View Full Version : just getting started

Tyler Anderson
10-14-2010, 02:22 PM
Hi again everyone, I am getting ready to order some 440c stock of various thickness and some g10 for the handles, probably some liner material too. i shoe horses for a living so i have a forge, anvil, tongs etc. i am also getting a baldor half horsepowere grinder in the next week or so. what else will i need?? other than practice...also going to pick up a couple knife making books this weekend; thanks for the help

10-14-2010, 05:43 PM
I wouldn't much care for a half-horse grinder, but if that's all that's handy...

Any reason why you decided on 440C instead of something else like O1 or D2?

Really, the only thing on your list that you didn't mention is sand paper. Maybe I'm the weird guy, but I burn through a ton of sand paper for every blade I make! It's very frustrating, but what can you do?

Doug Lester
10-14-2010, 06:30 PM
I would not suggest 440C for any beginner knifesmith even if he were and experienced blacksmith. The steels used for knifemaking are a bit different creatures than the simple steels used for shoeing horses. The biggest difference is when it comes to heat treating and 440C, even though it can be heat treated with a forge, oil bath, and a kitchen oven, needs a bit more advanced equiptment to get the best out of it. Heat treating will make or break, sometimes literally, a knife. Might I suggest that you start out with a simpler tool or spring steel such as one of the higher carbon 10XX series, O-1, W1, or 5160. They will move more like the steels that you are used to using and you can heat treat with equiptment around the house or your shop.

I agree with Vaughn, a grinder with a 1/2hp motor is probably not up to the task at hand. A 1hp motor is minimal and it's hard to have too much power on a grinder for knife making. Just a quick question. What reference material do you have on knifemaking? If you don't have any I would suggest that you get some and do some reading. It might save you some problems down the road. Jim Hrisoulas and Wayne Goddard both put out a couple of books each that would be real good. You are starting out way ahead of the game with being a ferrier and blacksmith but there are still some things that you need to pick up on. A blacksmith assuming that s/he knows all that they need to know to make knives is like general blacksmiths assuming that they know all they need to know to be a ferrier.

10-14-2010, 08:39 PM
I have a 1hp sander as I'm just starting myself; and it bogs down very easily when trying to grind out a good portion of material - I definitely plan to upgrade, so if at all possible - save yourself the hassle and get something with more oomph.

10-15-2010, 05:24 PM
Have you seen this ?

The Standard Reply to Newbies v6

The answer to a 13 year old student is different than to a 40 year old engineer, and you may have a helpful neighbour.
We can often recommend a local supplier, but that depends on where you are.
Fill out your profile with your location (Country and State at least), age, education, employment.

Look at the stickies at the top, many are expired, but not all.

The basic process in the simplest terms

This is a very detailed set of instructions by Stacy Apalt.


A list of books and videos on the KnifeDogs Forum

BladeForums - E-books or book previews Google books

I like:
David Boye-Step by Step Knifemaking
Tim McCreight-Custom Knifemaking: 10 Projects from a Master Craftsman
These are clear, well organized, widely available and inexpensive too.

Knife Design:
On the Google books thread, you can find
LLoyd Harding drawings
the Loveless book with large variety of proven classic styles.

Forging Books:
Lorelei Sims-The Backyard Blacksmith
A good modern book with great photos for forging in general - no knifemaking.

Jim Hrisoulas- has 3 books on forging knives, Check for the cheaper paperback editions.
The Complete Bladesmith: Forging Your Way To Perfection
The Pattern-Welded Blade: Artistry In Iron
The Master Bladesmith: Advanced Studies In Steel

The $50 knife shop
It is popular, but it confused me for a long time.
Forging is NOT necessary, you can just file and grind everything away to create a knife (stock removal)

The goop quench is total Bull, commercially made quench oils are cheap and easily available, even grocery store canola oil works much better.

Junkyard steels require the skills of an experienced smith to identify the steel and heat treat it properly.
You can buy proper steel like 1084 very cheaply.
(Mentioned in the new edition)

I like cable damascus, but that is an advanced project for an experienced smith and has no place in a beginners book.

The home built grinders are the best thing about the book, but there is now a huge amount of info on home built 2x72 belt grinders on the web.
The revised edition of this book should have included this.


Heat Treating Basics Video-downloadable

Many specific how to knifemaking videos are available.
Some are better than others, but all better than nothing.

