First knife WIP

Wiredude

Well-Known Member
I finally got to cutting metal this morning before work. At least it's a knife shaped object at this point...
My calipers seem to have gone missing, but by a ruler the stock is about 7/32" thick.
12" OAL
Blade about 7"

Actually made from a flat HF pry bar. I know I'm taking a chance on the steel, however I'm looking at it as a learning experience, really more to get a feel for how to do all the grinds, etc. So if the steel isn't really up to par, I'll be able to live with that...
This is basically a rough profile, I have several areas that I need to clean up and smooth out, and so on. I thought it looks pretty good for about an hour or so with the angle grinder.
I'm going to have lots and lots of questions as I go along, and I'm looking forward to learning from the experience of the members here.
 

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Wiredude

Well-Known Member
Ok, question 1 of what will most likely be many.
At this point, I have nothing that resembles a belt grinder. I have a 4.5" angle grinder, a 6" bench grinder, and a 9' bench grinder. I don't feel comfortable trying to grind bevels with any of those, so I'm planning to go the file route.
Files will cut in this bar as it's currently heat treated (I'm guessing more of a stiff spring temper for a pry bar) but I'm getting that sound where you can tell that it's still somewhat hardened.
So, I'm thinking annealing is where I need to go next. From what I've been able to find online (and given it's mystery steel), what I think I need to do is get it to about red hot, then stick it in a bucket of sand (I'm assuming reasonably dry ), and let it cool slowly. Is this correct?
Also, this leads to a question that's been rolling around my brain.
Do most steels have sort of 3 'states'? As in annealed, "normalized", and hardened/tempered? Or is annealing basically just taking the steel back go it's 'natural', untreated hardness?
 

wall e

Well-Known Member
Any of the 3 grinders can grind a blade but, will cause some funky grind lines. The angle grinder when fitted with a flapper disk will grind a convex blade fairly quickly. The proper way to learn and understand bevels is to go your chosen route of files. They will take a bit of time and patience but will be worth it in the end. Your doing good so far. Looking good.
 

Ed of all trades

Well-Known Member
Annealing: heat the piece of steel until it is no longer attracted to a magnet and cool very slowly. If you are going to use sand, not the best choice but might work, Heat the sand by heating some iron and putting it in the sand for a while before you pit your knife in. Let the knife cool until it is cold before you bother it at all, like over night. and it should be annealed if ll went well. Ed
 

Self Made Knives

Well-Known Member
A long time ago I was using a truck leaf spring to make a wood splitting froe, way before I was into knives. I built a long skinny box out of concrete blocks and got a good charcoal fire going in there. Put the leaf spring in and let it just burn out on its own over night, next morning soft as could be.

As far as grinding bevels on a bench grinder, I've never done it myself, but seems like I remember seeing a guy on YouTube do it and he did it well. I'd say it is possible. I made my first knife with a file, but it was considerably smaller than this one, you're in for a lot of work! I think if I were you and going the file route, I try to remove some of the material with the angle grinder first. Just make sure you scribe a centerline on the edge and a grind height your shooting for on each side before you start grinding.

As for filing, I've recommended Aaron Gough's youtube videos on building a filing jig and how to use it several times in other threads. Not sure if anyone likes it or not, but it worked great for me, you should check it out.
 

Wiredude

Well-Known Member
Thanks, all 3 of you.
Wall e, that was kinda my thought, I COULD grind bevels with any of those, but I'd most likely end up with really funky grind lines, which is what I don't want. I'm kinda thinking the file route exactly for the learning reasons.

Ed & SMK, thanks on the annealing, thoughts/ideas I hadn't considered.

SMK, I know I've seen a YouTube vid or 2 where people have cut bevels on bench grinders, but, well, just because you saw it on YouTube doesn't make it a great idea. Besides, that would end up as a hollow grind, which I don't want to fiddle with just yet, however I was planning on doing a little very rough hogging on the bevels most likely with the angle grinder, since I descided to jump in with such a large blade, and there's a lot of metal to remove to from those areas.
I actually already watched the Aaron Gough vid based on you recommending it to someone else, planning on building a version of that jig, mostly because I think I have pretty much everything I need other than the eyebolt, and maybe the right size hose clamps.
 

Wiredude

Well-Known Member
Ok, question 2...
It occurred to me that i should drill my tang for pins, thong tube, and lightening, etc before i cut bevels, as things will be easier to clamp that way. But I'm really not sure how much to drill for weight removal, the blade is about 2" longer than the handle/ricasso area, and is the full 1-1/4" of the bar most of that distance. I know I'm going to drop a fair amount of weight when I cut in the bevels, but I don't want to end up terribly heavy toward either end.
 

wall e

Well-Known Member
That is beyond my skills, the only advice I have is you can always shave more weight by drilling another hole but can not put it back easily. If your after the perfect balance for a knife its going to have to include the handle material weight into the equation for the best results.
 

