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Old 04-26-2008, 12:58 PM   #1
doublearrow
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Default knife build along

With all the interest in knives lately I decided to do a build along. It will be spread out over time to give everyone who wants to try a chance to try the step then ask questions if need be.
When I first started making knives I used a file, sandpaper, and a drill press. Now i've upgraded my equipment to include a 2"x72" belt grinder specifically made for grinding knives. Knifemaking is a part time job to me that I hope to one day make into full time. I'm going to show you how to do with minimal hand tools, but I'm going to cheat and use my grinder.
I'm going to offer suggestions on what steels to use and my opinions and that's exactly what they are opinions. You can ask 4 knifemakers a way to do one thing and get 9 answers, we're an opinionated group of folks .

First off steel selections. Most people I know myself included have tried making knives out of old files, mower blades, planer blades ect. Nothing wrong with that if you know a few things.
1. Heat treat. heat treat is the process where the steel is heated to critical temp which is different for every alloy of steel. Then quenched in something, for most carbon steels it's some type of oil, for most stainless steels it is air. Most not all. That makes the steel as hard as it will get from there it is tempered at say 300 degrees for an hour. This brings the rockwell hardness back down to softer level. In the knife world anywhere from 58 to 64 depending on the steel is desirable. This is the happy medium of easiest to sharpen and holding the edge the longest.
2. Grinding the old files and mower blades and getting them too hot can in fact ruin the temper and heat treat process. So you have a soft steel that doesn't hold an edge well.
3. They are not always a known steel. Even with the same file the batches can be different as to what metal was put into the file. It's just nice buying a piece of steel knowing exactly what it is.
This is a simple explanation. I'm not going to go into it too much further I have spent years reading over the stuff and could go into specifics which would cause you years worth of reading.
For this project we are going to use stainless steel for a couple of reasons.
1. Until I get my heat treat oven built or bought I send my knives off to be professionally heat treated by Paul Bos of Buck knives. Every knife is tested before it leaves his shop for the right hardness. Paul is well known as "The Man" when it comes to heat treating air hardening steels. He does not do oil hardening or what most people know as carbon steels. There several that cross over but you'll have to research that.
2. Unless you are making a presentation grade knife for the most part the knife gets thrown in the sheath and thrown in a drawer until next year. If it was carbon it would most likely rust in the sheath. Stainless can and will rust also but at a much slower pace.

For this exact project I will be using CPM-154 which I really like. Other suggestions are 440C, ats-34 and just CM-154.

Here's a list of suppliers to find stuff using in knifemaking
http://www.knifeandgun.com/
www.texasknife.com and http://www.alphaknifesupply.com/ who I highly reccomend. There are dozens more but I have used these guys many times.

For the steel I recommend a stainless from the list above in 1/8" thick for an average size hunter. For bolster material the I recommend 416 stainless barstock and 1/8" rod to peen it on. For handles I recommend some sort of wood just cause I like the natural materials. Look through their list and find something you like. Most natural materials need to be stabilized (process where they are put into a vacuumm chamber and resins are pulled through them to help prevent drying out and moving). Now onto the the knife building.
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Old 04-26-2008, 02:00 PM   #2
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For the first few steps I will be putting my pattern on mild steel which isn't worth a crap as a knife steel. I have had several request for this pattern so it will be used again and again and I will have a hard pattern to come back to. When you order your steel make sure it is annealed. This is a point at which the steel is relatively "soft". It will let you file, cut, and drill without too much trouble. Most knife supply houses sell it in the annealed state.

1. Design your knife. Mine will be a full tang knife (handle slabs glued onto both sides of the metal handle. Other forms are stick tang where a hole is drill through wood or antler and the blade has a "stick" coming off of it that is placed through the antler. I usually draw mine out on graph paper measured off in the same size as the steel I ordered. This blade is a little longer than most hunters so I'm using a tad thicker piece. As I said before 1/8" is just right for an average skinning/hunting knife.


2. I don't like using thin paper to trace around on the steel so I use photopaper placed under the orginal drawing. From here I will retrace the original drawing with a pen that leaves an easy to see impression in the photopaper. I'll take the photopaper out and draw over the pattern with the pen. At this point I'll cut it out and have a sturdy pattern to trace around.



3. From here color your steel. I use dykem but you can also use a marker. I think red and blue show the lines the best, but black will work.


