Pictures of my mistakes/knives

Discussion in 'New to Knifemaking' started by Rick Otts, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. Rick Otts

    Rick Otts Well-Known Member

    These are a couple of my knife mistakes the one with the holes in the handle is done with a jig the other is free hand both are messed up on one side wats your best guess wat my problem is.

    Attached Files:

  2. Smallshop

    Smallshop KNIFE MAKER

    I'm pretty new to grinding...but I notice that when my blade is pointing left I grind much easier. when pointing right...much harder to do. I think it might be a left-hand/right-hand thing? I grind with the edge up so I can see my split line.

    Do you notice something similar?
  3. Rick Otts

    Rick Otts Well-Known Member

    Yes I do!
  4. Boss70

    Boss70 Member

    What size grinder are you using? That's not all bad for a first time. Get some mild steel to practice with and get to know your grinder better. That way your not wasting the good stuff. practice practice

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
  5. Dennis Morland

    Dennis Morland KNIFE MAKER

    My best guess is that you are inexperienced at grinding and knife making in general.

    Every maker wants to make a perfect knife. Very few ever accomplish that goal. If any maker ever does accomplish the perfect knife? Ever! I'm still waiting to see my very first perfect knife. Mine or otherwise.

    A lot of newer makers accomplish what you have pictured. Myself included. I have a pile of messed up knives. Every maker probably has a pile of messed up knives.

    Newer makers/inexperienced makers start a knife and then quit when they think it is messed up. Or they really do mess it up so badly, it cannot ever be fixed. Then they question themselves, usually over and over without ever getting an acceptable answer to the most simple question. What am I doing wrong???

    They start again, and again quit when it gets messed up. So on, and so on, and so on.

    Part of making knives is figuring out how to fix a mess up. Good makers learn to overcome their own mess ups. The more you practice the better you will become. It is inevitable. Just keep grinding.

    I have noticed that in the last few years some of the newer makers are cranking out some killer stuff. There are a lot of reasons for this, but, I think mostly it is easier access to knife knowledge. The internet allows newer makers to gain knowledge at a much faster rate. You tube, how to's, Knife dogs, direct access to experienced makers, etc. It speeds up the learning curve.

    With gathered experience, you eventually learn to avoid messing up in the first place. You will perfect your technique and gain more wisdom. This will make you an even better maker.

    A very wise maker once told me - start your next knife and refuse to quit on it. If you screw up, fix it. Learn from your mistakes but finish the knife. Then start again on a new knife with the wisdom that you gained. Your screw ups will become less and less noticeable and less and less frequent as you continue to finish each knife. Eventually, you can begin to call yourself a knife maker and your end product will get better and better.

    For me, this wisdom comes into play every day that I am in the shop. I have learned a great deal. Off the internet and by trial and error. I have a long ways to go. I think I am getting better at knife making. I enjoy the learning process as much as the end product.

    You will get better, keep practicing.

  6. Rick Otts

    Rick Otts Well-Known Member

    Thanx Demo! I plan on getting some of that cheap steel soon!
  7. EdCaffreyMS

    EdCaffreyMS Forum Owner - Moderator

    VERY WELL said.

    Something I tell my students..... The difference between a "knifemaker" and a "good knifemaker" is that the "good knifemaker" has learned how to correct or hide his/her mistakes.

    It's a constant and ever present part of what we do (fixing or hiding mistakes). If ANY knifemaker says they can grind 2 out of 5 blades without having to make corrections, then they're better then average. Anyone who says they can grind 4 out of 5 without making corrections.... is probably a liar. :)
  8. Rick Otts

    Rick Otts Well-Known Member

    Good words Demo thank you and I didn't give up on the blade until it was too thin to continue.I knew it would never be right but was trying too figure out wat I was doing wrong.
  9. Ty Adams

