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  #1  
Old 04-01-2017, 02:27 PM
Pine Pine is offline
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First time knife with titanium diboride?

Hey forum,

I'm extremely interested in making a knife however I don't know how to get started making one I specifically want.

I own a material called titanium diboride. The plate I own is 10cm by 10cm x 3mm. I was thinking of using this for the blade but what are your thoughts? It'll be hard to machine because of its extreme hardness but it should be possible. I don't know how wide I should make it but I want to work with it being 10cm long

I was also thinking to make some kind of folding knife so it can make use of the 10cm blade, it would also be nice to have the handle made out of wood or something along those lines, I'm open to any and all ideas.

Thanks, Pine
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  #2  
Old 04-01-2017, 03:49 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is online now
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Without knowing anything about your background I have to assume that you have minimal skills or practice at metal working and finishing. That being the case, you have very little chance of successfully shaping a piece of hard ceramic. Even less chance of turning it into a knife blade considering you have never made a knife. Much, much less chance of making a functional folding knife with that material.

So, best advice you're likely to get: spend a year or two making regular knives. Gather the tools that you will need, learn the skills of grinding and finishing. After that, you might be able to shape that material into a decent blade but no one here will be able to tell you for sure because a) no one has used that material and b) shaping ceramic by mechanical methods such as grinding or other machining is not how ceramic blades are made. Ceramic blades are cast into the desired shape, at least that's the only way I've ever heard of. Doesn't mean you can't shape one, it just means you're likely to fail a few times before you succeed ....


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Old 04-01-2017, 04:18 PM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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I would agree with ray. I don't know anything about the material your trying to use. So from what ray says it sounds like a great challenge. But even putting all that aside. If you have a limited supply of any material you want to make a knife from. Do NOT use that material on your first few knives cause the chance of messing it up is so high and if you have a limited amount and you mess it up then you will be more than a lil upset. I to overreached when I started I wanted my first knife to be a fairly complicated piece of Damascus I was going to make. Once I made a few mistakes I smartened up and with help from people on this forum I learned to heat treat. If your knife isn't properly heat treated its only a "knife shaped object" learning to heat treat will take a lot of trial and error and testing. And if you do it the right way you will be breaking the first few knives on purpose its the only way to tell if you got it right. So In short put that material aside get some 1084 steel build a forge and go from there. There are many of us here that are more than willing to help. I have only recently started making folding knives. I would sugest well learn heat treating first but even after that make some fixed blades learn the skills and then try a folding knife. to make a GOOD folding knife requires more accuracy than fixed blades.
That being said WELCOME this is a very enjoyable hobby but it can be a lil addictive to once you get started but i guess that's part of the fun too.
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Old 04-01-2017, 04:33 PM
Pine Pine is offline
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Thanks for all the warm welcomes, yeah 360 for that plate would make me quite upset.

I'm sure it can be water jet cut, but anything other than that I don't think would be able to cut it accurately. That would be able to get the "knife shaped object" part but to be able to sharpen it and grind it would be extremely tough, I know you can get corundum whetstones but the hardness compared to this material would be weird.

Firstly I obviously think it would be good to make the blade out of steel or something along those lines to learn the mechanics and everything else, but a folding blade with a steel blade first would be what I want to try, no matter how many attempts.

What type of folding knife should be designed? Delicate machining is what I want to learn and should be ok.

Thanks, Pine
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Old 04-01-2017, 04:56 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is online now
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The problem with making a folding knife first is that they take much longer to make than a fixed blade knife. You still have to learn about heat treating and metal finishing as well as how to finish and manipulate whatever handle materials you use and that is in addition to learning that delicate machining you mentioned. So, what happens? What happens is you make a decent looking blade and screw up the handle due to bad design. Or, the blade and handle look pretty good but the lockwork is terrible. Or, everything looks good and locks up tight but when you actually use it for a few weeks it goes sloppy. Or a million other scenarios where things fail because you're trying to build a castle on top of a sand pit (meaning you don't have the foundation yet to get it right). The end result of all that is you spend a huge amount of time on each folder because of the many learning curves you're trying to deal with. If it takes a long time to get through one, it will take a long time on the next one, maybe less but still a long time because you'll fix one thing only to find that fix affected something else unexpectedly. The bottom line here is that jumping into folders first is likely to extend your learning time significantly. I'm only guessing here but I doubt you started out running the 100 yard dash, you probably learned to crawl first, then walk, the run. Make fixed blades first so you can go through the whole cycle in a few days, over and over until you learn what you need to know.

