The magic and Pure Alchemy of Iron

Posts tagged “blacksmithing

Not much but happy 2015.


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A few new forgings/creations. Day job continues to erode my forging time.



First off  before get into explaining this item the original place I saw it was and from a few other concepts of static knife edging jigs used in professional factories. I am not associated with Captjeff78  personally but he deserves  credit for this great design and honestly the difference maker in my knives going forward. Youtube and many of these great knife video makers are adding valuable if not invaluable hands on info to the greater amateur knife making community so thank you to everyone in the education field regarding Blacksmith and knife making based information. I myself run this blog to help anyone who may be going through the head scratching parts of making knives and doing forge work.


Now onto the Visbjorn Scandi Edge jig!







Forgive the bad graphics but this item is rude, crude and ready to use!

The jig above I use to make Scandinavian Edge style knives to great effect! I can make the same knife with any depth of hollow ground I want and they are basically ready to use right off the sander. I use 80 grit to remove material and 120 to finish my knife edge. I leave the steel at factory finish to creat a more earthy realistic feel that I prefer. I then 3500 RPM wire brush after all heat treating. Sometimes it is nice to hit the master bevel one  more time  to brighten it up after heat treating. I use a Ryobi 4″-36″ belt sander and generic 1″ by 30″ sander.I prefer using fresh factory made 1075/1080 High carbon steel. Please refer to my Trade off steel post for more info on how to get 1080 and other alloys.

As the graphics show, it is rather self explaining how to make and use this item. Simply creating a secure static for the knife to sit on and move it slowly but firmly across the belt until the desired edge is created. I modified mine to be more adjustable and use the large clamp as a handle which can be a pain but creates a more flexible tool if holes are not desired on your tang. I typically mount in antler so I use a Scandinavian tang shape.

Examples of blades made on my jig:



A finale note I would like to share regarding this jig concept is the profound effect it has made on my freehand knife making. It has steadied my hand and given the proper example of thorough steady grinding required to make a nice functional knife. Now when a roughly forged blades is needing an edge but does not fit on the jig I can easily achieve a nice uniform convex/scandi edge with great success>













I hope this will help on the road to better knife making, it has helped me greatly in my own progress and has redefined my art form in many ways.




REBAR part 2 40 grade success story.

40 grade domestic Rebar forged into Norse Athame


40 grade Athame.

My original 60 grade rebar article has been very popular because it covers the general questions on rebar from a field testing stand point however it largely has left out the more commonly found 40 grade, so I decided to tackle it head on in this update to REBAR: HOW AND WHY.
The 2 daggers above were forged from a single piece of random grade 40 domestic rebar. I decided to  torture test the hardness, strength and consistency of grade 40 after the success with grade 60. The results were 100% positive in the fact that this material water hardened so well I myself could not believe it. I made 2 daggers out of it with identical results and then quench hardened a non worked portion to test randomly in my vice. I place the round undeformed piece in my vice and attached a wrench to it  attempting to bend it. It was so hard that not only did it barely bend under pressure it actually return to shape when it finally did flex.  After this testing it still appears that tempering is not 100% needed  but this is my own preference. Viewing my  experiments in whole I have yet to have any negative result from making blades out of either 40 or 60 grade and the hardening ability/carbon has been high in all pieces I have tested and all tests have been on totally random pieces. One piece actually snapped when I continued to forge below temp.
My steel rating:
Workability: A+
Hardening: B+
Durability: A+
I again highly recommend at least testing this your self and seeing if you get the same results.
I will be making a rebar Scandi and it will be featured in a future article with testing data.
Remember that field testing material has far more value than internet myth and metal working lore that up to this point has been flat-out wrong.

New Creations Gallery Yule 2011/Safety Bullet Points.

Scandinavian Bush Knife. 1075/1080 blade steel with oil quench.


The Bush knife above is my first under my VISBJORN Forge name and the first Vinlander 1.0 although the design will likely include a stag handle after this prototype.
I used a Jig to get the edge bevel and I will be doing a very detailed post on who invented the jig originally (With links) and how I made my own version and added my own custom details for what I do. I do not know how I lived with out it before so I look forward to sharing my results and modifications in the future. I will also be doing a Gear overview post to show what an evolving home knife shop might have in it and how you can have a serious shop right in  your own shed.
I think I went over general safety in a previous post  but I will do a safety bullet points right now  to refresh.
1. Always wear goggles for grinding and darker glasses for forging. The white spot in the forge can be damaging to the eyes like the light produced by welding..
2. Gloves are needed while grinding to prevent burns and getting caught by the paper/wheel.
3. Hearing protection should be used for any prolonged use of power tools.
4.  Always wear a good dust mask while grinding. VERY IMPORTANT.
5. if you use German silver (cupronickel) or nickel in your work whether jewelry or knife accents please be aware the dust is very toxic and should be avoided at all costs.
6. Please see previous posts for blacksmithing tips on hammer holding etc.
 Thanks for reading.

Athame Gallery and Explanation.


The Athame is a ritual dagger used in various forms of  Witchcraft to cast circles and transfer energy similar to a wand. Like any tool for any job I design my Athame or Witch Daggers for the purpose of energy work and symbolism. Modern wrought iron or 1018 is my prefered material.  The more iron content the better for this use as I am a believer in metaphysics and energy utilization. Pure wrought iron if available is the finest for this type of item because there is no edge on an Athame. The blade shape is symbolic. In ancient Norse culture iron is a holy material of great importance.  A Norse custom of hammering iron nails above the door is believed to guard your home from unwanted spirits or Trolls because they dislike iron.

This gallery contains some of my favorite creative pieces for this purpose.


Hardened iron blade with Runes hand chiseled. handle is mule deer antler. Design on Antler is inspired by bronze age Slavic pottery.

Rams Head With Custom Sawback.

Dragon Spear Athame with Leather vand hemp handle wrap.


Nordic Bronze Age Inspired Athame


Dragon blade, Norse handle and Labradorite accents.


Solid hammer hardened copper. Great energy.

Thanks for looking.

Avoiding cracked/torn steel bullet points memo.


1. Forge at brightest orange or yellow. Do not forge at dull red.

2. Quench in oil only. Water can create a more explosive reaction causing bending or cracking in steel.

3. Old springs can make good blades but often have stress fractures. When possible buy 1095 from a steel company and start fresh.

4. Spring stress fractures can be less of a problem if you use the first 2 techniques. They often cause more cosmetic damage than functional damage.

5. When forging axe heads draw the eye out slowly at bright orange/yellow. Tearing can occur if done too aggressively at low heat.

6. When forging Real wrought iron ( Iron with silica still in it) Forge only at yellow. This material will crack and tear easily along its grain.


This material is 1040 and will quench harden in water very well. Does not require tempering usually but that’s my opinion. Can be forged at orange without fear of cracks. 

FORGING MODERN IRON (1018-Low carb steel)

 This steel can be forged at orange with no fear of cracking because it lacks the temperamental issues of real iron or HC steel. Thanks to modern production techniques this material has the highest workability and ease of use of any steel you will find for decorative smith work. Contrary to modern metallurgical lore  modern iron (1018) will harden after quenching but does not require tempering because it cannot reach a hardness level higher than 42RC.  This gives the material high durability and strength. (Only thinner pieces of 1018 can obtain 42RC) Steel 1″ thick or more cannot get to this hardness level. This material I recommend most highly for those just starting out because it can be obtained easily at your hardware store and lacks the pit falls of HC steel.





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