View Full Version : WIP - my first knife

12-06-2010, 10:00 PM
This is the first time I've tried making a knife. The blade has already been sent off to heat treating, but thought I would get your opinions in any case, seeing as I'm obviously very new at this and want to learn as much as possible. I am also planning on making an (almost) exact copy of this one for my dad, depending on how this one turns out, of course (please don't hold back - I'm obviously still learning ).

Some info on the blade:
The blade is completely hand filed (I have since bought a grinder - no way am I doing that again!) and sanded to 220 grit. O1 Tool steel, 5/32" thick with an overall length of 9". Blade is 4 1/4" long, flat ground. The knife is 1 1/2" at its widest. Stock removal, for now. I'll be finishing it off with a Brazilian Walnut handle with three aluminum pins and a Cyanoacrylate/Tung oil finish . I will also be making a leather sheath for it (veg tan 9 oz leather, stained antique brown). More pics to come when I get it back from Peter's.

Thanks for looking!




12-06-2010, 10:24 PM
Good looking blade! I hope your aluminum pins are stronger than aluminum tubing. I have to knives that a buddy brought me and asked that I clean up (soldiers are horrible about maintaining knives). He's also asked that I remove the handle from one and remount it. Whoever made the knife used aluminum tubing and inferior adhesive when building the knife and one of the tubes has broken and the handle scales have slipped out of place.

12-07-2010, 10:32 AM
Thanks for the reply, Murph. I have actually located 1/4 SS rod that I will be using as pins. I think the Aluminum rod at 1/4" is strong enough, and it works down much easier than the SS, but I think the SS will last longer in the end. I'll have to experiment on a small knife with the Aluminum.

Doug Lester
12-07-2010, 10:55 AM
That is a very nice looking blade; the fact that you did it all with files and sand paper makes it outstanding. Some makers, especially those who do stock removal, prefer not to do their own heat treating but O1 is a rather easy steel to heat treat yourself. You will just have to put together the equiptment to do it. Of course, there is nothing wrong with hirering out the job either. By the way, what belt grinder did you get?

Doug Lester

12-07-2010, 11:22 AM
Hi Doug,

Thanks for the compliments. I ended up getting the Craftsman 2 x 42" grinder, and just got a glass platen that I want to install this afternoon. That will hopefully help a lot. I'll probably start putting together a heat treating forge in the next month or so - it adds up pretty quickly to outsource...

12-07-2010, 12:10 PM
That looks great I am also making a knife using only files and sand paper so I know what you going through.

Doug Lester
12-07-2010, 04:39 PM
Of the over the counter grinders, that is probably the best one that you can get for knifemaking. From what I remember from the stats on it, it's a little fast so you'll have to watch overheating your work after heat treating. The motor is also a little underpowered too, just don't lean too hard into your work or it will bog down. You do have a lot of good belts available in 2X42. The best ones aren't found in that size in the catalogs that I have but you might research the manufacturers to see what is available in your size. I know that the Norton Blaze belts, which I think are the best that I've found for doing initial grinds, are available in 1X42", which is a little narrow but you might be able to adapt them to your grinder. Another possibility is the learn how to resplice 2X48" belts. In the future you might end up wanting to save up money from knife sales to buy or build your own 2X72" grinder. One advantage to building something like Tracy sells the plans and parts for at USA Knifemaker's supply is that you can buy the parts as you can afford them and assemble to grinder over time.

Doug Lester

12-07-2010, 07:47 PM
Thanks for the great info, Doug. I did manage to get some belts from e-bay that seem to work pretty well so far, although I haven't cut stainless with it yet, which might force me to learn splicing, etc. I would definitely want to invest in a better grinder after I get the hang of it a bit more, but I was wondering if it wouldn't make more sense to get an electric heat treating furnace before I upgrade (something like the evenheats). Any suggestions or comments?


12-07-2010, 10:12 PM
very nice knife. Clean outline and plunge line. I'm currently doing a knife from scratch (using files). I really respect those clean lines.

