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The Ultimate Irish Hunting Knife

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  • Registered Users Posts: 380 ✭✭ lordarpad


    Maybe, I don't know yet.
    Davy, since I have already voted on the tang thing, can i ask you about materials? rather specifically can you get sandwich steel?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,612 ✭✭✭ jwshooter


    im going to hold off voting on this one till i see the pro s and cons of each .


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,701 ✭✭✭ Offy


    davymoore wrote: »
    Tanks for the offer of making the Damascus Offy you are very kind indeed.
    I am a knifemaker and not a bladesmith but would love to work with some of that steel. What hardness are you able to achieve via your heat treating ? Were tou thinking of adding nickel or stainless also to help combat the climate here

    Davy

    The traditional Damascus blades had a carbon content of about 1.5% with a hardness of 6-7Gpa with tempering at or over 150 degrees C, chromium carbide has a hardness of about 11Gpa but some parents claim 17.65Gpa. I wouldnt use anything other than a light coat of oil to protect the blade.
    If your rally going to donate the knife to a member I might be able to get some 'Damascus' for this project. The method of making Damascus has being lost for generations but some smiths make some pretty good imitation Damascus steel.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,701 ✭✭✭ Offy




  • Registered Users Posts: 380 ✭✭ lordarpad


    Maybe, I don't know yet.
    Offy wrote: »
    The traditional Damascus blades had a carbon content of about 1.5% with a hardness of 6-7Gpa with tempering at or over 150 degrees C, chromium carbide has a hardness of about 11Gpa but some parents claim 17.65Gpa. I wouldnt use anything other than a light coat of oil to protect the blade.
    If your rally going to donate the knife to a member I might be able to get some 'Damascus' for this project. The method of making Damascus has being lost for generations but some smiths make some pretty good imitation Damascus steel.

    well, pattern welded steel. I prefer that term ;)


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  • Registered Users Posts: 37,507 ✭✭✭✭ Mellor


    Maybe, I don't know yet.
    Offy wrote: »
    The method of making Damascus has being lost for generations but some smiths make some pretty good imitation Damascus steel.
    lordarpad wrote: »
    well, pattern welded steel. I prefer that term ;)
    lordar, I underatand your point. That damascus doesn't exist anymore, Real damascus is lost forever. Their methods buried. A true shame.
    but I believe Offy is refering to something else.

    Most modern damacus refers to pattern welded steel, in that you are right.

    But I think he refers to Damacus style folded steel, which is not pattern welded. Forged by damn good smiths, a tricky process, just to get a copy.


  • Registered Users Posts: 563 ✭✭✭ davymoore


    Yes, Sat 22nd only
    lordarpad wrote: »
    Davy, since I have already voted on the tang thing, can i ask you about materials? rather specifically can you get sandwich steel?

    I can get just about any steel on the market including damascus or sandwich [laminated steel]

    Wootz steel I cannot get I'm afraid.

    Something you guys should bare in mind should be the cost of a production run should it eventually happen.

    440C Stainless steel costs about 50c an inch length
    ATS34 is approx €4.00 euro per inch length
    Stainless Damascus is about €22.00 an inch length
    Wootz steel or some Mosaic Damascus can cost up to €75.00 per inch length

    There are all sorts of options in between

    these are bar stock prices for 1&1/4 " x 1/8"

    you can see how a custom damascus knife using 9" of damascus [5 for handle and 4 for blade] can start to get very expensive.


  • Registered Users Posts: 563 ✭✭✭ davymoore


    Yes, Sat 22nd only
    Offy wrote: »

    Thanks for that Offy the AE damascus is actually produced in Pakistan.
    I have other sources for Damascus which I prefer to use for various reasons.

    Davy


  • Registered Users Posts: 563 ✭✭✭ davymoore


    Yes, Sat 22nd only
    So what are the arguments for or against. Hidden or full tang knives ?