4. Trace around your pattern using a scribe, sharp nail, small drill bit, or something else that will scratch a pattern on the steel. You can see a couple of lines in my scribe. The reason is because one is larger than the other. I will cut to the oustide scribe see how it feels and if I think it needs to take more off I'll have another line to go to. It's amazing how much even taking a 1/16" off will feel.


5. Cut out your pattern. I will use my metal cutting bandsaw. Do not use a fast turning wood band saw. This will heat the metal up and in turn "work harden" the metal to where it is hard to cut, file, and drill. If you don't have a metal cutting bandsaw you can drill holes all the way around the pattern like so

Go all the way around the pattern and use a hack saw to play connect the dots.
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Old 04-26-2008, 02:07 PM   #3
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wow this is cool cant wait to see a finished product
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Old 04-26-2008, 02:09 PM   #4
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6. If using a metal cutting band saw here's a tip for cutting tight curves. Cut it like so

Use a flat head screwdriver to break off the tabs. This lets you get close to the line so you don't have to do much filing later on.

7. Here it is rough cut.



I'm going to use my grinder you can use a belt sander or something else you think might work to get the profile all the way to the line. If all you have is files here's what you do. Use a single cut file and hold the file handle in your left hand and the other end of the file in your right. Place the file perpindicular to the work and pull towards you. This will move an amazing amount of steel in a short time. This will be the same process you use to cut bevels with if you don't have a grinder.



go all the way around the profile. I use a half round file to do the finger cut outs I have on some of my designs.

Another tip. If the harmonics hit just right while you are filing the noise will be unbearable. To stop this I place a spring clamp or c clamp on the end of the knife which changes the harmonics in turn stopping the loud ringing sounds. Here's an example.


If you don't have a vice to hold your knife in you can use a 1X 2 or other piece of wood clamped to a table with the blade c clamped to that wood. I've done several knives this way.

8. Get your knife completely profiled out


It might be a few days but I'll keep updating with pictures as this progresses. I'm working on several knives right now so I'll try to only take pictures of this knife as not to confuse anyone. Anyone who has questions feel free to post here, pm, or email me at goin2fast99@hotmail.com

edited to add my work bench really isn't dirty I just added a bunch of crap to make ya'll think I actually do something....
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Old 04-26-2008, 02:16 PM   #5
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Just so you know here's a couple of knives I built with nothing but files these are some of my early knives and I've refined my skills, but you can make a good knife with nothing but files. jeremy360 also said he might chime in if help is needed. I pmed him a couple of weeks ago before I started this thread.




This mesquite handle is a standard model from me and this one I built using files and sandpaper but I do them on the grinder now.




These are some of the only folders I've made. They were made using files and a drill press. I've got several in the works now that I have my pivots working like I want.

Last edited by doublearrow; 04-26-2008 at 02:19 PM..
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Old 04-26-2008, 05:02 PM   #6
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I am also working on building some knifes as a hobby, can you post some good pictures of your 2x72 grinder? looking on making one to help in these projects
thanks
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Old 04-26-2008, 05:14 PM   #7
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Jesse here's the grinder I have
http://www.beaumontmetalworks.com/kmg-pl.html

I also have the 8 inch wheel for hollow grinding. If you need some close up pictures let me know and I'll get them. When I bought the grinder I wasn't in a position to build one so I called up Rob to buy this one. They are pretty much indestructible. Now here's a company that supplies "no weld grinder" plans. This guy has some kmg's and came up with a set of plans to build a clone that doesn't have to be welded, it can be but it's not in the plans.

