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Friday, October 23, 2015

Making a Knife, pt 1

A good friend of mine planted the knife making seed a couple of years ago. Earlier this year I got a kiln and a belt grinder. It was time to try it out (or go broke trying...that gear isn't cheap). Lo and behold, I hit the road for a couple of months and put everything on hold.

The particular knife I'm working on is a paring knife. I haven't found one I like, so, I'll do it myself.

Now that I've got some time at home, it's time to pick this project back up and make something!

First up is to come up with the shape. Top is the paper sketch glued to a thin piece of plywood. I used this to get the shape I wanted then scribed it onto the tool steel blank. Today, we're using A2. We'll be doing some 440C steel as time goes on. That A2 blank will not be sharpened, I'm going to harden it and use it as a permanent template for future knives.

This is a 440C blank that I'll be working on later. A2 and 440C have similar heat treat procedures, and slightly different performance features. I'd like to compare them side by side for myself. Anyway, what we're really looking at in this picture is the scribe line. We'll want to cut and grind away material until we get to that line. A good hacksaw can get you close, then creep up with the belt grinder. Files, sandpaper, whatever you need. The handle holes have also been center punched.
Our three basic components. Two scales and a blade. The scales are rough cut. We just need to transfer the hole location to them...

...with a transfer punch or whatever method works.

Once the hole locations are marked, I pilot drill with a #30 drill, then the drill/countersink for the fasteners. I outlined the fasteners previously when talking about the pastry scrapers.

Last part of today's story is to test fit the handles scales. They are clunky right now and too thick. This will give me an idea of how much material I want to remove to get the thickness I want.

Prison shank?
Next up is to do the basic blade grinding. That will entail grinding to an almost-sharp edge. It's also a good time to work out the imperfections in the overall shape and finish. I imagine that I want to do minimal grinding after heat treating.
While the blade is doing it's thing in the kiln, I'll get the handles close to final thickness. The final shaping will be done once they are permanently mounted onto the blade.

Til next time!

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