View Full Version : Knife No. 3 !

06-29-2003, 11:07 AM
Ok...this was a tough one!! Seems like I had trouble at every turn. Actually, I was trying a different handle treatment with the mosaic pin and NS pins that don't go thru the tang. Don't ask me why...I just thought about it and decided to try it...looking back, it would have been easier to build if I used thru pins...Oh well, you don't learn unless you experiment!
Ok...this one is O-1 steel, 8" long, cocobolo handles, NS pins, Moasic pin, loveless pins, flat ground, jewelled flats, and a little epoxy filled filework on the back.

This is the third of a batch of 4 that I got back from the heat treater..for all you other newbies out there...that is such a thrill to get a batch of blades all ready to make into knives. I had to force myself to take my time on each one and make it as good as I could. I was so eager to see them all completed...but I'm pacing myself, and learning so much!!!

Well, I'm off to knife No. 4 now and it is different from the last three...hope to post it soon, till then please view and comment on this one! Oh, and has anyone else had a 'void' in their cocobolo wood? As I was shaping the handle a rather big 'void' opened up. It was just a slit of brittle wood that sort of fell out.
Anyway, thanks for looking!

06-29-2003, 06:28 PM
As a newbie myself I know just how impatient you feel, although I do my own heat treating as I only use 01. I find it makes a good knife, or will when I get the hang of it. :p :D

I rushed my first couple and now know I could have done a whole lot better. Keep up the good work, look forward to seeing No4. Love the filework.

Jason Cutter
06-29-2003, 08:21 PM
3rd knife or 300th - that is nicely done. Your attitude is right-on and you couldn't be more true about taking your time. So much time can be wasted by hurrying through work. And nothing is gained without experimentation.

Hey, you really need to be posting on the Display Case. No point being modest and keeping this good stuff all yourselves here. You do really good stuff, thats obvious. Jason.

Osprey Guy
06-29-2003, 09:22 PM
I agree...Your new knives are first rate! They should be shown off in the display case so all can see how wonderfully you're doing "coming out of the gate"...

Good job on the filework...nice touch to take the time filling the negative spaces in with epoxy. If you can, next time add a shot looking down on the spine so we can really get a good look at your filework (you know that's my pet "thing" ;) ).

Dennis Greenbaum

Yeah Baby! :smokin

06-30-2003, 09:59 AM
Keith, could you possibly expand on the epoxy filled file work? Is the file work done, then filled with epoxy and then sanded down again? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for your time. (Or anyone else with this knowledge)


06-30-2003, 11:20 AM
Wow....all these nice comments are just too much!! I really appreciate them all !! Makes all that hard work worth it!

John...keep at it, when you hold a knife, that is all your work, in your hand, the feeling is magic....You can do it!!!

Jason and Dennis....I've been admiring your work for so long, and your kind words mean so much !!!!
I'll start posting in the display case....wish me luck!!!

Bill... on the epoxy filled filework, this is what I do...but there might be a better way. I do the filework before heat treat, then after heat treat I clean up the blade and filework area. I put epoxy on the handle material (thin coat) and tighten down the loveless screws and clamp (leaving the filework accessable between the clamps). I mix up enough epoxy so that I have a good size puddle left after glue up. I then place a small amount of acrylic paint into the epoxy puddle. I stir it up real well, then take a thin piece of wood and using it like a 'putty knife', I press and push the black epoxy into the filework. I use a slow cure epoxy and go over it about three times, adding epoxy and working it down into the filework. On the last pass I just build up the epoxy to make sure there is a thin coating over the file work. Then let it setup for 24 hours. When ready, just work the handle material as you normally would and just grind the epoxy off the filework (slowly work your way down to it). I had some problems with bubbles forming...and that's why I now go over it a few times to work the bubbles out (hopefully).
Hope this helps....anybody else out there got any suggestions?

Thanks again guys and all those that viewed my work!

Jason Cutter
06-30-2003, 02:42 PM
I think your method is spot on. The best thing about tang filework that is filled is that you don't have to do all the fine sanding out of the filing marks as they'll all be filled over. Of course, doing it pre-HT is crucial unless you have $$ to spend on wasting files. But if there is stuff you want to do post-HT, all is not lost - you can use a Dremel with the 2 sizes of drum sander - the 1/2inch and 1/4inch drums and the little cut off wheels. Takes a bit of practise but it works wonders for stuff you "forgot."

Keith you are also correct to wait 24hours to do the sanding. I have previously used the lousy epoxy (5minute stuff) which wasn't strong enough anyway, or waited just 2 hours for the epoxy to set before starting sanding. When not fully cured like that, the epoxy will crumble or tear out as the bonds are not yet complete. = Headaches and a lot of swearing coming from the workshop...

I don't know if the epoxy colorants eg.- from K&G Finishing make any difference. My concern with any colorants is that it won't mix well or will interfere with the cure of the epoxy. Looks like it worked well for you. Jason.

