View Full Version : new need some help

12-18-2004, 01:42 PM
Hi i am new to knifemaking and needed your guys help on how to get started out. I planned on doing the stock removal method for the blades but had a couple of questions. First is what should i buy to shape the knives with. Can i do it with a hacksaw and files or is there an easier way? Also since i'm a beginner what type of steel would be best to use and where can i purchase it from.
Thanks for any info

Sandy Morrissey
12-18-2004, 09:21 PM
Zack, the information you are requesting can be found in numbers of books and tutorials on the subject. Before you invest in grinding equipment and planning how to heat treat blades you have yet to fashion, you should ask yourself several questions: (1) Am I creative with my hands? (2) Am I planning on augmenting my income with an unknown, undeveloped skill? (3) Am I able to market myself as well as a yet to be conceived product? (4) Am I interested enough to spend time to read how-to books and tutorials? (5) Am I willing to accept the fact that I would be competing with people that live and breath the fashioning of exquisite knives---and it is usually a part time avocation? If you can answer these in the affirmative, pounce on your keyboard and instigate a search for what you want. It is there, my friend, for the asking if you are willing to expend a little time and effort. If you are not willing to proceed in that direction, you should abandon the idea!

12-18-2004, 10:13 PM
well, get online and find you a bader grinder, i wish i had started out that way but i learned the hard way, by buying the wrong equipment. come to a georgia guild meeting before you spend a bunch of money. there will be demos and you can talk to many veteran knifemakers and ask their opinions on equipment.

dean gates

12-19-2004, 07:04 AM
Power tools make the work faster and easier - they do NOT make the work better. The more you learn to do 'by hand', the better you will be able to utilize power tools. Some of the most talented artists that post here use hand tools for most of their work.

Having said that, don't waste your money on junk tools. Save up and buy decent quality tools. (Hang around here a bit and you'll soon see what people recommend and what they've learned was a mistake!)

I always recommend that you buy a copy of Wayne Goddard's "$50 Knife Shop". It's a fascintating book with tons of info and very readable. It also shows you how to do things at the most basic level, with a minimum of tools.

There is a ton of info around this forum that can help you. Spend some time looking at these great tutorials. We're not dismissing you by saying that. They really are pretty good.

If you want to see what can be done with hand tools, search the site for 'Herbey De Hoyos' postings. He's a relative newbie that has been posting some pretty nice knives made with files and sandpaper.

Texas Knifemakers Supply and Sheffield both carry a nice selection of knife metals and you can buy small quantities. A lot of people go for stainless (440C, ATS34, etc.), but heat treating those metals is tricky and you pretty much will have to send your blade off for hardening. Quenchable metals can be heat treated at home. Any of the 10xx series (e.g., 1084), O1, or 5160.

BTW, Sandy Morrissey is pretty much right on the money. (Not surprising, since he's one of the most talented guys on this forum.) I will take a small exception to one thing: Not everyone who builds knives - or anything else like that - is looking to do so as a career. Some of us do it out of a need to create and to maintain some level of sanity.

12-19-2004, 09:52 PM
First off, welcome to the forums.
Second, hold on to your sneakers! There's more information available on these forums than any one human has a right to know.

As my good friend Sandy so well put it (and I paraphrase) - If you really want it, it's here!
You must be willing to work some for it. The information that abounds here comes from a wide variety of very experienced and gifted craftsmen, key word being experienced which equates to time and effort.

You'll definitely get answers to your questions but you still have to put all the answers together jostle them around a bit to get "your" solution that will work for you.
Hope you don't feel that everyone is trying disuade or discourage you, far be it. It's more about the better you are educated and studied in the subject the better the questions you will ask and the greater value the answers will have.

Since you have posted on the GCKG Forum, is it safe to say you live in GA? If this be the case then I back Dean's advice to attend the next Guild meeting 100%. You can learn a heck of a lot in short order about what direction you want to go. The members in the Guild are a tremendous wealth of knowledge to tap and network with.

Now here's the part that gets me poked at ......... You don't have to grind steel to make a quality blade! Just a decent hammer and a hard spot with a little fire thrown in.

To answer your questions directly - yes, yes, and what TJ said.

12-31-2004, 08:15 PM
Hi Zakaris,

Just got dug out enough from December to look at our forum. Below is a link to the website of a sister guild. If you will check out the newsletters for March and June of 2003, you will find an article by Jim Small on How to Build a Knife. This was first published in book form and went along with a show on Georgia Public Television about 20 years ago. In the show, Jim took you through all of the steps in making a knife. Believe it or not, this is how John got started in knifemaking---by watching television.