    Ty Adams KNIFE MAKER

    I can't give you any advice on grinding. It is something that I still struggle with. It does get easy as you go. Do you mean to thin on the edge or the whole blade is to thin? If it's the edge you can just grind the profile back. You would be surprised at how little material you have to remove before it gets thicker. If anything use those to test out different heat treats. Then abuse the daylights out of them. DeMo gave some of the best advice I have heard about new makers learning this trade.
  10. Rick Otts

    Rick Otts Well-Known Member

    Thats a good idea!
  11. bladegrinder

    bladegrinder Well-Known Member

    I think DeMo wrapped it up pretty good. practice and practice is the ultimate answer I think. I know some of us started before the internet,I did, and I wish I had that source of info when I started, but just like the engineer that went to collage for five years and knows everything about what makes a smart TV work, he still doesn't know how to change the batteries in the remote. that's a strange way to look at it but some people also have two thumbs or loose interest in something they thought they loved doing. I once knew someone who was like that, he went and bought a new Bader III, lots of steel, belts....everything,
    made a few crappy knives and threw in the towel. {the Bader now resides in my shop next to my other grinder}. it's not a cheap hobby to get into but if you keep practicing I think most people turn out decent knives after a while and if they keep their heart and sweat into it they will eventually turn out beautiful, functional knives. it's really how much you want to put into something that's going to wear your name on it. truth be told...some people turn out crappy knives all their knife making careers, some make really nice knives, some make high dollar art knives. I think a lot of it is up to the maker, but I also think lots of people have hidden talents their not aware of unless they keep trying and not give up out of boredom or frustration. your on the right track, just keep grinding, like DeMo said,
    you'll start seeing what's going wrong, and get better, you just have to keep going......
  12. Rick Otts

    Rick Otts Well-Known Member

    This is something I have always wanted to do but never knew how until I found this place.The bad thing is all my life I was never around many tools I am not a Mr fix it so I got a long way too go.But the thing with me is if I fail at something I won't stop until I get it right.I guess it's like a OCD thing.I will get this figured out just may take a little bit but in the end I will make real nice knifes beacuse crap won't leave my shop.
  13. Smallshop

    Smallshop KNIFE MAKER

    Have trained a few machinists over the years I will say this....give me desire over talent any day. A desire to learn and excel ALWAYS wins the race. You persist and you'll get there.
  14. Dennis Morland

    Dennis Morland KNIFE MAKER


    I got your pm and somehow - I could not reply. But, by way of figuring out what you are doing wrong with your grinding style I would make a few suggestions. There are so many variables it is hard to tell from a couple of pictures. This might help you to decipher your particular problem. Maybe not.

    1. Grinder - What type of grinder do you have? Speed may be a big variable to look at. Can you slow down the machine and your grinding technique? Take your time to remove only what needs to be removed. Then heat treat/temper and remove the remainder. For me, it is easier to square up/clean up a blade after heat treat when you cannot remove the material at a faster rate. But, everyone is different. It may not be any help for you.

    2. Platen - good solid, crisp edges are important. No dips or low spots is important also. You do not want the belt flopping around and want it to run smoothly. If your belts do not run smoothly. Fix the problem on the machine or you will never get good repeatable grinds.

    3. File guide - This helped me immensely. I got one from Bruce Bump and it quickly became a staple in my little shop. It helped correct the plunge lines and I developed a love affair with the way I hold it when grinding. I cannot recommend this highly enough. And, Bruce is a great guy to deal with. If you cannot afford to buy one, then make one that suits you.

    4. Belts - what brands and grits are you using. At times - newer makers try to be too aggressive in this area. Do not get in a hurry. Slow down. Get your grinding groove on. Get it going straight and take a little bit off at a time. Do not get in a hurry and use the most aggressive belt you can find at the fastest speed you can run the machine. Making one good usable knife blank is way better than grinding ten blanks and using one of them. Cheaper too!!