http://www.mickleyknives.com/html/no_weld_grinder.html
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Old 04-26-2008, 07:09 PM   #8
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what metal do you make your knives out of?
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Old 04-26-2008, 07:33 PM   #9
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fulldraw I use the cpm-154. It's a newer stainless steel geared towards knifemakers (It does have other applications, I'm not exactly sure what they are though). I've been really happy as far as edge retention goes. The only thing I don't like about it is it does not take a hand rubbed mirror polish as easily as some of the others.
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Old 04-26-2008, 08:14 PM   #10
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knife making is something I'd like to get into, my cousin makes some, but it looks extremely complicated
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Old 04-26-2008, 08:21 PM   #11
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It can be very simple or very complicated depending on the knife. I'm trying to include a picture of almost anything I do even if it is something relatively small. Buy ya some steel and do the build along and you'll realize it ain't that bad. Doing it all with hand tools can take a while but I'm going to try and include small tips and tricks I've picked up to make things run a little more smoothly. If you've got questions post em up or if you've got designs you want to show post em up.
If you can run a file, hacksaw, and drill press you can do this build along.
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Old 04-26-2008, 08:27 PM   #12
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well I've got all those tools, I guess I just don't understand the whole heating process, I certainly don't have any way to heat the metal nor do I know anyone who does. I've got some old lawn mower blades I could practice on I guess. I'm printing out everything on here so I can try it out
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:13 PM   #13
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That's the beauty of this project you don't have to do any of the heating if you buy one of the stainless steels mentioned. It can't just be any stainless steel it has to be a certain type. When we get to that point in the tutorial I'll post some links to some professional services who take care of the heating for us. If you use an old mower blade you'll have to do the whole heat treat process yourself making things more complicated. With this tutorial you won't worry about breaking the temper or what not it's all steel in the soft or annealed state. You just shape, drill, and file till you get what you want then send it off for heat treat. You get it back put handles on it and shape them till they are where you want.
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:16 PM   #14
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well I'm looking forward to the rest of the tutorial, and when it's all said and done I'll ask my questions then
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Old 04-26-2008, 10:54 PM   #15
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Well as I said earlier the steel I was using was mild steel which was not good for a blade. I was just making a hard pattern. This afternoon I went out and cut, profiled, and drill the actual knife. From here on out the blade you will be seeing will be the actual knife unless I say otherwise.


9. Marking holes in the handle. This particular knife will have bolsters and example of bolsters are in this picture. Bolsters are the metal pieces on the handle in front of the ram horn. This is my personal knife I made to carry every day.


Here is the knife blank with the bolsters scribed in the marker along with the holes I want drilled for the handle. In the bolster area you can see 3 marks for the 1/8" 416 stainless steel rod and in the handle area you can see 2 holes marked for 1/4" 416 stainless steel rod.



In the next picture you can see where I drilled the 1/4" handle holes. I put one up in the far corner for a lanyard hole and added a few extra because I got ahead of myself.


In this next picture I have drilled several more 1/4" holes, but noticed I stopped before I got the bolster area. You can go into this area, but I always tend to drill into where I need 1/8" holes so I always stop there. I've also drilled 3 bolster pin holes. On most knives I will only use 2, but with this being a bigger knife than most I used three. Try to put them straight in case they show after peening (we'll get to peening later).


In this last picture you can see that I added several more 1/4" holes. These other holes serve two purposes. One is to reduce weight in the handle moving the balance point forward towards the bolster area. It also gives the epoxy or acraglas like I use more to bond to when applying handles. Another way of making the handle weigh less is a tapered tang. I don't know how to do it with files but I will show how to do it later on with a grinder. It's not a neccesity by any means but adds a nice touch.

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Old 04-26-2008, 11:06 PM   #16
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10. Getting ready to cut bevels. Before cutting bevels you have to mark the center line of your blade. It helps tremendously in keeping things straight and even. First use your marker or dyekem and coat what will be the edge of the knife.


There are a couple ways of doing this. First if you are using 1/8" steel take an 1/8" drill bit and lay it on a flat surface such as the granite plate I use. Next lay the blade flat on the plate and pull the edge along the drill bit point. The point of the blade will scribe a line in the center of the blade or close to it.


Flip the blade over on it's other side and repeat this process. Most likely the steel is a bit oversized and there will be two parallel lines marking the center such as this




Another way of doing this is using a dial caliper. Measure the thickness of the steel with the calipers then divide that number in half, and lock the calipers in at that setting. Then run one leg of the calipers down the side of the blade and the other leg will go down the center of the blade.
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Old 04-26-2008, 11:47 PM   #17
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I don't know why it's gone but here's is the orginial again on graph paper.

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Old 04-27-2008, 12:46 AM   #18
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hi Ryan would love to see pics from different angles on your grinder would make things a bunch easier. As many as you can, please. You can post or just send them to my email what ever is easier thanks

jesse@livingwordsa.org
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Old 04-27-2008, 09:44 PM   #19
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doublearrow, awful nice of you to take the time to offer this tutorial. Thanks!
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Old 04-27-2008, 10:59 PM   #20
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No problem Berandel hope at least a few of you enjoy it. I'm trying to make the most detailed or picture oriented tutorial I've seen on the internet.

Jesse I'll get some pictures of the grinder hopefully posted up tomorrow night. I'll let you take a look at them and if you see some spots you'd like close ups of or different angles we'll go from there.

