Just starting out. Wanted to teach my son a trade he could use in life so here I am. Looking for any knowledge available. Thanks.
Welcome aboard. Here you have access to some of the best Bladesmiths on the planet!
My advice it dive right in and get after it. 😉 This craft is one that encompasses not only science, but a high degree of artisanship too. Asking specific questions will yield you the most fruit.
With that advent of the Forged in Fire era, many aspects of Bladesmithing have been warped our of reality in favor of drama. You can't make a decent knife in 3 hours, and you certainly will not see any respectable ABS smith making/selling there knives out of "recycled" junk.
New, known steel, will give you the best chances for success....particularly if you intend to have repeated success. Use available heat treating data/formulas as a starting point only. Rarely if ever can one take a published heat treat formula, and it work "perfect" as is. That's were the Artisan part comes in....YOU as in the individual Bladesmith must adjust those numbers up or down....until you find what works best FOR YOU. Were every Bladesmith's shop absolutely identical, we might be able to say "This is the exact heat treat formula for XXXX, but it's the variables from shop to shop that force us to "fine tune" things like heat treat formulas.
As for Bladesmithing being a "trade", it's a VERY though way to make a living. Some of us chose to go full time into Bladesmithing, AFTER retiring from, and getting a pension via another job.(I retired from the Air Force, and have been full time in the knife shop ever since.) There are also those who do it full time without any financial safety net, but they are the exceptions, rather then the rule. Imagine being the only employee of a business.... that means YOU would be responsible for everything from Advertising, to packaging and shipping, and ever step in between. No paid vacations, no benefits such as health or dental insurance (unless you find/pay for it your self), and the only retirement is that which you make for yourself. Can it be done? Sure! It is easy...no. I've had a number of father's ask me if their kid should become a full time Bladesmith...and my answer is always NO. Because not only are the odds heavily against success, it's just a fickle business. Why? Because frankly, nobody NEEDS a custom knife. They are a luxury item, and when folks have what they consider expendable income....custom knife sales are good. When folks don't have that disposable income....as in these days of $5+ gas, and double digit price hikes on nearly everything, that disposable income isn't there....and custom knife sales falter. Just some food for thought.