Knife making hobbyists

Discussion in 'Hunting Equipment, Gear & Optics' started by mdwest, Oct 22, 2019.

  1. mdwest

    mdwest AH Elite

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    A thread inspired by @MarkCZ ! Im guessing there are more than a few guys on here that have made a few of their own blades... show us what you've got..

    I'd been building my own bolt action rifles for a couple of years.. so I already had all the metal and wood working tools on hand needed to give knife making a try.. and had thought about doing it for a while.. but never really took the plunge until @Gert Odendaal gifted me some beautiful African hardwood the last trip I made to South Africa.. Not knowing what else to do with it.. I set out to make a few knives and use the wood for handle material..

    I was pretty proud of the first few blades.. but looking back.. I now realize they were crap lol... grind lines were uneven.. I kept making mistakes that created visual imperfections that were hard to fix etc (bumped the blades while shaping handles.. not realizing that simply taping the blade up well while working on the handle is an easy fix for this sort of thing..).. I also built a couple of jigs for both the blades and handles which helps A LOT in keeping everything correct and consistent..

    Fast forward several months and about a dozen builds later.. and I think Im finally making a few things woth actually carrying/using..

    Im a long long way from being even close to capable of creating something as nice/useful as @Von Gruff .. but Im having a lot of fun out in the garage playing.. and find it satisfying that I can build a practical tool for myself..

    Here's a pair of 4" spear points I made for myself and my favorite hunting buddy (wife) a couple of weeks ago..

    Steel is 440C stainless.. simple brass pins.. and the handles are from a piece of really nice African Wild Olive..

    I toyed with leather sheaths for the first several knives I made.. but have found my leather skills to be severely lacking.. I can crank out a leather sheath that is "ok".. but dont have the skills to really make something "nice" just yet.. leather is still a work in progress..

    I did find it super easy to build a kydex press though.. and super easy to make a quality kydex sheath in about 1/10th the time it took me to make a leather one.. attached a couple of knock off Tek-Loks to the back.. and the project was complete.. Lefty version for me.. and Righty version for the boss..



    Who else out there is making knives?

    IMG_5333.jpg IMG_5331.jpg IMG_5332.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2019

  2. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I think those two you posted look pretty damn good. Just need a skinner blade now!
     
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  3. mdwest

    mdwest AH Elite

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    thats actually the next thing on the target list..

    one of the original designs I tried was a little 2 1/2" drop point skinner.. it makes a decent little "gentlemans" multi-purpose knife.. but sucks as an actual skinner lol... not enough belly in it..

    I've been looking at some traditional profiles like the old schrade and old timer skinners.. and also been looking at some stuff done by some of the more famous custom makers like Bob Dozier and Loveless.. but havent really settled on where I want to go yet..

    The biggest challenge for me I think is going to be a good skinner needs to be flat ground.. which is supposedly easier to do that hollow grinding.. but I am finding that for now I am much better and more consistent with hollow grinding..

    I think if I can build a couple of jigs to help me with flat grinding a profile nicely.. I can probably figure out a good working skinning knife..

    its just going to take some time..
     
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  4. Von Gruff

    Von Gruff AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    @mdwest Thank you for the kind words and if you would take a little critique I hope it will stand you in good stead for future knives. Your grind lines are very crisp particularly on the lower knife with the tip of the upper knife may be subject to light distortion making it look a little washed out.
    The wood on the handle where you have bought it right down to the end of the finger notch is particularly vulnerable to splitting of and I have seen quite a few on the knife making forums who have suffered from this malady asking how to "fix it". In essence the best fix is not to go down so far where the long grain is unsuporte by length. On the lower knife I would have been tempted to stop somewhere near the edge of the dark patch of grain and rounded the front to get more knuckle room forward. Straight fronted handles that go that far forward and down are best protected by a bolster which is why they came into use.
    Regardless of that , you have shown a good skill set to bring these two to the fine finish that you show them to be here.
     
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  5. mdwest

    mdwest AH Elite

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    awesome advice @Von Gruff ... thanks!

    Im sure this will be a very part time / occasional hobby at best for me.. I certainly dont envision myself as a bladesmith in any way.. I could use all the help and advice I can get! :)

    Regarding bolsters.. I have only tried one knife with bolster so far.. I struggled a bit with it getting the wood perfectly flush with the back of the bolster.. and then grinding and sanding the wood down to the width of the bolster.. I finally figured out how to tape up the bolster with about 3 layers of painters tape.. then when I saw the grinding belts start to cut tape, immediately transition to hand sanding.. and then to finish with 1200 grit wet sanding to remove any/all scratches from the bolster..

    any additional tips on how to work with bolsters? or am I over complicating things?
     

  6. jeff

    jeff AH Legend

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    Good looking knives, thanks for sharing!
     
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  7. Von Gruff

    Von Gruff AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    If you are using a (2x72) type belt grinder to do your blade work then that can be used to make the meeting edge of the bolster with the wood flat and straight. A disc grinder will do the same and will get the front of the handles flat so there is not gap.
    This is a short video I did on setting the handle against the bolster

    It depends on whether you are using wood, bone, horn or copper, brass, or one of the steel types as to how the next stage of the shaping goes but if easily cut with the bandsaw I will do it as f this video shows



    If there are metal bolsters I will grind them down on the belt grinder to the marks drawn on as shown in previous video
    After the bandsaw I go to the grinder for general shaping

    Then it is hand work with rasps through the finer files untill sandpapers. Always have a hard backer for the paper for the transition from the wood to the metal bolster. For wood and bone/horn, I will go to 600 grit and finish on the buffer but for metal I will take them to 1500/2000 grit before buffing
     

  8. mdwest

    mdwest AH Elite

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    Those videos are great help @Von Gruff ! Thanks!

    Ive got a couple of different grinding/sanding options.. I've got a 1"x30 belt sander as well as a 4"x36" belt sander.. Ive also got 6" and 8" bench grinders (disc).. the plan is to upgrade to some better quality power tools.. (2x72 belt grinder would be awesome.. but for now Im making due with 1" and 4" options... and most of my stuff is bench top tools... like my band saw is a 9 1/2" bench top.... I'd love to upgrade to a 12" or a 16" floor model at some point)..
     

  9. Von Gruff

    Von Gruff AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Some amazing knives were made before any of this modern equipment was thought of so it really is just a point of determination and paitence.
     

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