How to Build a Knife (

Please be sure and drop John and e-mail ( We would love to place you on our e-mail list so you can receive information on the next meeting. It will be in February in Statesboro Georgia. John is President of the GCKG and Carl, who responded above, is our VP. Carl puts lots of thought, time and energy in making sure the demos at the meeting are just what folks want to learn about. Please feel free to give Carl any ideas you might have on what you would like to see demonstrated.

Assuming you are in Georgia or at least close, you will find several folks in the GCKG willing to take some time and give you some hands on tips and instruction. Of course most of knifemaking is grinding, grinding, grinding, or in Carl's case hammerin, hammerin, hammerin :D so some instruction and lots of practice will be in order.

We look forward to seeing you in February in Statesboro!

Joe H.
12-31-2004, 10:47 PM
here is a couple of sites I found help-full.

hope those help

Sandy Morrissey
12-31-2004, 11:10 PM
Hi, Joan----Your assumption that Zarkaris is from Georgia might not be so! This person has made 12 postngs to date to the Texas Knifemaker's Guild, the Mississippi Knifemaker's Guild and the Georgia Custom Knifemaker's Guild. I have not checked the replies but they were numerous. In each post he asks basically the same questions with no recognition of, or to, replys he has received. I doubt very seriously that he ever will! I think that "Herbey" should be allowed to fend for himself until he can be a little more appreciative of the help that has been offered and, apparently, rejected after asking for a second, third, and fourth opinion----Happy New Year! Sandy

01-01-2005, 09:13 AM
Happy New Year Everybody!!!!

As usual, Sandy's pretty much on the mark. It must be nice to be that sharp and still have all the experience he has tucked under his belt (which he probably made himself).
I seem to be losing more experience than I'm gaining. Otherwise why would I keep cutting and burning myself?! I even hit my finger with a hammer a short while back.
I didn't even have it up to forging temp (replacing a wind loosened shingle with a claw - Uck! - hammer).

We'll just have to wait out Zak, to see where his wants and intentions take him.

I have been in touch with Barak ("Coyotecall"), Don, and Henry.
We be lightn' er up in the next couple a weeks along with some other friends. This cooler weather will be interesting to work in (guess we'll see who really wants it). Probably have to circle up the forges a little.

Boy, I really like the way things are headed this new year.

See the rest of you guys in Statesboro (I hope).

01-08-2005, 10:57 PM
Thanks for all the information guys and yes i post on all of the forums to see what different people have to say. I live in arizona and seeing how there is no forum for it i just post in all of the other ones. I hope you guys dont get mad but if so tell me and i'll stop. Also i have finished my first knife with the profile and was wondering if you guys could help me out with the heat treating proccess. I planed on using the magnet to make sure its ready to quench but was wondering do i need to heat the oil or will it be ok to quench it in cold oil? Thanks for all the help and sorry if i'm bothering anyone.

01-09-2005, 01:35 PM

I was wondering what type steel you are using? I normally do stock removal on 440 and ATS, but for most high carbon, you heat up to non magnetic and that you would need to heat the oil. With information on what type of steel you are using we might can just get you pointed in the right direction to make sure you are successful at this.

Please feel free to visit our forum and ask questions. The purpose of the GCKG is to promote and educate on custom knifemaking. Sorry to hear you live so far away, Carl puts together some great demos for our meetings and this sounds like a good idea for one.

Good luck with your heat-treating and give us a shout if we can be of further help.

John Poythress
President GCKG

01-09-2005, 08:49 PM
Thanks. I used 1095 carbon steel for my blade.

Sandy Morrissey
01-12-2005, 09:42 PM
Hey, Zack---If I give you a huge smile of apology, perhaps some of the egg will fall off my face! Perhaps I am a little over protective of the fledgling "Georgia Custom Knifemakers Guild" which consists of the finest people I have had the pleasure to associate with. Their willingness to help people such as yourself has been amptly demonstrated. I hope that you will find me as willing to help you when you start making sheaths-----Sandy

john costa
01-13-2005, 08:34 AM

YOUR BIGGEST FAN.............jc

01-13-2005, 12:02 PM
I gotta say I was a little hurt that Zack did not come back and tell what desided to do about a grinder over on the Texas forum. Thats ok tho, it made me look around and I found some things of interest, and I had a nice chat with Texasjack. :101

grinder question (

01-13-2005, 12:52 PM
Pretty rare to catch Sandy like that! :eek:

I suspect that Sandy is far too nice of a guy to be president! Besides, that would take him away from his sheathmaking and that would be a disappointment to all!

