Knife making for dummies

So, I got a wild hair up my ass a while back and decided I was going to try my hand a knife making.  I did the Youtube thing and some other research, ran into several very friendly and helpful forums and decided to give it a go.  Here are the results in picture format.


Started out as some old Carbon steel files from a flea market.IMG_8650

Firing up the backyard fire pitIMG_8651

Make sure you use real coal.  Kingsford and the like have too much clay content and it’s really hard to get up to Annealing temp.IMG_8652

Critical temp for 1095 steel is around 1350F.  Use a magnet to check.  Steel will not be attracted by a magnet when at critical temp.  Some dark magic if you ask me.  Let it cool slowly so as not to “set” any hardness into it.IMG_8653

Drew out my design and started cutting.  Dremel is your friend.IMG_8654 IMG_8663

I made this jig to hold the template in place while I used a large file to start the blade grind.IMG_8664 IMG_8665

Now before you look at the next set, keep in mind that after I finished the blade grind, I drilled the holes for the pins and made some My-carta using layers of construction paper and bondo and heat treated the knife.  Same as before, fire pit, but this time once critical temp is reached, I quench in Canola oil.  Make sure to preheat your quenching oil until it is just about too hot to put your finger in, otherwise you run the risk of cracks on the edge.  After quenching, tempering is required to draw some hardness out, you don’t want it too brittle.  Throw it in the oven at 400F for 20-30 min and you will get a 58-60 Rockwell hardness.  I used turned down brass machine screws from the hardware store because I couldn’t find any 1/8th inch brass pin stock locally.  Scales were glued on with pins and 2 ton epoxy.

Here she is.  IMG_8674 IMG_8675 IMG_8676 IMG_8677

She has since gotten a bit of a face lift with some re-contouring of the scales to make the layers pop a little more and I also made a kydex sheath for it.  Nice little pocket skinner.

I was so happy with this one, that I decided to make one for my father.  Same process but with proper brass pin stock and some brass tubing for a lanyard hole.  I got it to him just in time for his birthday last time I flew home.  Photo 16 Photo 17 Photo 18 Photo 19 Photo 20 IMG_8930 IMG_8931 IMG_8932 IMG_8933 IMG_8934 IMG_8935

The Old Timer pocket knife is my first one that my dad gave to me when I was 6 or 7.  IMG_8936I had an absolute blast doing this and I have plans after christmas to get some real 1095 steel and make a copy of the ESEE Junglas.  I will do most of the work, but I might send it off for proper heat treating so I know it will be correct, plus I don’t think my fire pit could handle such a large knife.  Try it out sometime, I spent maybe $15 all said and done for both of these and lots of sweat and swearing, but I think they turned out ok.

Dive! Dive!

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1 Response to Knife making for dummies

  1. Dating myself, Made knifes with the principals blessing in 84. Nice article,

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