The best overall Knifemaking video I have seen is
“Steve Johnson-Making a Sub-Hilt Fighter”

The best video on leather sheath making I have seen is
“Custom Knife Sheaths -Chuck Burrows - Wild Rose”

You can see a list of some older videos and their reviews at this rental company.
They are not the quickest on getting new titles, but some videos are worth buying, some are worth renting…
Rental wait times are measured in months, buying is MUCH faster, but more costly.

Green Pete's Free Video
Making a Mora bushcraft knife, -stock removal, hand tools, and neo tribal / unplugged heat treat.
"Green Pete" posted it free for those who can use torrent files.

You can also find it on YouTube broken into 4 parts.

The “welding steel” at Home Depot/Lowes… is useless for knives.
If you want to ship out for heat treating, you can use ATS34 or 440C, plus many others.

If you want to heat treat yourself, find some 1070, 1080, 1084,
1084 FG sold by Aldo Bruno is formulated just for knifemaking.

You can find lists of suppliers here

Aldo’s website inventory is unreliable, call instead.

Heat Treating
You do not have to buy a lot of equipment to start with.
You can send out for heat treating, 10 or 15 $ per blade
This is a PDF brochure which gives good general info

http://www.knifemaker.ca/ (Canadian)
and others

Grinder / Tools

Hand Tools
You can do it all by hand with files and abrasive paper.
The Green Pete video does it this way.

Photo of a nice bevel filing jig .

Entry Level Grinders
Many makers start with the Sears Craftsman 2x42 belt grinder.

DIY 2 x 72” Belt Grinders

KMG Clone
Free Plans

NWG No Weld Grinder

EERF Grinder (EERF =“Free” backwards)
Free plans

Buy the kit

10-16-2010, 06:38 AM
Tyler, I agree with Doug on your choice of steel. 440C requires a long, 30 minute+ soak at precise temps from 1850-1950 degrees to get a good heat treat, it and other stainless steels and air hardening carbon steels, D2, A2 require protection from the atmospere to prevent decarb, eg heat treating foil. To make a knife from these types of steel, that is of high quality, you need to have a kiln or send out for heat treat. 1080 would be a great choice, O1 requires a bit of soak time for a proper ht, but can be done in a forge with good results. And the 1/2 hp grinder is going to be weak, but it could work. Is the grinder a belt grinder or a bench grinder with stones? You need a belt grinder instead of one with stones. Other things you will need are some files, sandpaper, a way to drill holes, pin material.
Hope this helps out, Dale

10-17-2010, 07:47 AM
If you are going to be working that G10 you will need a really good resperator to keep that glass out of your lungs. I agree with the others on the 440C. Look up Admiral Steel and get you some 1095 or, 5160 or, O1 and start with that. 1095 is a very affordable steel to learn with. A 72" of 1 1/2" X 1/4" stick is less than $30.

Justin King
10-17-2010, 08:14 AM
I am going to suggest some reading before you spend any money. It sounds like you plan to forge blades, which is natural given your background. Forging is a somewhat different endeavor that making a knife by stock removal alone and when forging you are generally limitied to working simple steel types, which is actually convenient because these are the steels that will give you the best results when heat treating in a forge.
Air hardening and stainless type steels are not well suited to forging unless you have a great deal of experience and control over temp. and atmosphere. These steels are best for stock removal methods and need precise temperatures and extended heating times in order to heat treat properly. This basically requires a heat treating oven to achieve, and the blades need to be wrapped during the process. If you are going to buy steel to forge blades I highly recommend that you call Aldo Bruno and order some 1080 or 1084. Aldo (New Jersey Steel Baron) has a sub-forum on here, he has earned my business and is my first call for steel in any quantitiy.
If you are planning to forge your blades to shape I suggest starting small and using files/sandpaper to finish shaping on your first few. If you forge close you won't have much material to remove, and files can actually compete with a sub-1hp grinder and offer excellent control. Once you get a better feel for what your grinding needs are, you will be able to make a better choice about buying a grinder, and can save up more $ to get a better unit in the meantime.

Tyler Anderson
10-20-2010, 07:00 PM
wow guys thanks for all the info. i am going to order a couple of the books. mentioned above and will get some of the steel you all suggested. The only reason i wanted 440c is because my favorite folder uses that. i am also going to read up on making my own grinder. thank you guys a lot. I am going to step up to a 1hp baldor instead of a 1/2 i need this for work anyway so it is not a waste of money and i can do a little stock removal with it in the mean time. thanks again