We hear knives, we hear welding. But surely enough, we hardly hear these two terms together. There are a lot of questions that arise when we think about welding and knives together.
Can you weld a broken knife? Yes. Should you? Probably not. It depends on the situation. For example, if the knife that is broken is of value to you and can’t be replaced, you can try welding it carefully or get it fixed by someone else.
In such cases, you can definitely use welding. Can knifes be made by welding? Yes, technically they can be made by welding. However, it can be time consuming and even expensive. There is a process known as pattern welding that can be used to make intricately designed knives.
Most knives you see with beautiful patterns on it are made using this method. The materials used in making knives can vary depending on the usage and requirement, but usually we see knives made of steel.
Is welding steel good for knife making? It depends. There are many things that can be discussed about welding and it’s use regarding knives. Let’s see a general overview of these oddly intertwined topics.
How is welding done?
In the simplest terms, two metal pieces are joined using welding. The edges of both pieces are heated while they touch each other, melting the metal. Thus, after cooling down, they fuse together. Sometimes, extra metal is used to fill in gaps in the seam.
How are knives made?
Knives are made using one, or a combination of some processes. These processes include stock removal, forging, welded lamination, and investment cast.
In the initial stage to form the desired shape of the knife, forging is used. The material is heated on a forge and shaped using a hammer and anvil. It is heated up to the point where the material is malleable, meaning that it can be shaped.
After that, it is shaped with a hammer and anvil. The final shape is then polished and the blade is sharpened. The knife shapes can be very basic or intricate as desired. For intricate designs, pattern welding is used to produce an effective as well as decorative design.
Let’s briefly go through what pattern welding is and how it is used in knife making, and also some questions such as, what materials are used in knife making, what are the best ones, and is welding steel good for knife making.
Pattern welding : what is it and how is it used?
Pattern welding is used to create patterns in knives and swords. Several metal pieces are forge welded together and manipulated to form patterns. These patterns are a result of using two sufficiently different types of steel or iron.
When different pieces of slightly different steel are welded together, the seams where the intersect reflects the light differently, thus forming patterns. It is more highlighted after proper polishing or etching.
That’s pattern welding. But wait, while defining it we came across another word – forge welding. Let’s see that as well.
What is forge welding?
It is basically a solid state welding process. In forge welding, two pieces of metal are heated and then pressed together and hammered on, forming a joint. It is one of the simplest forms of welding and probably the earliest.
It isn’t used as much after newer forms of welding came into existence, but automatic forge welding is a commonly used process in manufacturing.
Talking about knives, forge welding is used to perform pattern welding when making patterned knives or swords, or any kind of blades.
What materials are used in knife making?
The best materials used for making knives are tool steel, carbon steel, and stainless steel.
- Tool steels are a common choice in making different knives. These steels are, in most cases, carbon steels with additional alloying elements. These alloying elements increase their mechanical properties and increase corrosion resistance to a good extent. Although, the corrosion level is not as good as a stainless steel. Tools steels are graded differently. A2 grade tool steels are one of them used in making knifes. They are tough but if not taken care of, they can rust. D2 and M2 grade tool steels are another types used in knife making. They have different properties.
- Carbon steels are a good choice for knife making, usually the ones with high amounts of carbon. This makes the blade hard and strong to prevent impact and wear to large extent. However, high carbon steels when used in knife making must be properly heat treated because if not, they might end up becoming too soft or too brittle.
- Stainless steel is another widely used material used in making knives. As most of us notice, the household knives are usually made of stainless steel. Just like the ones mentioned above, stainless steels also have different grades.
Is welding steel good for knife making?
Coming to the question that again crosses welding and knives – is welding steel good for knife making? Well technically, you can make a knife out of welding steel. However, it won’t be of much use.
Welding steel is a material found in stores and if you buy metal parts for any kind of use, you might’ve seen the name. Welding steel has low amounts of carbon. As mentioned above, high amounts of carbon make the blade harder and stronger enough to handle impact and wear.
Welding steel lacks that much amount of carbon and thus can’t be used in making good knives. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make a knife using welding steel. The best use you can do is to practice using welding steel.
You can do forging on it and learn shaping it. Experiment with different shapes etc. to get the hang of it. The blade it makes isn’t much usable, but a good way to start if you don’t have any other materials available.
So, yes you can use welding steel to make a knife, but not a sharp and strong knife. If you want to practice, make templates, shape, etc. it can be definitely used.