View Full Version : I'M READY to ROCK

06-04-2003, 04:13 PM
Well... Today my Grizzly came in....

I've got my Garage set up as a shop.... I've got this equipment:
One standing drill press (harbor freight special)
double bench grinder/buffer (according to which wheels I have on)
Chop saw with abrasive cutoff wheel,
4x36 belt sander with disc sander (el-cheapo
1x30 small belt sander (fast little booger..good for wood handles)
Very large reversible bench vise (means I can turn it upside down and use it in many many differen't positions)
Homemade forge for heat treating... (The washtub forge in Lively's video) (all I am waiting on for that forge is a blower I have ordered.)
Large industrial type toaster oven to temper.. (via e-bay.. works great)
Grizzly 2x72 belt sander.
multitudes of clamps and hammers.
many many miscellaneous stuff.. like heavy duty wire cutters for cutting pins.
Coping saws.. etc..
I have numerous books and now a couple of videos.
I just recieved some 1095 steel from Sheffield supplies.

I have yet to make a blade.. but I think I'm ready..LOL

MY Wife thinks I am nuts.... I have convinced her of a couple of things.. ONE.. that much of these tools can be used for many different things.. NOT just knife making.. (LOL..YEAH RIGHT).
TWO... MAYBE sometime in the future.. someone will actually want to PAY me for a knife.. LOL... You know.. somewhere in my mind.. I know I'll never be rich off this.. but I will feel very PROUD the day someone actually wants to give me money for something I made with my hands.. out of a chunk of metal and some wood.

I don't want to make this long.. BUT.. how did you all.. get the bug?? Any good stories???

Mines somewhat unusual. I collected knives.. for years.. and never thought of making one.
I was out hanging around with a friend of mine on his land in Bastrop Texas.. (his land was bought when they closed a military base). There was an old river bed that had dried up.. we were walking down it.. and found an old metal box buried in it. Believe it or not.. it was an OLD military blacksmith box. It had numerous blacksmith tools in it...including a US branding iron. Him and his wife decided to keep all that stuff to put in their rock garden.
There was.. however.. a knife blank in the box.. that was rusty but not too much.. He gave it too me.. I made a knife out of it.
I looked all over the net.. to find info on how to do that.
Unfortunately that knife was taken from me when someone robbed my home.
I have since then made numerous knives.. out of blanks I bought, but have yet to make one of my own... NOW I AM READY to at least TRY.
I have cut this story short.. because it's actually much more complicated.. as in.. I went to a gun and knife show.. and convinced a maker of custom knives.. to heat treat the blade for me... etc..
Anyone else got a good story about how they were bit??

Jamey Saunders
06-04-2003, 04:43 PM
Your shop is definately better equipped than mine. Great story, as well. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

06-04-2003, 05:38 PM
I got into knifemaking because collecting knives became too expensive, and I said "I can do that". Well, little did naive me realize that the acquisition of tools was a far more expensive than a lot of knives would be.:D

I have been a lifleong knife nut. Carved every popsicle stick into a "knife", spent most of my allowance buying crappo kitchen/butcher knives from yardsales. Grandpa ran a sharpening shop... guess it's in the blood.

As far as initial tools goes, suggest a good candy thermometer to test that toaster oven. It is good to test occasionally, cuz some change with time, others are rock solid for years.

have fun, it's a blast....

PS, don't forget respirator from day 1, protective eyewear, bandaids, and superglue for the bad cuts.

Ray Rogers
06-04-2003, 06:22 PM
The fastest way to find out what tools you may still need is to start making that first knife. Problem is, it's now 10 years later for me and I still decide I need something more every time I make one of the darned things.

Most knife makers have the bug all their lives , I think. When I was 5 years old I remember watching my fater make my mom a paring knife. It was just a small file that he ground down and then brazed a piece of steel pipe onto for a handle. That was the only paring knife my mom used for the rest of her life and I still have it .....

Chris Daigle
06-04-2003, 07:14 PM
Best of luck. You'll be hooked in no time at all! :D And like Fitzo said, R E S P I R A T O R ! !


