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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 12-23-2016, 12:10 AM
gnappi gnappi is offline
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 1

I retired recently and wanted to make knives since the 80's when a friend brought me a handmade hunting knife made from a car leaf spring, bought in the streets of Columbia.

So to start off I want to start by putting new handles on some knives in the house.

I plan on buying rough cut scales as I have no space for a bandsaw, so beside a dremel, beltsander, drills (drill press and hand drill) what other tools might be practical to have.

Also what are some places for knifemaker supplies?
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Old 12-23-2016, 08:49 AM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Decatur, IL
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For supplies you can go to USA Knifemaker Supply or Jantz. As far as tools go you are going to want to get yourself a good grinder. I have a Coote grinder which has served me well but a lot of people swear by the KMG grinder. You could try to use your belt sander but I think that you would quickly find out that it's not up to the job plus using it to grind metal could ruin the motor if it's not sealed.


If you're not making mistakes then you're not trying hard enough
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Old 12-23-2016, 09:02 AM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Wauconda, WA
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You have the basic power tools already except for the bandsaw and there are saws that will fit in whatever limited space you have. The hand tools will make themselves known as you work. Re-handling old knives is a good way to get started.

Go to a mall knife shop (if they still exist) or a gun store or shooting range or a news stand or large book store. All of these places have Blade magazine or Knives Illustrated and those magazines will be loaded with ads for every knife supply place you could ask for. Until then, you can make do with and


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Old 12-23-2016, 11:25 AM
dtec1 dtec1 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: ny
Posts: 1,442
Well as far as space for a band saw you can get a "portable" band saw one like this
I have heard many people taking one of these and mounting it in a good solid vise and building a lil table for it. with the right blade I think it will get the job done and will take up a lot less space. What kind of belt grinder do you have? I started with a cheap 4x36 belt grinder with a disk on the side, very quickly realized it is not suited very well for knife making and I went a got a KMG grinder and absoulutly love it! they are expensive tho I think the cheapest (WITHOUT a motor) is around $850 with a 3speed puly motor they are about $1500 and with a variable speed motor they go up to $2200. expensive but the best I have seen all you need to start is a flat platen and then there are all sorts of attachments like big contact wheels for hollow grinding to small wheels for finger notch's and things like that. they are here besides that another important thing is a forge if your just putting new handles on blades you already have it may not be needed but when you make your own blades you will need one to heat treat the steel. Best bet is to make a propane forge out of large metal pipe or drum or stove pipe coat it with kao wool and satinite and build or buy a good burner. its actually very easy to build and Ray has a video on exactly how to do it and what to use. Some people try to use firebricks and a propane torch (like you would buy at a hardware store) and I guess some people have had success with it. I was not one of them I tried it and it just didn't work very well and its not much more effort to build a proper one. Of course the drill press and the dremel you have will come in handy but this is a very expensive hobby especially once you play a little and then make the decision that you really want to do it building up the right equipment get very expensive, another good site for supplies is
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Old 12-23-2016, 01:09 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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One alternative to building a forge or getting a high temperature electric oven to heat treat in is to send your blades out for heat treating. Finding a heat treater who will harden and temper carbon steel will require some searching but they do exist. Finding an outfit that will heat treat air quenching steel is easy and really not all that expensive per blade if you send several at a time

If you do elect to go the route of using a gas forge to heat treat your own blades you will need to restrict yourself to the simpler carbon steels like 5160, 1080, 1084, 1075, or 80CrV2 that are more forgiving when it comes to heat treating. It's not that you cannot produce a good blade with a higher alloy or higher carbon steel but it's harder to get the best out of the steels or produce consistent results.

Another thing that you might consider, if you don't want to do your own heat treating is to buy ready made blades and finish them. This is actually the most traditional way of making a finished knife. Whatever you decide there are options out there for you to try.


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Old 12-23-2016, 07:06 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Now live in Las Cruces NM.
Posts: 1,259
Talking gnappi what kind of tools do you have right now and how much money to spend?

If the expense will dictate what you can get and if a 2x72 isn't in your budget not to mention space you can get by with a 2x42 palmgren or a 2x48 kalamazoo if you want to go to $456 shipping included from Jantz supply(cheapest on internet). The Palmgren is around $200 and has a 6" disc as well. I used the 2x48 at my last job to make plenty of blades, some I still have. I was the heat treater too cuz I was a welder, no kidding. Had hardly ever did it before except in a forge. You can jump to a 2x72 Grizzly for about $586 shipping included as well, but it has tracking problems and needs to be tweaked. You can buy a 2x72 Kalamazoo without a motor for $529 and get a nice 1 HP motor from Coote or Leeson or Baldor for around $200-300. Their 2x72 motor is only 1/2 HP and not good enough for a 2x72. Just make sure it is a sealed motor as I have actually seen a motor blow up from metal chips and it can put on quite a fireworks display. has a plethora of belts for all sizes. I use a 1x42, but also do a lot of hand work. It is a hobby for me, I also will rough out a blade with an angle grinder with a cutting wheel, use the guard! I've worked in the metal trades since the 70s, use the Guard! Use safety glasses too and a face shield if you've got it.

How deep do you want to go, just as a casual hobby or a want to make the hobby pay for itself type like me now? I've been making knives since the early 90's and used a 3x21 belt sander clamped to a bench for grinding and hand finished and sent them to a local heat treater in the area (OKC, Hinderliter) to start and I actually made some spare money. As for space I now live in an apt. and have my grinder and 9" wood bandsaw on a cart to take outside. I have a covered porch. The Ryobi with the right blade will cut aluminum and brass btw. I am of course a bachelor with no intentions of getting married again.

Putting new handles on knives is a good way to learn handles and if you want to try hand sanding a linear or horizontal grain on a flat ground knife you can try that as well before you put the handles back on. I hand finish all my knives, just wrap some wet-dry silicon carbide sandpaper you get at Auto parts or paint stores taped or wrapped around a flat piece of metal like steel or some hardwood works great. Go from 220 grit and up to 400 or 600 if you want a fine satin finish. Any kitchen knives you are going to rehandle I suggest you use stabilized wood, dymondwood or synthetics like G10 or Micarta. Please note that all these materials have one kind of synthetic resin in them or another and require a good respirator and good shop-vac to vacuum up the dust if using G10 as it is fiberglass. With synthetics always use a clean belt and do not allow them to get hot or they burn easily, create fumes and smell bad, hence the respirator. Lots of nice pics in our photo gallery too.
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