Wiredude

Well-Known Member
Ok, lesson learned...
I annealed the blank yesterday morning, or at least I drew a crapload of hardness back out, kinda hard to see the blade when its nestled in a pile of coals, (I havn't finished my forge up yet.)
But that will be the last time I do any profile grinding before I have scaling removed! Getting the scale out of some of the little knotches I had around the choile etc. was a pain.
Which leads to a question...
From what I've seen watching vids the scale from Ht seems to flake off alot easier than what I had to deal with. Is this the case? I ended up using a polycarbide wheel in my drill to get it to come off.
Or was my scale more stubborn because of my heating method (being down in the coals throughout) and allowing it to cool slowly?
Thanks
 

Ed of all trades

Well-Known Member
Just a guess but it sounds like you had to much air going to your fire and it increased the oxidation. Others with more experience will have a more sure answer. Ed
 

Wiredude

Well-Known Member
Well, between all the assorted projects that I need to do around the house, and that pesky go-to-work thing, I havn't had much time for work on this. I have gotten a little time though.
My annealing was successful, the metal responds alot better now to files/sandpaper.
I got the edges of the blank cleaned up and squared up, trued up what will be the cutting edge and the spine with files. I'm now working through block sanding the blank on the flats. It's kind of amazing how much unevenness you find in that process, from what you would have already called a "flat" piece of steel.
Shouldn't have much more sanding time in that process, as I'm getting very close, and I wasn't planning on sanding past probably 220g at this stage.
Didn't figure any of this was really worth posting pics, as it wouldnt really show up.
I'm also about to build my file jig, because I'm itching to get some bevels cut, and I really don't trust my freehand file skills that much just yet.
Oh, and word of advice to any fellow knoobs up there setting up for working on a knife... Make sure that when you bolt down your vice that it's as level as you can get it. My vice was installed and left by the previous homeowner, and it's pretty good straight on, but when I rotate the base it gets kinda cattywampus, and it really requires close attention to not screw up your squareness
 

Wiredude

Well-Known Member
Got my file jig built, and I also got one side of my swedge cut in. Really goes remarkably quick compared to what I expected. I also found that my skills for drilling straight holes are not what I thought they were! Definetly thinking I may build a modified/improved version of the jig once i get a drill press. I'm trying to figure out a simple way to make the setting of the file angle more repeatable, as its a bit fiddly with the basic eyebolt setup...
And of course I forgot to snap any pics, so maybe I can get a couple when I get home tonight, or in the morning.
 

Justin Presson

Well-Known Member
Your on your way. Dont worry about the repeatable angle as much. I couldn't repeat it that well when I used mine. I found it easier to scribe a center line on my edge and the scribe where I wanted my grind to go to then basically that gives you two points to work to...if that makes sense.
 

Wiredude

Well-Known Member
Your on your way. Dont worry about the repeatable angle as much. I couldn't repeat it that well when I used mine. I found it easier to scribe a center line on my edge and the scribe where I wanted my grind to go to then basically that gives you two points to work to...if that makes sense.
That's exactly what I've done with my swedges, and plan to do on the bevels as well, I was just thinking it would be nice to be able to so to speak "set" it at least close if i wanted to do something else in between steps or something like that.
 

Justin Presson

Well-Known Member
I hear ya. I found the hardest thing is to make sure the knife is clamped into the same spot each time at the same angle.
Keep us posted...with pics ☺
 

Wiredude

Well-Known Member
Well, I promised a pic. I apologize for the crappy lighting, but I havn't gotten around to rewiring the garage just yet, and what I have is what I have lol.
 

Wiredude

Well-Known Member
Ok, more progress. I got my swedge fully filed in, and did a little cleanup. File got away from me a little at the base of the plunge on one side cleaning up the plunge itself, but I'm planning on bringing my bevels up to where the swedge starts, so I think it won't show once I'm into hand sanding...
I don't think things are perfect, but I think overall it's pretty good for a first attempt.
Also got myself a drill-press, so I got my pin holes drilled (the smaller holes were tests to see how straight I could drill by hand, and I wasn't happy...) I still need to drill a couple lightening holes I think. Right now the blank balances about an inch and a half in front of the ricasso, so I'm guessing the scales will weigh a little more than the metal I'll remove in the bevels.
I also whittled a mock-up set of scales out of a couple door shims to figure out how thick I need to order my scales, so all in all, some pretty good progress...
I have also realized that I probably went for a bit more complex project than I should have gone for, but at this point I'm not turning back. [emoji12]



 

coachcampana

Well-Known Member
Ok, more progress. I got my swedge fully filed in, and did a little cleanup. File got away from me a little at the base of the plunge on one side cleaning up the plunge itself, but I'm planning on bringing my bevels up to where the swedge starts, so I think it won't show once I'm into hand sanding...
I don't think things are perfect, but I think overall it's pretty good for a first attempt.
Also got myself a drill-press, so I got my pin holes drilled (the smaller holes were tests to see how straight I could drill by hand, and I wasn't happy...) I still need to drill a couple lightening holes I think. Right now the blank balances about an inch and a half in front of the ricasso, so I'm guessing the scales will weigh a little more than the metal I'll remove in the bevels.
I also whittled a mock-up set of scales out of a couple door shims to figure out how thick I need to order my scales, so all in all, some pretty good progress...
I have also realized that I probably went for a bit more complex project than I should have gone for, but at this point I'm not turning back. [emoji12]



I think it looks pretty good! No one would know its your first knife if you didn't tell them.

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