06-04-2003, 07:31 PM
what they said + FIRE extinguishers- that's plural.
also, get a side of apron leather and make 2 - one for the grinding area, the other for the forge area. oh, and some gloves and forging glasses. can't have too much safety equipment. this stuff is dangerous!
enjoy! ;)

06-04-2003, 11:26 PM
I made my first knife when i was 9 years old and i still own it. Some day soon i will post a pic of it. My second when i was 22 or so. The only tools i had when i was 9 was one file and a hacksaw and one power drill. No vise that took forever and my hands were hamburger. I guess i have allways loved knifes and im sure i loved them the first time i saw one. So now im making them. Right now i have just started on my 3rd knife but this time i have a shop kmg-1 grinder baldor buffer. cutoff saw, band saw, drill press, heat treat oven

06-05-2003, 08:42 AM
Sounds like you're off to a good start. As previously noted, RESPIRATOR is a MUST!! My story is like this. Ive always been into the art type stuff, you know drawing, painting, clay, etc. Developed a love for metal working in high school, went to work in a machine shop right after graduation. Moved on to bigger & better things a few years later, but the passion for metal working was still there. About five years ago I started tooling up a garage machine shop, with much bigger ambitions. THEN IT HAPPENED!!
Decided to make my Dad and Brothers knives for Christmas 2001.
Bought David Boye's book and some steel from TKS and dove in head first. Those first few weren't fun in the least, had no idea what all really went into making a knife. I survived though and they loved their knives. It's been a passion ever since that gets stronger everyday, the more I do, the more I learn, the more eager I am to get on with the next knife. I see no end to it, but I'm loving every minute of it.

Enjoy, this is a great community to be a part of,

Jerry Shorter
06-05-2003, 01:21 PM
One thing that I learned the hard way, Don't skimp on belts, buy the best, If you can't afford the best, find something else to do until you can save up enough to get 'em. One good belt can outlast many on the cheaper ones and you will get much, much better results and a lot less frustration

Have fun, Jerry

06-05-2003, 05:21 PM
The only thing I could add is a good set of files. Every size and shape you can think of. As for how I got the bug, my Dad made a knife during WWII. Took a USN knife and put a handle on made from the window glass of a Japanese Zero, the bolster and end cap are made from the window frame with a 7.7mm bullet on the end just for looks. My brother lost it when my Dad hurt his back in a truck accident and was in the hospital for a couple of weeks, idiot brother thought it was up to him to feed the family so he went out a poached an elk and left the knife where they gutted it out. Dad told him he had to go back and get it 'cause everyone in the area knew that knife. Brother went back but couldn't find it, a couple of days later the game warden came by the house and dropped off the knife with Mom without saying a word about the elk. It's long since been retired,but I still got that knife.

06-08-2003, 10:00 AM
My dad used to tell me stories of his grandfather, who was a blacksmith. It is almost mythic when I think about it. There is this desire to work' blood. It's not religious, but I have this thing about working with my hands. Athletes get into the zone...I think that any good crafter often does the same thing. For me, there is nothing more fulfilling than to make something from raw material.

On a seperate note, I got a *peek* into metal structures during school. Lattice structures, crystal defects, forging vs. casting, heat treating, annealing, etc., etc. For the last seven years I have been dreaming about making knives. I have dozens of designs that I am ready to start on when I transfer again. I have no shop space at the apartment that I live, and hopefully, I'll actually have some time to *work*.

I'm making my wish list now, and I'm planning on starting my purchasing spree once we get moved in, and everything is settled down. I'm planning on making a set of knives for my dad and 2 brothers for Christmas this year, and me of course. My wife, well, she has always thought I was a little nuts, but is otherwise real supportive. I think she can see the gleam in my eyes when I talk about it. I'll let you all know how the first few blades come. And no, the first few will be test models before the production run.

Hehe, get ready for more questions than you can shake a stick at.
Good luck Fsawyer, on your first blades.

06-10-2003, 08:43 PM
welcome to ckdf, john. by the time you get your shop set up you will have had time to absorb a lot of the information here. but, experience is the better teacher - some of this stuff just never made sense until i tried it :p

Frank J Warner
06-11-2003, 11:13 PM
The day you sell your first knife will be a mixture of the day you got married and the day you sent your first-born off to war.

I'm fifty-one years old and I've been working metal most of my life, thanks to my father who was a machinist and loved to share. But I've only been making knives for a year or so and sold my first one about a month ago.

Mind you, I was just looking for affirmation. Not to get rich but to find out if anyone (sane) actually wanted to lay down cold hard cash for something I made with my own hands. That's all.

So, imagine my surprise when somebody actually bought one of my knives. I was elated! I was BEYOND elated! Wooo-Hooo!!! I thought the guy must not really be sane, but I didn't care.

Then, the next day, I saw my wife packing up the knife to be shipped to the buyer, and I thought, Nooooo!!! That's MY knife! I can't let it go! Please? Can I keep it a little while longer!?!?!?

But she wouldn't let me do that (she's a hard woman, but I love her to death), so the knife went bye-bye.

