Railroad spike knives


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bainter1212
March 30, 2014, 12:26 PM
Hey guys I thought these looked pretty cool. Thinking about ordering one but the price is a little steep.....but maybe it is fair because they are hand made.

What do you think?

https://www.etsy.com/listing/126543754/railroad-spike-knife-one-personalized?ref=listing-shop-header-3

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Sam1911
March 30, 2014, 12:31 PM
These knives will be based from the parent knife and will be close but not exactly the same as they are hand hammered and heated in a coal forge. The knife is then ground, sanded,and sharpened.
How about "annealed, hardened, and tempered?"

What alloy are they made of and what is he doing to bring the edge to something like a proper knife hardness?

Here's some reading so you at least know a few questions to ask of the maker: http://www.anvilfire.com/article.php?bodyName=/FAQs/rr-spike.htm

As the FAQ there says, RR spike knives tend to make a better letter opener that working knife. But I'd say those show at least $65 worth of effort put into them, so from an "art of the craftsman" standpoint, they might be worth that to you.

As a knife you'd want to carry and use a lot, even if they were great blade material, the form and balance aren't going to be terribly pleasant for heavy use.

Sam Cade
March 30, 2014, 12:37 PM
The Sams are congruent.

bainter1212
March 30, 2014, 01:57 PM
That reply, sam, is exactly why I posted these on THR. While I can appreciate a good working knife I have no idea what to look for in a homemade one.

I will have to formulate some questions to ask him about temper, annealing, and hardness etc.

lobo9er
March 30, 2014, 02:03 PM
Find someone to make you one lots of knife makers here or blade forums. who know how these were made like has been said, were they High Carbon steel spikes...etc...

Sam Cade
March 30, 2014, 02:49 PM
were they High Carbon steel spikes...etc...

Therein lies the rub. A "High Carbon" railroad spike isn't high carbon steel like is suitable for cutlery.

A "High Carbon" railroad spike with .3% C is a low carbon steel.

http://www.thefabricator.com/article/metalsmaterials/carbon-content-steel-classifications-and-alloy-steels

bainter1212
March 30, 2014, 03:08 PM
I seriously doubt that railroad spikes are high carbon. Too expensive for the RR companies.
Doesn't high carbon content have a direct relationship to hardness level? Wouldn't a low carbon blade sharpen just fine, but need resharpening more often?
Is it possible this guy could've properly hardened his blades?

bainter1212
March 30, 2014, 03:20 PM
I seriously doubt that railroad spikes are high carbon. Too expensive for the RR companies.
Doesn't high carbon content have a direct relationship to hardness level? Wouldn't a low carbon blade sharpen just fine, but need resharpening more often?
Is it possible this guy could've properly hardened his blades?

Edit: finally read the link above....some of them are HC but not that great for knives. Looks like more of a novelty item than anything else.

Zeke/PA
March 30, 2014, 04:58 PM
Edit: finally read the link above....some of them are HC but not that great for knives. Looks like more of a novelty item than anything else.
YEP! The Carbon content of a railroad spike ain't enough to harden to blade "standards".
Novelty? Yes, by all means!

hso
March 30, 2014, 05:33 PM
They're interesting, but not working knives.

As such the only ones worth having are those showing the most blacksmithing artistry.

bldsmith
March 30, 2014, 06:34 PM
I made them for a novelty when I am demonstrating. Sell them hot off the bench, ;-) As has been mentioned they are not high carbon and do not make a good serviceable knife. They can be sharpened but will require frequent resharpening. Chopping will be out of the question for the most part. Are they worth the $65 mentioned, if you like em then yes. It takes me 20 minutes to make one in the brut de forge style, no grinding. I charged $20 for em and made a pretty decent days wage. They went about as fast as I could pound them out. With additional grinding and the fancy handle work I would have charged more, $40-$50 range. Just to give you a comparison. I do not make these anymore except for the boy scouts when they come over for a demo. They get em no charge.

19-3Ben
March 30, 2014, 07:00 PM
So how long before we see some yahoo trying to baton one of these through a stump?

rcmodel
March 30, 2014, 07:25 PM
Correction.
Baton them through a railroad tie.

They were designed to do it before they were knives.
So they should still do it.

Right? :D

rc

perpster
March 30, 2014, 07:48 PM
These knives might even make pretty good spikes.

Zeeemu
March 30, 2014, 09:08 PM
This may be of interest.

http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/613880-rail-road-spike-steel

kieranklein
March 30, 2014, 10:20 PM
Hi guys!

As the maker of the knives I can answer any questions you might have. While they call the spikes high carbon they aren't compared to knife steel, but compared to other spikes yes. They are sharp but need sharpened if used a lot. I have had people buy them as skinning knives and have received good responses. They are not for everyone tho haha. I mostly sell them as groomsmens gifts. Anyway any questions let me know.

Kieran

hso
March 30, 2014, 10:45 PM
The AREMA Manual for Railway Engineering contains specifications for spikes.
http://www.arema.org/catalog.aspx

Considering the price ($1,500) it is unlikely any of us would pay to find out the carbon content of spikes, BUT this fellow has put some time in getting details for all http://worldclassknives.com/spikes/ http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/343476-Head-Markings-and-Carbon-Content-of-Railroad-Spikes

BLU
March 30, 2014, 10:49 PM
I was so inspired by a video of one of these being made that I am in the process of setting up equipment to make those at home. All I lack is the fire paste to coat the grill and I'm on my way.

ericbc7
March 30, 2014, 10:54 PM
A good blacksmith project and back in the 1800's there might have been a lot of spikes made into these, but spikes were cheap for a reason and can't have been much better than pot metal for simple flattening and sharpening. Now if you could blend some carbon and do some serious folding and pounding you might come up with a decent blade!

bainter1212
March 31, 2014, 12:27 AM
Hi guys!

