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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 12-22-2001, 04:53 PM
BenMcDaniel
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Hello, I'm new to knife making


VERY knew, LOL

I've decided I want to make a knife, so I guess that's a start in the right direction. Been reading your wonderful forums for about a week now, and I already know lots more now compared to what i did a week ago. So i guess my question for now is where do i begin? I've laid out my design on paper. Mostly I gathered several knives that i have and combined the features that i wanted, and now have a pattern. What I've decided on is a fixed blade, no guard, and a stabilized material(undecided as to what it will be yet) for the scales.
So, since i've never tried this before, should i just use a scrap peice of steel that i have already? I don't even know what it is actually, it's 1/4 of an inch thick,and 4 inches wide, has a little surface oxidation but no real rust to speak of.A file just skids across the edge, marking it a little, but doesnt "bite" into the metal. is this too hard? how do i soften it? and then how do i harden it again? should it be soft to start with? or hard? my lack of knowledge and lack of termanology is frustating. Or should i not bother with it and buy some stock and start from there? also, what tools and equipment do i need? i have an 8 inch bench grinder, some various files, can get sand paper and such as i need it. i have access to buffers at the place that i work, also have access to a furnace that can reach temparatures upwards of 2000 degrees if needed. I would prefer to do as much as i can myself, and not send the knife out for work if i can avoid it. I'm sure i'll think of some more, but this is a start for now All suggestions and advice would be greatly appreciated. And questions, please, ask me questions
Thanks in advance
Ben McD.
Sour Lake, Texas(Close to Bmt.)
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  #2  
Old 12-22-2001, 06:27 PM
Bob Warner
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Ben,

Don't let all this stuff bog your head down. It is really very simple.

You have your design.
You have some steel (maybe). It sounds like the metal you have could be steel but if it were me, I would toss out a couple dollars for something I know. Your steel is really thick for making anything but a big knife. I recommend making a smaller knife for the first one because there is less work on a smaller knife and you won't get bored and give up.

There are a lot of places to buy steel and TexasKnifemakers Supply is a good one. Go here to find them www.texasknife.com They are in Houston, TX. You may be able to just drive over there and get some. Come on, it's not that far. I would buy a piece of 1084 or 1095, they are cheap and pretty easy to work with.

If you decide to use the metal you already have, it sounds like it is too hard. To soften it up, take it to work and stick it in one of those furnaces, have a magnet handy and pull out the steel every once in a while and stick the magnet to it. Eventually the magnet will not want to stick, put the steel back into the furnace and shut the furnace off. The steel will get a little hotter after you put it back in and before you turn the furnace off. Leave the steel in the furnace until it (steel and furnace) cools off to room temp. The longer this takes the better. Your steel will be soft enough to work with files and hacksaws. If you buy steel, it will already be soft (annealed).

Cut, file, grind your blade shape out of the metal.

Decide on how your handle will be shaped and where it will lay on the blade. Drill holes where you want your pins. Be sure you have pins and the same size drill bit before drilling the holes.

File your blade bevels (taper down to an edge) but leave the cutting edge a little thick.

After the knife looks like you want (both sides even, edge down the center of the blade, sanded to 600 grit) and the edge is a little thick, take it back to work.

Heat up the furnace and put the blade into it. Try not to bang it around in there just let it get hot. Bring it up to a heat where a magnet won't stick and then just a few more seconds. Take it out of the furnace and let it cool until it is no longer red. Put it back in and do it again. On the third time, put it back in and when it is non-magnetic (plus a few seconds) quench it in mineral oil or transmission fluid heated to about 125 degrees. This will make the steel hard again.

Then take it home and put it in the oven at about 450 for two hours (don't trust the thermometer in the oven). Let it cool to room temperature and then do it again.

This should give you a usable blade if you used 1084 or 1095 (not sure what it would do to the steel you already had since we don't know what it was).

Continue to sand the blade down using finer grits until you get the desired finish. Make sure the handle portion (Tang) is flat. Rough up the tang area and the back of your handle material. Using two part epoxy (not 5 minute stuff) attach the handle material to one side of the tang. Clamp it down well and let it set up.

After the epoxy has cured, drill holes through the handle material using the holes in the tang as a guide. Then epoxy the handle material to the other side, clamp in place and let it set up. Use the existing holes in the handle as guides, drill through the handle material. Get your pins ready (sharpen them just a little to make it easier to get them in), mix up some epoxy and coat the inside of the holes and also the pins. Slide the pins through your handle until you have a little sticking out on both sides. Let it all set up.

After it is all set up, file the handle and pins down together until you get the desired handle shape. Sand to the finish you want and buff up on the buffer.

Sharpen the knife and you are done.

This will give you a good blade for your first knife. This will not give you the ultimate blade that will chop down a forest. This will give you the basics of making a knife and you will have a decent knife that can be used, tested, destroyed or displayed. You will have to make and break some knives to figure out what works and what does not work for you. There are things that some people do that work well for them but if I follow them exactly, it does not work for me (go figure). You have to do your own testing to get everything working like you want.


Hope this helps.

There is a lot of info for beginners on my web site if you want to look it over. A lot of good reading is referenced there as well as tool recommendations for different levels of knife making. There are also supply places listed there as well.

I am sure you will get additional responses to your questions from others.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.


