Blacksmithing from a woodworkers perspective #14: Tools and a knifes - wonderful day with a good friend

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Blog entry by mafe posted 03-16-2020 12:01 AM 1849 reads 1 time favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Tools and a knifes
wonderful day with a good friend.

Thought it would be good to keep my brain busy and give you all a chance to do the same, now where the COVID-19 is putting the world under it’s spell, so I’ll give you a little walk back in time, to the summer (it’s winter in Denmark now), where I spend a wonderful day with my friend Flemming at his little man cave in the Copenhagen harbour, fooling around with some tools, steel and fire.

At the moment, I’m in voluntary quarantine in my home, with all the influenza symptoms, for the fifth day, but I feel, I’m getting better by the hour.
If it is COVID… I might never know, they stopped testing now…

Just as a teaser, here the Iron age inspired knife I did that day.

But first we got lucky!
It was a wonderful sunny day and when we drove down to the harbour, the local tool store had a birthday party, where they offered free hot dogs, so we brought a few and started unpacking some tools.

My friend Flemming had brought a bunch of hammers, he wanted to improve or restore, as well as a few knife blades he wanted to reforge a wee bit.

Started the day, by going into destruction mode, with an angle grinder, on a bricklayers lump hammer, I had bought for the purpose…

Cutting down 45° to the face and 50° or so outwards.
As you can see, I had marked up roughly, with a Sharpie first.

In the meanwhile Flemming were quietly sanding on a hammer head, wearing ear protection, to be able to stand my company – sometimes I wonder, if my GF also need a pair…

We helped each other clean up some old hammer heads and give them a fresh surface, so they will not leave marks in the metal they hit.

So here my new 45° peen hammer, next to my normal cross peen hammer, both cleaned up and ready for use now.
The 45° peen hammer can be wonderful to get a relaxed working arm position, while stretching steel on the anvil. As I have chronic pain, from my neck down my arm, I do all I can to avoid working in odd positions, so I looked forward to try it out.

I haven had it on the scale, but my guess it, that it’s just over a kilo now.
It’s a little too heave for long time, with an untrained arm, but ok for me, when I take it easy and listen to the body. (Some days, I can work an hour or two when lucky, otherwise it can be minutes on a bad day…).

Lets get to it.
Here we are using the workbench we made, last time we were here, with a blacksmiths leg vice and my anvil today, is a piece of square metal rod and and a short round solid.

Hot cutting a piece of car spring coil, with a bricklayes chisel.

Flemming and the propane forge are firing up now.
In the left you see my old anvil, that was one he had given me, so I gave it back, when I got my new one back in the work shop.

Here I have stretched out the car spring coil and made the rough shape of the blade.
The new hammer worked great for stretching, but I used the old for shaping, it’s in the hand now…

The small forge, I really love these, this one is Flemmings, he bought one just like mine.

Here he is, hammering away on a blade.

Just beat it!
Just beat it!

I my self went for the rough shape of the knife.
From here, it’s all about finding the curves, fine tapping and tuning until you are pleased, or as close as your skills can take you by now.

I had also brought with me, the new froe, it needed the last touch up and a clean symmetric edge.
Here rough grinding, then with sanding flaps, finer and finer, once the shape is there.

Not completely happy with the straightness, close but no cigar…

In the forge for some heat.

Working hairs, so get it just right, with a smaller hammer, I like this type for the details, I actually bought it for Japanese woodworking, but it now serves both purposes.

I like Flemmings picture of me here, mad man focus.

So from this, to this.
Piece of broken off car coil spring – to knife.

I’m pleased with the curves.
After it was shaped, it got cleaned up with a file, sandpaper in grits 80-1000, hardened in oil, fine grids again on the edge so the metal shines through.

Back home baking it an hour in the oven.

Left to cool down.
Notice the short froe, it was the last piece of the one that exploded, I decided to make it into a short version, instead of trash.

Here in the kitchen after sharpening, it seems fine and there are a fine spring in the steel.

Thanks for watching and going down the memory lane with me.

Hope it can be to some inspiration, or at least distraction, in these worried times.

All my best thoughts, to you and yours


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

18 comments so far

View lew's profile


13332 posts in 4810 days

#1 posted 03-16-2020 12:35 AM

Thanks, Mads, for helping take my mind off of the constant bombardment of doom and gloom.

I pray that your own illness is just a bit of a cold and nothing more.

Take care my friend.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7257 posts in 1637 days

#2 posted 03-16-2020 02:47 AM

Thanks for the update and I’m glad you’re feeling well enough to write.

