I've been taking a metalsmithing class this semester, and I've made a few blades (all out of crap steel, so I wouldn't get too attached to them), and finally got a successful one out of leafspring steel (5160, IIRC). Took about 2-3 weeks to get it done (about 15 hours or so).
Shaped the edge with a file, then used a tabletop belt sander (with various grits, all the way down to a #15 microfine belt. Want a finer one than that), and kept the belt a little on the loose side, so I didn't have a V edge, but more of a curve (I could never get a straight edge to work). No secondary grind/sanding, meaning the blade has to be sharpened with a belt, to properly sharpen it.
Well, here's pics. Not the best, but I don't have a lightbox or any fancy stuff:
The texturing was a pure accident. I left it in the forge a little longer than I meant, when heating it the final time before oil quenching it. I love the look and feel of it, though. The spine is polished, but not to a mirror finish. On one side of the blade, the scratches are much less obvious, which is why I need to get a finer belt.
I haven't tempered it yet. Honestly don't see a huge need to. It's survived a 6' fall without any damage at all. Doubt it's going to encounter anything like that again. But, that edge is sharp as hell!!! I laid the knife on its side on my arm, and was checking its polish, and when I slid it some on accident (maybe a few mm), I felt a burning feeling (the blade was warm, about 95 degrees, according to my thermometer). Lifted the knife up, and noticed a small cut starting to bleed.
Now, I need ideas for what to do about the handle. Anyone know of a good supplier for decent/good wood? I would need a minimum of a 6" long piece of wood (the tang is about 5" long). Also, anyone have an idea on how I should mount it? I was looking to rivet it, but that's kind of out of the question now, since it's hardened.