Is it worth while making a working knife to bother on the selection of rare steels with special properties for the blade? And is the new Hamer's valve blade worth admiring?
I am often asked: "What is the best steel for a knife?"
Personally, I started making homemade knives in kindergarten. Not from steel, of course, from plasticine. Then, already when he was in school, he planed daggers and sabers from wood. And he made the very first real, steel knife at school, in labor lessons. When a trudovik (a labor teacher) went out somewhere, I turned on and off the emery immediately and, using the fact that the emery was spinning silently, grinded a piece of cloth from a hand hacksaw for metal. As always, there were problems with the handle, and without thinking too much, I just wrapped more electrical tape around the handle. Fortunately, at that time, multi-colored plastic tape appeared. If you wind a piece of newspaper on the blade of a knife, and then wrap the resulting scabbard with electrical tape, you get a knife with a scabbard.
Even better, a scabbard is obtained, sewn from two pieces of leather. It is at this level that many homemade knives usually stop. At this skill level, there is no talk of steel grades. What they have is fine. And if such a homemade product also cuts bread with sausage, then it's generally fine.
The next step in qualification begins with collectors. Collectors just buy the knives they like. But sometimes the price for a knife is so high that there is no longer any talk about the practical application of this knife. Dust is blown off from such a knife; it is not customary to sharpen such knives. You can't even touch the blades of other, collection knives, you won't get rid of the stains on the blade later. The same applies to all kinds of daggers, foreign souvenir, edged weapons and other museum inventory.
In this case, again, the brand of steel is not important. The knife will still hang on the wall, under glass, or gather dust deep in the lingerie drawer. In any case, this knife does not need piercing and cutting properties, and what kind of scabbard such a knife has is also not important.
The practical use of knives forces the owner to sharpen the knife, expose it to chemical and physical effects of various aggressive environments. The sanitary and hygienic quality of both the knife itself and the place of its storage, that is, the presence of certain sheaths, are also important. In the end it turns out? That a working knife is inherently short-lived. A year, another, the use and the knife is gone. Acquiring a working knife for centuries of practical use is a pointless exercise. This is where the clarification of the materials used in general and the steel grades for the blade in particular begins.
Working knives, as a tool, have a very wide range of applications and for each specific case, a specific steel grade is needed, as well as a specific quality of this steel and the used sheath. The serviceability of this knife is equally important. For example, chef's knives (not to be confused with kitchen knives) can be very hard steel. Such knives are sharpened by specialists in sharpening, on special, stationary equipment. The same applies to boot knives, but these knives are sharpened by the owner himself also on special stationary equipment (emery with a set of stones necessary for hardness).
Homemade, kitchen knives are usually made from any suitable piece of iron. Look what knives the owner has in the kitchen, such is the owner himself. Home-made, kitchen knives are bought by other owners or purchased in some other way, therefore, in this case, the owner must be classified as a buyer. Which, in general, also speaks of the “handlessness” of the owner.
In this case, it is not always necessary to be offended at the “handlessness”. A virtuoso chef is not obliged to make knives for himself, he can buy a suitable knife or a set of knives. For the owner using a knife only for cutting bread and sausages, a special knife is also not needed. But for a skilled mistress who wants to feed the owner more tasty, the owner still needs to purchase or make good, professional knives on his own, even for her kitchen. After all, a skilled cook in her own kitchen sometimes has to cut frozen meat, and it is also necessary to butcher the chicken. And it is difficult to make a good knife, you need to have both hands and some professional skills, in particular, to know the properties of steels.
Homemade knives. Photo: TheDraco wikipedia.org Imagine that a kitchen knife for cutting frozen meat is made from a blade for mechanical cutting of metal. Such a knife holds the sharpness of the blade well, but a slight turn of the knife (in frozen meat) and the knife will break, spraying the shards of the blade in all directions. Well, if the cook does not injure himself with such a knife.
Some experts suggest that the blades for mechanical cutting of metal used for making a knife should be tested by dropping them on the floor or by hitting them hard against some hard object. Explaining that not all blades are hardened equally and some blades do not break during slight bending. These specialists apparently do not feel sorry for their cook, but this is their wife, mother, daughter, sister or beloved woman. In fact, cooks, basically, do not understand the quality of steel and completely rely on the knowledge of "homemade". It is nevertheless necessary to make homemade knives wisely. The knife must first of all be safe for the owner and all those who use it.
A special conversation about hunting and tourist knives. It is better, of course, if the knife blade is made of stainless steel, but in any case, the special hardness of the blade hardening is not needed. After all, such knives have to be sharpened in the field on the first pebble that comes across. Hardened blades for 50 units on a fragment of an ordinary brick you can no longer sharpen it. So, if there is no way to get good stainless steel, then what's the difference from which black steel to make a knife blade.
If the metal is hardened to 40 units or a little more, then this is quite enough. Using the cold forging method, it is possible to bring a raw, that is, a non-hardened "piece of iron" to about the same hardness, by riveting. If you yourself are able to forge and harden the knife blade, then you can make a good blade from ordinary reinforcement (or hexagon).
In my opinion, good knives are obtained from saw blades for ripping logs onto boards. The thickness of a standard, such a saw is 2, 8 mm, with a knife width of three centimeters, you can easily rest on such a knife, getting out of the hole, the knife will not break. Again, "According to the Law on Weapons" this blade thickness is not considered socially dangerous or combat. The steel of the blade rusts with improper care, and is usually black, but it sharpens and drills well under the rivets for the handle.
Personally, I have probably tried all the options for attaching handles to knives and now I make a knife handle from two wooden plates wrapped with a beautiful cord on epoxy glue. Quite good handles are obtained if, instead of a cord, we take knitwear of a suitable color. Sheathe or wrap, and then saturate with glue.
The stores sell Ural knives made of Damascus steel with inlaid birch bark handles. Knives are sold without a scabbard, often in special boxes, and probably it is not necessary to explain that these knives are only for collectors, but not as workers for tourists or hunters. It is expensive and such knives quickly lose their appearance.
Damascus knife Vandreren. Photo: Andrey Zhivotov wikipedia.org Folding knives also suffer from weak blade attachment and are not suitable for serious strength tests. There are no comrades for taste and color. On my travels, I saw hunter-fishermen going fishing in the taiga with kitchen knives from the shops. Instead of a scabbard, a rolled-up newspaper or knife is put in a pocket with the blade up. This is so as not to cut your pocket, and they do not remember about their own hands. They also do not think that the knife may fall out or that the knife can be run into. This is in the deep taiga …
The so-called Yakut hunting knives, without finger rests, in a wooden slotted scabbard are no better. The knives themselves are unsafe, your fingers can slip onto the blade, and the scabbard will start to stink after a few days of use. Georgian daggers are also not made for hunters or tourists. Try to cut a torch for a fire with a dagger or clean a medium-sized fish, because it will not work.
In general, you can find anything you want among extreme tourists. At best, they have diving knives, but the scabbard for the working knife should be collapsible for periodic cleaning.
So, is it worth while making a working knife to bother with the selection of rare steels with special properties for the blade? And is the new Hamer's valve blade worth admiring? If you do not confuse collectible knives with workers, then steel for a knife is not the most important thing, the main thing is the knife itself.