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  #3  
Old 12-22-2001, 06:57 PM
BenMcDaniel
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Thanks alot Bob, that answered alot of my questions, and I think you are right, it would be better to go and buy some steel, so that i know what i am starting out with, i think that's what i'll do. it is about 2 hours from here.
A couple of questions though. My total overall length is nine inches. blade length 4.5 and handle length 4.5. will this work, or should i change it? What is a good thickness to go with? I want the knife to have some heft to it, alot of meat, so to speak. Should there be more weight in the handle, or more weight in the blade?
And i will most definatly take a gander at your website.
Thanks for the Help
Ben
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  #4  
Old 12-22-2001, 07:22 PM
Bob Warner
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The balance of the blade is up to your preference. A lot of people like a heavy blade in a big knife. Some get it from lightening the handle, you can taper the tang or drill big holes in it to remove metal. I would not do either on the first knife. 3/16" is a pretty good thickness and possibly a 1/4" would be ok but I would go thinner until you get a grinder.
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  #5  
Old 12-22-2001, 07:42 PM
MIKE KOLLER
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My two cents here:

Blade length and handle sounds good if it works for your design.

As far as blade thickness and balance that will be alot of personaly preference,with the only concern being whether it will be a flat grind or hollow ground.Hollow ground will of course allow for a thinner edge.
The steel of chioce,if you are wanting to do heat treating yourself,pick on that is easy and forgiving.O-1 come to mind.

Wish you luck, and want to fore warn you; that if you pursue this you will probably never be rite again.

Welcome to the CKD

Mike K.
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  #6  
Old 12-22-2001, 08:27 PM
BenMcDaniel
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: @ Mike, been a long time since i was right in the head(if ever!)
Thanks for the welcome.
So what are the good points and bad points of 0-1 and 1084?
Also, since stainless hasnt been mentioned, i assume that it is not a good beginner metal? think i'll stay away from it for now anyway. and can a blade be hollow ground by hand? i don't have a belt grinder, but i do have a 8 inch bench grinder.....can i use that?also, how much transmission fluid do i need for quenching?

Thanks,
Ben
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  #7  
Old 12-22-2001, 10:33 PM
BCB27
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Ben,

Welcome to the CKD.
I primarily use the stainless steels myself, but I think you will find that carbon steels (e.g., O-1, 1084, 1095) work easier and can be hardened with more ease. If you prefer a stainless, I would recommend something like 440C, ATS-34, or D2 since their hardening procedures aren't too difficult.
You're not going to find a satisfying way to hollow grind a blade with the equipment that you currently have. For flat grinding a blade in the length you have chosen, you should stay under 3/16". I personally prefer 1/8" for most blades this size, but they are cutters, not choppers.
You should have enough fluid to completely immerse the blade (there are other methods, but I will stick with this one for now). Be sure to immerse it straight into your quench fluid to prevent warpage. Also, be sure to test your edge with a file after quench. If it was done properly, the file should skate off instead of biting into the steel. If it's good, follow up with the tempering cycles that Bob mentioned.

Brett

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  #8  
Old 12-22-2001, 10:54 PM
BenMcDaniel
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Thanks for the welcome and the info Brett . Ideas and suggestions on handle materials anyone? going to attempt to put "finger grooves" on the handle, don't really know the correct terminology. so i guess i want stapility(no splinters) and easy shaping and sanding? and durability, ahhhh, i just want it all, LOL
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  #9  
Old 12-22-2001, 11:18 PM
Bob Warner
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"Finger Grooves" works as a description.

When you are at Texas Knifemakers Supply, take a look at "green canvas micarta". I really like it and it will take a lot of abuse. If you are interested in wood, look at their selection of stabilized woods. I would stay away from dymond wood or other dyed plywoods.
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  #10  
Old 12-23-2001, 12:10 AM
Bimjo
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Hey Bob!


That has to be the most succinct (ha! that's my big word for the day) description of working a blade from annealing all the way to tempering that I've ever seen.

The picture just got much more clear.

Thanks a bunch!



**edited because I left part of the message out- DUH!!
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  #11  
Old 12-23-2001, 12:34 AM
BenMcDaniel
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Re: Hey Bob!


Thanks again Bob, I'll keep that in mind(if they are open tomorrow I'M THERE!! lol) does that mean I'm hooked already? willing to drive two hours for materials.......... hmmmmmm....... : : : :rollin:

And I agree Bimjo, I've learned so much just from these posts already, i don't know what i would have done otherwise.....

Thanks everyone, and keep the advice coming
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  #12  
Old 12-23-2001, 09:51 AM
Bob Warner
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Re: Hey Bob!


You're not "Hooked" until you wake up at night, get out of bed and go draw a picture of a blade that came to you when you were sleeping. Then you can't go back to sleep because you think that blade would be so great that you just get up and go out to the shop. That, in my wife's definition is "Hooked".

However, two hours of driving to get some steel, you are definately on your way to being hooked.

Wait until you are driving down the road and see a pile of trash in front of someone's house, in that pile is a broken treadmill and you can't stop your car fast enough to go check if the motor and controller is still in it. Or you see and old barbeque and start wondering if you could make a sand blaster out of it (You can, Geno did).

Then, you will be "Hooked" for sure.
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  #13  
Old 12-23-2001, 11:38 AM
aiiifish
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Gee Bob your lucky, my wife won't let me go back out to the shop after midnight. She says it makes me too grumpy the next day.

Steve
Double S Custom
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  #14  
Old 12-23-2001, 01:05 PM
Bob Warner
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I get grumpy if I don't go to the shop when the urge hits me.
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  #15  
Old 12-27-2001, 11:46 AM
BenMcDaniel
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Update...


OK. update,
Have not made it to houston yet to purchase supplies. was beseiged by relatives from out of state and have not had a moments peace since : . So I just ordered what i needed instead :-D
so this is where i stand so far...
overall length, 9 inches. going with 1/4" 0-1.
black canvas micarta scales. brass pins(a brass welding rod that i already have) I ordered epoxy and sand paper all the way thru 2000 grit as well.
going to flat grind the blade(hopefully) :
placed the order today, so hopefully will be here next week sometime. will keep ya'll updated
laters,
Ben
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