    And BTW thanks Conor


  • Registered Users Posts: 380 ✭✭ lordarpad


    Maybe, I don't know yet.
    davymoore wrote: »
    I can get just about any steel on the market including damascus or sandwich [laminated steel]

    Something you guys should bare in mind should be the cost of a production run should it eventually happen.

    you can see how a custom damascus knife using 9" of damascus [5 for handle and 4 for blade] can start to get very expensive.

    My vote:

    standard material sandwich (I really dislike cutting edges made of stainless) and a custom option with pattern welded steel (sorry typing damascus when referring to modern steel makes my skin crawl).


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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,426 ✭✭✭✭ Grizzly 45


    On Damascus steel.
    Do we want to be really brave and forge our own blank as well??I have a book from Germany that shows how to set up a rudimentry forge and a couple of tools to make your own knife blades.Some fellow made his own Damascus using a mix of chainsaw chain and motorbike chain.Created "wild Damascus".Be even more intresting to try this as well maybe?Anyone want to have a look,I'll post up the chapter.But it is totally in German.:(
    Wouild favour Damascus,or pattern welded steel myself,as I havent got any and I would like to see are they as good as claimed for edge holding.

    Confucius say."He who says one man cannot change World. Never has eaten bat soup in Wuhan!"



  • Registered Users Posts: 782 ✭✭✭ riflehunter77


    Maybe, I don't know yet.
    davymoore wrote: »
    Let's start the debate between Full Tang and Hidden Tang

    I want to start off by dispelling a myth

    First of all let me say that Lordapard is correct in saying that there is very little difference in the strength of these handles. But and it's a big But that is generally provided that the hidden tang has been forged to shape and not simply machined out.

    Most cheap off the shelf blades will have been machined or stamped from a sheet of steel prior to grinding. This simple mass manufacturing error has been the primary cause behind the Myth that Hidden tang blades are weaker and more likely to break at The Ricasso (The Ricasso is the point on a knife where Blade Meets Handle, More on this later) and if hidden tang knife is built this way then it is a very likely assumption to make.

    However good knifemakers can get over this hurdle by shaping the tang by forging it to shape. Simply put, the Bar of flat steel is heated up and hammered on its edges until the tang is formed. Forging the steel in this way actually bulks up the ricasso and tang thus eliminating the likelyhood of breaking . It has been suggested in fact that a knife made in this Fashion is even stronger at the ricasso area because of this method.

    See diag. below

    hiddenvfull.gif

    So hopefully by eliminating this myth you will now be able to Vote on this particular secton of the build based on Aesthetics alone.

    I think you should see now why I earlier suggested a Hidden Tang. It was simply to allow us more choices and greater control over the design elements of the handle itself and therefore allowing us to get more Irish.

    That being said this topic is open to debate and if you guys want either a Full Tang or a Hidden Tang it's up to you.

    Voting will begin hopefully tomorrow but feel free to put forward your arguments for each case.

    Regards

    Davy

    I voted for full tang but after reading this davy im in two minds, always liked knives with full tang because I was always led to beleive that they were stronger and I liked they way you could feel the weight in them. Now im in two minds. Sure lets see how the poll goes ..


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,701 ✭✭✭ Offy


    Mellor wrote: »
    lordar, I underatand your point. That damascus doesn't exist anymore, Real damascus is lost forever. Their methods buried. A true shame.
    but I believe Offy is refering to something else.

    Most modern damacus refers to pattern welded steel, in that you are right.

    But I think he refers to Damacus style folded steel, which is not pattern welded. Forged by damn good smiths, a tricky process, just to get a copy.

    Indeed I am referring to folded steel and the reason I think folded steel should be used is because if the knife is to be modeled on ancient Irish knives then it should be manufactured in as close a manner as possible to the knives that were made hundreds of years ago. As I said earlier I would be willing to buy in a blank of the boards members choosing and donate it to this project if that is acceptable to everyone. The blank could be customised to any design decided upon and if really necessary theres a smith near where I live (Green's forge I think) that has a great reputation and Im sure they could fold the iron to steel in a similar method used in Damascus steel. Just a thought.


