Filing off the teeth; Blade shaped and polished
This involved heating the file back up to a cherry red colour (in an outdoor firepit), quickly bending the tip to the desired angle with pliers, reheating to cherry red and then dumping it into cooking oil to quickly quench and harden the steel (the manufactured blade was already bent, so it was simply heated and quenched). I planned to do this at dusk so that I could see the colour of the heated file more accurately. Since the steps had to be done rather quickly in near darkness, all the required stuff was layed out in an organized fashion. I used a small metal vice/anvil place the blade flat while bending the tip with pliers; a tall & narrow tea can seemed perfect to hold the 450 ml of Sunflower oil to do the quenching. Taking pics of the each step was not an option while working alone, but I did manage to take one blurry shot of the bent blade right before it was dunked in the oil
Ready to go; Quenched in cooking oil
All went well. I was expecting the oil in the can to burst into flames when the superheated steel was immersed but all that ended up was sizzling and the smell of french fries. Once it cooled down a bit, the metal was quickly tested with a hacksaw (not in the pics) to see if it was still soft but the blade simply bounced off the steel without any bite. The quenching had worked. Next morning, the blades were examined and of course were covered in disgusting residue that would need to be polished off. Here are the before and after shots.
Grime after quenching; Quick polishing
These were going to be working knives so I didn't bother polishing them to a mirror finish, just sufficient enough to be clean. The other reason for polishing at this stage is because some of the temper needs to be drawn out otherwise the blades may snap under pressure. This involved baking in the home oven at 450F for about an hour until a straw colour appears on the blade. Baking without polishing first means lots of unnecessary smoke in the kitchen.
This stage went well and next up will be a post documenting the making of the handles.
Update Oct. 2/09: Part 3 on making the handle has been posted.