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Thread: How I make a knife.k

  1. #1
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    Default How I make a knife.

    I would like to start by saying this is how "I" make a knife there is more than one way to skin a cat if you can pick up something useful that would be great.

    This particular knife is one I have made a few times so I will use a pattern I drew up for the first one I made, I always save them in case I want to make another. This one will be at least a 5 piece knife maybe more some times I change my mind as I go along. The blade will be Alabama Damascus, the handle will be stabilised Mesquite burl with stainless sandwich style bolster and probably 10 to 12 pins in it we will see how it lays out.


    first gather most of the materials, a piece of blade steel (Alabama Damascus), a bar of 416 stainless steel this one is 1/4 x 3/4 what ever is left. I have a nickel silver tube for lanyard, a 1/16 nickel silver rod for perimeter pins, and a copper and nickel silver Mosaic rod for a little touch a set of stabilised Mesquite scales 3/8" thick don't skimp on the wood a thick round handle is awesome.

    Trace your knife pattern on the steel and then cut it out, I use a metal band saw then to the belt sander and finally finish with hand files,I want a smooth profile.

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    Here is a rough cut off the band saw

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    here is the finished blank, cut on band saw, belt ground then the perimeter of the blank was hand filed with a draw motion "like using a draw knife".
    I will post next step when I thaw out its cold out today.
    Last edited by randallss7; 12-29-2012 at 10:14 PM.


  2. #2
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    Looking forward to seeing your process.
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    now I will mark a line down the center of the blade where the edge will be I use a very scientific process for this lol.

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    here is the scribed line hope you can see it, I will eventually remove metal from each side of the blade to that line

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    I then place a plunge cut guide in the choil where I want it I usually make a angled grind termination or plunge what ever you want to call it. I put a choil in almost all my knives it just makes them easier to shapren and I like them.

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    I then grind the bevils on each side to the scribed mark in the center of the blade where the edge will be.

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    here it is after a nearly full flat grind on each side,

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    with a lot of pratice you can get pretty good at free hand grinding its actually easier than using a jig I have tried both and left the Jig's behind years ago.

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    Tomorrow I will lay out the handle for the pin holes and any extra holes I want to drill to reduce weight, do a little file work on the spine of the knife, heat treat the blank and maybe start the handle work.

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    now I will lay out the handle/pin design I just visuilize what I want the bolster to look like at this time lay the bar of steel on the blank and draw a line with a sharpie. I use my calipers to basically scribe a line around the perimeter of the blank then start putting in the marks for the pins in this case one 1/4" mosiac, one 1/4" lanyard tube, 9 1/16" pins around the perimeter of the blank.

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    I then drill the holes for the pins on the marks

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    I will then drill some larger holes in the handle simply for weight reduction and to give the epoxy something extra to hold on to.

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    Oh i forgot I drill the pin holes for the bolster also, then counter sync all the holes just a little this does several things, 1st later you will see I glue my handle up all at once and it will help guide the pins through the handle, 2nd I think it gives the epoxy even more to hold on to, 3rd some say it helps with stress risers during the quench. I have never had a problem with this on Damascus but on 1095 you can run into problems like a cracked blank if you leave a bunch of deep scratches or 90 degree edges, also 1095 requires a much faster quench. On this Damascus I will quench in 10 weight motor oil, 1095 gets quenched in actual quenching oil much more expensive but it produces an awesome end result, a light weight oil warmed a little will do the Damascus just fine. More on the quench later.

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    next up will be the file work and cleaning up the blank for preparation for heat treat.

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    Thanks for sharing! Nice work!
    Keep in mind the problem may be extremely complicated, though the "Fix" is often simple...

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    ok time to do the file work, 1st I scribe two lines down the spine, hope you can see.

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    then I will use the following files to do the actual file work, top is a 1/2 round regular every day file, 2nd is a plain round file, 3rd is a modified triangle file (I ground the file off one flat side so it will not cut), 4th is a small round file just use what ever type or kind you have really.

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    using the scribed lines just as a loose guide I start my filing pattern, this pattern is free hand I do no lay out. It would probably be better to start with a simple pattern if you are going to do your first, you can lay out .25" marks on the spine and do several file patterns like vine, or what ever. Any way I file the first series of the repeated pattern into the spine and then just repeat it over and over on each side, use your callipers to keep everything some what symmetrical or just go with it its your file work just have fun.

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    this over simplifies it I know but there is no way to take enough pic's to show you how to do this, practice on scrap or go get some mild steel.

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    file work is complete, now time to clean up blank for heat treat. I will use some 220g sand paper and bar of aliminum to hand sand all the grind marks out of the blade and the area where the bolster will mount. Keep the bar flat and use deliberate strokes on the area where the bolster mounts if you round the edges you will have a gap between the blank and bolster, not good.

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    ok an good bit of time later here is the blank sanded to 220g on both sides, bolster area smooth and flat, back of spine sanded also. I sand to 220 grit now for a couple reasons. 1 its easier to sand the annealed steel at this point its about like mild steel. 2nd I like to take the scratches out of the blade these can cause "heat risers" in the blade and can cause bends or even cracks during quench.

