Needing advice from the wise ones again

wall e

Well-Known Member
Was asked by a buddy to make a beast of a knife and make it as tough as possible.
My thoughts as well as available steel for this endevor is a 12" piece of 52100.

I have seen videos of a blade being abused and it cut through hot roll .50" rod by batoning w a ball peen hammer.
So my questions are,
1 How would I duplicate this toughness of the blade?
2 Which of you fellers is the one to talk to about perfomung this feat of metalurgy?
Thanks in advance and jovial advice is expected as well as the factual.
 

J. Doyle

Dealer - Purveyor
I would not make a blade for the sole purpose of pounding it through a 1/2" thick steel bar. Edge geometry is going to play a huge role in this, probably more so than the steel type. And heat treatment would fall in there in the middle.

A blade that will do that with no damage may have to make pretty significant sacrifices to the slicing geometry of the blade.

Now...that said: A good TOUGH blade that still slices well and holds up to pine knots and deer antler chopping (about as much abuse as ANY knife SHOULD be subjected to) is attainable enough.

52100 certainly could do the job. So could 1075, 1084, 5160, 80CrV2, W2 and others.

Personally, I'd reach for 1075 or 80CrV2.
 

Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
My first alarm was set off by the request of a beast of a knife. What does you buddy mean by that, some sort of a zombie killer? If that's what he wants I would decline but you're free to do what you want. Just ask yourself if you want your name associated with than knife.

I don't know what equipment you have to work with but 52100 really needs a regulated oven to get good and reliable results from. Don't get me wrong. I've used 52100 for two knives that I tested to destruction, one with marquenching for a mixture of martensite and bainite and another with regular treatment and had great results with both. They both chopped through 2X4's and sliced up a lot of manilla roap before the edge started to drag. I was able to bend the marquenched blade to almost 90° before it broke and the regularly treated one I couldn't break with a breaker bar attached to it and it took several blows from a four pound mall to get the job done. I think that I could have pounded it into a tree and hung my full weight from the handle.

The "however" to this tale is that I realized that I couldn't reliably produce a blade of the best quality from 52100 without a regulated oven. If all you have is a forge to heat treat with I'd take John's advice and try another steel. Preferably one with less than 85 points of carbon in it.

Doug
 
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wall e

Well-Known Member
Thank you both for the suggestions.
My plan is to send it off to some one who has all the proper equiptment to ht the steel.
Doug his meaning of a beast is more of the normal 11 to 12" oal field knife, can chop an slice just more or less a larger version of the 1080 knife I made for myself.
The idea was to 3/4 flat grind the blade.
 
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EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
When someone asks me for a knife in that manner, the red flags go up, and the warning buzzers start sounding in my mind. That type of mentality concerning knives means nothing but grief for the knifemaker......for a long time after it leaves the shop.

What you have to realize about all those "impressive" videos is that there isn't any "impressive feat of metallurgy" involved, the knife is designed/built specifically for that video. You can make a knife that will do it, but as with everything in knifemaking, its about "balance" of the blade's attributes. Creating a blade that will do that sort of thing will dramatically impact other desirable attributes of the blade that you want. It's great for showing off, but that's about it. If you want to cut steel, get a hacksaw.
 

wall e

Well-Known Member
Ok, I fell for the hype of the type of steel used to make the blade meant it was the toughest. Rookie move I know now thanks to all of you that it is not just the steel it is also the grind as well.
Ed as always you make the blunt and valid point to us wide eyed rookies about the big dreams.
J. Doyle the plan I had definately is not a unicorn horn scales an depleted uranium bolsters knife at all. Lol
John, it was a 52100 knife blade destruction test.
It was made for that reason for sure it was bent 90° + in a vise back and forth and did not snap.

Ok so the real question I ask is, if I make a knife from 2" wide stock about 11.5" oal and grind it a 3/4 flat grind and have approximately 6" blade an a 5.5" handle with traditional professional ht will this be an all around useful knife for a survival enviroment?
 
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wall e

Well-Known Member


This is the pattern he just wanted it bigger since he has little man syndrome as he puts it.

I know that the wording I used is creating some fears of a loony wanting a small sword.
That was not my intention, J was trying for a big knife in comparison to the 6 to 9"oal I have been making.
 

wall e

Well-Known Member


5/32 52100 stock and 11 3/8" oal
Is the start of the biggest blade I have attempted.
 

