Budget belt grinder

MammothSkullKnives

Active Member
Yep. The reason that you are going to be a good knife maker is because you are already well aware of what went right and what went wrong. You are honest with yourself. That's really all there is to it.

The real lightbulb moment for me was this: Instead of focusing on the finished knife, instead focus on the one step you are working on at a time. Break the knife down into elements. What is the desired shape? Start by making the absolute best profile you can make. Make the best, most accurate pin holes that you can. when you go to make the handle scales, make the best and most accurate (flat and square) handle scales that you can make. Then use your nearly perfect blade profile as a template to drill the most accurate, square pin holes in the scales.

You get the idea. Whatever step you are on, do the most accurate and perfect job that you can on that one step. There is no value in rushing through a step just to get to the next one. If you do that, you'll always have a piece of that knife that you could have done better, but it's too late. To Drew's point. While you focus on the step you are on, you also need to think two or three steps down the line. "Once I get this handle on, how am I going to hand sand this blade? I should do that before I put the handle on."

The other side of this coin is "the best you can do (at this point in time) is the best that you can do." Sure, we'd all love to turn out museum quality knives. But nobody starts out there. There will be times that you aren't 100% happy with a step that you're working on. You'll know that it doesn't meet the vision in your head, but you'll have no idea how to get from here to there. So in that case, you do the best you can and accept that there is a limitation here that you need to improve upon. This is also why we all need mentors. It's the greatest thing in the world when you can call somebody and say "Hey, I'm stuck. I'm trying to do "x" and I can't figure out how to do it." and get an answer on the spot that puts you in the right direction. Sometimes it's a method, sometimes it's a tool, and sometimes it's just more elbow grease.

Keep at it. You are off to a great start.
I agree wholeheartedly about breaking it into parts or segments and work about that individual part before worrying about another. I kept getting the cart ahead of the horse. Also relied on the grinder too much to remove material instead of using hand tools. Especially because I glued everyone up before I started profiling. That was a big mistake. Like I said, I appreciate the genuine feedback from you and everyone else so far. I do hope some of you guys don’t mind me messaging you directly to ask questions.
 

Drew Riley

Well-Known Member
I’ll definitely look up Nick Wheeler. I did attempt to sand out the scratches but towards the end I was fighting the vise, the knife kept falling out of it or some grit from the last sanding was left behind and it would make a gouge. It was a mess so I decided to leave it and not make it worse. After lowering my own standards about how my first knife should look like I was happy with how it turned out. I definitely messed up the order that I did things in. The next one I’ll be getting the scales almost complete before glue up and I’ll be doing a better job of prototype blade while glueing. All in all, a lot or hard lessons learned.
You might try clamping a 2x4 into your vise instead, edge up, and then driving a screw through one of your pin holes, to hold your blade blank onto the edge of the 2x4. This will give full support along the length of the blade, and you'll have plenty of room to sand the full length of your blade blank while it's screwed to the 2x4. If that makes sense....
 

MammothSkullKnives

Active Member
You might try clamping a 2x4 into your vise instead, edge up, and then driving a screw through one of your pin holes, to hold your blade blank onto the edge of the 2x4. This will give full support along the length of the blade, and you'll have plenty of room to sand the full length of your blade blank while it's screwed to the 2x4. If that makes sense....
It does in fact make sense. I’ll give this a try.
 

Edwardshandmadeknives

Well-Known Member
Make sure you use a backer block when you are sanding. It will help keep the wood from sanding faster than the metal. Fit and finish need a little work, but I think you already know that. I think that if you are buying blades and putting handles on them, that is a great time to mess around with guards and bolsters. I know that’s different from what others have said, but hear me out. Sooner or later, you will likely end up doing them quite a bit. If you mess up a fitting on a blade you didn’t make, you are out a blade, but hopefully have learned. When the time comes that you make your own blades, and decide to fit a guard, do you really want to “practice” on a blade that you just spent 30 hours making? Just something to think about. YMMV
 

MammothSkullKnives

Active Member
Make sure you use a backer block when you are sanding. It will help keep the wood from sanding faster than the metal. Fit and finish need a little work, but I think you already know that. I think that if you are buying blades and putting handles on them, that is a great time to mess around with guards and bolsters. I know that’s different from what others have said, but hear me out. Sooner or later, you will likely end up doing them quite a bit. If you mess up a fitting on a blade you didn’t make, you are out a blade, but hopefully have learned. When the time comes that you make your own blades, and decide to fit a guard, do you really want to “practice” on a blade that you just spent 30 hours making? Just something to think about. YMMV
Yes, fit and finish needs a more detailed eye next time around. But as far as a backer block. I’m having a hard time picturing what you mean. But I agree, if it was cost effective to buy blanks, I’d do it. But for the same amount or cheaper, I can buy 8670 and learn by making a whole knife. Truthfully, I plan to leave bolsters and guards alone for a good while though.
 

