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Thread: Lawn mower blades for knife making

  1. #1

    Lawn mower blades for knife making

    Hey Knife makers I just got a bunch of lawn mower blades from a a golf course I do animal control at. I can tell these are higher end type rotary blades, straight billet type not the helical, but dont know what kind of metal they are. Anyone ever turn these in knives?



  2. #2
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    I was wondering the same thing a few days ago so looking forward to what comes about with this thread.
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  3. #3
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    I have seen i knife made out of a craftsmen wrench
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    had a guy make me a bolo in the phillipines ha made it from a leaf spring off a jeep

  5. #5
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    They make good knife blades. Make sure you anneal (soften with high heat) the blade blank before you start grinding and filing. You will have to harden and temper as normal when your done shaping. I prefer using mower and edger blades because if you make a mistake throw it away. Mistake will make you a better knife maker.

    Semper Fi.

  6. #6
    They might have a high enough carbon percentage to be usable, but most likely they are medium carbon steel, which lacks the amount of carbon needed to hold an good edge. Reason for this is think about a lawnmower, it hits rocks, sticks, and other strange objects. If they were high carbon steel, the blades would snap, or have nicks in them. With medium carbon steel, the blade bends instead of breaking.

  7. #7
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    I have to agree w/ nc527, lawnmower blades, in my experience also, don't contain enough carbon to make a knife blade. I've tried it. The steel used is intended to be "tough", to take hits with rocks, fallen limbs, etc. A high carbon blade in this application would crack, or break, rather than dent, or blunt. But they may be great for making something else, or as a last resort they can be sold for scrap.

  8. #8
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    They would probably be good for making a hatchet type blade for hacking at tree limbs and such if it is worth your time to do it.

  9. #9
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    ^yup! depending on the length of the blades, maybe they would make a decent machete or other chopping type knife?
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    Better ask this guy first!
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  11. #11
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    It depends on the carbon content of the metal. They are usually made form 15xx, 1085, or 1095. Most have a low carbon content so that they will be soft so they dont chip. They would make good choppers, but wouldnt hold an edge very well. If you had a forge that got hot enough to forge weld, you could add some HC steel and make a nice damascus blade.
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  12. #12
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    With out knowing exactly what kind of steel it is how would you know how to heat treat it?
    They are all heat treated a little different.
    With out a good heat treat youll never have a quality knife.
    Lawn mower blades would make great practice steel

    Ghost23 1080/1085 and 1095 are great knife steels if heat treated right more than enough carbon

    Mike

  13. #13
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    I never said it wasnt a good metal for blades. There is just better, such as air hardening A2 or D2.

    To make a blade from 10xx metal, I do this:

    It helps to have a pyrometer to keep track of kiln or forge temps

    -Normalize the metal starting at 1600 then 1550 then 1500 degrees. This uniforms the metal and makes the grain size smaller.
    If you dont have a pyrometer, you can quench the metal after the last normalization cycle. Dip the blade into a heated light weight oil, move the blade up and down to avoid warpage. You move the blade up and down because if you held it in there, the heat would cause a vapor pocket and the blade would crack or warp. You have less than 1 second to get the metal from the heat into the oil so be fast.

    -With a pyrometer, you would anneal the blade after the last normalization cycle. There are 2 types of annealing, lammelar and spheroidal. With lammelar heat blade to critical temp (non magnetic), use a magnet to test this, then remove from heat and cover blade in vermiculite to slowly cool. For spheroidal heat your kiln or forge to 1375, soak metal for 45 min. The lower the temp no more than 50/hour until it reaches 900.

    -After you have finished one of the ways above, you can grind the blade

    -For final heat treat of a spheroidized blade, heat to 1500F. and soak for at least 5 minutes. You need to be able to hold this temp accurately. If you can not, then soak the blade in the heat and then place blade in vermiculite to hold the heat. Do this a few times.

    -When blade is cool, start the tempering process. Heat oven or kiln to 400, and soak blade for 1 hour, let cool to the touch. Repeat 2 more times.

    Sorry if this is confusing, I am pulling this out of my head. I have it wrote down somewhere. If I find it I will post better instructions.
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  14. #14
    made a crude machette a few years ago using one, it worked pretty good
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    I would use 1095 before A2. I like how it holds an edge and is fairly easy to sharpen.

    A lawnmower blade is not knife steel, there is not enough carbon in it to get a proper heat treat. yes it will harden but not well enough for a knife.

