an old Nicholson file is becoming a knife.

Discussion in 'Knives' started by MotoMike, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. MotoMike

    MotoMike New Member

    Grandson Zander over today and this may be surprising, but he wanted to make another knife. Had an old Black Diamond which I was thinking of turning into a gyuto, but looks like it might be a sheath knife. No grinding seen here, all forging.

    zfile1.jpg zfile3.jpg
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  2. verndahl

    verndahl AKA tintin

    Great looking knife so far Zander! Did you/he remove all the file teeth before beginning?
    MotoMike likes this.
  3. MotoMike

    MotoMike New Member

    high Vern, I ground them almost smooth leaving the pattern visible as a tell. I think some evidence of it's origin will remain
    cangooner likes this.
  4. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Very awesome Mike!!!! Great job by you and Zander!
    MotoMike likes this.
  5. MotoMike

    MotoMike New Member

    thanks Shawn. have to look up those files to see how to heat treat.

  6. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    You probably won't find the exact alloy because of "trade secrets", but I did find this for you in a web search.

    "I just contacted Apex who owns Nicholson. I'll let you know if they respond."

    "I sent an email to APEX customer service, and received a phone call from their materials guy, Russ. He couldn't tell me the exact alloy that they use due to company policy,but he gave me some info about what they do use.

    1. Machinists files have used the same alloy for over 50 years, Russ has been there 47 IIRC. Rasps, and other lesser files are a lower carbon alloy as a really high carbon isn't needed to work with hooves/wood. No matter where the files are made, they all meet the same specs.

    2. Some machinists files are either case, or pack hardened, to add even more carbon.

    3. He said treating them like W1 for heat treating would be a good choice.

    4. They have had to deal with counterfeit files from Asia. Some copied their logo very well, but it hasn't been a problem for a few years now.

    So, those are the deets straight from the factory. Russ was quite nice about the whole question and answer session I gave him, and I understand trade secrets, so I an grateful for the info he afforded us."
    MotoMike likes this.
  7. Bruno

    Bruno Administrator Staff Member

    Their files are close to W1 from what I have been told. I have HTed some nicholson files like that and indeed it works pretty well.
    Great job on the knife. It is good to see he is liking it so much!
    Keep posting ! :)

    One thing you may want to consider: he seems to keep his shoulder pulled up high when striking. Probably because the anvil is a bit high for him. If you lay a piece of thick board in front of the anvil, you can raise him a couple of inches relative to the anvil.
    MotoMike likes this.
  8. DrDalton

    DrDalton New Member

    In one of his books Wayne Goddard did an analysis on the black diamond files.

    IIRC they were similar enough W1 (as mentioned above).

    I’ll try and find the book and post a picture when I get home.
  9. MotoMike

    MotoMike New Member

    Thanks Doc
  10. MotoMike

    MotoMike New Member

    Thanks Bruno. yes he has a rr anvil at the proper height, but I can't seem to get him to use it.
  11. petercp4e

    petercp4e Focus to Win

    Always awesome to see a young person actually learning by doing.
    Doesn't get any better than this.

    Great job
    MotoMike likes this.
  12. Mike Blue

    Mike Blue Member

    Old files, Black Diamond, Nicholson, but OLD files are probably safely assumed to be W-1 or 1095. New files have a reputation for being cheaper steel and case hardened. You can spark test easily enough. The case hardening will spark like high carbon steel and then lose the nice white feathery stuff as you get into the parent material. Or you can heat and anneal, then re-heat and quench. It will bend but not snap like a good hard piece.
    MotoMike likes this.
  13. MotoMike

    MotoMike New Member

    Thanks very much. time with my grandsons is prescious. He is 10 and it is clear that his other interests are pulling him away from his grandpa whom at one time he wanted to spend all his time with. I've another 10 year old who doesn't get here as often and a 3 year old who is interested in all that I do. time marches
    on. Here is the 3 year old, Landon, assisting with some burner maintenance. Note his sip cup in the background.

    . forge177.jpg
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  14. MotoMike

    MotoMike New Member

    Mike, thanks for that info. this was definitely an old black diamond Nicholson. got it from a lady who knew I was dallying with smithing and she watched forged in fire thought I could use them. her late father was a Ferrier so along with this Nicholson, I got a bunch of farriers rasps. I had recalled that the old black diamonds were good stuff.
  15. Mike Blue

    Mike Blue Member

    If I can get a piece to harden correctly (good enough) then I'll use most anything in my shop. Selling a piece to someone else and I like to use known materials.
    MotoMike likes this.

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