12-07-2010, 10:25 PM
Thanks for the compliment, seionage. Yeah - its A LOT of work to do this by hand. I couldn't believe how much quicker it is even on the crappy Craftsman grinder...

Keith Willis
12-09-2010, 04:41 AM
Looks great! First try....I made several,before mine was even close
to looking that good.
Good luck,

God bless,Keith

Doug Lester
12-09-2010, 10:03 AM
Ted, whether you get a heat treating oven or upgrade your grinder is something only you can decide. There are operations, like hollow grinding or possibly slack belt grinding that you will not be able to do with the Craftsman. That will only be an issue if you want to hollow or convex grind, though I do find the slack belt capability handy in shaping handles. Of course, if you can remove the platen on the Craftsman, you can do slack belt. I just don't know if the platen is removable on the Craftsman. As far as the heat treating oven goes, it will depend on the steels that you want to work with. They are pretty much required of you want to anneal air hardening steel. You can get around that by only getting annealed steel to work with. Some makers who work with air hardening steel send all of their work out to heat treaters. Others feel that heat treating is such an important part of making a blade that they want to control that aspect of production themselves. Only you can decide this for yourself.

Doug Lester

12-09-2010, 10:04 AM
Thanks Keith. Beginner's luck, I guess ;)

12-09-2010, 10:13 AM
Thanks again for the great info, Doug. The platen is removable on the Craftsman - I took it off yesterday to attach the new glass platen to it. I also feel like heat treating is one of the very key components of knife making, so I'll probably save up for an oven before I buy a new grinder, seeing that I can do slack belt grinding with it.

The Craftsman grinder also has the capability to tilt back 90 degree (i.e. lay flat), and the bottom wheel is then exposed. I'm toying with the idea of trying a convex grind on the bottom wheel, but because it isn't rubber, I'm not too sure that it is a good idea. I might be able to get a 6" contact wheel to replace the existing wheel as an interim fix until I can afford a "proper" grinder.

Thanks again for your advice!

12-09-2010, 08:03 PM
I have the 2x42 craftsman grinder that i converted to run a 2x72 belt and the original 42" belt. I think it actually works really well. Ill get some pics of it up here after while. I use this grinder to sharpen and put the final edge on. And by the way thats a really good looking first blade.

12-09-2010, 10:30 PM
Thanks Jay. I'd be very curious to se you modification. Please post pics!

12-17-2010, 12:16 AM
I got the blade back from Peter's Heat Treating on Monday, and managed to spend a bit of time on it. Here is what it looked like when I got it back:

Cleaned up to 400 Grit on the grinder, and then back to 320 by hand:

Then up to 400, 600, 1000, 1200, 1500, and finally 2000 (and a little bit of polishing with the Dremel). The texture you can see on the blade in the second pic is the ceiling - yummy popcorn...


I've also decided to make my own mosaic pins, seeing as I'm experimenting. I got some T-88 slow-cure epoxy and system 3 coloring from Woodcraft this afternoon, and constructed my pins tonight (well, just one 6" pin at the moment :) ). I also sanded the front part of the scales down to 1000 grit, so as soon as my pins are ready, the scales are going on the knife! It's getting very exciting to see all the hard work pointing towards an end, even though I still have a long ways to go. Sorry, no pics of any of these two events.

I'll post up some more pics as I progress with the pins and the handles.

12-18-2010, 01:00 PM
Looking good Ted.

12-19-2010, 06:00 PM
looking good wish my 1 looked that good j should post it you would ask why i kept making lol

12-21-2010, 05:40 PM
So I managed to put in quite a bit of work since my last post, and I made the sheath last night (9 oz leather, hand stitched with 45 degree ambidextrous belt loops, and stained antique brown). Here are some pics (I'll also post in the the Knife Pics area). Overall, I very happy with it. There are a few things i'll change, but this was my first one, and it was pretty much a complete learning experience. Thanks for looking, guys. Any critique/comments are always welcomed.






I already sent 4 more blades out for heat treatment - I think I'm hooked, but I'm out of steel. Maybe some S30V next...

12-22-2010, 07:11 AM
very nice job!