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Hand Forged Nakiri

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ricardovaste View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ricardovaste Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Hand Forged Nakiri
    Posted: 16 May 2018 at 09:47
So most recently I tried to do a "making of" type series, but honestly, even with trying I had to abandon it after a certain point. I think this would be much easier if you had someone to take photos for you, OR if you were committed to the project taking 3x the time it normally would (so you could stop to photograph parts).

But here are a few anyway...

edit: If you're interested in following, I will have a website soonish: http://richardharrisknives.co.uk and an IG here: https://www.instagram.com/richardharrisknives/ (Yes, I may be trying to do too much in 2018! )

1 - The steel I'm using is an estimated 60-100 years old, made in Sheffield. The quality in the final cutting edge is exceptional.



2 - The handle material is a reclaimed fence post from a farm in Devonshire. It's pretty ugly here so requires some work...



3 - Forging begins...



4 Drawing out the material both length-ways and depth



5 Forging and rough grind to shape complete. Annealed. Now it just needs to be touchmarked, then move onto the critical heat treatment processs...



6 Finished. 6" Nakiri - this is a very thin blade designed for vegetable prep and is very efficient in doing so.



7 A different knife, but the same handle material. Here it's got a half burnt finish. Bronze pin.





Edited by ricardovaste - 16 May 2018 at 09:53
I photograph the moments in people's lives that mean the most to them: Richard Harris Photography
 



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clk230 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote clk230 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2018 at 10:47
Thanks for taking us through process. The end product certainly looks to justify your efforts! Photos 1 and 6 are my favourites here.
C & C always welcome
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Fred_S View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fred_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2018 at 18:26
Nice work Richard!
Is it as strong as the Japanese steel for swords?
That forging is a very special process to get the strength.
Do I understand it right that there is another heat treatment after annealing?
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ricardovaste View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ricardovaste Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2018 at 10:42
Originally posted by clk230 clk230 wrote:

Thanks for taking us through process. The end product certainly looks to justify your efforts! Photos 1 and 6 are my favourites here.


Thanks! I've only used it briefly so far but I intend on making it my every day knife from now on.

Originally posted by Fred_S Fred_S wrote:

Nice work Richard!
Is it as strong as the Japanese steel for swords?
That forging is a very special process to get the strength.
Do I understand it right that there is another heat treatment after annealing?


Thanks Fred! That isn't a simple question to answer . Firstly, I think it's worth noting that "strength" isn't particularly important when it comes to kitchen knives or swords made of steel, and strength is measured in numerous different ways depending on the application (if you have a friend who is an engineer like I do, ask them!). As if you look at strength in terms of bending stress, a "traditional Japanese swords" (and I realise I am being making a sweeping generalisation), can bend and stay bent if forge is exerted from side (perpendicular to the cutting edge. This can be hammered or forced back into straight - but the point being that these were made with both soft and hard steel and hardened differentially. So typically, the spine is "soft" and able to absorb the "shock" of being used, whereas the cutting edge is very hard - making it able to take a very fine, sharp edge and hold it. If the entire sword was made of just this hardened steel, and made the same hardness throughout, it could be more likely to break under pressure and would be less shock resistant (which, if in battle, you don't really want your weapon breaking, do you?).

But if you compare a sword made in the 12th century, there is nothing metallurgically superior. Any high grade, high carbon steel made today will be purer, superior.

What *is* special is the culture, the treatment, the whole process, the knowledge of working the steel and making the blade. As you may know, in the middle of the 19th century Samurai were banned from carrying swords in Japan, as part of modernization, and so sword makers moved into cutlery making instead. So there is a enourmous history passed down to many kitchen knife makers in Japan, which is why it's so renowned for making some of the best kitchen knives in the world.

But in England, there is naturally a history of steel making and industry as well, predominately in Sheffield. I've tested many pieces, mostly made around 1920-1940, and I can say the steel is wonderful to work with under the hammer. And it's taking a really, really fine edge and holding it - which is perfect for kitchen knives. The challenge is then just trying to refine the whole process and extract as much of the qualities from it as possible!

"Do I understand it right that there is another heat treatment after annealing?"

Annealing makes the steel "soft", making it easier to machine (grind, file, drill, cut etc). The steel is then Normalised - which refines the grain structure internally, making it stronger and able to take a finer edge. Then it's hardened, meaning the blade is actually hard so it can be a cutting implement. But it's also very brittle at this point, so it's tempered to bring the hardness down slightly and make it somewhat tougher. That's the basic process.
I photograph the moments in people's lives that mean the most to them: Richard Harris Photography
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SnowFella View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote SnowFella Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2018 at 11:07
Indeed lots of bits go into making steel to fit it's intended use, having grown up in a town built around it's steel factory (Sandviken, Sweden) and with a dad being a metallurgical engineer I love seeing things like this! He's now retired but was involved in making lots of specialty steel for razors and blades over the years.
Worked the steel mill for a few years back in my youth running both an edge tempering machine and later edge grinding machine.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote owenn01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2018 at 11:51
Hi Richard,

Another interesting and absorbing series from you here and some interesting insights.