06-30-2003, 05:43 PM
That is a great looking knife - I like the shape and from the picture it seems that the workmanship is tight and it would be hard to tell it is "only" a 3rd knife finished. My one (hopefully constructive) criticism is that I think there is a bit too much going on in the handle with all of those pins - I think it would look better with either just the 4 small pins or the 2 bolts and the mosiac. That's completely subjective, of course, and I've always been pretty stongly entrenched in the "less is more" camp, so take that for whatever it's worth. I'm sure some would agree and some not.

I'm still pretty much in the newbie phase myself, but I wish my third knife had looked that good. Looking forward to your number 4.


06-30-2003, 06:45 PM
I think you're right...the handle is a little busy. I touched on it a little above, but the loveless pins and the thong tube are the only ones that got thru the tang. This was the original design, but then I started thinking...and we know how dangerous that is!:D
I decided to try the 'false' pins just to see what it would look like and to see if it would work. I tried to make it look balanced and not to busy, but didn't quite get it right. That's why I chalk this one up to experience and experimentation. It was a challange, but it was really a fun learning experience!

Thanks for the comments and good luck with your work!

07-01-2003, 09:20 PM
Hey keith I think your knives look great... That's basically what I am going for. Where do you get your steel? Thats the problem I'm having right now... I can't seem to find any steel that is good enough to make a knife with. I would use a file but I want my blade to be about 1 inch wide and all the files I've see aren't that wide.


07-01-2003, 09:39 PM
Keith that knife makes me jealous...

It's a beaut...

How do you do the file work... I've never done anything like that.

What do you use to color the apoxy?? You said Acrylic.. do you mean paint like they use on model cars???

Chris Daigle
07-01-2003, 09:48 PM
Keith, looking good bro! As for all the pins, hey it's all subjective. I'm one for subtlety as well. But it certainly doesn't take away from the beauty of your piece. :D As for the tough pin placement, have you considered a reamer? I can't imagine doing handles without one.

Nice to see the epoxy colorant being used on filework as well! :cool:


07-02-2003, 08:50 PM
Thanks guys...glad you liked my work. I couldn't have done it without the help of all the posts on this forum...and of course my long distance teacher Alvin Kinsey....he's a great guy!!!
As far as your questions...I'll answer as best I can...I used O-1 steel that I got from Koval Knife supply (see supply list section).
As far as the filework I used the tutorial on this forum (by Bruce Evans I think) and I printed it out at work and read it over and over again in the evenings, then practiced on wood, then on scrap steel (from local hardware store). I believe it's called the vine and thorn pattern...I really like it, every time I try a different pattern it just doesn't compare to that one. I've got some small fixed blades I'm working on with the pattern on the top of the blade instead of in the handle area. I think this looks so much better than in the handle....and you don't have all the epoxy issue to deal with! And you are right...I use acrylic paint from the local craft store....not too much does seem to slow down the curing time...after 24 hours it seemed a little tacky!
And finally....reamers!!! I have them and used them on a folder that I'm working on....I just never thought about using them for the handle....oh boy...I've so much to learn!!:D
Thanks again guys....looking forward to seeing your knives soon!

07-02-2003, 10:53 PM
Err... ok.. maybe I'm stupid or something.. but.. what's a REAMER?

Chris Daigle
07-02-2003, 11:01 PM
Frank, they are a drill bit of sort. They "perfect" the holes. Use them to ream the holes to the desired diameter. Not a stupid question at all!


Jason Cutter
07-02-2003, 11:08 PM
Most drill bits are marked with their intended dimensions eg.- 1/16, 3/32, 1/8inch. However, most drill bits are rarely ever the exact size marked. This makes accurate and secure positioning of pin stock difficult and unreliable. Reamers are like drill bits but more precisely made to the desired dimensions. They are intended to be used after drilling a slightly undersized pilot hole then "reaming out" the hole with the correct size reamer.

The alternative method to using reamers is to ensure that you use the same "wrong-sized" drill bit. They are more comonly undesized rather than oversized, especially after some use. After drilling the tang and handle material, you will find that the pin stock may not fit the hole as the pins are too thick.

This situation is actually fortuitous. What you can then do is to use the drill press chuck to hold the pin and spin it at the highest speed you have, like a lathe. Use a fine file to sand down the dimensions of the pin. It does take a bit of practise. This not only turns the pin to the right size but has roughened up the pin for good adhesion with epoxies and glues. This method is amazingly fast and you just drop the pin out and insert it back into the chuck the other way round to do the opposite end. You can even turn the pins so that it is ever so slightly flared on one end to make it easier to fit the pins. That way, you wedge the flared side in and you only need to pein one side to fix the pins.

Just a quick idea I personally like. Jason.

Chris Daigle
07-02-2003, 11:20 PM
Ummm, yeah. What he said. :D :D :D


{Edited to say}

And let's not forget one of the main reasons for using reamers...the dreaded epoxy halo that is left around the pins.

