Crisp Ricasso/choil how its done
Posted 04 March 2012 - 12:07 PM
When I forge a blade and try to draw the blade down I always end up with a rounded corner, and if I try to reallly pull that steel down my hammer control gets loose and I have a blow somewhere on the ricasso. I am fine with how the rounded corner looks and I like some extra finger room there, but need some Sunday enlightenment on how its done.
Thanks Chad Harding
Posted 04 March 2012 - 12:20 PM
Ever walk into a black smith shop? They've got tools for EVERYTHING!! For every direction they want to move a piece of steel, they've got a tool for it.
I think there's way too much focus upon forging these blades all the way to their final conclusion with nothing but a hammer. I guess I'm happy for those who do and can, but I use every single tool and gadget I can to help do what I want to achieve.
I also spent $2000.00 on a grinder with all kinds of attachments and I bought it to GRIND things to the shape I want them as well.
I'm gonna use it.
If you can't get the edge and choil pulled down to the exact profile you like, maybe start with a wider piece of steel and beat the choil DOWN!!
Don't get stuck in a rut and think there's only ONE way to forge a knife.
Spread your wings some.
All of these Journeyman smiths and Master smiths didn't get those stamps by doing everything with a hammer.
Posted 04 March 2012 - 01:08 PM
Posted 04 March 2012 - 06:56 PM
I said, "Why on earth would I do that?"
I have a blacksmith leg vise right next to my power hammer.
So, I heated up the blade, stuck it in the leg vise and twisted it straight with a crescent wrench.
The guy was slack jawed. He had never even thought of doing that. Thought he HAD!! to do everything with his hammer!
Think of it this way - have you ever gone into the shop of a knife maker who has been at this for some time?
He may have 2 or even 3 grinders, a couple drill presses, buffers, a small bench top vertical mill, a knee mill, a lathe, a variable speed disc sander, a surface grinder, all sorts of engravers, power tools and drawer after drawer of hand tools that would make Craftsman jealous.
Do you think he builds his knives with just a drill press and some files?
Now, do you think that out in his forge he does ALL!! of his work with just hammers?
I say get and use every single tool and gadget that you can lay your hands on to help you forge and build knives.
The steel doesn't really care how you make it into a knife.
Posted 06 March 2012 - 09:32 AM
Posted 09 March 2012 - 12:01 PM
This is a technique I use for monosteel(not damascus) and only on those with blade geometry that suits the result.(mostly, full flat from edge to spine)
1. I do all my bevel hammering on one side forging in the plunge deep on the backside. It results in a chisel ground look.
2. Flip the blade and line up the plunge to the edge of my anvil.(ricasso off the anvil)
3. With a well placed FLAT blow, strike the ricasso. This twists the handle/ricasso to center the edge, rather than trying to juggle the edge with blows from either side.
I have found this to be very effective. Karl is spot on with using tools to make things easier.
Slightly off-topic but I'd like to share another technique I've stumble upon for making everything line up when a blade is wavey or twisted. I heat the entire length of the blade and run it back and forth between my anvil and a heavy flat hammer. I can only compare it to a rolling press, even though it doesn't draw out any length. You are essentially "ironing out the kinks" and it beats the heck out of tap-tap flip, tap-tap flip...
Posted 09 March 2012 - 09:17 PM
If you're not aware of it, you might be interested in a a blacksmithing technique called off-setting. If you set the bottom edge of the ricasso on the anvil with the blade running wild (over air) past the anvil and do a half faced hammer blow down on the top edge of the ricasso (half the hammer face over the anvil) and on the blade spine where it joins the ricasso (the other half of the hammer face over the air) you can set a pretty crisp shoulder (assuming the anvil's edge is crisp and not rounded). This can be on the near side of the anvil by holding the blade in tongs, or the far side by holding the tang.
Earth Crafts & Applied Arts
www.eartharts.us (update pending)
Posted 11 March 2012 - 03:51 PM
I also do clean up with the grinder to achieve the look I want.
Anvil Top Custom Knives
Posted 11 March 2012 - 06:41 PM
Along with what has been said, I sometimes start with a somewhat oversized bar and bump the ricasso bottom up into itself before I start to bevel the edge. This allows you more material concentrated right there and more room to pull straight down with less chance of hitting the ricasso. You've thickened ricasso, but you can take that material towards the back/tang area. This photo shows that I have just bumped it up and flipped it over to look at it. I used the same half on/half off technique mentioned above. The distal taper was already started and of course the tip has been started too. But the edge is still as thick as the bar right at the choil.
I often forge big blades this way for two reasons. I'm working from round bar and can make the flat bar whatever size I like or I just happen to have large flat bar. I do this especially when I want that dropped choil to come straight down. The other reason is that I like to forge the rough "embryo" of the blade leaving the tang especially short and thick till later in the forging. That way I can hold it by either end and it wont get floppy. When I refine the shape and thickness, it's easier for me to take the material towards the final planned shape. I do have to allow for the blade to grow during the refinement.
Posted 11 March 2012 - 08:01 PM
Thanks for the helpful suggestions.
Posted 17 May 2012 - 12:01 PM
Anyway, it nice to know how to do it with a hammer and I think every smith should have those skills. On the other hand I can use the screw press to do what a hammer did with fewer heats and more accuracy.
Posted 23 May 2012 - 07:26 AM