  16. #16
    Practice steel it is! Lord knows I need the practice! LOL

  17. #17
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    Are big sawmill type circular blades any good for knife making?
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  18. #18
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    Most are, You will have to anneal it before cutting it or grinding it then try to guess the make up of the steel for proper heat treat.

  19. #19
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    You can definately make a knife blade with a lawn mower blade. You can practice stock removal and heat treating techniques. You can and should use dried oak limbs for handle material when first starting out in knife making. Another good source for blade stock is a chain saw shop. They will give you old worn out saw bars. Try and get the solid stihl or husquevarna bars. They are very thick and seem to be of better quality. Practice with free blade stock before sinking money into the real high carbon blank material. You might suprise yourself with what you can produce for basically free. You will gain a ton of experience and knowledge by starting out with the low grade lawn mower blades. Heck, lots of guys use old railroad spikes to make knives with. How about using an old worn out flat file or saw mill blade. Oh no, how much carbon is in it? Who cares! I wonder if Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett were worried about the carbon molecule level in their utility knives. Just have have.

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  20. #20
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    Make yourself some spear heads out of em. Check your local hunting laws. We can hunt pigs with spears here in Tx. Ive made a couple and been able to throw a couple spears in a pigs general direction but never killed one. A guy built some broadheads on here a while back out of old circular blades. There were pretty wild lookin when he was done.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Tall Hat View Post
    Make yourself some spear heads out of em. Check your local hunting laws. We can hunt pigs with spears here in Tx. Ive made a couple and been able to throw a couple spears in a pigs general direction but never killed one. A guy built some broadheads on here a while back out of old circular blades. There were pretty wild lookin when he was done.
    You can use spears here as well. Most here use Dog and Knife.

  22. #22
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    I believe most sawmill blades are L6. If you try to drill it and nothing happens, it is L6. Like a previous post said, you have to anneal it first. And yes a knife can be made from pretty much any metal. But if you are gunna put the time and effort into it and want a quality blade, start with quality steel. You might make a really good looking knife out of whatever steel and the first few swipes or chops and its dull. Get on some knife forums and read up. Especially the heat treat process! I have made hand forged knives, and also hollow ground a few. There are many ways to make a knife also.
    http://www.alphaknifesupply.com/
    http://www.knife-making-supplies.net/
    http://www.texasknife.com/vcom/index.php
    http://ajh-knives.com/material.html
    http://www.onlinemetals.com/
    https://www.flatground.com/catalog/catalog.jsp
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  23. #23
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    I've made knives out of old files they keep a good edge and most are the general shape you need.....I've drilled through lawn mower blades easily..not really hard...for a knife. You could introduce more carbon into the metal by heating it red hot and putting it in old moter oil...the black in old oil is carbon.

  24. #24
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    good knife made fron a mower blade? Maybe. Maybe not. A lot of work goes into a knife before heat treat. If you don't know what kind of steel it is, that work can be ruined real quick. Mystery metal has wasted more knife making effort than any other problem you might run into when knifemaking. Why not just buy a bar of known steel? Try this. It's enough to make two knives.

    http://amtektool.thomasnet.com/item/...ng/item-15772?
    Squawsach

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost23 View Post
    I believe most sawmill blades are L6. If you try to drill it and nothing happens, it is L6. Like a previous post said, you have to anneal it first. And yes a knife can be made from pretty much any metal. But if you are gunna put the time and effort into it and want a quality blade, start with quality steel. You might make a really good looking knife out of whatever steel and the first few swipes or chops and its dull. Get on some knife forums and read up. Especially the heat treat process! I have made hand forged knives, and also hollow ground a few. There are many ways to make a knife also.
    http://www.alphaknifesupply.com/
    http://www.knife-making-supplies.net/
    http://www.texasknife.com/vcom/index.php
    http://ajh-knives.com/material.html
    http://www.onlinemetals.com/
    https://www.flatground.com/catalog/catalog.jsp
    Thanks Ghost! I will take a very close look at all those.


    Quote Originally Posted by Squawsach View Post
    good knife made fron a mower blade? Maybe. Maybe not. A lot of work goes into a knife before heat treat. If you don't know what kind of steel it is, that work can be ruined real quick. Mystery metal has wasted more knife making effort than any other problem you might run into when knifemaking. Why not just buy a bar of known steel? Try this. It's enough to make two knives.

    http://amtektool.thomasnet.com/item/...ng/item-15772?
    Thanks Squawsach. The way I see it if someone as good as you gives advise its best to follow it!

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