I would also like to mention in the tutorial I'm doing bolsters and gave an example of a knife with bolsters up above. You do not have to have bolsters many user types knives just have a solid wood or micarta handle. If you are not doing bolsters just put another 1/4" hole where the bolsters are shown on my knife. If you do not have a grinder I have a way to do boslters that will keep them square. It is an easy process but can be time consuming. That's something you might take into consideration you might just put a solid handle on instead of bolsters if you don't have alot of time.

I wanted to include a few of my patterns here for ya'll to use or get ideas off from. Some of them are the stick tang like I talked about earlier, but you can make them full tang. Also one of them is a double hollow ground boot knife, your more than welcome to use it. My only advice is we are doing a flat grind and a double ground boot knife rarely looks right without a hollow grind.



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Old 04-28-2008, 08:17 AM   #21
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This is great. Now I have to go and get some steel pronto so I start following along.
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:42 AM   #22
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looking good
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:47 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lbbf View Post
This is great. Now I have to go and get some steel pronto so I start following along.

Sounds good. I'm gonna give it a few days before I post too many more pictures of the tutorial. Kinda give some guys a chance to get their steel and get going in case they have any questions on the first part of the tutorial.



Thanks LWarchery
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Old 04-29-2008, 11:39 AM   #24
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.
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Old 04-29-2008, 02:17 PM   #25
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Very nice.......cant wait for the next step...
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Old 04-30-2008, 12:16 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doublearrow View Post
Jesse here's the grinder I have
http://www.beaumontmetalworks.com/kmg-pl.html
Ryan,

You do beautiful work. I looked at the link you posted. As I read the web site, that grinder and motor costs $1,200? Are tools that specialized required to make a knife look as good as yours?

BTW, I'm a believer in buying the best tool you can afford, regardless if hardware, hunting, cooking....
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:11 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill in San Jose View Post
Ryan,

You do beautiful work. I looked at the link you posted. As I read the web site, that grinder and motor costs $1,200? Are tools that specialized required to make a knife look as good as yours?

BTW, I'm a believer in buying the best tool you can afford, regardless if hardware, hunting, cooking....
Are they that specialized and great that you need them? Definitley not
Are they there to speed things up and do a few other things? yup, but remember the speed up the knifemaking process which also means they speed up the screwing up a perfectly good process.

That said there is a maker by the name of Tai Goo who uses nothing but files and sandpaper. He even smelts his own steel sometimes if he finds enough ore on his place. The guy is awesome.

In post 5 of this thread I posted some knives they were all built with files, a drill press, sandpaper, and elbow grease. That's what I"m doing with this tutorial is showing how to make a knife with common tools.

You don't have to spend the 1200 I didn't. I bought the base model found a motor cheap and use cheap step pulley's for a poor man's variable speed. THere are now plans to build that grinder at home they are pretty simple in construction. In fact I've seen pictures of one built out of 2x4's. Guys that have the time and want to can build grinders for next to nothing.


THere are a few reasons I bought the grinder. At the time I didn't have a place to build the grinder or the welder and saws to do so. I also didn't have the time I wanted to build knives not tools. The maker of the grinder put a lot of thought into what knifemaker's wanted and built to that. He is constantly coming up with new ideas for the grinder some work some don't. He has top notch customer service and even modifies some grinders for makers. Those are some other reasons I bought from him, he did the research. The biggest reason was it sped my knifemaking up. This is something I'd like to be doing full time in a few years and if I just kept using files with my limited shop time I wouldn't be able to get enough done to get my name out there in the knife world.

I know it's a long answer to your question, but no you don't need to have tools this specialized to make a good looking knives. Knives are one of man's oldest tools and there were good looking knives built long before electricity came around. The grinder I bought was considered high end but that goes back to the best tool for the job. It's good quaility and nice to know if a nuclear bomb went off in my neighborhood there'd be two things left standing, my knifemaking mess and my knifegrinder.
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Old 04-30-2008, 11:40 AM   #28
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I have one of these knives that Ryan made it has an edge on it that is un believeably sharp very well made I love it and will have him make more some time when funds permit!!!!

Thank You

Ron
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Old 04-30-2008, 01:58 PM   #29
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Ryan, thanks for the great answer. It's like most anything else, if you really get into it as a hobby and passion, the cost is not an issue, and never forget, it's a heck of a lot cheaper than golfing!

I have 2 custom knives, 1 built by a fellow I elk hunt with and the second built by a member of my archery club. Both are works of art, and both hold tremendous edges. I posted pictures on this TBH thread in the past. Take a look at the second one, a skinner. I've not seen another like that, with the hollow-ground blade it's like sharpening and using a straight razor. Handle color is a little funky, but it works like a charm.

http://discussions.texasbowhunter.co...ad.php?t=30852
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Old 04-30-2008, 02:26 PM   #30
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I have done several knives with Damascas steel, but I have ordered the steel blank already shaped and sharpened (a little). I might have to try this with just the blank flat and cut out the rest. I don't have a drill press or a metal band saw, but I might try this none the less.

