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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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Old 10-14-2001, 12:53 AM
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tips for a newbie from a newbie

If I was to give any advice to a new maker or someone that wanted to start making knives I believe it would have to be as follows:

Go to as many shows as you can, talk with the makers, look at their knives, but remember that they are there to sell, so dont interfere with it. This will give you a good idea of what the size and proportions of the knives are. Ask questions.
Do not be afraid to ask questions! Many aspects of knife making are extremely dangerous to life and limbs. There is too much knowledge out there being shared to take unnecessary risks.

Find out what products are recommended for value and reputation, it is more cost effective to go ahead and buy a machine/supplies that is versatile/enduring then to buy three of four of something that it takes to do the same job. Again ask questions.

Pick a steel. 0-1 is forgiving for grinding and 5160 is highly recommended for forging. I recommend them because the heat-treating process is a very important part of all this, and it lets you know how far you can take a blade before hand and still have a serviceable piece of steel when done. The above steels can be heat-treated relatively easy, but does not take away from the fact that when done right, they can offer superb blades. Practice and discover what you can make happen to that steel. Be safe. Practice more.

Remember that it has taken many makers years to get to where there are at now. Many have buckets full of blades and some completed knives that will never be seen by the general public. Having problems making that steel move like you want, ask questions. Dont be afraid to say what if I did this instead, but always remember that one way is not always the only way. More practice and more questions.

If you havent lost enough sleep yet start thinking about making Damascus/pattern welded blades and all the different ways to go about it, almost a guarantee to get you awake and cause your mind to drift will working at the regular JOB.
Have fun and learn from each knife or attempt at each knife and strive to make the next one a little better. Also, as many will tell you keep that first knife you will wish you had.

Be warned as of now there is only one cure for this addiction, death! But there again there is fire below and heaven has to have an awesome knife shop.

Be safe, have fun and& YES! ASK QUESTIONS!!!!! AND PRACTICE!!!

if any others have any suggestions please add them

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Old 10-14-2001, 08:30 AM
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All I would add to this is if you can go to as many workshops as you can.
also seek out knife makers near you and get together with them.
last but not least practice and then do it again.

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Old 10-14-2001, 08:39 AM
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Mike, very well said and I know it comes from the heart. I would add this, learn to have patience, alot, and do not become discouraged, too quickly. Practice and patience will get you down the road, a far piece, in your quests as a knifemaker.
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Old 10-14-2001, 01:18 PM
Tom Ferry
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nicely said Mike and you hit all the important parts right on the money. All I would add is dont be afraid to experiment as it is experimentation that is the difference between a good maker and a great one.
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Old 10-14-2001, 07:37 PM
Mike Sader
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Mike, as another newbie I have to second all you said,I also am glad that I found a good maker/person in Dwayne Dushane here in Andrews to help me.I can only guess how many mistakes I have avoided by talking to him before doing something and we have both learned some new things together. And AMEN to the Damascus!!!! got one piece finished and started the second when I ran out of propane. Can't wait to get started again!!! Later!! Mike Sader
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Old 10-15-2001, 09:50 AM
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Great thread guys and as a newbie myself I only have a couple things to say. DITTO on the patience part; if there is nothing else this will teach you it is patience because without it you will never do well. Secondly, I agree on finding a knife maker to learn from but remember this is a lot of people's livelihood, if not the maker then his/her distributors, so be patient with them as well. There maybe times when he/she does not want you to be there just so they can complete an order and there maybe times that all you will do is watch, don't discount watching. Make notes and ask questions when the maker has the time (a little note here--make sure you don't ask while the maker is grinding or forging... one startle could ruin a piece).

OK, I do have one last thing to say.... I promise to get off my soapbox. I have studied with one maker for six years and am about to start apprenticing to another in a couple of days. As per some Eastern Traditions I have dedicated myself to doing the grunt work, sweeping floors to profiling and even some setup work for damascus, all for no pay. I believe doing the work most knife makers don't have time for makes them feel a little better about working and having you there; thus allowing you to be wanted in the shop more often and it does not cost them a penny (unless you ruin or break something, but even then you have paid for it in advanced).

Just my 2 cents worth... take it as you wish


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Old 10-15-2001, 07:00 PM
ron claiborne
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> Re: tips for a newbie from a newbie

Mike well said
and the study of knife making is a life long task so dont get discouraged when thing go badly its part of doing, if you dont try you want make mistakes but you also will not get any better .
the skill leval is diffrent with each person -practice is a great learning tool.,
I having a lot of people in my shop at diffrent times (welcomed juest) when visting a makers shop remember that it his world and most of the time he is pleased to have some one to help around the shop and to teach you what he can and talke knives he will if showed respect for tools and supplies will wecome you back
i have had Mike in my shop and he is a welcome juest at my shop anytime i have learn from him more than he may think . Friend are made knives are talked and a lasting memory is worth the time to invite some one to your shop and it get passed to another person
would it be awful if we passed up a chance to share in the fun and excitment of the craft of making knives
even if you think your works not good as the next guy invite him to the shop learn from him . i have learn from many
I plane to pass it on GRIN
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