  • Registered Users Posts: 380 ✭✭ lordarpad


    Maybe, I don't know yet.
    Offy wrote: »
    Indeed I am referring to folded steel and the reason I think folded steel should be used is because if the knife is to be modeled on ancient Irish knives then it should be manufactured in as close a manner as possible to the knives that were made hundreds of years ago. As I said earlier I would be willing to buy in a blank of the boards members choosing and donate it to this project if that is acceptable to everyone. The blank could be customised to any design decided upon and if really necessary theres a smith near where I live (Green's forge I think) that has a great reputation and Im sure they could fold the iron to steel in a similar method used in Damascus steel. Just a thought.
    good and valid point. thank you Offy


  • Registered Users Posts: 22,897 ✭✭✭✭ Dyr


    I'm just going to post a link to this guys' knives as some random inspiration, love the primitive look of these ones, especially the "ugly knife":

    http://tracelesswarrior.blogspot.com/search?q=KNIFE&updated-max=2006-09-01T15:19:00-04:00&max-results=20


  • Registered Users Posts: 563 ✭✭✭ davymoore


    Yes, Sat 22nd only
    During the days of the crusades a steel was first discovered the quality of which had never been seen before. The steels being produced were of such quality that a sword made from this material was said to be able to cut a conventional balde it two with just one strike.

    When it was brought back from the crusades it became very desirable and was known as Damascus Steel because that was the region where it was first discovered. The art of smithing this original recipe has alas been lost forever.

    In the 1970's an American Knifemaker, Daryl Meier, wo was trying to get the perfect blend of toughness and hardness into his steel pioneered what we know today as Pattern Welded Steel. This steel sparked the interest of the knife making community worldwide and soon every smith was trying his hand at making Damascus Steel.

    Today there are hundreds of forges manufacturing various patterns of steel and selling them to knifemakers like myself. Patterns have exotic names like zebra, twist, fireworks, feather, firestorm, explosion etc. I could go on and on constantly get marketing emails and letters offering to sell me the NEW SUPER STEEL.

    There are 2 main problems with most of these companies. One is volume these guys can produce superb steel allright but it's not until you actually order some that you find out that they are "Temporarily" out of stock or can you wait 4 months as we have back orders to get through. The other problem I find is longevity. Most of these forges rarely last more than a couple of years and I wind up back at the beginning again.

    There is however a company in Sweden called Damasteel who produce large quantities of Damascus (Yes it's still called Damascus Steel) and the quality is consistently high they have been inbusiness now for many years and I would say that apart from those knifemakers who specialize in One OFF pieces they are the preffered choice for European Knifemakers today.

    They have a website here that is worth a look I particularly like that trio of hunters at the bottom left of the page [hidden tang which was my vote by the way :D] Anyway if you would like to go down the Damascus route for the project knife then I suggest that we should use this product.

    I realize we could make our own but the blade composition alone would start a debate long enough to last a lifetime. And even then I doubt that we could find a good enough, cheap enough smith in the country to make it either timely or economically viable. And I doubt that we could rival the quality anyway.

    [EDIT]
    By the way I should point out that I have no affiliation whatsoever with this company and am only suggesting the products as I have used them in the past and found that they suit my needs. Also the steels which they produce are stainless so will last longer in our climate.

    Other steel types such as laminates or some very good designer knife steels should also be considered especially if price is to be an issue.

    Here is a list of some steel types

    GO Forth and GOOGLE

    ATS34
    CPM154
    RWL34
    440C
    01
    S30V
    5120



    Davy


  • Registered Users Posts: 37,507 ✭✭✭✭ Mellor


    Maybe, I don't know yet.
    davymoore wrote: »
    In the 1970's an American Knifemaker, Daryl Meier, wo was trying to get the perfect blend of toughness and hardness into his steel pioneered what we know today as Pattern Welded Steel. This steel sparked the interest of the knife making community worldwide and soon every smith was trying his hand at making Damascus Steel.
    I'm sure Daryl Meier made advancements, or was prehaps the best in the field. But he ceretainly didn't pioneer pattern welded steel. Pattern welding dates back at least a millenium. It was originally believe that the real damascus steel was a form of patteren welding. But has recently been disproven.
    ATS34
    CPM154
    RWL34
    440C
    01
    S30V
    5120
    This is really a case of cost verse proformance. Out of curisoty what would you normally use for knifes?
    As much as i'd like to have the best, i'd sacrafice the every top end in order to keep cost reasonable.