Thanks for the info
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Old 04-30-2008, 03:05 PM   #31
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Thanks airehead glad you are enjoying it



Bill in San Jose those are great looking knives. I like that second one. I'm like you haven't seen one quite like that style. That's another thing I like about knives, they've been around for no telling how long and there's always something new.


Txag96 I've done a small bit with damascus and I've actually got the forge built to start making my own damascus I just have to get caught up with current orders. As for not having a metal cutting band saw and a drill press it will take some time but you can use a hacksaw the entire way around. Another thing I did long before I got a bandsaw was using a dremel. I'd buy the big heavy duty cut off wheels and keep going around the outline of the knife. You have to be very careful with those, get them tweaked in the wrong direction and they fly apart. I've seen some guys use a hand drill and a vice to accomplish the same thing as the drill press. Just trying to give you more ideas if you have any of these tools around.
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Old 05-04-2008, 07:45 PM   #32
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Hopefully everyone has had a little time to get their steel in and started on the project. I'm going to go ahead and add a few pictures of the next few steps. I'll do some now and some later tonight.

When we left off everyone's blade looked like so..




Seriously the next step is filing the preliminary edge. ON the average hunting knife a good edge thickness before sharpening is .020 to .030. That's about the thickness of 8 sheets of typing paper. File down to the edge like the picture. Your goal here is not to form an edge or edge bevels it's just to set the preliminary edge so don't worry about how uneven it is. Here is the edge of the knife with one side done.


Here's both sides done



Here's a picture to show how much steel I actually took off of the edge. As you can see it's not that much. You can use the draw filing method I mentioned earlier or you can just file it normally.
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Old 05-04-2008, 07:53 PM   #33
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Finally got the grinder pictures posted as well.








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Old 05-04-2008, 09:21 PM   #34
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Let's start making it look like a knife. Disclaimer I am using the mild steel pattern again so and I did not do the last step of filing the preliminary bevels, but you'll be able to get the idea. Also the steel is thinner and my plunge cuts won't be as deep as yours if you are using 1/8" steel.

First off you need a file guide of some sort for your plunge cut. I have a jig of hardned o1 tool steel I bought from a knife supply. They are not cheap and can be made of other things. I've seen guys use angle iron or other pieces of metal. Here's an example of mine.


The goal is to have something that is even on both sides so that your plunge cuts measure up evenly. You could use wood if you file off part of your file that will be up against the wood. This is called a safe side. Worst case scenerio you could even use masking tape. Put it on even both sides but you're going to have to have more control when we actually file these.


Next get your blade clamped up into a position similiar to this. I used a piece of wood and c clamp that was in my vice.



Plunge cut. This is the start of your edge bevel. To cut the plunge cuts you will need a round chainsaw file. These can be just about any size. I use mainly 3/16" and 1/8". Put masking tape on the handle end or dill a hole in a golf ball and epoxy it to the end. This will make it more comfortable to use.


Use the file to make your plunge cut. File until the belly or valley is even with the preliminary bevel. The preliminary bevel is not shown here but you get the idea.



You are not just filing straight across here you should have the file angled slightly down to the edge side. Hopefully it shows up in this picture. The angle might be a little exaggerated also but it was to show up in the picture.



In the picture the left side is the edge side. Make sure to do both sides leaving .020 to .030" for the edge. Also notice the width (except where I slipped at the very top) of plunge cut will get more narrow the closer it gets to the spine. That will happen naturally if you keep it angled.
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Old 05-04-2008, 09:41 PM   #35
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Next it's time to draw file the bevels. Clamp the blade as shown, but please do not hang the point off of the edge. At one point you may drop the file if you bend over and pick it up when you raise up it hurts like hell or so I am told.



The next picture shows how I file the bevel into the plunge cut. This is not the only way to do it. Some guys will keep it in the same position as when we were cutting the plunge cut and file it that way. I prefer to clamp it in this position. The file is being pushed away from me at this point into the plunge cut. Go slow here if you don't you'll gouge up the plunge cut with the file and it will take forever more when we start hand sanding. It's a slow rolling action away from me.




