First One Done

Chris Railey

Well-Known Member
#4
If that is your first knife then that is impressive in and of itself. Was it stock removal or forged? The only advice I would have is for your pin placement. The pommel pin could be further up the handle a little and the top pin seems off center but that could just be the picture. Other than that looks awesome for a 15th knife.
 
#7
Thank you all for taking the time to respond......and so positively at that!
Chris, in answer to your question, it's probably stamped by some giant machine. I purchased the blank, then did my thing to it. I wanted to see if I had any aptitude for this stuff. I realize that I really enjoy it, and that I have an awful lot to learn.
Bruce
 

Von Gruff

Well-Known Member
#8
Was the blade unfinished when you got it Bruce. The scratches show through the shining that has softened the plunge and grind lines but disregarding that for a first finishing of a premade blank into a knife blade it is a very creditably offering
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
#9
For a first knife, there is absolutely nothing bad whatsoever to say about it. Can it be improved? Of course, and that will never change regarless of how good you get. Even when the day comes that nobody else can spot an imperfection, you will because you made the knife. And that imperfection is usually all you can see when you look at the knife.

So, as you asked- what should you do differently on the next one to make it even better?

Rule number 1: Fit and finish is everything.

Don't be overly ambitious in the short term. Improving as a knifemaker is a game of baby steps. Master each step and add one step forward that you haven't mastered, but only one. When you've mastered that take another step. Why? Because the cardinal rule is that nothing is more important than fit and finish. The most basic design using the most basic materials will look fantastic when properly executed. It will look even better than a super complex knife that isn't finished as well as it could be.

What is fit and finish? The things that make a knife look expertly done are:

No visible errant scratches

No gaps between the blade / guard / handle

A clean finish on the blade (no scratches or marks)

Grinds on the blade must match from side to side

Good finish on the handle. (nothing that looks accidental)


That list looks very simple, and I assure you that it is not. As you can see, there is absolutely nothing on that list that pertains to the type of steel, fancy materials, or embellishments. It's all about pure craftsmanship. That list is the foundation of a good maker.

Your goal is to make the most basic, un-exciting knife possible that looks perfect. Then do it again. And again. When you become so proficient that you can turn out perfect knives with boring regularity it is time to add one item of complexity. You can make that same, boring knife out of high end materials and it will look killer. But if you jump ahead and turn out a knife with flaws it will not look killer, regardless of what it's made of or how cool the design is.
 

opaul

Well-Known Member
#10
For a first knife, there is absolutely nothing bad whatsoever to say about it. Can it be improved? Of course, and that will never change regarless of how good you get. Even when the day comes that nobody else can spot an imperfection, you will because you made the knife. And that imperfection is usually all you can see when you look at the knife.

So, as you asked- what should you do differently on the next one to make it even better?

Rule number 1: Fit and finish is everything.

Don't be overly ambitious in the short term. Improving as a knifemaker is a game of baby steps. Master each step and add one step forward that you haven't mastered, but only one. When you've mastered that take another step. Why? Because the cardinal rule is that nothing is more important than fit and finish. The most basic design using the most basic materials will look fantastic when properly executed. It will look even better than a super complex knife that isn't finished as well as it could be.

What is fit and finish? The things that make a knife look expertly done are:

No visible errant scratches

No gaps between the blade / guard / handle

A clean finish on the blade (no scratches or marks)

Grinds on the blade must match from side to side

Good finish on the handle. (nothing that looks accidental)


That list looks very simple, and I assure you that it is not. As you can see, there is absolutely nothing on that list that pertains to the type of steel, fancy materials, or embellishments. It's all about pure craftsmanship. That list is the foundation of a good maker.

Your goal is to make the most basic, un-exciting knife possible that looks perfect. Then do it again. And again. When you become so proficient that you can turn out perfect knives with boring regularity it is time to add one item of complexity. You can make that same, boring knife out of high end materials and it will look killer. But if you jump ahead and turn out a knife with flaws it will not look killer, regardless of what it's made of or how cool the design is.
Well stated sir!
 
#11
Von Gruff - When I received the blade it had a rudimentary "satin" finish that I didn't see as how I wanted it to look, so out came the sandpaper and elbow grease!
John Wilson - Thank you very much for the well thought out and well presented reply. It is EXACTLY what I need to hear. (Not that I don't want to see the "attaboys"!!) I like it and respect the spirit that was intended so much so that I printed it and put it in front of my bench as a reminder and inspiration for when the cuts on my fingers make me think "there has got to be an easier hobby!"
Thanks to all for the replies - you folks can sure teach me alot.
Bruce
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
#12
Trust me when I say that you deserve an atta-boy. What you made shows tremendous promise.

I’m glad to have helped. The devil is in the details. Knifemaking is not easy, but those scrapes and cuts are worth it. There is a huge cool-factor with making knives, so stick with it. Every little scrape pays in the long run.
 

Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
#13
Just remember when sanding a knife blade that close enough is not good enough. Keep sanding until all the sanding marks from the previous grit sand paper are gone. You did a good job on the decorative filing.

Doug
 
#14
Your goal is to make the most basic, un-exciting knife possible that looks perfect. Then do it again. And again. When you become so proficient that you can turn out perfect knives with boring regularity it is time to add one item of complexity.
This is the shortest cleanest statement of my (and others...lol) build philosophy. We should all have this hanging over our bench as a reminder.
 
#15
Very nice. Everything that everyone has said is spot on. Listen to these guys. Again this is a VERY good first attempt to say the least. Well done!
 
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