07-03-2003, 03:00 AM
Originally posted by Chris Daigle
Frank, they are a drill bit of sort. They "perfect" the holes. Use them to ream the holes to the desired diameter. Not a stupid question at all!


ok.. Where would I get one.. or some.. for different size holes.???

What would I ask for??

07-04-2003, 01:39 AM
Hey Keith! enjoy the videos? Another short and sweet visit. Come back soon. Did you guys enjoy your visit to the art gallery? If your daughter wants any other tatoo patterns to work with, just bring her down and let her look.

07-04-2003, 06:53 PM
1 video to go!
Sorry for that short visit...but it was a great visit!
We have got to get some pics of that forged blade of yours!
You guys should see this blade....beautiful taper down to the tip
and a nice taper on the tang too!!
He does great work!!
I'll talk him into posting some pics!!:D


07-04-2003, 10:05 PM
Keith, I am a picture postin fool! One time i even posted a pic of a piece of steel I quenched and broke for a test. haha. Here is a link to that forged blade you liked. I am gonna try and work on it this weekend. Thanks for your nice comments. Lookin forward to our next visit. Stop by anytime.

Pete E
07-06-2003, 02:45 PM

I have yet to try my first knife, but i confess that your outstanding work fills me with both awe and trepidation in equal measures! I seriously doubt that I could produce knives to these standards after 50 attempts nevermind just 3!May i ask how long it took you to produce your first including the intial learning curve as well as metalwork side,



07-06-2003, 10:20 PM
Wow...thanks for the kind words!!
I posted this somewhere before, but I'll be glad to give you a run down...It took 1 year from the initial interest to the first completed knife!!!
I had an interest back in 1989, but decided it would be "out of my league", and I never followed thru with my interest. Well, about a year ago I went to a local knife show and that was all it took! I was hooked and this time I was determined to follow thru with it...So, I took a few lessons from a local knifemaker, but realized that I would need a lot of expensive equipment to make knives. But, I started to read books and soon I purchased a small Sears 2X42" grinder. All three knives that I have posted were profiled and flat ground on that small Sears grinder! I've sort of jumped ahead of myself, I used the Sears grinder to make about 25 wooden knives..not just ground blades but the whole knife! I learned how to dovetail the bolsters and shape the handles, plus how to flat grind! I have a woodworking background so the wood seemed more 'comfortable' to me than metal. Also, the whole knifemaking process is very can make a wooden knife in an hour! And you get all the experience of knifemaking!
Finally, I just make the transition to metal. I have no metalworking background and had to buy a metal bandsaw and drill press, and learn to use them!
Also, I have made a few wooden folder too!
In the middle of all that, I also put together some kit knives, mostly folders, and one fixed blade.
Lastly, I met a great knifemaker named Alvin Kinsey in this very forum. He and I have become good friends, even though he lives 14 hours away from me (and we've never met face to face), he has been so helpful in my education. He always has the answer and a good word...and his knives are fantastic!
I have since purchased a KMG grinder and am learning to hollow grind and generally trying to improve my skills.
I think the most important thing I can say is to have patience...I realized long ago how much there is to learn and have tried not to rush things. I try to learn something new about knifemaking everyday (which is easy with this forum), and am also looking at sheath making!
Sorry to ramble so...but I just want to add that you have to try it! Make a few out of wood and learn to get a nice flat grind..then use dowel rod to 'pin' the handles on and shape them out. Then order you some steel and go for that first knife!!
There is no feeling like it in the world...holding that knife in your hands..knowing that you made it!!! And, Alvin tells me that after 10 years of making knives, he still gets that good feeling each time he finishes one!!!
Give it a shot Pete, you can do've got a lot of friends on this forum that will be glad to help you!!
Good luck,

07-08-2003, 05:46 AM
hey guys, Keith came by and let me handle these babies. They are all comfortable in the hand. The DDR makes ya wanna fold it before ya hand it back tho.:D Nice file work. Smooth, even and polished. Can't wait to see the finish he puts on that leopard wood I gave him. (hint hint)

07-09-2003, 04:34 PM
pic not working, will come back to it! I am doing my first one and it is so much tougher than I thought. paul

07-11-2003, 11:49 AM
Don't give up !!! Keep working at it! Everytime you have a problem just search this forum and I'll bet you find the answer!
Also, I approached knifemaking a little differently than usual, I made myself accept mistakes. I realized that there is alot to learn, and that I would make my share of mistakes (and I did, and still do), the important thing is...don't give up! I've said it here before, but holding that first knife in your hand gives one such a sense of accomplishment...I can't describe it.
Just keep at it my friend...try to think three steps ahead and go for it
Each knife I've made has mistakes or things that I feel I could have done better on, but you don't make those mistakes on the next knife, and they keep getting better and better!

Keep at it!!!! You'll be glad you did!!!

Good luck,