File work

I've always found file work on the spine of knives to be an impressive addition to the knife maker's art. Has someone compiled some publication of the various patterns? Seems as if I only find a couple of patterns shown on knifge making websites, but see pictures of knives with many different ones when looking at what individual knife makers are doing.
I've been thinking of having another go at a Roman Knot pattern. I haven't been able to find too much information on how to do it. My first 2 attempts were lacking.
I've always liked the Roman Knot. One thing that would be helpful is to have your drill press vice locked down to the table so as you slide the blank to the next hole, at least the holes will be in perfect alignment. Then, placement of each hole has to be marked with a scribe line and center-punched. Then the center-punch mark has to be lined up with a wiggle-type center finder. Would take a lot of time, but such a beautiful pattern executed perfectly would be the reward.
You can clamp a caliper to a 1-2-3 block bolted down to the drill press table at the end of your locked down vise on your drill press....start with the caliper open a far as you need for the pattern....clamp on the jaw that has the screen on it... Use the very end of the caliper as a stop for the knife..lightly lock the caliper before you bring the blade to touch....then drill a hole and then back the caliper off the amount you want for your spacing...lock again...move blade...drill...lather, rinse, repeat....

No mill necessary....

caliper...18 bucks...
Last edited:
I would have to buy a mill just to do the roman knot and I am debating with myself as to whether it is worth the expense to do so. The again I am wondering what other uses I might have for a mill that my knifemaking output so far has not found a use for. Someone tell me I dont really need one. ;);)
I've had a mill for years and honestly rarely use it for knife making, but their nice to have in the shop for all kinds of projects besides knife making. jus like a belt grinder isn't limited to making knives, I'm sure everyone that has one uses theirs for other projects.
heck, one time the wife came in my shop and wanted me to write something down, all I could find was an old pencil. I walked over, flipped the Bader grinder on and sharpened it up, as the Bader was winding down she just stood there looking at it and me, so I said........what? she said, I just never saw someone sharpen a pencil like that!
I said...that's right dear, and this is the only place you'll ever see it done like that.........:D