View Full Version : What is your method/s of making a knife template?

10-11-2010, 04:05 PM
My question is to find out how do you guys come up with a new design and make a template for it. If you have a knife already and want to copy the outline of it what steps do you go through to copy it and what material do you make the template out of?

Are your templates metal, plexiglass, or paper?
Do you hand draw your design or use a computer?
Once you finish your outline or drawing do you then transfer it to a more permanent form like metal or make the knife to a finished product then make a template outline out of it?

I want to know how you guys go from an idea to metal. I have seen some movies on knife making but I don't remember any talking about the design and template part.

I hope I asked it right :les:

Bob Warner
10-11-2010, 04:15 PM
I draw out the knife on graph paper until I get a design I like. I also draw in the bolster or guard and where the grinds should be. I draw in the holes for the pins and thong tube.

After I get the design I like I make a couple copies of it and then cut one out and trace it onto KNIFE STEEL. I profile the knife template.

I use the template as a template and make the first knife of that design. If there is something I want to change I regrind the profile as needed. Once the real knife is complete (holes drilled and blade ground but before tapering tang) I use it to drill the holes in the template at their proper location.

After the template is profiled and the holes drilled, I harden and temper the template. It is now ready to be used for scribing around and drilling through to get everything perfect.

I usually draw in the grind lines with a sharpie on the template so I know what the goal is.

Hope all that makes some kind of sense.


Rusty McDonald
10-11-2010, 04:32 PM
I've been using aluminum sheet to make mine out of If I really like them and want to use them alot I will make one out of D2 and harden it. That way I know for sure it is a good pattern and wont get messed up.

10-12-2010, 06:43 PM
I draw mine on graph paper and when it is what I want, I trace it on a thin piece of wood, the hobby craft stuff from Lowes its cheap, and cut it out, and grind it down to the lines and fine tune anything that don't look right. Then i drill the holes in it, and mark the bevel lines, bolsters, whatever else will be on the knife. The template is clamped to the steel, and scribed around, and I use a transfer center punch to mark the holes for pins. The wood is easy to work, and last a long time.

10-12-2010, 07:35 PM
I use a very similar technique. I sketch my design on printer paper in pencil. When I feel I have it right, I outline it in ink and photocopy it and glue it to a sheet of heavy waxed cardboard. I then cut the pattern out and check the dimensions. If all feel well balanced by dimension, I photcopy another and glue it to steel and cut it out. I then save the original design so that I can make future copies to be used.

Justin King
10-12-2010, 07:39 PM
I draw it out on paper until I am satisfied, cut it out and trace it on the blade stock with a sharpie. I cut to this line with the bandsaw as best I can, which leaves the outline rough and a little oversize. From here I finish profiling on the grinder(s) and with files when necessary, making any adjustments I think are called for in the process. Once this is done I figure the placement of any holes and drill them.
If it is a design I intend to duplicate I will take the blank at this point and scribe it onto a piece of 16 ga. mild steel sheet, and cut/grind/file this down to keep for a pattern. The holes on this pattern piece are usually just center-drilled with a small-diameter bit to spot/pilot the hole centers onto my blade stock.

Jim Adams Customs
10-12-2010, 10:55 PM
I use to design up a design on the computer. I would sketch designs on printer paper. But now I cut out a piece of steel and let the design find itself. My folders are from parts I have designed. That is done with waterjet and Autocad. I heard of one folder maker that drill his pivot hole and worked around that.
I do use card stock and cement it to my steel and cut it out on some of my knives. But not very often.

10-13-2010, 01:40 AM
This is interesting stuff. Thanks for posting.

Mike Carter
10-13-2010, 02:24 AM
I do all of my designs on the computer using Photoshop. I design them full size so i can make a full size print of the blade and various parts and cut it out to use as a template. I seldom make exactly the same design twice but by saving the various designs on the computer I can go back and modify a design and save it as a new design.

For the couple of regular designs i do make, neck knives and nessmuks, I do have plexiglass templates for the blades.

10-13-2010, 02:46 AM
My method is about the same but for different reasons. I'll draw my design on paper, then transfer to thin wood using carbon paper. (you young guys look up carbon paper). Now comes the diff. I make patterns so I don't make two identical knives. Other than twin dags, all my knives are one-offs. Alot are similiar and this is acomplished by using a pattern then changing it to make it different. I make alot of Wharncliff type knives but no two are the same. My logo says One of a kind, one at a time. When a person asks me to make me one just like that one, I explain this method to them. I'm strict when it come to "one of a kind" but when it comes to "one at a time" not so strict. some days I might not be up to grinding, so a different step on another knife will fall into play. Also my twin dags are one-off sets. I'll try to match them as close as possible to each other but no more. My secret in doing knives this way is I'm not in it for the money, My only goal is to make the best knife I can, pay for materials, consumables, electricity and something nice for the wife so I don't hear about how much time I spend n the shop..(plus an occasional beer). I have worked with steel all my life and when forced into retirement, I needed something to do and to maintain dexterity. being a knife knut my direction was easy.