Is it cheating?

snowbeast

Member
A person I've recently met buys knife blanks from a trusted supplier, grinds them treats and sells the knives.
I'm very new so I'm learning the processes involved which is spending a heap of time hacksawing blanks out.
How do fellow knife makers view people buying pre cut blanks?
 

LRB

Well-Known Member
I see nothing wrong with that. Doesn't take a lot of skill to produce a blank. The skills come in with what is done with the blank. Whether your design or the suppliers. A number of well known makers have their designs cut out in blanks by someone else to save time and not have to buy expensive machinery. If I had to hacksaw my blanks, I'd quit. I have a modified horizontal cheapo band saw I have used for 30 years now. It was $150.00 new in 1984. If it ever quits, I probably will too.
 

rhinoknives

Well-Known Member
I have my blanks water jet cut to my spec's of steels I provide. I got so tired of all the time, bandsaw blades & belts it took to cutout and profile my patterns. I have a metal cutting cutting band saw that I use for one of's and prototypes.

My established patterns get water jet cut. Transparency in your knives is what matters. I tell prospective customers that I have this done when describing my process. I have never had a customer or even another maker question it or even give a funny look when I've told them that. Its not cheating at all!
 

slatroni

Well-Known Member
I was buying damascus blades from EBay. I hand made the bolsters and inlayed burl wood with mosaic pins . I also hand made the sheath . I never put my name on the knife because I didn‘t make the blade. I was up front with my customers about where the blades came from.
Now I have begun grinding my own blades. I cant wait to put my name on my own knife! I sure hope they sell kike the others did! LOL!
 

BossDog

KnifeDogs.com & USAknifemaker.com Owner
Staff member
A person I've recently met buys knife blanks from a trusted supplier, grinds them treats and sells the knives.
I'm very new so I'm learning the processes involved which is spending a heap of time hacksawing blanks out.
How do fellow knife makers view people buying pre cut blanks?

not at all. If you start with a pile of materials that isn't a knife and you end up with a finished knife, you are a knife maker. There isn't a license to qualify. There isn't a test to pass unless you want to join one of the professional knife making groups. Those groups are exclusive to a degree in requiring members to demonstrate a level of knife making skill in order to earn membership.

The knife maker community will get upset if you buy finished blade blanks (ground, heat treated already) and use these blanks telling people you did the grinding and heat treating your self. It's just not honest and you will get called out on it.

IF...You buy finished blade blanks (ground, heat treated already) and finish the knife off but do NOT mislead customers into thinking you did the blade grinding, heat treating, through clever wording or omission of facts or vague description intending to mislead, etc., no one should have a problem with that. I say should but I'm sure some will. It's the nature of things that involve money. Also, I personally don't see a problem putting your name on the knife you completed using a premade blade blank.

I will also tell you this wasn't always my opinion. I used to think you had to do everything from "scratch" if you wanted to call yourself a knife maker. Then a smarter guy than me told me I better go dig up the iron ore and smelt it into steel, (don't forget all the alloys that go into steel), turn the screws myself on a lathe, grow and harvest the wood for the handles (or go shoot a Sambar Stag for the antler) before I could say I made the knife.

The best thing for the knife making industry is to keep it healthy and that is bringing in new makers to replace those leaving. If we as "experienced" makers keep throwing up roadblocks to new guys simply because we got here earlier and we've paid our dues, we are being short sighted.

I would estimate that 80% to 90% of the knife buying population in the USA have no idea there is a custom cutlery industry out there as large as it is AND they could own a custom made knife for a reasonable amount of money....that would outperform any knife they currently own. This is absolutely insane from a business perspective. The more knife makers we have, the larger the awareness grows and the more business there is for everyone.
 
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snowbeast

Member
Good reply. I can barely lift my arms today from hacksawing out a blank and I'm only halfway there.

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I think I might try a blank and see where the enjoyment lies as it seems it's a personal journey
 

LlamaHerder

Well-Known Member
Snowbeast, try drilling holes around the outside of your pattern, 1/8 inch or so bit. Use a hacksaw to connect the holes and drop off the scrap, it goes a lot faster. Can also hacksaw from the edge of the barstock down to your holes, every 3rd or 4th hole or so. Then clamp your blade in a vise, and use vise grips to grab one of those little tags and wiggle it back and forth until it pops off.

Then you'll file or grind off little teeth. Look at post 7 http://knifedogs.com/showthread.php?33679-LlamaHerder-Knife-Build-Thread

I'm on a tablet, won't let me stick the picture here.
 

Dynamik1

Member
My suggestion would be to buy the HF portable band saw.

I just finished my first completely "by hand" knife from raw bar stock. I transferred my design, hacksawed the rough blade, used files freehand to complete the profile and used a Gough filing jig to "grind" the blade and then board-sanded to a mirror finish. The lionshare of my time was not spent with a hacksaw - it was spent with filing and sanding. If I were trying to produce 50 blades to queue up for grinding by employees I would want a good bandsaw or have the blades cut by waterjet. But for me, the bottleneck was filing and sanding, therefore my next purchase will be a grinder for sure!!
 

akey

Well-Known Member
I just finished my first completely "by hand" knife from raw bar stock. I transferred my design, hacksawed the rough blade, used files freehand to complete the profile and used a Gough filing jig to "grind" the blade and then board-sanded to a mirror finish. The lionshare of my time was not spent with a hacksaw - it was spent with filing and sanding. If I were trying to produce 50 blades to queue up for grinding by employees I would want a good bandsaw or have the blades cut by waterjet. But for me, the bottleneck was filing and sanding, therefore my next purchase will be a grinder for sure!!

A grinder is obviously the most useful tool in a (stock removal)knife maker's shop. A band saw has to be pretty far up that list as well, though. The good thing about the HF band saw is you can get out the door with a 2 year replacement warranty for around $60. I have never cut a blank out with a hacksaw but I can imagine it took a fair amount of work. I like to do knives in batches of 3 or 4 at a time and that $60 saw probably saves me significant time over a hacksaw. Welcome to the forum!
 

blancefitz

Well-Known Member
A band saw is a valuable tool indeed. I was lucky enough to find a 20" Wellsaw in the Thrifty Nickel back when I lived in Lubbock, TX. It belonged to knife maker Enidino Deleon. I got it for a song and it has been a wonderful tool. I use it for everything. However, before purchasing it I had purchased the horizontal/vertical harbor freight model for about $150 back then. The stand is a little rickety, but that ole girl has cut about 10 tons of drill stem and square tubing and everything I have thrown at her and is still going strong after over 15 years! I think I have definitely gotten my money's worth out of it and it shows no sign of letting up. If you lock it in the vertical position with the table in place and make a little seat that attaches in the vise it makes a great saw for the money.

Bill
 

snowbeast

Member
I reread all your posts and I don't have an iron ore mine so I ordered two blanks.
My length of n690 will come in handy for my own designs later on.
Knife makers are a very friendly bunch. I started with an email to my favourite knife maker I'm south africa asking for help sourcing quality metal and hoping not to offend him as I was asking for his supplier.
I was surprised at how happy he was to help me.
 

Mark'd

Member
I think that at the end of the day honesty is what it's all about. Be up front with how you got to the final product and most people will be fine with that. I've got a HF bandsaw that has cut many blanks but I was not really making much progress in building up inventory since I'm a part time hobbyist knifemaker so I refined my designs in cad and then sent them out to a water jet company. I now have 33 blanks that are ready for a quick clean up, HT, grinding, scale and sheaths.

I put out some money up front but saved a huge amount in time.
 
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