We’re staying close to home ourselves, but it’s easy when we have sunsets like this to look at:

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Andre's profile


4459 posts in 2860 days

#3 posted 03-16-2020 04:54 AM

Like that little forge, tempted to buy one myself as soon as I can find a decent affordable anvil.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19988 posts in 3622 days

#4 posted 03-16-2020 12:15 PM

Excellent work

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Ken90712's profile


17984 posts in 4243 days

#5 posted 03-16-2020 12:46 PM

Cool post buddy. Hope all mm is well.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View madts's profile


1954 posts in 3394 days

#6 posted 03-16-2020 02:33 PM

I like it Mads. Working with a friend. Good companionship plus throwing ideas off each other = great.


-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View rotorgeek's profile


4 posts in 449 days

#7 posted 03-16-2020 03:10 PM

Thanks for sharing. Never tried blacksmithing but I like watching you do it. Lovely little knife.

Wishing you and yours the best. Be well.


-- Mike - Brunswick, ME

View NickyMac's profile


35 posts in 423 days

#8 posted 03-16-2020 04:50 PM



-- - Nick

View 489tad's profile


3993 posts in 4066 days

#9 posted 03-16-2020 09:18 PM

Fun stuff. It looked like a great day. I like the style of the knife.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View mafe's profile


13089 posts in 4144 days

#10 posted 03-16-2020 11:51 PM

Hi LJ’s,
First an update, I’m today with no fever and feeling good again, it was a flu for sure and took 5-6 days of fever, but it did not get into infections in the lungs, just a lot of heavy breathing and coughing – if it was COVID-19 ? I’ll never now, except if get ill again, then it was probably just the normal influenza… really a strange time we are in now.
People here in Denmark, seems to slowly understand the serious aspect of it, so they stay home.
I send all my thoughts to all of you, all over the planet, wish you all the best and that we may soon look back at this time and say what the f… just happened!
Stay well.

Lew, yes it’s a strange mix between dooms day and naaa it’s just an influenza hype. Take it serious, many life will be lost now, because of those who don’t. I send you all my best thoughts and thank you for your prayers.

Dave, wauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu! what a view, stay home as long as you can, no reason not to. Smiles and thanks for your kind words.

Andre, you should, it’s lots of great fun.

Don, thanks, you know what it takes, I have seen your fine work.

Ken, smiles. Yes all is well for now.

Madts, Thanks. Some of the finest moments are often those, working with a friend on different parts or projects, the special atmosphere.

rotorgreek, Thanks for looking by and the kind words. It’s great fun and you relatively quickly learn the basics, not at all scarry and so forgiving. So go for it if you get the chance.

NickyMac, Thank you! Cheers.

489tad, The style are historic, people often call them ‘Viking woman knife’, but that’s wrong. They are great fun to make, because you test some of the basic skill sets needed for the trade. It was a great day, I even smiled making the blog.

Thank you all for the kind thoughts, this really warms my heart.
The best of my thoughts goes back,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7257 posts in 1637 days

#11 posted 03-17-2020 02:50 AM

Glad you’re feeling better, Mads! I had to go to the bank and the grocery store today, but now we’re good for a while. Hoping my shop will get finished this week. The contractors are still keeping busy putting on the final touches.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View mafe's profile


13089 posts in 4144 days

#12 posted 03-17-2020 12:24 PM

It will be great if the shop is ready, so you can use the time, for moving in.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View pottz's profile


16190 posts in 2039 days

#13 posted 03-17-2020 06:14 PM

with all the crap going on in the world it’s a nice break youve takin us on,love to read your stories and all the pic’s that you put with it.those hot dogs are making me hungry-lol.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Brit's profile


8308 posts in 3897 days

#14 posted 03-18-2020 08:44 AM

Only just seen this as my LJ notifications have stopped working again. Unless I stumble across things, I miss them.

So glad to hear you are feeling better Mads. We are just starting the upwards slope of the bell curve here, so we are expecting the number of COVID-19 cases to rise dramatically and unfortunately the number of deaths. I am lucky that I live near a national park and can get some exercise without any fear of meeting someone who is contagious. From this weekend, anyone over the age of 70 has been asked to self-isolate for an extended period. My parents are in their late 80s so I will be setting up online shopping for them. Both of my neighbours are in their 70s too, so I’ll also be keeping an eye on them.

The human race hasn’t seen anything like this since the Spanish flu of 1918, so stay informed, stay safe and don’t take any unnecessary risks.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View mafe's profile


13089 posts in 4144 days

#15 posted 03-19-2020 03:38 PM

Hugs Andy, I’ll pm you also saw the mail,
Yes this is truly a serious wake up call and we are lucky, it’s a relatively mild virus, imagine Ebola with this speed…
You are a good man, to help out like that. My mother has isolated her in her apartment, she’s really afraid as she sufferers from reparational and heart problems… She made me laugh, I spoke to her and she said she does all the things needed, then I asked her what she did today and she reply; I went to the bakery, you need some proper cakes… I tried to explain you don’t need cakes, it’s luxury, she highly disagreed. So I tried to explain her, that she should imagine having paint on her fingers and every where the paint would appear, this would be where there were a risk. She found that clever.
Best of my thoughts.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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