang construction...I have some zebrawood scales that would look great on a knife, but a bowie to me is a hidden tang knife...with stag handle :)

04-11-2010, 08:04 PM
Congrats! Your hooked!!2thumbs

04-12-2010, 08:03 AM
starting on the tang today, possibly pics before I leave for work later this afternoon. Hopefully I don't mess this up hahha.

Alright, update:

I started forming the ricasso area and have it looking good, but tapering the tang down is being a problem for me. The bar is so damn thick that i'm not much that much metal down and away. It's flattening out, but not back away from the ricasso. I have a 4lb. cross peen (all i could find locally). Should I be using the back of the hammer to draw the metal thinner right here with precise hits and then striking with the hammer face?

Doug Lester
04-12-2010, 08:54 AM
Looks promising. It looks like you may still be hitting a little hard with the hammer, just like me when I was at your stage. Also check the face of the hammer for sharp edges and transitions and grind them out. A flatter faced hammer will help forge the dimples and dings out and save some time grinding. I have two hammers for that, both with rectanglar faces. One with the long axis of the face at right angles to I forged from a 2 pound ball pean hammmer. Then I have a cuttler's hammer of the same weight with the long axis of the face parallel to the handle. Both real good for drawing out the blades and for getting the dings out. The biggest thing is to take it easy with the hammer and to come down with the face flat. These are just techniques that will come with practice, so get out there and practice.

Doug Lester

04-12-2010, 08:59 AM
Thanks Doug,

I do hit quite hard with that 4 lb. hammer :) Guess i'm used to beating the crap out of stuff with 16 lb. sledge hammers at work sometimes...anyway, I'll try to finesse the strikes more and see what I come up with. If all else fails and i get stuck i'll grab a 8" disc grinder and start munching steel with it til I get the shape I want for the tang LOL...although I'd prefer to forge it out.

Mark Behnke
04-12-2010, 09:09 AM
Forge On,
You're doing great, built your own forge, anvil
You're commited, or will be soon:D

04-12-2010, 12:12 PM
It looks good to me. I see alot of potential in that blade and all kinds of design ideas are coming to mind.

05-10-2010, 12:46 AM