A couple of things I would add regarding your process and 'feedstock' - my late father worked for Webley and Scott almost all his life and he managed to 'beaver away' a number of old trade process and 'tips' booklets etc. on the art of barrel 'blueing' etc. that might be of interest to you. Also, I have in our garage significantly more of those industrial files than you could probably shake a stick at - if you find supply difficult just drop me a line and we can come to some 'arrangement'

Good luck and stay safe!

Best regards, Neil.
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ricardovaste View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ricardovaste Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2018 at 12:28
Originally posted by SnowFella SnowFella wrote:

Indeed lots of bits go into making steel to fit it's intended use, having grown up in a town built around it's steel factory (Sandviken, Sweden) and with a dad being a metallurgical engineer I love seeing things like this! He's now retired but was involved in making lots of specialty steel for razors and blades over the years.
Worked the steel mill for a few years back in my youth running both an edge tempering machine and later edge grinding machine.


Amazing! Do you have any photos you could share?
I photograph the moments in people's lives that mean the most to them: Richard Harris Photography
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SnowFella View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote SnowFella Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2018 at 12:51
Unfortunately it was well before I got the photography bug, did lots of walk through of the furnace buildings but way to young to bring a camera along. Same goes for when I worked there, best I had was a Nokia phone.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ricardovaste Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2018 at 13:18
Originally posted by owenn01 owenn01 wrote:

Hi Richard,

Another interesting and absorbing series from you here and some interesting insights.

A couple of things I would add regarding your process and 'feedstock' - my late father worked for Webley and Scott almost all his life and he managed to 'beaver away' a number of old trade process and 'tips' booklets etc. on the art of barrel 'blueing' etc. that might be of interest to you. Also, I have in our garage significantly more of those industrial files than you could probably shake a stick at - if you find supply difficult just drop me a line and we can come to some 'arrangement'

Good luck and stay safe!

Best regards, Neil.


Thanks Neil, I'm going to send you a message now about your garage

p.s. I'm relatively safe this year, haven't lost any of my fingers!
I photograph the moments in people's lives that mean the most to them: Richard Harris Photography
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Post Options Post Options   Quote stiuskr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2018 at 17:42
Originally posted by ricardovaste ricardovaste wrote:

...But if you compare a sword made in the 12th century, there is nothing metallurgically superior. Any high grade, high carbon steel made today will be purer, superior...


What about the Ulfberht viking swords? Here's a YouTube video from a PBSTV show, think it was a NOVA series, about the sword and one modern bladesmith's attempt for create one as they did. And he did starting out with iron ore and a mud brick forge and produced a bar as pure and fine grained as what modern steel is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lspB3QhrW_Q
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fred_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2018 at 18:51
Thanks for your extensive explanation Richard!
By 'hard' I meant the blade in particular as you described, sharp and hold it.
My father in law has worked as a farrier for a while, and I have been working for a steelcompany for 30 years, so know a little bit about steel, forging, annealing etc, but also about the impresive history of the steel industry in Sheffield
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ricardovaste Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2018 at 11:04
Originally posted by stiuskr stiuskr wrote:

Originally posted by ricardovaste ricardovaste wrote:

...But if you compare a sword made in the 12th century, there is nothing metallurgically superior. Any high grade, high carbon steel made today will be purer, superior...


What about the Ulfberht viking swords? Here's a YouTube video from a PBSTV show, think it was a NOVA series, about the sword and one modern bladesmith's attempt for create one as they did. And he did starting out with iron ore and a mud brick forge and produced a bar as pure and fine grained as what modern steel is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lspB3QhrW_Q


I see this is an hour long! I will try to watch this within the next week and get back to you with my thoughts!
I photograph the moments in people's lives that mean the most to them: Richard Harris Photography
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ricardovaste View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ricardovaste Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2018 at 11:07
Originally posted by Fred_S Fred_S wrote:

Thanks for your extensive explanation Richard!
By 'hard' I meant the blade in particular as you described, sharp and hold it.
My father in law has worked as a farrier for a while, and I have been working for a steelcompany for 30 years, so know a little bit about steel, forging, annealing etc, but also about the impresive history of the steel industry in Sheffield


Brilliant! Your father in law was very skilled then, farrier work is very demanding and a protected professional in the UK. I have seen someone do this work once, it is impressive how quickly they work, moving just the right amount within such a small space of time.

Feel free to send me some steel if you have any left over from work . My knowledge on steel is only from the past 2-3 years of reading, it is very basic, I'm sure you know vastly more than me!
I photograph the moments in people's lives that mean the most to them: Richard Harris Photography
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