The first few knives I made were from railroad spikes that had been recovered during metal detecting.  Obviously steel retrieved after being buried in the ground for years will have deteriorated.  I selected a few that were the best looking and did not appear to have been buried for 100 years.

I think I threw these in the forge without any cleanup which is a mistake.  Take the extra time and use an angle grinder to remove all of the rust and get down to clean metal.  This will eliminate a lot of issues and heartache later.

 I don’t have many in-progress pictures for these, but I forged them out and folded the spike head in to the billet without forge welding it.  I believe I ended up having to weld where the spike head ended up in the billet because of inclusions.

The first knife was a skinner.  This is mainly because that is how it forged out. As I drew out the edge it became larger which caused it to curve.  I just went with the flow and made the knife that way.  The handles I used are sourced from trees I mill on the homestead.  Typically they are white oak. The second knife I made was a Sax.  I think it is amazing that you can draw out a full tang knife around 11″ long using just one railroad spike.  

I am using a 4″ x 36″ stationary sander from Harbor Freight to grind with.  I started by using the 40 and 80 grit belts available from Harbor Freight.  They will remove stock but it takes a long time.