It's always a privilege to have a chat with my alter-ego in Avon! Hammerdownnow's always got something interesting to say.

Also, it's pretty obvious that in whichever forum Zack posts his question, there are some good folks that will try to help him.

01-13-2005, 02:17 PM
Zack is certainly welcome here in all the forums on this board. Some forums are slower than others and any question or post is welcome to keep up the flow of things.. Some people get tired of answering the same questions over and over. I have a tendancy to forget, so rethinking a question sinks it in a little deeper for me. Also when I re-search for an answer, I always learn something new. I would suggest to Zack,or any new person, to spend some time at the newbies forum. When I first came on here I started reading the newbies forum and the outpost from "the beginning". That was in 2000 and it took me months! When I was done I felt I had a fair grasp of what was going on.
The search function works well if you have a specific question to ask, with specific words, but, for a newbie, trying to search for that "whatchamacallit" that makes that "doohickey" is just plain frustrating. We are blessed with a very low to nil troll count here, which makes it a pleasant invironment to hang around in.
Everytime I log on I want to say thank-you to all the makers for sharing what I consider a sacred craft that was always of interest, but a mystery to me before. A good way to say thank-you that is affordable to everyone, is to buy the videos that are available by the makers here. Seeing it done, as apposed to reading about it, can jump you light years ahead. Considering that the cost of a video is about the cost of one tank of gas on the way to a hammer in makes them a super value. Another way is to recycle equiptment amongst other forumites as we upgrade. Man it don'y take me much to get off on a tangent! ha...

01-18-2005, 10:05 PM
Thanks guys for all the info and welcoming me. By the way i decided not to throw all of my money into knifemaking and decided to make my knives with files and sandpaper. I have completed 2 knives already and am now going to heat treat them once i get some wood. When i finish them up i will post pics of them and maybe you can help me with a sheath sandy. I was thinking leather but am not sure. Anyway thanks for all the info and help you guys have put into this forum. Without you i dont think this would be possible. Once again thanks.

01-19-2005, 04:08 AM
Good plan. They say it sure don't hurt to make your first dozen or so by hand. Just to get the feel of things.

Herbey De Hoyos
07-31-2005, 09:55 PM
Hi, Joan----Your assumption that Zarkaris is from Georgia might not be so! This person has made 12 postngs to date to the Texas Knifemaker's Guild, the Mississippi Knifemaker's Guild and the Georgia Custom Knifemaker's Guild. I have not checked the replies but they were numerous. In each post he asks basically the same questions with no recognition of, or to, replys he has received. I doubt very seriously that he ever will! I think that "Herbey" should be allowed to fend for himself until he can be a little more appreciative of the help that has been offered and, apparently, rejected after asking for a second, third, and fourth opinion----Happy New Year! Sandy

first of all Zack the only other steel that i have used other than scrap is O1 and it is fairly easy to work with and in my oppinion pretty hard to screw up when you quench it. if you need to get in touch with me my email is
Sandy I am very sorry I have offended you or anyone else on this forum but i am going through some hard times right now and had not had a chance to get on the forum since last year, in the process off loosing my home so there have been other things that i have been keeping me pretty busy, and believe me I really do appreciate all the help that the memberrs of this forum gave me and hope you all will still help me when I get everything straight and get back to making knives again

TexasJack thanks for your support and just so you know I havent forgotten where the handle of my next knife came from once again im sorry for not replying in a timely manner but please no hard feelings

08-01-2005, 09:41 AM
Trust me, Herbey, there aren't many on this forum lucky enough to have avoided some hard times in their lives. It's never easy, but it does force you to put your life in perspective and weed out those people and things that don't matter. Things don't always work out the way we want them to, but they do work out the way they're supposed to. The number of times you get knocked down doesn't count. The number of times you get up does.

There are certainly no hard feelings. You have my best wishes and my prayers that things turn around for you. Keep the faith!

Sandy Morrissey
08-01-2005, 04:18 PM
Hi, Herbey---WELCOME BACK! I am still wiping the egg off my face, my friend! You are as welcome here as you can be and believe me, you offended no one on this forum. I just hope that I did not offend you! Pull up a chair and stay a while! ---Sandy---

Herbey De Hoyos
08-01-2005, 11:41 PM
Thankyou TexasJack all we can do somtimes is keep the faith and let life take its course and sooner or later things do turn around, we just have to learn from our mistakes

Sandy thank you and no I am not offended