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Thread: My Friend Wanted a Neanderthal Knife

  1. #1
    Supporting Member Crusty's Avatar
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    My Friend Wanted a Neanderthal Knife

    So I decided to put together a blacksmith shop and make one for him.

    First I needed a forge and I found a car wheel and plow disc lying beside the road so I was off to the races. I made the fire bowl from the wheel with a doughnut cut from the plow disc to cover up the extra holes in the wheel which would interfere with the air flow. I added legs and an air inlet tee made from chain link fence posts and an adapter from a soup pot lid to join the tee and the fire pot. For now I'm using my shop vac for air feed and it makes way more air than needed, but I've bought a variable speed blower that will eventually get mounted to the forge. This forge worked fine but it consumed a lot of coal so I built an insert that narrows the fire bowl considerably so that I still have a nice hot zone but it doesn't consume all that much coal in a firing.

    My Friend Wanted a Neanderthal Knife-forge-tongs.jpg

    The air into the forge is controlled by an inlet valve that I made from some red iron purlin scraps (works like a waste gate on a turbo) and it gives me nice control over my fire. Fully closed it allows enough air to keep the fire going, fully open it gets hot enough to burn steel and in between gives surprisingly fine control of the temperature. Here it's mounted onto the air inlet tee which also has a cleanout cover at the bottom.


    My Friend Wanted a Neanderthal Knife-control-valve.jpg

    My basic crane rail anvil was limiting so I added a Hardy hole to one end and a small horn to the other to allow a broader range of things I can do. I would have liked to have had a bigger horn but that was the largest diameter round of steel that I had on hand and so far it's working adequately despite looking so puny. It's mounted to the rail with a biggish dowel pin to resist the hammer blows and some pretty hefty welds hold it on.


    My Friend Wanted a Neanderthal Knife-anvil-hardy-horn.jpg

    Then I needed tongs so I've made about 6 of them so far from #5 rebar, and while they look ugly they all work adequately. I'll make nicer ones when I learn more about blacksmithin' and buy some good bar stock to work with. I also have a variety of tools for the Hardy including a hot cut chisel, a fuller and double fuller, a bending mandrel, a bolster pad for steps and a rivet forming pad. I also made a hold-fast and a twisting wrench from an old monkey wrench.


    My Friend Wanted a Neanderthal Knife-twisting-wrench.jpg

    I didn't really have a good selection of hammers so I bought a couple on Ebay and I chopped on a hand sledge to make a cross peen and they're adequate for now. Here's my selection of swing presses and there's also a 4# hand sledge not shown but it's too heavy for me and gets little use for forging.


    My Friend Wanted a Neanderthal Knife-swing-presses.jpg

    So, with the bases seemingly covered I went to Tractor Supply and bought 800# of hard Nut Coal and I was ready to start pounding on stuff.


    My Friend Wanted a Neanderthal Knife-coal.jpg

    I had an automotive coil spring in my scrap pile and since it was likely 5160 medium carbon steel (which would harden), I cut a section out of it, heated it, pounded it straight, and started smithin'. My first attempt was a no-go because I water quenched and it developed micro cracks but I oil quenched the second and all worked as expected. A file just skated off of it before tempering so it was plenty hard. I tempered it to a medium bronze with a propane torch and then put a nice utility edge on it. I made a grip from a layer of paracord for a base and then an overwrap of leather glued to the paracord and it feels solid in hand and nicely balanced because I didn't thin the spring in the grip area and only flattened the sides a little to prevent rolling in the hand. I ground a thumb stop with serrations into the spine since I didn't know how to make an integral guard and it provides a solid grip which prevents the hand coming forward in a stab. A black oxide coating and beeswax cover and it went into the mail and my friend is tickled to have it.


    My Friend Wanted a Neanderthal Knife-noels-knife-finished.jpg

    I'm aware that Neanderthals were stone age at best but my friend came up with the name and it conveys the theme so it stuck.

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    If you can't make it precise make it adjustable.

  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Crusty For This Useful Post:

    DIYSwede (Mar 8, 2021), Toolmaker51 (Mar 8, 2021)

  3. #2
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    Thanks Crusty! We've added your Forge to our Forging and Casting category,
    as well as to your builder page: Crusty's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:

    tags: forge



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    Thanks Crusty! We've added your Tongs to our Forging and Casting category,
    as well as to your builder page: Crusty's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:

    tags: tongs



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    Thanks Crusty! We've added your Knife to our Knife Making category,
    as well as to your builder page: Crusty's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:

    tags: knife



  6. #5
    Supporting Member Crusty's Avatar
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    Crusty's Tools
    Way to ignore and trivialize my efforts.

    That is a twisting wrench as I clearly stated and has no similarity to tongs.

    Converting crane rail to a functioning anvil must be unworthy of a mention here. Ditto for a waste gate control valve.

    I understand why many skilled builders disappear from this site after a year or so.
    If you can't make it precise make it adjustable.

  7. The Following User Says Thank You to Crusty For This Useful Post:

    Toolmaker51 (Mar 8, 2021)

  8. #6
    Supporting Member Toolmaker51's Avatar
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    Toolmaker51's Tools
    Well, at least a new age travesty was avoided......that early Iron Age customer was not identified as a Neanderthal.



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    Sincerely,
    Toolmaker51
    ...we'll learn more by wandering than searching...

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