As the maker of the knives I can answer any questions you might have. While they call the spikes high carbon they aren't compared to knife steel, but compared to other spikes yes. They are sharp but need sharpened if used a lot. I have had people buy them as skinning knives and have received good responses. They are not for everyone tho haha. I mostly sell them as groomsmens gifts. Anyway any questions let me know.

Kieran

Nice!

Good to see that you are a member here.
One of the holster makers that is part of my "circle" on etsy favorited your site.....that's how I found you.

I think Etsy is an "undiscovered country" as far as craftmanship is concerned. I have purchased custom holsters and belts from craftsman on Etsy and been delighted by the quality (and the prices). Plus you get to personally communicate with the craftsman so that your item is made just how you like it.
Search for "holster", "scabbard", "sheath", "belt", or whatever else you can imagine can be handmade. You won't be disappointed.
The site is etsy.com

Billy Shears
March 31, 2014, 07:19 AM
I am no smith, but if you wanted a blade in that style with a truly useful blade, I can't think of any reason why you couldn't forge weld a blade of the appropriate high carbon steel to a handle made from the lower carbon railroad spike. Wouldn't be made entirely from a railroad spike that way, so that might take away much of the novelty value.

hso
March 31, 2014, 08:49 AM
I think it would be better to split the spike and insert a 1095 blade steel piece and forge weld them back together making a laminated blade if you were looking for better performance.

kieranklein
March 31, 2014, 09:33 AM
While true you could forge weld better steel into it. The time taken I would rather be working on my custom knives lol. I just leave them for what they are. Cool little knives made from a spike.

Shanghai McCoy
March 31, 2014, 10:34 AM
I have seen some nice tomahawks made from spikes. The knives made from spikes always seemed kind of bulky to me...

Zeeemu
March 31, 2014, 11:37 AM
"The knives made from spikes always seemed kind of bulky to me...""

Heavy too. Here's a couple I picked up as souvenirs at a Baltimore Knife show a number of years ago.

kieranklein
March 31, 2014, 12:02 PM
yeah they are about 13oz ish a piece

where as this one that I made is like 7oz with actually good knife steel. Not to bash my own rr knife. Like I said before it is mostly a cutting novelty thats cool to show off.

http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p537/orochemaru/2014-03-01092238_zps0b39ce88.jpg (http://s1154.photobucket.com/user/orochemaru/media/2014-03-01092238_zps0b39ce88.jpg.html)

mole
March 31, 2014, 02:05 PM
I like the blade shape on that last knife.

Sam1911
March 31, 2014, 02:15 PM
Whoo wee! Yeah, I know which one I'd want to use! :)

Love that etched quench line.

bainter1212
March 31, 2014, 02:38 PM
yeah they are about 13oz ish a piece

where as this one that I made is like 7oz with actually good knife steel. Not to bash my own rr knife. Like I said before it is mostly a cutting novelty thats cool to show off.

http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p537/orochemaru/2014-03-01092238_zps0b39ce88.jpg (http://s1154.photobucket.com/user/orochemaru/media/2014-03-01092238_zps0b39ce88.jpg.html)

Do you sell those? I don't see them on your Etsy page.

kieranklein
March 31, 2014, 02:43 PM
I do sell them but don't have them on etsy just because I sold that one and working on more.

kieranklein
March 31, 2014, 03:01 PM
That has copper liners on it which are awesome ill have to post more pics when I get home

kieranklein
March 31, 2014, 03:59 PM
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p537/orochemaru/2014-03-01091723_zps75f414d4.jpg (http://s1154.photobucket.com/user/orochemaru/media/2014-03-01091723_zps75f414d4.jpg.html)
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p537/orochemaru/2014-03-01091527_zps1a5848fb.jpg (http://s1154.photobucket.com/user/orochemaru/media/2014-03-01091527_zps1a5848fb.jpg.html)
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p537/orochemaru/2014-03-19134155_zpsc6e668dc.jpg (http://s1154.photobucket.com/user/orochemaru/media/2014-03-19134155_zpsc6e668dc.jpg.html)
http://i1154.photobucket.com/albums/p537/orochemaru/2014-03-19134019_zps64cf6770.jpg (http://s1154.photobucket.com/user/orochemaru/media/2014-03-19134019_zps64cf6770.jpg.html)

bainter1212
March 31, 2014, 05:19 PM
Beautiful knives. I really like that blade profile.

DM~
March 31, 2014, 05:40 PM
I really like that blade profile.

Me too!

DM

kieranklein
March 31, 2014, 06:02 PM
Thanks guys. Sorry I kinda of derailed the thread:uhoh:

Sam Cade
March 31, 2014, 06:58 PM
derailed

Very Punny. :D

kieranklein
March 31, 2014, 07:00 PM
I would love to take credit for doing that but I missed it :banghead:

hso
March 31, 2014, 07:08 PM
derailed

<golf clap>

Nicely done!

Damn, son! That's a good looking knife!

Ok, you need to post your knives in their own thread and tell us what the steel and techniques are (remember to avoid the pitfall of advertising in the discussion thread).

To get back on "track"... I have some mine rail spike knives. Wee little things that are just too clever to have resisted.

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