Noon's Knives

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Railroad Spike knives

Railroad Spike knives

To get it out of the way right off the bat:
1) not a high carbon steel, the HC simply designates a spike with higher carbon than a conventional spike.
2) no magical properties, HC spikes have on average 0.33% carbon and minor alloys.
3) holding a rail in position does not require super strong steel or even super duper strong.
4) Paper can cut you that does not make it the ultimate material for knife making.
5) passing the blade smith test with a spike knife is not testament to the high quality of railroad spikes. It simply shows that pretty much any steel can be used if prepared properly.

Now the good parts? If you are given a few hundred pounds of spikes and want to make something with them then go for it.
Things I have seen to date range from knives, forks, flowers and coat hooks. fact is like any mild steel they can be shaped into anything you heart desires.

One word of caution though is that walking the tracks can be hazardous to your health and is considered trespassing so if you get arrested and charged don't be shocked.
Visiting the rail yard and talking with the crews is better but you have to also consider how many people go wandering through the yard every week looking for free steel. Imagine being at work and having several people walk in each day looking for free stuff and you can see they might be less than friendly.

You can buy bar stock from any steel supplier in the AISI 1040 or 1045 category and have a steel that will work easier without having to deal with rusty spikes. If you want the head then either forge the head manually or make a swage block, best part is you can use a swage block to shape any tool steel into a spike and have a functional knife in the end that looks like a spike.

If you would like to show off your spike knives or anything else made with a spike check out this Facebook group, that is if you tolerate Facebook.

Realized wall of text is boring :) If you want some very high end railroad spike knives check out Andy Alm on eBay or Facebook

Since you have to use a forge when making a spike knife this is a good time to learn how to forge weld. Welding in a piece of 1080, 1084 or 80Crv2 will give you a good cutting edge while maintaining the spike knife appearance that many people like.

1 comment:

  1. If anyone has a spike knife they have made and would like to showcase it just send a copy to me.