I've been forging as a hobby for 11 months now and I wanted to make a kitchen knife for a reddit user in a Secret Santa exchange. I'm by no means an expert, just a guy that loves to learn, my methods work for me, but I'm always trying to learn and improve.
I love kitchen knives but I always lamented having such terrible ones when I was a chef.
Not a lot of steel to work with and this stuff is hard to get, I spent a lot of time trying to get every millimeter out of the piece. I wet forge which helps to blast off the scale that forms at high heats and keeps the work cleaner.
Hammered in the tang (the bit that fits in the handle) and bevels (the angle on the blade itself) before cleaning up any pits and corners on the grinder.
Bringing it up to critical temp and then letting it air cool helps to relax the metal in preparation for the quench.
Usually three cycles with lower temperatures each time.
At this stage I check it obsessively for any potential flaws or scratches, pits or scale that might cause it to fail in the quench.
I clean down with acetone and coat with several layers of clay in varying consistencies and mixes, then I cure it overnight ready for the final heat and quench. I didn't take a shot of the quench itself as it's always something I obsess over to the the point of forgetting anything else. I use water and sometimes a fast oil to cool it rapidly which hardens the unclayed steel and leaves the clayed spine soft which produces the hamon effect.
After tempering and checking all is well I start hand sanding at a fairly rough grit level as I like to look for any flaws or details that need work early on. The polishing progression can take anything from 6- 20 hours depending on finish and I usually step up 8 or 9 different grits and use several powders and acids to finish.
There's a hardwood dowel I put in the middle (Forgot to put that in the picture) The green block is homemade and stabilzed spruce cone and the wood is Australian myrtle, I like to use vulcan fibre black spacers to separate the pieces and keep them cosy.
I am cautious about using anything that might not be food safe as I predominantly make kitchen knives, to that end I use a food safe mineral oil and pure beeswax mix which I bottle up for application on the blade and handle to help stop corrosion.
Still working on a good box design for shipping and presentation, this one was just white pine that had a tannin/ferric acetate finish, the knife itself is mounted on Neodymium mini magnets on stilts, but I didn't care for the mark they left on the blade, even with padding so I scrapped this in the end and used the box without magnets.
Forge cats approve!