My only consolation was that I was then forced to go out in my workshop and make another one to replace it.

It's funny how that works . . . .


06-12-2003, 01:10 AM
Frank, I sympathise with your feelings about the first knife. But mine were quite the opposite, I started having visions of a knife not sharrp enough, wouldn't hold an edge, etc. Didn't have the confidence in my work, STILL dont really, given the company I'm in, with the forums and all. I'm in constant AWE of the people who actually take the time to visit these forums. I just thought I was ready to rock, but with the presence of people like S.R. Johnson, Lloyd Hale, Jerry Fisk, Terry Primos, humble is the word of the day for me. Wish I could spend ONE day in any of their shop's just picking their brains!!!

I love this community,

06-12-2003, 06:46 AM
It's funny how the knife bug bites. There are so many stories. Many of us collected knives or had a love for them early on. I never claimed to be a knife collector. That would impart some knowledge and desire for quality. I would call myself a knife accumulator. Some of my favorites were rusty or broken pieces picked up over the years.

I am now a wood worker, or have been since retiring from public service. One day a friend brought me some old knives in pretty bad shape and asked if I could fashion new handles out of scrap wood. Well I did that, plus re profiled and sharpened them. He couldn't believe them when he picked them up. Well you know what a little encouragment can do.

I was lucky in that I already had a lot of woodworking equipment. After adding a Rob Frink KMG I was in pretty good shape. The wood work still pays the bills but I love making knives.

I have heard many say that you can start out with as little as a couple files and that certainly is true. But in metal working, woodworking or brain surgery, the right tool can really make a difference. Get started the best you can but at least put a lot of research into the tools you buy. I have a corner of my shop full of tools that just did not do the job I had in mind. I am so happy now that I stretched to get the KMG. I had considered cheaper alternatives but decided to wait until I could afford the better grinder. Good luck. Everything I know about making knives is right here where I learned it.

06-12-2003, 05:12 PM
Originally posted by belia
Frank, I sympathise with your feelings about the first knife. But mine were quite the opposite, I started having visions of a knife not sharrp enough, wouldn't hold an edge, etc. Didn't have the confidence in my work, STILL dont really, given the company I'm in, with the forums and all. I'm in constant AWE of the people who actually take the time to visit these forums. I just thought I was ready to rock, but with the presence of people like S.R. Johnson, Lloyd Hale, Jerry Fisk, Terry Primos, humble is the word of the day for me. Wish I could spend ONE day in any of their shop's just picking their brains!!!

I love this community,

OH.. I know those feelings.. believe me.. I've put a lot of money (not huge amounts.. but much more than my wife thinks I should have.. and I'm not done yet.. I need small things.. like some silver solder.. handle material.. brass for guards.. etc..)
Like I was saying.. I've put a lot of money into this.. and to tell you the truth.. watching Gene's video from CenterCross.. scared me.. because he put a lot of work and expensive material..craftsmanship..and fancy filing.. etc.. into the knife in the video.. I thought to myself.. 'can I ever really do that'. Gene was working with ATS-34.. stainless steel... something I won't be touching.. (I refuse to hire someone to heat treat it for me..and I can't afford to buy the oven etc.. to do it myself. I want every knife I be 100% mine.)
I have started on my first blade.. made out of 1095.. profiled it.. and somewhat ground the bevel.. but.. it doesn't look quit right.
I'm scared that I may never be able to do it... but I'm gonna try.. I put toooooooo much into this.. to give up.
I need to get this blade as good as I can.. heat treat it.. and see if I can do it all the way through.. It may not be pretty...but I want to finish it. I'm having a hard time finding a blower for my homemade forge.. but I'm still looking..
After looking at Gene's video.. and seeing his grind on that knife.. then looking at my grind.. I almost thru it in the trash.. but I said.. Gene's a pro.. I've just started.. I've got to keep trying.

Ray Rogers
06-12-2003, 07:05 PM
You have the right idea - don't give up. Good grind lines take a LOT of practice.

One another post, you say your line is wavy and you never seem to hit the same spoy twice when you touch the belt. Before you start grinding the main bevel knock the corner off the blade's 'edge'. Grind it down on the edge as if you were trying to sharpen the blade. Stop when your edge is about 30 thou in thickness - still very dull but almost ready to be sharpened. Then, start the main bevel grind by working from that first bevel keeping most of the grinding on the bottom of the blade. As the low part of the blade 'sets' in so you can feel it on the belt just nudge it up a little until it gets to where you wat it.

The rest is repitition to gain control ....