Wayne Bensinger

Well-Known Member
Hey Walt, like the start there so far, that should be an overall good camp/hunting/chopper. 52100 has always worked for me very well, as a matter of fact, if your talking about edge holding, so far there's been no other steel that I've used that takes a better edge and holds it as long. I have a couple of big bowies I made in that steel that go with me every time I pack into the woods. Just tell your buddy to always remember to clean it after each use and before it back into sheath to dry it off, especially if it's a leather sheath. If I can make two small suggestions pertaining to the knife, just try to keep that front pin back at least half inch from the ricasso, the one in the pic looks dangerously close to the edge of the wood and may be the start of handle failure someday, easy fix for you though. Second, keep the back of the handle big like you have it now on the blank of steel, if he will be swinging it, you'll want it to stay put in his hand, keep up the work!
 

Wayne Bensinger

Well-Known Member
Walt, I forgot something, sorry. If your looking for a good knife that will do what you've talked about, your probably going to want to be in the 57-59 range on the Rockwell scale, any more and you may risk chipping the edge or worse, snapping it. I'd stay closer to 57, imho. Good luck.


Wayne
 

wall e

Well-Known Member
The plan is to put the pin about 5/8 back from the ricasso/handle edge area.
The first one was a mistake on my part made a lightening/cross flow hole a pin hole. Hence the reason its mine and not for sale. As for the handle ptofile this one is another grip your hand type of profile by me. I know I need to open the front up a fuzz more to be safe his hands may be a bit bigger than mine.
So if I went with a 58 rc number should be about right?
 
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wall e

Well-Known Member
Ok so I also need to ask how many of the wise ones on here have started a knife and as the work progresses you get the feeling of I want to keep this one? Kinda feeling like that with this one since it is the same size as my buddies US Army K-Bar.
 

J. Doyle

Dealer - Purveyor
Hey Walt....that's looking really nice. I like the size and general shape quite well. The handle looks pretty much right on to me with a pleasing shape, good proportions and nice curves in the right places. If I may offer a couple suggestions for some minor tweaks? Personally, I'd drop the point just a bit and I'd also get rid of just a bit of the belly.....if it were ME. It's not a right or wrong thing and what you've got will work fine. I think it would make the knife more pleasing to the eye and make the whole thing a bit more user friendly in a wider variety of uses.

I'd also smooth out and put a bit more curve in the the choil/blade heel area instead of a sharp straight drop down like it is now. This will make it more comfortable in hand and I think it will add also to the visual appeal.

These are a couple of VERY minor adjustments but it might make a lot of difference. This is just my take on it and not something that MUST be done.

Something like this is what I had in mind:

 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
John Doyle's subtle tweaks are priceless. It is a good design, Walt- but those tweaks make it sexy. Sweeping curves look great on a woman, and also on a knife!
 

wall e

Well-Known Member
I agree on the choil/heel tweak for sure am thinking to open about .25 more finger room and a gentler curve like you suggested Mr. Doyle. It was a thought post picture because it fits a lil snug on the index finger. As for the curves and slimming of the belly I do want to drop 3/8" off the oal so if I drop the point that distance and shave the belly to more of a sleek fighter look should line up with the suggestions.
 

wall e

Well-Known Member
I think all the questions have been answered except for what my 3/4 flat grind would be for durability and slicing accross the spectrum of potential uses would be ideal or not.
 

wall e

Well-Known Member
So here is what I could muster as my best outlined interpretation on the suggested tweaks on my design

 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
just my .02 Walt

Your heel/choil still sticks backwards toward your hand. If you leave a little bit of that unsharpened (your plunges are forward of that heel) then it's not such a big deal but it will still feel a little uncomfortable in the hand. If you sharpen all the way back to that heel, then you're going to have a super sharp point that inadvertently stabs you every time you forget it's there. Another thing: it's way easier to finish the knife/handle when those curves don't wrap around like that. I suspect that point is going to get ground off as you try to grind that inner radius smooth during finishing. You may as well make it easy on yourself and not try to create a deep curvature like that in the first place.

Again, just my .02
 

wall e

Well-Known Member
John your right on the money with the heel being rounded and roomier as the suggestions have been made I just had mot made it to that part yet was laying out the belly an spine curvature. I took about 1/8" off the heel so there is a little slip room but, I am planning to open the handle area up more and soften the heels straight line. Also there is going to be about 5/8 to 3/4" for a ricasso to avoid the sharp heel that has been covered by many accross the forum on different knives.
I do appreciate the .02 of assistance and advice to help me improve on the long term comfort and to save time on the finish end of the build.
 
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