Hand Tools Archive

First Smashed Marking Knife

david weaver
I got a coffee can forge for Christmas. It's the kind of thing I would normally waste a bunch of time to build, but people build them cheap.

In keeping with the talk about plain steel, I figured the first thing I'd do would be to smash the end of a file and sharpen it, more or less, with a plan to leave a rough handle that I can wrap.

And then sharpen it and see if it worked out.

(I already had a good anvil to pein infill planes).

It didn't spread out as much or as easily as I figured, and I didn't do high tech tempering - I quenched it and then immediately tempered it to straw waving it back and forth through the torch flame and put it in the quench quickly as soon as it got there, and then blued the tang.

It takes an incredibly fine edge, given that I have no clue what it is (the steel) other than to assume it's somewhere between W and O steels (ultimately, who cares?).


It'll be a while before I figure out how to make anything accurately (unless it's just sawn, filed and ground out of flat stock), but I know what I'll make my marking knives out of from now on.

If the quality of the edge hadn't turned out so good, I wouldn't have posted this at all.

After all of the SGPS screwing around, finally finding that a buffer will give it a fine edge (at the cost of a thin edge, somewhat), file steel just hand grinds off of the IM 313, a quick buff and then a reset of the edge (I don't want that rounding on this knife), a bit of work on an arkansas and scrap wood loaded with compound.

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