    5. Technique - Here is the spot that every single knife maker is different in some way. IE Grind edge up vs. edge down. Start on the left side vs. right side. My suggestion - use google. Try "Grinding knife blank" or "how to grind knife". You will get dozens of how-to and videos. Watch them and find a technique that will work for you. Then practice and perfect it. A suggestion is to start with your weaker side first. Make it look good and it will be easier to finish with your stronger side. Just a suggestion. May not be the answer.

    6. Knife type - start with a easy straight grind before trying a much more difficult type grind. Gain some knowledge before trying that curved blade with triple grind lines. In fact, try to make 5 simple knives with the same simple pattern. Make the first knife and finish it. Then examine and critique what needs to be made better. Start the second knife and do the same thing. Then the third knife, fourth knife and fifth knife. By the time you get to the fifth knife - the whole process will be easier and the end product will look better.

    7. Finish your knives. A lot of newer makers, experienced ones also - have a pile/drawer/hidden cubby hole full of mistakes. Grinding is one of the areas that gets screwed up all the time. Do not get frustrated at failure. Learn from it, and fix it. I make mistakes - I fix them - I learn - I get better - I try not to do that again. As Ed said, you will get better at fixing and hiding them if you keep at it and don't quit. You will gain skill by completing each knife and eventually your end product will improve.

    8. Have realistic expectations. I would love to make knives as well as Ed or any of the more experience makers on KD. It is just not a realistic expectation at my skill level. I just need to keep practicing and learning. Take a look at the "first knife" thread. Most of them look like prison shivs. Mine included. But, you have to start somewhere and then start to improve. There are some very talented newer makers. Amazing stuff is getting created everyday. It seems makers are getting younger and younger. And smarter and smarter. The internet has helped that progression. Knowledge/skill/hard work/focus/practice are all acquired tendencies.

    You can do this. Just take your time and enjoy the process.

  15. Self Made Knives

    Self Made Knives Well-Known Member

    I'm still a new maker and my take on it is that when a grind starts getting away from me or I know I'm at that critical juncture of going a little too far, I stop and switch to hand sanding. Especially if your flat grinding, you can fix a ton of mistakes with hand sanding. It's brutally slow and you'll get sick of it, but it can save you. With every new knife, I find that my hand finishing time goes down a little as I get better at grinding. I recently met another new maker that lives close to me and he refuses to hand finish anything. He's very stubborn about wanting to completely finish the knife on the grinder with no hand work. I see flaws in his knives that could have easily been fixed with a little hand sanding, but he's just not willing to invest the time. He also can't understand why his knives aren't selling, hmmm.... My advice, watch Nick Wheeler's youtube videos on hand finishing. Those helped me a ton in the beginning. Hand sanding is sort of the punishment for your lack of grinding skills. It's also the biggest motivator to get better at grinding.
  16. Smallshop

    Smallshop KNIFE MAKER

    "Hand sanding is sort of the punishment for your lack of grinding skills."

    Lol...good stuff Demo and Anthony. At least I enjoy the "punishment"....I like grinding and sanding. The one happens so fast that it causes the other...which happens so slowwwww...:3: are doing fine...remember to wear your respirator (my only practical tip:lol:)...I kept forgetting early on and would actually feel sick...duh.
  17. Rick Otts

    Rick Otts Well-Known Member

    I just got done watching Wheelers video good stuff.
  18. cedarghost

    cedarghost New Member

    I'm new too, so I am right there with you. The best things I have learned about grinding so far that made the quickest difference for me were:

    -grind your weak side first. meaning I hold the tang with my left hand and grind my bevel then try to match that with my strong side.
    -set my grinder up about waist high. I had mine much higher than that and this really helped.
    -keep my arms tucked and move with my body instead of using my arms.
    -change belts more frequent. I always try to get every pass I can out of a belt. I need to work on this one.
  19. Entropy762

    Entropy762 Well-Known Member

    This turned out to be a geat thread. Lots of good info for a new knifemaker. Thanks guys.


Share This Page