Drew Riley

Well-Known Member
A backer block is basically just something rigid to wrap your sandpaper around. I've used anything from scraps of micarta or G10, to wood, or even files. If you glue a piece of leather or rubber to your backer block and then wrap your paper around that, it'll give the paper a little more give and tends to help it last longer, though if the padding is too soft, it can wash out your grind lines, so use with caution.
McMaster sells 70 durometer rubber sheet which is pretty good for the application.
 

Edwardshandmadeknives

Well-Known Member
^what Drew said. I buy rubber conveyer belting and cut that up and use contact cement to glue it to Micarta or scraps of wood. For most of the finishing on the blade, I prefer to use just Micarta, no rubber backing.
If you haven’t seen them already, ABS master Kyle Royer has a bunch of YouTube videos going through making knives. His work is very nice, has a bunch of tips on fitting up handles and fittings.
 

MammothSkullKnives

Active Member
^what Drew said. I buy rubber conveyer belting and cut that up and use contact cement to glue it to Micarta or scraps of wood. For most of the finishing on the blade, I prefer to use just Micarta, no rubber backing.
If you haven’t seen them already, ABS master Kyle Royer has a bunch of YouTube videos going through making knives. His work is very nice, has a bunch of tips on fitting up handles and fittings.
Man you guys are giving me great info to research. Thank you!
 

TimGinMN

Well-Known Member
Good first knife! Keep it and a look at it a year or two from now and see how far you've come!
Two other quick tidbits I learned... on a full scale (non bolster) handle, I try to get the front face surfaces shaped and finish sanded before mounting so that I can avoid sanding close to the blade. It's hard sometimes to get the mosaic pins to sand at the same rate as the wood, especially with a power sander. That's where hand sanding with that sanding backer board mentioned above really helps. Also, be careful power sanding the pins... I have gotten them too hot and melted the innards out of them!
 
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MammothSkullKnives

Active Member
Good first knife! Keep it and a look at it a year or two from now and see how far you've come!
Two other quick tidbits I learned... on a full scale (non bolster) handle, I try to get the front face surfaces shaped and finish sanded before mounting so that I can avoid sanding close to the blade. It's hard sometimes to get the mosaic pins to sand at the same rate as the wood, especially with a power sander. That's where hand sanding with that sanding backer board mentioned above really helps. Also, be careful power sanding the pins... I have gotten them too hot and melted the innards out of them!
Sound advice! I plan to keep that first one forever. Can’t wait to look back at it and laugh at all the rookie mistakes I made lol. But I’m definitely going to keep that in mind going forward, to use a backer I mean. I’m also watching a bunch of videos on hand sanding knives.
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
I just bumped an old Bruce Bump thread LOL


The single greatest thread on this site, ever.
 

MammothSkullKnives

Active Member
Walter Sorrells channel on youtube is also a gem. He has an entire series called Tips For The Knifemaker that is invaluable to a new maker. I credit Walter Sorrells with saving me years of having to learn everything the hard way.
I’ll check him out, currently watching nick wheelers hand sanding videos haha.
 

Dennis Morland

KNIFE MAKER
You have received some very good knife advice, as well as informational advice. I am not going to critique your first knife.

But, keep it. Do not give it away or sell it. Keep it! It is your very first knife and it is all yours.

My little tidbit of advice would be to go back to this knife pattern after making 10 knives. Then make this knife pattern, again. You will have acquired more knife skills and by re-making the same pattern you will visually see the progress that you have made. Probably little differences. You will also see what still needs to be improved.

As you add to your finished knives, you will continue to acquire better knife making procedures, better tools, better ideas, and more knife making skills. The improvements should show up in your end product.

At the beginning you can expect to see a better product with each knife you make. As you progress, it may take a few knives to see the improvement.

After that, make another 25 knives and do it again, and then again, and then again. Keep these knives to reference your improvement and to show yourself what can still be improved.

Just my thoughts.
 

MammothSkullKnives

Active Member
You have received some very good knife advice, as well as informational advice. I am not going to critique your first knife.

But, keep it. Do not give it away or sell it. Keep it! It is your very first knife and it is all yours.

My little tidbit of advice would be to go back to this knife pattern after making 10 knives. Then make this knife pattern, again. You will have acquired more knife skills and by re-making the same pattern you will visually see the progress that you have made. Probably little differences. You will also see what still needs to be improved.

As you add to your finished knives, you will continue to acquire better knife making procedures, better tools, better ideas, and more knife making skills. The improvements should show up in your end product.

At the beginning you can expect to see a better product with each knife you make. As you progress, it may take a few knives to see the improvement.

After that, make another 25 knives and do it again, and then again, and then again. Keep these knives to reference your improvement and to show yourself what can still be improved.

Just my thoughts.
I plan to keep this one forever. I honestly can’t wait to look back at this time next year to see how far I’ve come.
 
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