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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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  #1  
Old 02-26-2020, 06:50 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Did I miss something? Food for thought.

I have been looking at a lot of knives for sale, some custom, some factory or even Kit knives. I have been seeing a lot of knives with 3 to 4 inch blades that are 5/32, = .156 or 4 mm thick. I would never make a blade less than 4 inches long thicker than 1/8 inch thick or 3.2 mm.

I saw a blade 2 1/2 inch long at 5/32 thick and I bought a (Chinesium 9cr14MoV) kit knife of it (on sale). A cutter it isn't, even with a hollow grind I really had to lengthen the cutting bevel for it to be useful, but it does hold an edge once you get it on there. It's an envelope opener now as that's the only use I could find for it. Well that's what I use it for anyway and I certainly wouldn't go into the woods with it. Handle is too short too. 2 1/4 blade with 2 1/2 handle.

It is just an extreme example of a lot and I do mean a lot of fixed knives I'm seeing at 3 to 4 inches and too thick. A blade .100 to .125 is best for cutting in that length range, so why the big move to over thickness on what are essentially hunting-utility knives? I mean a wood-crafting knife would run 4-6 inches and have a longer handle for batoning. I can't see myself batoning with a 3 1/2 drop point even if the blade is 4 mm thick. Plus thicker blades just don't slice very well as I pointed out with that 2 1/4 blade.

So, Is this just a fad or did I miss a meeting somewhere along the line?
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Old 02-27-2020, 01:43 PM
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M&J M&J is offline
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I had similar thoughts when it came to the tactical folders with 1/4" thick blades. This seems to be one of those one-up scenarios the market is going. That bigger is better process. Most of these knives will not see use for them to find out.

That is the interesting side to knives is that aside from the steel used, the design dates that trend.


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Old 02-29-2020, 06:53 AM
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Agree completely. My guess: Good economy = extra cash on hand - practical experience + too much "Un-reality" TV = No need to think.


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  #4  
Old 03-01-2020, 08:06 AM
argel55 argel55 is offline
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Snowflakes afriad they are going to break their blades. Same as par on those that take a 5 to 6 inch blade to the woods to do their deer.
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Old 03-01-2020, 01:41 PM
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Falls into that same sense of using a blade thickness of a fillet or boning knife to make a brush chopper. Would be interesting to see a video of these small robust folders in use.


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Old 03-02-2020, 05:30 AM
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Shhhhhh....Angel! I've made lots of customers happy with the bigger blades and they are fun to make. Never carried a big one unless I was competing in a Seneca Run match. Was taught at early age that if anything needed over 2"-3", get the axe. Seen an awful lot of deer and hogs that look like someone used an axe. Always used a pocket knife myself.

Mike - Bet you couldn't stand to watch it long. Been doing the Blade Show some 20+ years and always puzzled by the stubby crowbars that sold well. Just because someone used mastodon tooth, MOP or ivory for the handle and put a dazzling mirror polish on them. Sure, I know they will never see real use, but they are so ugly and the weight would pull one's pants down.


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Old 03-02-2020, 01:44 PM
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I've been amused at the varying trends of knives as well. The novelty of some of them make them great sellers. Mini cleavers, bottle openers, key chain fobs and the like. We produce all kinds of odd cuts so makes sense to get a return on being creative with those pieces.


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Last edited by M&J; 03-02-2020 at 01:59 PM.
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Old 03-02-2020, 02:28 PM
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Gotta go with what sells and what people are requesting. I don't make knives for myself. Much like Crex, all I carry and use for most everything is a pocket knife. My latest batch has a mini-cleaver for a friend which will have a belt sheath. Kind of a "camp cleaver". He's more of a "glamper" these days than a camper though. I try to keep up with what's new out there and am subscribed to Blade. Another recent trend that I noticed which really doesn't seem to fit a purpose is the "harpoon" style. It looks good however I'm missing the function of it. Two in my recent batch have this feature and they'll be sold before they are finished. Kinda have to go with what people want, within reason. I'm not the type that makes investment grade or fantasy knives.


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Old 03-07-2020, 11:17 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Carl said, "the weight would pull one's pants down"

I made a 12" double edged knife for my son that fit that description. He wanted a knife he could use if a bear attacked in his back country trout fishing in the Blue Ridge Mountains of NC. (A tale of its own) Overall the knife was 19 inches with a brass bullet shaped pommel. I am very proud of it as I forged it from 1/4" 1084 and put a lot of work into it. My Magnum Opus knife so to speak. But it is on the heavy side and my son said it tended to pull his pants down so I made a leg strap setup for it and he really liked the look of it strapped to his calf.

Kind of nice to do your own leather work, but at the time I didn't make belts like I do now and that knife needed a custom belt to go with it like some revolvers have gun belts. I'm getting over some injuries from an auto accident, but am ready to do some leather and knife work. I'm in the "thinking of how to make it" stage right now, but to go with my Magnum Opus knife I want to make a Magnum Opus belt/sheath to go with it. Just seems the thing to do.

By the way I blued that knife with the cold blue "Super Blue" by Birchwood Casey. Here is a tip for getting a nice even and deep blue using it.
Make sure knife is super clean and buffed to where you want it.
Then I put my bottle of blue in a pot of boiling water then remove from heat and let sit, don't boil with the bottle in the pot.
When I figure the Blue is hot I run my kitchen sink's hot water, which here is 180 degrees (too hot if you ask me) and run it over my blade until it is hot as well.
Then I apply the bluing solution using 000 or 0000 steel wool and will dip it under the hot water when it cools.
I rub it in using moderate pressure and it comes out quite even and is very dark.
Let dry, then using a clean piece of steel wool buff the surface clean.

I had problems trying to get the cold blues to come out even with some alloys like 5160 because of the chrome in them I guess, though don't really know, but O1 could be splotchy too, but after discovering the steel wool trick it stopped being an issue. Works with Scotch Brite too for a satin finish and even after buffing with the steel wool it is brighter than you'd think it would be.
BTW a differential heat treat shows up a little or a lot, depends upon the difference.
I tried to put up a picture from Flickr of the knife, but it doesn't work.

Last edited by jimmontg; 03-07-2020 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 03-08-2020, 05:47 AM
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I do have a tendency to look at the bigger blades and think of how many useful smaller blades I could have gotten out of that one chunk of steel. Matter of fact I've done that with a few machete blanks I picked up off one of the Iron in the Hat events at my hammer-ins just to demo what could be done. I got six nice bird/trout knives and one ulu out of one blank and five mid-sized kitchen knives and one kiridishi out of the second one. The steel was purported to be 1095, but it responded more like 1084 or 1070. Still, those knives are seeing useful occupations instead of being shin choppers.

Jim - Never tried "Hot" cold bluing before, thanks for the tip.


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Old 03-08-2020, 02:00 PM
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Great tip on the cold bluing Jim.

I've noticed similar so I tend to get the stuff up to being about 80-90F. The water here is set to 135F and I follow a similar practice as you mention. I'll have to try the 000 and 0000 steel wool.

One of my mentors similarly mentioned that acid etching damascus works well with this same temp range. I haven't tried any hotter since an acid etch takes about 5-6 minutes at my temp and 50-50 concentration ratio.


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