My Work

Ben Sellers

Well-Known Member
Here are two of my most recent knives. The first is a 1084 drop point hunter with curly maple finished with aqua fortis. This knife is one of number 4-7 for me. A lady at work asked for three identical as Christmas presents. I added a fourth to give to my father in law. The second is a 80crv2 chef’s knife with olive wood handle. This was my 8th knife. All comments and constructive criticisms are welcome. Thanks




Forum Owner - Moderator
Good beginning efforts! Suggestions I would make are.... Attention to detail. This will come with time and repetition, but a few things jumped out at me.

1. On the first image, I noticed that the sharpened edge does not go all the way to the tip of the blade.
2. It appears that these are "machine finishes"? If so, and that's what you desire, that's OK. However, if you take the time and effort in the blade and handle finishes (hand finishing), it will very quickly increase the overall appeal and value of your work.
3. Handle finishes.... it appears that you used some type of "coating" on the handles? Many exotic woods do not require a finish (such as varnish, poly, etc).... hand finishing them down to a fine grit (600-1200) and finishing out with a good quality paste wax give a very good appearance/finish as opposed to coatings such as varnish, poly etc. that can give a "plastic" look.
4. On the second image, the glaring issue that caught my eye is the rear handle pin.....the big glue gap. That's also common when a person gets started, and again, time, and more attention to details will help. There are a lot of little tricks that will help with this, but going slowly and paying close attention to detail is the key.

All of the above is intended to help, not belittle. We all started somewhere, and I did the same things early in my career. Just remember this..... The fastest way to build a knife is SLOWLY.... that way you only have to do it once. :)

Keep going, and seek improvement with each knife you build. Knifemaking is all about problem solving. Often times in our hast, we create a problem.... the trick is to think things through, go slowly/carefully, and either not create the problem, or more often, learning how to fix the problem we create for ourselves.

I always tell students that the difference between a Good Knifemaker, and any other knifemaker, is that the Good Knifemaker, knows how to minimize, or hide their mistakes! :)
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Ben Sellers

Well-Known Member
I appreciate your constructive criticism. I have seen your comments for other makers and value your opinion. I have struggled with the hand finishes that I put on blades. I will slow down, take more time, any pay more attention to detail. I’ll also do some searching of the forum to get a better understanding of how to get a better finish. I use progressively finer grits to about 1000, but I may be rushing the job.

I think the sharpened edge issue is partially the picture/lighting and the angle may have changed at the tip. I will go over that again just in case before I hand it over to my Father in law.

The finish I’m using is about 10 coats of Tru Oil. I’ll try some wax next time. I’m not a fan of the super shiny look either.

The glue gap is because I have been using a hand drill. I’m ordering a drill press today. Hopefully that will reduce or eliminate this issue. Should make getting the scales on a little easier too. Thats a bear when the holes are a little crooked.

I really appreciate your input and encouragement.


John Wilson

Well-Known Member
You are off to a great start. I know it stings a little to hear critique even though that's how we all get better. But please understand that everyone here will bend over backwards to answer any questions you have and everyone here wants to help you improve.

A drill press will make your life a whole lot easier. The name of the game with knives is Flat and Square. Even though nothing will end up that way, having everything flat and square when you are working with it will make life so much easier.

Learning to get a good finish on your blades is probably the steepest hill to climb. I'll echo what Ed said- slow down. Hand sanding gets way easier as your grinder skills improve. It looks to me like you are beginning your hand sanding at too high a grit and not getting those belt scratches out to begin with. 320 grit is the sweet spot. The blade should look perfect at 320grit. Everything after that is how smooth and silky you want it to look. If 320grit isn't getting rid of the scratches then drop back to 220. If 220 isn't getting them, then you are gouging your blade during the grinding process, which is easy to do. Usually it's from pressing the blade on the corner of the platen/wheel. The other mistake is to go too far on the course grits. By the time you get to 120 grit on the grinder, that blade ought to look nearly finished. If it doesn't, you are going too far with the 36/60 grit belt and making deep scratches that even the 120 isn't getting out. Again, 120 ought to be the last of the grits you are removing metal with. From there it's about finish. I take mine to 220 or 400 on the grinder, but it's only to reduce my time hand sanding. There's no actual visible change to the blade other than finish.

Hand sanding is all about getting rid of every scratch from the previous grit. Changing directions each grit helps tremendously because you can see the scratches that shouldn't be there every time you wipe the blade.

Ben Sellers

Well-Known Member
Great! I appreciate what you guys are saying. I view it as a privilege to get feedback from the caliber of bladesmiths that are on the site.

I do believe I am gouging my blades. I didnt know to watch out for that. I’ll heed your advise on my next blade.

Justin Presson

Well-Known Member
Not much else I can add that has not already been said. I like the profile in the first and both have some nice looking wood. I have yet to use olive wood but have always liked the look of it. Where did you get it?

Ben Sellers

Well-Known Member
I bought it off a guy on Ebay who sells it as Bethlehem Olive Wood. It was shipped from Jerusalem. It was all good looking wood. Once my skills mature, I plan to make knives for my pastor and a few others.