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    at this point it kind of looks like a knife, but its a soft useless piece of steel wouldn't even make a good butter knife. next will be heat treat and I cant wait to fire up forge because its cold out and it will heat things up fast, that's what a 2000 degree forge will do...lol.
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    Very cool, easy to follow, nice job....rep your way.
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  9. #9
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    OK there is just no way of showing this not enough hands and none of the girls will come out and help...lol. Don't laugh at my tools or shed I told you guys I make knives in a shed and I wasn't lying....lol.

    first I fire up my forge, which I also built, if you want me to post the build along pics from way back when, I can but I'm not unless there is interest. I let my forge come up to temperature slowly actually I let it come up very slowly and not very hot at first. I set my blank on the warmer and then into the forge. I then place the oil on the warmer and bring it up to about 180 degrees. At this point the forge is a dull orange and is cooking away at about 1200 1300 degrees, I know this because I can leave blank in forever and it will never become non-magnetic. I then make several adjustments increasing the temperature until the even heated blank becomes none magnetic, then for this Damascus I give it one more slight increase and let it soak a few minutes. I then pull it out and go straight to the heated oil moving the blank up and down, do now swirl unless you want a bent blade...lol.

    here is the instructions from the Alabama Damascus web sight: Heat the blade even on both sides till a magnet donít stick, heat the blade up till itís the same color all over even, quench in a light weight oil, peanut oil, 10 wt hydraulic oil ect. If you have an oven, take the steel up to 1550 degrees, after blade reaches furnace temperature, allow the blade to soak for at least two minutes at that temperature, then quickly Quench in 10 weight oil, peanut oil, blade tip first, do not swirl blade in oil.

    and here is the tempering instructions from the sight:Temper or draw:

    Heat oven up to 350 degrees, and then after 1 hour turn off the oven and let the blades cool down to room temperature, draw again if you wish for a double draw. Some folks chose not to draw the steel but its seems to etch more better if you do, or so it does for me.

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    at this point the light go out so I can use my magnet, and color of the steel and sound of my forge to make sure I get a perfect heat. I'm not sure you can see but the blank is the little thing in the middle of the hot fire.

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    cant take pics during the actual quench it happens to fast and no one to take the pics sorry. but after the quench I wipe the burned oil off the blade and take a file and work the blank over in several different locations and along the entire edge, if the file does anything more than just scratch burned oil I re-do the process but this one came out good the file wouldn't cut it anywhere and it sounded like filing glass I like it.

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    its hard and straight so It's ready for tempering. This Damascus doesn't have to be tempered it will stand up just like it is its one tough stuff, but I'm going to just take the edge off by cooking it at 250 degrees for 3 hours, that's 3 one hour runs through the oven. This one will be hard.

    this steel is made of of the following steels: 5160 (spring steel) 203E (low carbon high impact High nickel mild steel alloy) 15N20 (band saw blade material), 52100 (ball bearing steel), nickel 200 is added at times also. Good stuff.
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    Great thread.
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    That Sir....is Awesome.
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    out of the oven and into the vice, I will now...once again...hand sand the blade and bolster area with the aluminium bar starting with 220g and going to 1000g. 220, 320, 400, 600, 800 and then 1000

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    my pile of sand paper, I almost hate this part of knife making.
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    all sanded up

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    I then buff and clean with oven cleaner

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    on this knife with the file work on the back of the blade I will cover the top of the file work with shipping tape, then I will place the blade into the etching acid to bring out the 416 some odd layers of the different steels we talked about earlier

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    Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellers they are established.

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  13. #13

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    Could we get a bit of info on the clamp made from the pipe?....looks cool....and useful.
    So this is how liberty dies.....With thunderous applause.

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    Knife making vices are really handy tool, and not too hard to fabricate.

    http://pinterest.com/pin/548383692096239410/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Echo2 View Post
    Could we get a bit of info on the clamp made from the pipe?....looks cool....and useful.
    that's a vice I came up with so I can rotate the blade 360 in order to access all sides, I can also slid out the wood slats for backing the soft blades before heat treat, I have used it like crazy. I can slide it out away from the bench or slide it back close to bench the wood jaws allow me to work without marking the steel. I have replaced the walnut jaws with a couple of picket sign slats and a few pieces of leather. I can place my stool on either side for doing file work or what ever. I found the aliminimum brackets I have no Idea of there original use or where to get any more sorry, but you could make something similar or just put the pipe in a regular vice, I did that for a while but wanted a stand alone unit so I mounted it to the bench. The clamp is just a hole drilled in the pipe, a nut welded to outside and a bolt to tighten it all up with, I have a flat piece of metal on the back of the bolt to keep from driving into the wood jaws.

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    Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellers they are established.

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  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by crashdive123 View Post
    Knife making vices are really handy tool, and not too hard to fabricate.

    http://pinterest.com/pin/548383692096239410/

    http://www.jerzeedevil.com/forums/sh...e-A-Knife-Vise
    Would something like this be trade-able for blades to a knife maker?.....
    So this is how liberty dies.....With thunderous applause.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Echo2 View Post
    Would something like this be trade-able for blades to a knife maker?.....
    If you found a knife maker without one...maybe
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    blade is out of acid bath and wiped down with dawn dish washing soap and a sponge, then sprayed down with Rem oil. I etched this one deep and it brought out a lot of character in the blade, I think its going to turn out well. Tomorrow I will make and mount the bolster and then decide on the handle I cant decide if I want to stack the bolster and line the scales or not.

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Echo2 View Post
    Would something like this be trade-able for blades to a knife maker?.....
    PM sent...
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    Great thread... looking forward to more...
    Even the Dalai Lama had to bug outÖ

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