What are the BEST Knifemaking Beginner Steels?Bruce Richardson
The BEST BEGINNER Knife-making Steels?
Attention those starting out in knife-making.
Ever wanted to know what kind of steel you should use for making your first knife?
You are in the right spot! We have some information for you.
There are a multitude of steel formulas that have all been design optimised for specific tasks. As a beginner knife-maker it can be daunting to pick through all the jargon, chemistry, TTT diagrams and finally select a steel.
That sounds overwhelming already, right?
No worries … in this video Dave simplifies the choices and explains why.
And to make it even easier for you Dave made a list of all the beginner steel – find the beginner knife-making steel list below the video.
Enjoy – any questions contact us.
Beginner Knife-making Steels – Dave’s suggestions:
– SUP9 (5610)
– Beginners Knife-making Kit (The beginner’s knife-making kit is an excellent choice for beginner knife-makers. It contains all the materials and instructions you need to be successful in your first simple knife build.)
For the more advanced knife-makers check out our steel guide.
Hi guys. This is the first video I’m going to do to kick off a series on just how to start knife-making. I want to do this so that people can probably get through it with the least amount of frustration. It’s a great hobby to have. But I’m going to talk about the first thing you need to get before you get the power hammer and the forge and like the electric kiln that’s clicking away beside me.
So the blade, as I mentioned, is made of SUP9. Very similar to 5160. It started off as six mill thick, 70 mill bar. I’m using SUP9 because it’s really available. Gameco has a pretty good range of widths. It seems to just be manufactured mostly at around the six to seven mill range. So it’s a good type of steel for these big bush craft choppers.
So the aim will be to get at least the edge to a pretty even 830 degrees, which is hard to tell by eye. The back of the blade being so thick is probably going to work against us a little bit like at heating. So my aim is going to be to heat up most of – around this area where it’s going to suck heat towards the colder steels I don’t really need to have hardened and the spine up here.
So I will do a bit of pre-heating and then start to work down near the edge. Once I’m satisfied that it’s kind of even and I’ve held the temperature for a little while, I go into the oil. If I was heat treating in the furnace or I n my kiln, I’ve probably actually aimed a little bit of a soak, get it nice and even. But I’m just trying to display an easy kind of heat treatment process with tools you guys will have access to and yeah, things to help you get started making blades. It might not necessarily be the best blades. But it will be something achievable that you can have a go at at home.
I feel like that time I had a much more even heat in the heat part of it than all. It is a bit hard to tell when the sun is up. You got light interfering with your colours, the steel in the workshop. That’s why it’s never really a good idea to go off the colour. I did check with the magnet but for SUP9, the hardening temperature is actually 100 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the Curie temperature.
So I did check it with the magnet just to make sure that I was at least 1425 Fahrenheit. I think it’s 770 something Celsius and hopefully this one has turned out a little bit – it’s nice and straight as you would expect of a six mill thick piece of steel. I mean because you can’t really do too much of an extended suck when you’re heat treating with a blow torch like that.
You don’t really end up with too much scale on the surface. But this isn’t really your optimal heat treated oil. But it’s a good way to get started heat treating if you’ve got access to a blow torch.
There we go. So now I grind off the exterior and I will test it with files again and see how it went.
So I’m just going to test this one again just with the file I’ve got in the workshop. Sounds very glassy. It’s not doing anything. Let me try it with the 60 Rockwell test file.
Yeah, it’s kind of jumping over the ridges in the file. Not really doing anything to it at all. Taking the outside kind of scale heat-treated surface off before testing is important, so you know you’re not testing on a decarburized surface that might not harden as fully as it could or you might be testing on scale, which tends to be quite a bit hard.
Even when I was grinding this, I could feel it was like trying to grind glass on a blaze belt. Another good reason to do a bit of grinding and just clean up the surfaces before you temper, having a nice, clean, best steel surface will help you assess the surface colours and that can only happen when air is able to interact with a clean steel surface. It will be really hard to do if it’s like the handle here. You can’t see any of the colours at all.
So before I put them in the kitchen oven, I always clean them up like that. I want this blade to come out at 59 Rockwell. So I’m starting off a little bit below 200 degrees Celsius and what I’m going to do is check with a Thermocouple reader that the temperature is tracking OK because this is just a – it’s just a fairly cheap domestic oven. I use the Thermocouple reader to check where the temperature is and I will turn it up accordingly. So I’m kind of erring on the side of caution, so I can progress towards 200 Celsius rather than set it to 200 Celsius and find it sitting at 240 where the blade is. I will show you a bit more of that in a moment.
Pretty close to where the knife is. So I have been reheating the natural area that the blade occupies around somewhere else. Let’s close her up. This is the Thermocouple reader from Gameco. I think they’re about $62 for this unit and then the K type Thermocouples are about $12. There are some more durable Thermocouples available. But if the temp you’re doing is sort of lower temperature jobs, I find this one is more than adequate. Just turn it on and check the temperature like so. So it’s sitting there.
So if that’s 140, it has still got most of the way to go. I will just leave it in there and keep checking on it until the orange heating light on the oven turns off. Then I will see how closely they’re reading together. So I got the oven set to – it’s like about 190 on the dot. Yeah, it seems to be holding pretty close to that. The oven went off about five minutes ago or so. It actually looks like it’s a little bit under.
So I’m just going to squeeze it up. I will just put it on 200. I will see where that ends up. Like I said, the blade has been in the oven and I’ve taken it out and just put it next to an un-heat-treated blade. This was actually the first one I did out of the SUP9 and you can see across here it has got a crack and I think that’s because I had too much temperature along the edge and almost none at the spine when I quenched. So you can see that the tempered blade is now a bit of a straw colour and un-tempered still looks just to be a white sort of colour. So that’s what you’re aiming for.
Knifemaking Beginner Steels – Dave suggestions:
– SUP9 (5610)
– Beginners Knife Making Kit (The beginner’s knife making kit is an excellent choice for… beginner knife makers. It contains all the materials and instructions you need to be successful in your first simple knife build.)