Next start draw filing. I will not lie the next two processes will take time. Draw filing and hand sanding. Put the file handle in your left hand and the other end in your right. Pull the file towards you. This is the same method I mentioned early on. I draw file for a little while then go to the step up above and roll the bevel into the plunge cut. I do a little of one then a little other the other makes for a nice transition. Start with the file at the plunge cut and pull.



Just like when making the plunge cut you will not be filing the whole width of the blade at once. You will be holding it at an angle towards the edge. If you need to while cutting plunge cuts and bevels use your marker to color the area and file some to exactly where you are cutting.



This will take a while and your tip may look like it is not getting as much filing done. Keep going it will get better. If it doesn't you can always just draw file at the tip.



Draw file until you are where you want your bevel to end. You can go at the very least halfway up the blade or to the spine. Alot of that depends on what you want for edge geometry. For this I'm going to tell everyone to take their plunge cut all the way to the spine or almost and to file the bevel to the same height as the plunge cut. You should always file the bevel to whatever height your plunge cut is. The plunge cut pictures showed that I took the plunge all the way to the spine but I did NOT cut INTO the spine. Just don't get a quarter way up and quit. I know it's time consuming but it will be worth it. Do both sides of the blade. Also the further along you go when you flip the blade the tip will not be resting on the wood. It will have a gap because you have filed this metal away. Make sure to put something under it to support it at this point. Draw filing a flexible point is a pain in the butt.
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Old 05-04-2008, 09:46 PM   #36
doublearrow
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Just one reminder if you draw filed in sections. Coat the blade with your marker then start with the file at the plunge cut and pull from there to the tip in one pull. Do this and coat the blade a few times this will get a an even flat grind from plunge cut to tip. When done your blade will look like this one

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Old 05-05-2008, 07:58 PM   #37
HuntinJunkie
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doublearrow,

Do you have a web site and do you sell your knives?
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Old 05-05-2008, 08:41 PM   #38
doublearrow
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No sir I don't. I do post them for sale on here and custom knife sites, although I don't have any currently up. I do have to get a website and most likely will have one by the end of summer.
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Old 05-05-2008, 09:00 PM   #39
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Thanks, I would be interested in seeing some of them. Let me know when you get the web site up so I can look and trade you some green backs for a knife or 3 or 4.
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Old 05-06-2008, 09:58 AM   #40
airehead
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Hay Ryan My neighbor does web sight desighn and such and he owes me for some A/C work may be able to get you some less costly web stuff that way if interested PM me

Thank You

Ron
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:08 AM   #41
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looking good
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Old 05-10-2008, 06:03 PM   #42
doublearrow
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Update time. Now that we have filed our bevels in it's time to start the hand sanding process. An even hand polish is a desired trait among many custom knife collectors. Some makers will hand sand to a point then buff to a mirror polish. I've only met one knifemaker with a buffer in his shop that didn't have scars from stitches in his hand. He said he was just waiting. After seeing the wounds buffers caused I decided I'd make my own hand polishing technique to get a mirror polish for display knives.
This knife for the tutorial is only getting a satin finish. This is prefered by many for a working knife. It doesn't show scratches as easily and doesn't take near as long to acheive. After filing bevels your knife should look something like this.



Also here's an example of measuring the edge thickness. I knocked my gauge off while trying to take a picture so don't pay any attention to the actual numbers. Remember you want your edge after filing bevels to be .020 to .030 thick.



For now we aren't going to pay much attention to sanding the bevels that you filed. We are going to concentrate on the handle or tang. The tang is the area we drilled all the holes in.
First we are going to need a flat surface. You don't absolutely have to have a flat surface. You can clamp your blade up in the same posistion as when draw filing and use a block of wood with sandpaper wrapped around it. For my purposes I use a granite plate I ordered. You can buy 1 foot squares of glass from the hardware store for cheap and do the same thing. You can also use a micarta counter top. I do not recommend doing that on your kitchen counter top, I'm talking about a countertop one my have left in the garage. The more flat the surface the better for fitting handle material later.
Here's a picture of my granite plate.


From here you want to attatch full sheets of sand paper. I used to use the regular 3m sand paper from walmart it will work. Now that I make so many I order wet/dry paper in bulk. Since the steel most likely has mill scale on the handle or tang area since you did not file on this part I recommend starting with 60 grit. I use Elmer's stick um stuff found in the craft section of big box stores. You can also use a 3m product. Most of the 3m products found in walmart stick to well and are a pain to use. The elmer's will hold the paper and let you easily remove it when you are done with that sheet. Here's a picture of what I use.



