Material thickness for a B&T blade....


Well-Known Member
I'd like to make a few B&T blades for myself and a few friends. Most likely I'll be using 440C (unless there is a much better choice). I'm just wondering what would be a good starting thickness for a blade of this type? Most likely I'll try and incorporate a taper from the handle to the tip to help with flexibility, but I could also use some guidance in that area.
Thanks in advance,
I've used final thickness of anywhere between .80" to 1/8".

Most of the ones I've made have been 1084 or the thinner ones 15N20. I differentially heat treat in my shop. I rarely use stainless as I forge 95% of my blades.

The HT is how I achieve my flex.
B&T blades - "Bird & Trout"???

AEB-L sure does make a NICE blade that holds an edge nicely and available for most any thickness you desire. For a "Bird & Trout" I like something in the .092" range, or perhaps even a tad less? I'd think 1/8" would need a lot of taper from handle to point.

Ken H>
Thank you for the response. I'm familiar with the differential heat treating process, but I've not tried it yet. It makes sense that the process would facilitate flexibility, I may have to try it. After the initial heat treat and quench, what are you doing for tempering, if you don't mind me asking?
For the time being I'm a cut and grind type guy, but eventually I'd like to try my hand at forging.
Also I've yet to try working with carbon steels, but this may be a great time to start.
Thanks again for the reply,
What I do for tempering is to put the blade into a preheated oven after scrubbing off the residual oil with hot soapy water. However, if the little lady gives you the stick eye at the suggestion of using her oven for tempering you can get a toaster oven to do the tempering in. Either way monitor the temperature with a separate thermometer. You can counter the temperature swings in a toaster oven caused by the heating elements going on and off by putting the blade in a tray of sand that will serve as a heat sink. Remember also that if you are granted permission to use the kitchen oven to coordinate the heat treating with food preparation. You also don't want to set you hardened blades to sit any long period of time before placing them in the oven.

One other thing, while I remember it. What sort of a heat source are you going to use to austenize the steel before quenching. I would say all of the stainless steels require a regulated high temperature oven capable of temperatures of up to around 2000°. The simpler carbon steel with carbon content of ~0.85% or less generally are pretty easy to austenize in a gas forge.

I actually have a very nice precision heat treat oven with dual chambers, controlled atmosphere, and vaccum capabilities, as a result of my actual profession (medical device manufacturing). That's 99% of the reason I lean toward 440C. We don't use it much, but a little bit, as a result I've worked with it more than any other suitable knife making material.
Thanks again,