'Delicate machining' is certainly useful but we don't make knives that way for the most part. True, there is some machining involved on most folders like my liner locks but the bulk of the work is done by hand or hand controlled power tools like drill presses and belt sanders. Basically, we approach knife making as a technological art form. You didn't say this but if you're thinking of having the machines do most of the work you're in the wrong place. We make the knives, the machines just provide some of the muscle ...


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Last edited by Ray Rogers; 04-01-2017 at 04:58 PM.
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  #6  
Old 04-01-2017, 05:04 PM
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PS

Grinding that ceramic probably won't be all that difficult no matter how hard it might be. It might be expensive in terms of the number of belts required and it will likely require a fair amount of skill based on experience. Other than that, a 2x72" belt sander with good ceramic belts can grind away pretty much anything...


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Old 04-01-2017, 05:21 PM
Pine Pine is offline
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Thank you for all the help, I've decided to make a basic fixed knife first with a kingswood handle, any advice on what the material for the blade should be to help prepare me for the ceramic? Guessing you'll just say a basic steel to start with.

And of course I don't want this to be all machines, who doesn't want to get their hands in?

Thanks, Pine
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Old 04-01-2017, 06:08 PM
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Again, I'm having to guess but I think you're in the U.K. so the steels we use probably aren't easily available to you. If you plan to learn to heat treat your own blades then you will need a simple carbon steel to start with, i.e., something with about .80 - .90 percent carbon (that's less than 1 %) and almost no other alloying elements. I know there are many such steels in your area but I don't know there designations but I'm sure a local forum would have that information.

If you plan to send your blades out to a professional heat treater then a simple stainless like 440C is probably the way to go.

You'll never grind that ceramic without a really good belt sander and I doubt you're ready to spend that money just yet. So, you'll need some basic tools like a hacksaw, sand paper, some good files, and a vise. Lots of knives have been made with these simple tools. Hopefully, you have access to a drill press but a hand drill will do if necessary.

You might simplify still more for this first knife or two by buying a kit blade. This is simply a completely finished blade to which you add your choice of handle materials. This will help you learn what hand tools you need, how to shape and finish your handle material, and how handles can be attached. If the blade you choose has a guard you might also learn how to fit and attach the guard (much easier than fitting a lock in a folder but still not trivial). Kit blades are inexpensive, good practice, and you end up with a real knife in short order. Kit knives can be found at virtually any place that sells knife making supplies and the internet has many of those.......


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Old 04-01-2017, 07:50 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Checking the hardness factor of the Titanium diboride it is as abrasion resistant as titanium carbide and more than 3x harder than hardenable structural steels, I would guess it may need silicone carbide or diamond to grind. Make a stub tang small knife is all I can say unless you know someone who can weld a titanium tang onto it. We had this stuff in our shop once, the machinists cussed it and hated it, ended up in the grind shop for machining. It is weldable, but only by an experienced TIG welder. Making a folder is not for a beginner. Do not let a welder with no experience with titanium touch it or most machinists. Very uncommon material. Invest in some good diamond files if you want to make a folder and carbide drill bits. As for edge retention I will say this about titanium alloys I have run across, they don't make good cutting knives, but this stuff I do not know.
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Old 04-03-2017, 07:42 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
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IF your going to have someone else heat treat it go for 440c as ray suggested. IF you want to heat treat your own knife. Honestly forget about making a wole knife right off the bat The chances of you getting the heat treat right on the first shot is EXTREMELY rare. And you don't want to waste time and material putting a handle on it. Basicly if your going to do it your self build a forge get some 1084 carbon steel (its the easiest heat treat) when you have that let us know and I am sure there will be a few of us willing to help. BUT most likely your going to cut the shape out and heat treat it and one of the things you need to doo to see if the heat treat was good is break the knife in half to check the grain...but do you see my point? why put a handle on a knife your going to break in half.....Once you get the heat treat right then and only then can you make a knife and not a knife shaped object....to me heat treating is the most important thing you do to a knife with out it you mide as well put a edge on a piece of soft mild steel and have it go dull after cutting a couple of cardboard boxes open
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