If your surface won't permit using this I will also use masking tape in this fashion.
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Old 05-10-2008, 06:39 PM   #43
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Start sanding. I use a magnet sometimes but you can just use your hands to push the steel. A tip if you did find coarse grit wet or dry paper use wd 40 as a lubricant. It will go a little faster.




Apply masking tape like I did and you won't have to mess with metal shavings on the magnet all the time.

Next start sanding. You don't just start running the blade all over the place though. Go back and forth in one direction. Now you will notice that I don't have the black mill scale on mine, because I added another feature on my knife that I don't know how to do with files so I left it out. We are going to pretend that it's there. In this picture you can see I was sanding in a diagonal direction. I applied some dye kem before hand to help me see left behind scratches.



The best knifemaking advice I can give you is act like sand paper is free. It will get to a point especially while doing rough sanding that the sand paper doesn't cut as much. Take it off and throw it away. You can fight it and fight it but it will take FOREVER if you don't change out the sand paper.

The point here is not to get every scratch out from where the handle will be it's to make sure it's flat and to get the scratches out of the "flats". The flats are the areas not including the bevels that will show after the handle is applied. While sanding you may have some gouge marks under the handle, but they won't show once the handle is applied. Now if you have a whole area like say the last 2 inches of the handle that isn't being sanded while laying flat then the area is not flat. Sometimes you can look down the blade and it might have a slight bend and you can gradually bend it back or it just may be steel that is really unlevel. Here's an example of 3 knives with big "flats"



Sanding it level may take a while, or you can leave it and have an ever so slight gap between the handle material and steel. I prefer to get it flat. If you do have a deep gouge out in the flats that is just a problem there are a few options. Say the entire area is sanded to 60 grit and there is just one pit that won't go away. You can take a piece of the 60 grit wrap it around a small peice of wood and concentrate on rubbing that one spot. Another idea is if you have a Lansky sharpener or something similiar take the rough stone and concentrate on that one pit.

After going one direction with the first grit and you think you are done take it and put it under several different light sources, sunlight, halogens, whatever you can find. You want to look at the areas that will be seen when the handle is on. You want to make sure all your scratches from polishing are runnig in one direction. If you find a scratch mark it with a marker and go back to sanding. When satisified that all 60 grit scratches are running in one direction change grits. From 60 I go to either 80 or 100 grit. Go a different direction this time. In this picture look at the 3 three knives that are the same. Look at the one at the top it shows that the flats area was sanded parallel to the blade.



It doesn't matter what direction necessarily it just needs to be in a different direction that the previous grit. Sand on it a while then take it under differen't light sources. You will be able to see any 60 grit scratches because they will be going a different direction. You can do one grit diagonal the next one parallel the next one diagonal and so on. Or you can go diagonal left then diagonal right then diagonal left and so on. Just change directions with each grit. Here's my usual grit succesion 60 grit, 100 grit. 180 grit from here go to the automotive section and get wet or dry 220, 320, 400 and higher if you wish. On satin finishes I usually only go to 400 grit. Whatever your last grit maybe get it going parallel to the blade. Even if you end up with 400 grit going diagonal depending on what grits you use and what direction you start go over it again going parallel. It won't hurt anything to double do the last grit. it will probably help.
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Old 05-11-2008, 08:38 PM   #44
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Ryan,

I have made a few knives, but I am not up to your skill level by any means yet. One thing I did find I was able to do as far as buffing the blades safely. I bought a 4" treated yellow buff and used a 1/4" nut, bolt, and washers to mount it in a die grinder that I power with my air compressor.

I clamp the blade in my vise load the buff with rouge and buff away. I also use it to finish handles.
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Old 05-11-2008, 09:14 PM   #45
theluckyhunter
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im gonna start some full tang knives when i get money for the metal, i just finished up my 6th knife....i made three small pocket knives and sheaths today i'll call em my "production knives". i hope to be sellin em
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Old 05-11-2008, 11:05 PM   #46
doublearrow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenflag View Post
Ryan,

I have made a few knives, but I am not up to your skill level by any means yet. One thing I did find I was able to do as far as buffing the blades safely. I bought a 4" treated yellow buff and used a 1/4" nut, bolt, and washers to mount it in a die grinder that I power with my air compressor.

I clamp the blade in my vise load the buff with rouge and buff away. I also use it to finish handles.
I like that idea. One of those simple ones you wish you had thought of earlier. Thanks

Unluckyhunter post some pics when you get a chance.
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:39 PM   #47
doublearrow
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When we left off you were flat sanding the tang of the knife to the desired polish mine was 400 grit. In this picture the blade has not been polished but the tang has. I've made another few knives in the mean time and I made another one like the tutorial knife.


