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Lyle Brunckhorst

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Country Village

23706 7th Ave. SE

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425 402-3484

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Great Northern Railroad Spike Knives

Photo of blued railroad spike knife and cowhide sheath Click on images for larger view

Spike knife with standRail Spike knife stand 600.jpg

    Railroad spike knives are hand forged from discarded railroad spikes found along the Great Northern tracks. I have found that the railroad spikes used on the main line are of better quality that those found in yards or sidings. The chemical analysis of the railroad spikes used on the main line will vary but should be about 1030 or better steel. 1030 has .003 or .3 percent carbon and cutlery steel usually has .6 percent or better carbon. Although a higher percentage of carbon in the steel is desirable and typically used to make superior knives, a special brine will get the most out of the lower carbon steel used in the railroad spike knives and render it useful as a cutting instrument.


    I first heat the pommel end of the soon to be railroad spike knife, cool the pommel or cap, if you will, in water to prevent marring and then twist about half of the spike to form a handle with a pipe wrench. I then heat the blade end and forge it into the blade that I want. After forging the rail road spike knife is ground to remove hammer marks and pits and to finalize the shape. The spike is then hardened in Gunthers super quench and tempered to relieve stresses. Final grinding, polishing and etching is performed prior to the final bluing.

    The bluing process is carefully controlled so that the blued knives will somewhat attain a gold color in the blade area to remain knife hard and yet the handle is spring tempered to a full blue. Many factors can affect the colors however and the actual results are never completely predictable.

    The sheath is hand made and stitched from premium saddle leather to protect the  blade, user and edge.

    The beauty of these rail road spike knives is that even though I strive to make each railroad spike knife as perfect as I can, no two are quite alike.

Close up photo of blued railroad spike knife showing etch of locomotive

A steam locomotive is etched into the steel of this railroad spike knife before bluing

Photo of blued railroad spike knives showing etch of logo

The left side of this rail road spike knife is etched with the artist logo

Railroad spike knife with stand $200.00 plus shipping.

Railroad spike knife with sheath $250.00 plus shipping.

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