Complete step-by step knife and sheath...


Well-Known Member
A lot of people have seen this on my forum over on JD but I thought I'd post it here too for those that don't get over there...

A fairly complete step by step from cutting out the pattern, to attaching scales (screw on in this case) and finally finishing up with a kydex/leather hybrid sheath I do that carries the knife horizontally on the belt.

It's about 125 pics plus text so I'll get it started and come back and finish as I can....

EDIT:11/25/09 Sheathwork added on page 4

So here we go.

Pre heat treat

The knives laid out on the CPM 154...


I'm a cowboy....on a steel bandsaw I ride...


as you can see me and the bandsaw are about as precise as a dull chainsaw..


But a little time at the KMG cleans them right up...

First with the contact wheel and rest removing the rough edges almost to my lay out line...


Then with the flat platen and the rest to square up the edges...
and we end end up here.

A lot of time at the flat platen and the mill scale from hell is finally gone and we are ready to drill holes...


Start center punching the holes in the blanks. I just eyeball the locations...nothing to technical...just try to keep in the center of the blank and a visually pleasing distance between the holes...

Drill about 40 holes (4 each in 10 blanks) The CPM 154 drills pretty easily...

Then chamfer all the holes to remove the hard edge (to reduce risk of stress fractures)...

Holes all drilled (one for the lanyard hole, two for pins or screws, and one big one for epoxy flow through or in the case of screws....looks. So then I mark off the location of the thumb serrations..

I do the large serrations on the KMG with a .250" small wheel using the MAP arm to keep it all square...

For the smaller serrations like I use on the HOS, I start by scoring the spine with a die grinder (picked up from a Ken Brock step by step on another forum)

Then I lay in the serrations on a dremel shaper table with a 1/8th" carbide cutter.....

A shot of the two different kind of serrations...

Stamping....I have my stamp rigged into the end of the arbor press... I press the stamp to the blank then whack the top of the ram with a 4 llb whacking the hell out of my hand three out of five times when held manually....

Now back to the flat platen to clean up the flats and burrs from cutting the serrations, plus flatten the indention from stamping....first the 60 grit belt then a fresh 120...

Deburring all the sharp corners with the scotchbrite wheel....I dont know if it's necessary at this point but I've always done it....

Finally...I wash all the grit and grease off with soapy water and we have ten nice clean blanks ready to ship out for heat treat...

Next I'll outline the post heat treat cleanup and start setting the bevels.

stay tuned...

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Well-Known Member
Setting the swedge and bevels....

Alright everything is back from HT and I can get going again....

First, I measure the thickness of the blanks......


They all come in around .185 so I subract .030 and divide that by 2 to get
.077...I set the height guage for that and scribe a line on the edge flip the blank over and scribe the edge again.


I end up with two paralell lines that will be my guides for the edge about .030 apart


Then I take them to the grinder and grind a 45 on all the edges (where bevels will be). I do this on a junker belt and it saves a good belt from having all the grit stripped by the sharp edge of the blank. I usually take this 45 almost to my scribe line...


On straight clips like the FOS has I set the swedge with the map arm. It's not a good setup for the curvy or concave clips but it lets me get a nice straight line on these straight swedges. Here it is set up for grinding them..


And in have to keep the blank moving and you still have to be mindfull of where you are contacting the wheel but it is very efficient


I hit them with the 60, 120 and 220 grit belts than I remove the MAP arm and clean them up with the scotch brite belt....


Shot of the results...


Setting the bevels.....

I start with a fresh 60 grit belt and lay into the blank, dipping it often to avoid overheating....



I grind right down to my scribe line with the 60 and also try to get the bevel height established where I want it.


I don't worry too much about the the plunge lining up or being too nice yet...


Then I put on a 120 (JE weight not as flimsy as a j flex but flexible enough to roll over the edge of the wheel) and refine the scratches, even up and radius the plunge..... I didn't take pics of me at the 120 since it looks just like me at the 60 but here's what i have at this point


plunge lines are nice and even now...


Next I put on a fresh 220 and refine the scratches some more....not putting a lot of pressure or working the belt too much now as I should have everything where I want it when i leave the 120. For me..if I push the 220 and up grits and try to make them work (ie remove metal) I end up screwing something up and getting dips in the bevels. For most of my stuff I dont go any further than 220 before switching to the scotchbrite to clean up a little.

Post clean up...


next we'll clean up the flats and get ready to fit the scales.

Thanks for looking.
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Well-Known Member
Clean up flats.....

Back at it cleaning up the flats......

Depending on how flat i got the blanks before heat treat I start with a fresh 60 or 120 grit belt (60 in this case). I set up the KMG with the flat platen and get them good and flat with the rougher belt (until all the HT scale is gone).... (edit: I use a magnet for this now...turns out you really need to keep fingernails in tact)


120 (I often lose a little fingernail and finger tip this way but I like to feel the blank so I know it's not getting too hot)

and finally the 220

Then back to the scotchbrite to radius the sharp corners.....

After the scotch brite wheel I like to take the blank back to the platen and polish with a 220 grit cork belt with a good dose of WD40. It removes the hazy marks the scotch brite wheel can leave around the edges of the flats and smooths everything out real nice (kind of the same effect as the scotch brite belt but with more control as it doesn't bleed over onto the bevels the way a SB belt would at this point)...

and we are ready to fit scales on this batch

Next we'll install some screw on scales....
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Making/installing screw on scales...

Fitting the scales. I attach scales either with screws and threaded standoffs or epoxy and corby bolts. I thought I would just show the threaded standoff method since a lot of the steps are the same and doing both would be a little confusing.

I start out tracing the tang onto a piece of G10.....