Next polish the blade. To do this you will want sanding blocks. I've include pictures of my 2. I made mine out of a piece of door trim. The first several knives I used a wooden ruler. Look at the next few pictures and you will get an idea of what you are after. You want a hard flat backing for the sand paper. On one of mine you will notice a piece of leather glued to it. We will get to that in a minute.




In the next step I have clamped my blade up in the same fashion as when we were draw filing. Notice I have wrapped a paper towel underneath to help not marring the finish we put on the tang.


Most likely since you draw filed the bevels you will want to start with a coarse grit paper say 60 grit. Again if you have wet or dry paper use wd 40. Also remember to change the paper often.


Since you draw filed your file marks are running parallel to the blade. That means you want to polish at a 90 degree angle to these marks. Go back and forth in the opposite direction if that makes sense. My grind marks are going a different direction because I used the grinder. I've included a picture of an arrow showing the back and forth motion I will be using to polish.


As on the tang once all file marks are polished out to the 60 grit marks running the opposite direction change grits. 60 grit, 100 grit. 180 grit from here go to the automotive section and get wet or dry 220, 320, 400 and higher if you wish same rules apply as when polishing the tang. Change direction with every grit. Also use a corner of your sanding block to really get into those plunge cuts. They are a pain to get clean.

Here you can see a bevel on the sides of my sanding block for that reason. It also shows how I wrap the sandpaper around. When that piece is used up I tear it off and move up the paper.


Here is a picture of how I polish plunges. I start about in the area shown and push the block into the plunge. When it hits the plunge use a sweeping motion to pull it up through the plunge cut.



Random shot with wd 40 and sandpaper slurry built up. Notice how I'm NOT sanding the tang right now?



Now it's time for that sanding block with leather glued to it. You can also wrap a couple paper towels around the sanding block. The idea here is for a bit of cushion under the sandpaper it helps matt an even up the finish.
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:59 PM   #48
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When you get to your desired grit mine is 400 you want the polish running parallel to the blade. Most likely when you do get the previous grit marks polished out your 400 grit finish will be spotted and uneven due to sanding in different spots. I do my blade in sections instead of polishing the entire blade at once so mine are always uneven.
To fix this take your cushioned block and wrap it with sandpaper


And position your block on the tang well behind where the handle material will be. Everwhere you start and stop the sandpaper there will be swirl marks or "fish hooks".


Start on the tang and with full, even speed, moderate pressure strokes pull the block towards you all the way through the point. It will drop down in the plunge cut let it but don't force it. I didn't show it in the picture but I have a popsicle stick under neath the point to support the tip from flexing. This helps get an even finish
Do not let up and make sure your sandpaper is wide enough to go from spine to edge. This is not something you make one or two strokes and call it good. I will make close to 50 or 60 strokes down the blade. Each time I tear off and put a fresh piece of sandpaper on the block. When done your blade should look like this.



Notice the parrallel polish and even finish that's from pulling from one end to the other non stop.

Next you want to place masking tape on the polished side like so...



From here use a razor blade to trim around the blade cutting off excess masking tape.









Now do the other side.60 grit seems to me to take forever, and 220 also. All the other grits seem to go fast for me. Your biggest hurdle will be getting the file gouges out if there are any with 60 grit.
Some makers don't go as far as I did before heat treat. WHen you get the knife back from heat treat there will be a rainbowy looking scale on the blade. Use your last grit going the same direction and this stuff comes right off. If you left any scratches from before they will be harder to get out after heat treat. Before heat treat your working with soft steel afterwards it's hard.
Once both sides are done the blade is ready for heat treat. If your using a carbon steel your going to have to find someone who does carbon steels. If you used stainless like I mentioned you can use texasknife.com (they take too long for me but they are cheaper) or you can use Paul Bos who works in the Buck knife factory. He rockwell test each knife before it leaves. I send all mine to Paul Bos now. You'll have to look up instructions on their site before sending. They tell how to wrap, mark, and clean blades and all that good stuff. Now it's a waiting game until they are back from heat treat.
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Old 05-13-2008, 10:01 PM   #49
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I know a few of you are building along with this from the pm's I've gotten send me some pics of what you have so far I'd like to see them.
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Old 05-15-2008, 01:35 AM   #50
bowtechman2006
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thats pretty spiffy.
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