  • Registered Users Posts: 563 ✭✭✭ davymoore


    Yes, Sat 22nd only
    I guess what I meant to say that Daryl is the man believed by most to be responsible for the Revival of the art of the pattern welded blade


  • Registered Users Posts: 563 ✭✭✭ davymoore


    Yes, Sat 22nd only
    ATS34
    CPM154

    My own personal preferences, trial and error, time and cost were factors here but perormance has been the main driver.


  • Registered Users Posts: 563 ✭✭✭ davymoore


    Yes, Sat 22nd only
    Offy wrote: »
    Indeed I am referring to folded steel and the reason I think folded steel should be used is because if the knife is to be modeled on ancient Irish knives then it should be manufactured in as close a manner as possible to the knives that were made hundreds of years ago. As I said earlier I would be willing to buy in a blank of the boards members choosing and donate it to this project if that is acceptable to everyone. The blank could be customised to any design decided upon and if really necessary theres a smith near where I live (Green's forge I think) that has a great reputation and Im sure they could fold the iron to steel in a similar method used in Damascus steel. Just a thought.

    Offy
    Thanks for the kind offer but I'd prefer not to go down this route and I'm afraid I have to decline.

    I do have my own good reasons for doing so.
    • When buying a blank you are never really sure how the piece was heat treated and what the hardness truely is.
    • Blanks have already been hardened to some degree and just trying to work on them with conventional tools is a nightmare
    • Blanks tend to have the edges already ground so reshaping them is not as easy as one might think. the more you grind away at the shape the thicker the edge becomes and it will end up being a very difficult procedure to get it all even again.
    All that being said I do appreciate the offer and hope you understand why I prefer not to go down this route.

    For anyone starting out in knifemaking though, blanks are a great way to develop your skills.

    Sincerely thanks

    Davy


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  • Registered Users Posts: 942 ✭✭✭ gofaster_s13


    I am a bit of a knife collector and personally I find knives made from 5160 steel and D-2 tool steel to be exceptionally usable on a day to day basis with a nice combination of edge holding and toughness, just my 2c:D


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,701 ✭✭✭ Offy


    davymoore wrote: »
    ATS34
    CPM154

    My own personal preferences, trial and error, time and cost were factors here but perormance has been the main driver.

    Both are good steels. CPM154 was designed to replace ATS34 I believe so Id go with that one. What about the tempering process after the blade is made? What method do you plan to use? Will you plate the blade after its tempered?


  • Registered Users Posts: 563 ✭✭✭ davymoore


    Yes, Sat 22nd only
    Offy wrote: »
    Both are good steels. CPM154 was designed to replace ATS34 I believe so Id go with that one. What about the tempering process after the blade is made? What method do you plan to use? Will you plate the blade after its tempered?

    Is this a serious question ?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,701 ✭✭✭ Offy


    davymoore wrote: »
    Is this a serious question ?

    It was a serious question. I have no idea what process you use to work steel but the process used will play a big part in how the knife works and lasts. After steel is worked its often heat treated to give the hardness, malleability, etc. that the tool is required to have. A good hunting knife should be hard enough to chop into bone which requires a hard centre in the blade, it should be sharp enough to cut flesh cleanly which required a very sharp edge, it also needs a core softer than the edge so if the blade hits something solid the edge will chip instead of the blade shattering. All these characteristics can be applied after the blade has been shaped and sharpened.
    Steel was invented by accident. Damascus steel was iron ore with a high carbon content. When it was forged at a certain temperature the iron mixed with the carbon to form steel and thats probably where the stories about its strength came from. Elsewhere in the world smiths noticed that if they baked iron swords in charcoal for a few hours it hardened the blade, what it did was add carbon to the iron. It leaves the core softer than the edge and that helps harden the outside surface of the metal which made better blades. The blades in Ireland from hundreds of years ago would have being hardened this way so if you want to recreate a knife from ancient Ireland its a more authentic approach than using Damascus steel. Stainless steel wasnt around hundreds of years ago but it can be tempered after working to restore the materials intended characteristics. Just wondered what way you were planning on tempering the blade after you've shaped it and if you plan to plate it to prolong the sharpness of the blade? Even though plating wasn't around hundreds of years ago if just the blade edge were plated it would help harden the edge keep it sharp for a long time. Both are good characteristics in a hunting knife.