I take this to the bandsaw and cut to my sharpie line (I didn't take pics of me cutting out the scales on the bandsaw/ also not pictured I will flatten the backside of the scales on the KMG flat platen with a 120 grit belt right after cutting them out) Notice I have all the bits/counterbores I'll need laid out so i don't have to fumble around for them when I get going. I've grabbed the wrong bit one too many times and totally had to change my scale attachment method due to drillin too large a hole...

My tang is drilled slightly undersized for the .250 standoffs (I ream the hole to .2493) so I set the standoffs in the hole and lightly tap them in. If they are being stubborn I'll use a piece of micarta to protect the standoff and whack it real good with the hammer.



I leave the standoffs sticking out on one side and flush on the other so I can clamp the first scale tightly on one side...


Now I use the proper size transfer punch to mark the holes though the standoffs (these things are the ticket for lining up holes through through threaded holes. I used to screw up regularly until I saw SAR use these in one of his WIP posts). I do one scale then remove it, tap the standoffs flush on the other side and do the second scale...

Now I take both scales to the drill press and drill the hole for the size of the screw shaft (.165 in this case)

Next I counterbore the back side of the scale to fit the standoffs which will stick out on both sides of the tang. I use a .250 counterbore with a .165 pilot to keep me centered. Not going too deep maybe about 1/16th's". Not pictured but I also use a countersink to knock the corners of the .250 hole. This aids greatly in removing and replacing the scales.

Finally, I flip the scale over and use a step drill to counter sink the hole for head of the 8-32 screws...

The step drill.....


I leave the standoffs sticking out on each side, the backside of the scales will fit down over these

Checking the fit, yay! I can actually screw all four screws in!

Remove one scale and drill through the tang for the thong hole.... Put the other scale on and drill through it using the other scale and tang as a guide


Next I draw the shape I want for the front of the scales with the scales on the knife...

I square up the map arm rest so I can use the KMG like a horizontal grinder to shape the scale to the knife tang.....



With the small wheel on the finger groove...

I use the same belt progression as most everything else 60, 120, 220, until I get the scale flush with the tang....
Gorillas eye view....mmmm shiney...

At this point, since I'm going to let the blade ride the tumbler for a couple hours, I go ahead and remove the scales and take the blade to the bead blaster (when it's in there I'll come back and shape the front of the scale)...

Bead blasting with 180 grit glass beads....

Fresh out of the blaster ready to tumble...

Riding in the tumbler with ceramic media and soapy water.....


Back to the scales.....I slap the regular KMG tool rest on the flat platen and pin the scales together with two drill bits....and shape the front 60,120 & 220...


This guy just stands around watching.....

I'm showing the tumbler with the lid off but that's just for the pics. 2 hours later i remove the lid and fish around for the blank....

The stonewashed blank.... I love this finish. Even with carbon steels it seems to cut down on corrosion. Maybe because the surface is so smooth. Plus, it gives the blade a nice gray matte finish and does not easily show scratches and scuffs.

Finally, I spray it with and anti rust compound and let it hang dry...
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Well-Known Member
Really not a very visual installment. A lot of the pics looked the same so I narrowed it down to these.

Here's what we start with. Blocky scales shaped to the tang (sorry for the blurry pic).....

I start by simply running the scales over the corner of the scotchbrite wheel on both sides. Making sure the groove angles the same way on both scales....


Then, to knock off the sharp corners, I run the edge of the scales across the face of the wheel at about a 45 degree angle. For aesthetic purposes I try to keep the flats of the edges the same width all the way around.

I usually trash a couple of the screws so I remove them and replace with fresh ones and now we have something that at least looks like a knife....

Ready for sheathing. I'll come back and walkthrough the kydex/hybrid sheath making process as soon as I can.

Thanks for looking.

Sheathwork added on page 4!
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Well-Known Member
Yea they were all there..then I went reply and they were gone. All gone from my gallery too. There is a place where they were but no pics. Only the stuff I uploaded today is screwed up huh1 :confused: unsure

Chris Martin

Well-Known Member
Well crap......I saw another tutorial by one of the best.....and no pics.

Fail brother....Fail.....

Good thing I can read though ay2thumbs:D



Well-Known Member
Yea I fried the gallery with all the pics (125) I uploaded this past weekend and they all went bye bye. I already had 60 pics in this thread when they all disappeared.

I'm going to get back here and tweak it soon.


Thanks MO. They said they had some trouble and were fixing it. See what happens when you post a great Tutorial.

Chris Martin

Well-Known Member
Damn brother....sorry to hear about the pics. Last I heard was there are on it.

Hope they get em back homie!

Thanks for the tutorial regardless if the pics are found. 2thumbs


Yea I fried the gallery with all the pics (125) I uploaded this past weekend and they all went bye bye. I already had 60 pics in this thread when they all disappeared.

I'm going to get back here and tweak it soon.

Tod Lowe

Well-Known Member
Well that sucks.:(
This looked to an awesome tutorial. Sorry about all your pics being lost and thanks for the time and effort you still put into this.
I was really curious about the kydex leather sheath too.
Hopefully you find the pics.

Chris Martin

Well-Known Member
Awesome MO!!! Second time was even better than the first2thumbs

Bookmarked this time though.

Excellent tutorial buddy. FOS one off is still scary sharp after lots o cuttin everything within arms lenght:D:D


Mike Jones

Google Master
Wow I'm really glad you uploaded the pictures again! The thumb groove idea is really cool.

Is sandblasting before stonewashing really necessary?


Well-Known Member
Yea...if you didn't know what was up and looked at this a couple of days ago you'd have though Capt Vague wrote the step by step :bud: