My first forged blade!!!!!

Self Made Knives

Well-Known Member
I've been a stock removal only guy so far, but I took a 2 day knife forging class with Billy Helton in Claremore, OK last weekend. It was awesome! Below are some pics of the knife I made in class. It is full of firsts for me.

First forged
First knife making class
First hidden tang
First time using nickel silver
First time heat treating in a forge
First time tumbled finish
First time using mahogany
First blade with zero hand finishing
First time using 5160
First time visiting another makers shop

There's a lot to cover in a class like this, so time isn't abundant. With 3 students, Billy had his hands full, but he said he's done as many as 5 at a time before. So, with the focus on learning there isn't time for hand sanding or getting everything just perfect. Coupled with the fact you are in someone else's shop and using their tools, it's kind of weird. That was hard for me actually, I obsess over every little detail normally, so I've never finished a knife straight off the grinder before. You'll see my plunges aren't clean! So, here it is, my first forged, first zero hand finish, straight off the grinder knife...

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opaul

Well-Known Member
Congratulations on a fine looking knife. the fit and finish look very good to me. Thanks for sharing. I take it you are now hooked on forging??
 

Self Made Knives

Well-Known Member
Congratulations on a fine looking knife. the fit and finish look very good to me. Thanks for sharing. I take it you are now hooked on forging??
Yeah, I definitely see some advantages to it. Less time on the grinder since the knife is shaped really close to where you want to end up. I can see not having to buy stock as wide as normal and a lot less waste that you have to cut off. Billy is Journeyman smith, so I was impressed at how fast he could forge a blade. With practice, I'd say its faster than stock removal overall. I've got to build or get a forge and an anvil or anvil shaped object next, but it will definitely be a part of my future knife making.
 

Self Made Knives

Well-Known Member
Justin, that looks great! Your blade to guard fit is really nice.

What are your take-aways on forging?
Take aways... well, it's fun! It sort of goes against my nature a little, I've always been a design it in CAD first and then cut it out accurately. So, with forging it seems a little looser from the design point of view. I'm sure the pros can hammer out matching blades, but I think it would be a little random for me. But, I actually kind of liked that freedom to let the design develop as it was forged. Overall, it seemed easier than I thought it would be, but that's probably due to learning it from Billy. He was right there to answer questions and give you cues on what to do next. At the end of the class, the other two guys wanted to put a finish on their handles and sharpen the edge. Instead of that, Billy let me go back and forge another blade. The second one I did on my own with no input, so I came home with another forged blank to work on too. I'll be doing more for sure.
 

MikeL

KNIFE MAKER
Impressive! I’ve started a little forging with practice on a railroad spike. Must be great to have an expert by your side to cut down on the learning curve. Nice job!
 

Dennis Morland

KNIFE MAKER
Anthony-you really stepped it up. The forged blade is really nice. But, I was drawn to the awesome fit between the blade and the guard. The whole package is magnificent. Great job!
 

Johan Nel

Well-Known Member
Beautiful knife Anthony! I believe you should be quite happy with the outcome of this large numbers of "firsts" that you have executed. Congratulations. I am curious on one thing. It is a hidden tang, but I don't see a pin at all. Is the handle pinned to the tang at all?
 

Smallshop

KNIFE MAKER
Beautiful. Nice blade but what really caught my eye is the guard/handle fit and shape and finish...stunning!

Photos are top notch! Show off the quality work very well.
 

Self Made Knives

Well-Known Member
Impressive! I’ve started a little forging with practice on a railroad spike. Must be great to have an expert by your side to cut down on the learning curve. Nice job!
Actually, I'd say the time he saves you by teaching you in the class pays for the class. I probably could've fumbled around and watched a ton of Youtube and figured it out, but it would have taken a lot of practice and experimenting. He charges $400 for this 2 day class and you go home with a knife. Pretty darn good deal overall. On top of that, if I'd had time to get the plunges right, I probably could've sold this knife for $300 to boot.
 

Self Made Knives

Well-Known Member
Beautiful knife Anthony! I believe you should be quite happy with the outcome of this large numbers of "firsts" that you have executed. Congratulations. I am curious on one thing. It is a hidden tang, but I don't see a pin at all. Is the handle pinned to the tang at all?
No pin. He said if we wanted to he would let us pin them, but that he's pretty much gotten away from pinning smaller knives. He says he pretty much only pins the larger knives that might see some hard use or chopping. The tang's edges are notched several times before gluing and the handle is filled with epoxy, I think its plenty strong.
 

Self Made Knives

Well-Known Member
You guys that are talking about guard fit up, thanks but, well, probably have to give credit once again to Billy's class. He did one while we watched and then talked us through our own. We used a carbide faced file guide from Uncle Al's to get the tang just right. Then a selection of little files to work out the slot. I actually over did mine by a stroke or two and it came out just a tad loose at first. A healthy whack with a hammer tightened it right up and then I just resurfaced the face. I was quite surprised and pleased with how well it came out! First timers luck!
 

Self Made Knives

Well-Known Member
Beautiful. Nice blade but what really caught my eye is the guard/handle fit and shape and finish...stunning!

Photos are top notch! Show off the quality work very well.
Thanks Ted, I actually really want to get good at taking my own pics. I think a great pic sells a knife and as a newer maker I can't justify paying the pros for pics.
 

Gliden07

Well-Known Member
I tried taking a class and the guy cancelled it the day before I was suppose to go. And I had to travel almost 3 hrs to get to him!! Not to mention I had a hotel room reserved etc... Turned out good though my GF and I had a nice weekend together. And I found a class way closer to me (30 min) the guy has a power hammer and says he will give you access to it after you take his class!! Next Spring I'm there!!
 

LobosStyle Blades

Well-Known Member
Awesome work! I'm also working on my first forged knife as well I'm hoping to get posted here soon. I've also been a stock removal only guy and it's a ton of fun to learn the forging aspect. I'm hoping to get into a blacksmith class here early next year sometime. I've heard they have a couple places here in San Diego that are pretty good.
 
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