  • Registered Users Posts: 380 ✭✭ lordarpad


    Maybe, I don't know yet.
    I am not aware of untempered blades, they would not last a new york second. And plating - huh? not aware of any quality knife that is .... quality meaning costing more than €1 ...


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,701 ✭✭✭ Offy


    Normally good knives wouldnt be plated but if you look back at metal work in Ireland hundreds of years ago often two metals were used for one item, swords, chalices, crosses, etc. Some cutting tools are plated in industry to prolong their cutting life. A two toned blade if done right would have a unique look and could be modelled on a Celtic design of some kind to give it an Irish look.


  • Registered Users Posts: 563 ✭✭✭ davymoore


    Yes, Sat 22nd only
    I do not want to replicate an ancient Irish knife. I want to create a modern field grade knife that when looked at would be recognised as an Irish hunting knife.

    To save time and as I am not a bladesmith nor do I know of one in Ireland I will be buying some form of knife steel barstock [type yet to be decided]. These steels are normally supplied in an annealed state in order to make them easier to work or shape. The heat treatment proccess for individual steels varies slightly but works basically along these lines.

    After the blade has been ground to shape and has been bevelled but before final sharpening. It needs to be hardened. I do this by heating the steel above it's "critical" temterature this will be somewhere around 1100 deg C at which point the steel will become non magnetic. It is then plunged and cooled rapidly. This hardens the blade.

    The blade however is now brittle and needs to be tempered. I do this by reheating the blade to approx 250 DegC and soaking it at that temperature for about 2 hours. some steels need to be tempered twice.
    The tempering procces gives the steel it's toughness.

    Following the steel manufacturers guidlines I will be trying for a finished hardness of approx 60RHC [Rockwell Hardness Scale]

    After this proccess the steel will have a slight scale on it which needs to be polished off. I like to polish to a satin finish. The blade is then finally sharpened and will be ready for handle material etc.

    I do not intend to plate the blade.

    I hope this helps

    Davy

    [Edit]
    You can view a manufacturers hardening instructions here

    I've just been offered a piece of this steel free of charge and I think it would be perfect for our build


  • Registered Users Posts: 563 ✭✭✭ davymoore


    Yes, Sat 22nd only
    Time to start thinking about blade length and thickness.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,462 ✭✭✭ Double Barrel


    Maybe, I don't know yet.
    Interesting subject Mr Moore and you seem to have garnered a fair amount of interest. Ten pages and by the looks of it we have a ways to go. :)

    I have a question, is the knife in question primary job to be as a field dressing knife - or - as an all-around hunting knife ? I know the title is "The Ultimate Irish Hunting Knife" but I think we need a few parameters.

    John Griffin and others have broached this subject but I am not aware of an outcome and now we have come to the length of the blade.

    If the primary purpose is "field dressing" then IHMO you only need a knife to cut through the hide and through the animals stomach muscle, genital to the sternum. Cut the diaphragm away from the deer's chest cavity, cut the oesophagus out (a gralloching blade would be handy here). After it is cut simply pull the heart and lungs out and with it comes the rest of the intestines. Done. Dispose of the entrails. Drag the deer to a vehicle and home. Skinning and butchering are usually done at home and require different knives and saws etc.

    Maybe I missed it as I admit to not reading every word in this thread.
    Great thread by the way.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 166 ✭✭ emcor


    Same here - really interesting
    How about a gut hook on it?


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