Monday, December 28, 2009

Learning photography

Apparently learning photography is essential to becoming a successful bladesmith. This is my latest attempt.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Bantam

Click on the pictures below to view the knife in greater detail.

The Bantam is made from 5160 steel, has micarta scales and a green kydex sheath. This is Scott's 3rd forged blade. All of his blades are triple quenched and all have passed the brass rod flex test. This is Scott's carry knife. A similar design with a standard Kydex sheath, synthetic handles and brass pins would run about $250. Add $15 for mosaic pins.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Scott has discovered a passion for knife making. He learned the art of blacksmithing at Penland School of Crafts at age 17 and has played at a coal fired forge on and off for nearly 20 years. Recently he took the time to build a gas fired forge. This amazing device has made forging so much easier that he decided to give bladesmithing a try - something he's always wanted to do.

Scott starts with a piece of steel, heats it up, then bangs on it until it's real pretty. Okay, maybe that's a bit simplified. It takes Scott about 15-20 hours to make a forged knife. The following is a brief overview of that process.

First Scott designs the knife on graph paper and sometimes makes a wood mock up. Then he rough forges the steel to the desired shape and anneals it in vermiculite.

Next, he rough grinds the knife to its final profile and refines the distal tapers. Note custom made grinder below. This machine is amazing!

Normalization comes next. This involves heating the knife to just above non-critical (non-magnetic or 1,450 degrees) in the forge. This is done 3 times, letting the knife cool in still air between each cycle.

After the knife cools, Scott hardens the blade by bringing it slightly above critical temperture with a torch (or in the forge) and edge quenching it in 120 degree oil. This is also done 3 times.

Temper is drawn afterwards. Scott is currently tempering his knives in a toaster oven at 300-450 degrees (depending on the steel) for 2 hours and over 3 cycles.

Lastly, the blade is finish ground, hand rubbed, and etched to show temper lines (see second knife). Handles and other elements are the final touch. These are custom made and fitted to the knife.

I know it sounds like a lot of work, but the product is truly superior to a production blade. Scott's forged knives cut and hold an edge better than any knife we've ever seen. Here are his latest creations.

The blade above is a full tang design made of 5160 steel and fitted with desert ironwood handles. Scott custom made a leather sheath for the knife and boned the leather for a snug fit.

The following knife is a hidden tang design that Scott's mom has claimed as her own. The handle is purple heart, the guard is brass, and the butt cap is made of steel. Note the beautiful temper line on the blade. The steel is hard at the edge and softer towards the back. This gives the blade strength balanced with flexibility.

I made the sheath for this knife. It was my first attempt at leather work, so it's not nearly as nice as the knife. More knives coming soon!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Guinea Hog Forge

E. Scott McGhee has dabbled in blacksmithing since he was a teenager and recently fabricated a gas fired forge to make working on knives easier. He and his son Jacob have roughed out a few pieces so far. Check it out.

This is a grinder Scott made for finishing the knives. We'll post a finished knife soon.

Guinea Hog Forge will have knives for sale soon. Our first public showing will be held at the Heritage Days Festival in Lake Waccamaw, NC - March 20-21. Scott will be the blacksmith at the show.