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Knives are a very useful instrument. It is useful for daily life activities.
Knife making can sometimes be fun. It can be an enjoyable project for those who love metal and wood works. Knife making can be hard work but it can be rewarding if you follow some important points mentioned.
Table of Contents
Make the design of your blade
Take a graph paper. Draw the shape of the desired blade on it. Keep in mind the actual size of your blade while making the design of the blade.
Two things which you need to focus while considering your design are practicality and functionality of actual design.
Length of blade can vary. Mostly it can be a personal choice. Blades can be large or small depending on their use and personal preference. Large blades have a key disadvantage that It needs more steel.
Tang of blade
It is the rear part of the blade which is fitted inside the wooden handle of the knife. Different designs and methods have been used in formation of tang.The simplest method is the full tang method in which the thickness of the tang is kept the same as that of the knife. A piece of wood is attached with the rivets. This makes the handle of the blade.
Tools and Materials required for the job.
Now carbon steel is required for this job to be done further. Steel available in the market can differ in its grades or variety. But remember one thing,stainless steel is hard and difficult for the knife of our choice. Firstly working and cutting down a blade from stainless steel is a quite hectic task.Secondly knives made out of stainless steel are not of fine quality. Choose type 1 carbon steel for your desired blade because its molding and dousing is easy when it is hot.
Make the best choice of material for the handle of your knife. You can choose any material of your choice but wood can be the perfect material because it is very easy to work with it. Since there we are about to make a full tang knife,so in such cases pick a material that can be fitted and attached with rivets. Your other choices can be kirinite, G10 and micarta,they all are perfect for handle making and are waterproof.
Tracing the blade.
On the hard surface of slab, by using a permanent marker line and trace the blade markings.
This will help and guide you later when you will be cutting down the steel according to the desired shape of your blade. Since tang and blade both are one contagious part of the knife, so trace them together in one piece. Later you can adjust the size once the outline of metal is ready.
Some basic metallic stuff and necessary mechanical tools are required to make a common knife. Following is the list of tools which you need to gather for your task.
- A vise
- A drill machine
- Protective gears
- A grinder (KMG)
- Angle grinder with a flap wheel and a hard wheel
- Replacement blades
Cut down the Steel
Using hacksaw, metal can be cut down as per desired design and requirements.
First step is to cut a one rectangular shaped metallic piece from the main slab.
Stiffer hacksaw is needed for harder and stiffer steel. So choose your steel type and hacksaw accordingly.
Later you will trim and grind this rectangular part to carve out your blade of choice.
Now place the roughly cut piece of blade into a vise and start grinding it. In this way you can remove excess metal from the blade leaving behind a desired shaped but a rough blade yet. Keep it grinding over the grinder until the final shape of your blade is ready.
Edge of the blade.
Till now we have a fine shaped blade but with uneven edges. So here once again put it on a grinder to make its edges fine and sharp. Edges are grinded into a final slope by using a flap wheel. By doing this you will be able to make the actual slope and edge of the blade. Take necessary precautions such as don’t hasten the grinding process by going too fast. Because This can spoil your whole design and creativity.
This step will further help you in drilling perfect rivet holes. Make sure to use a drill bit having the same size as to that of rivets being used. Now insert the tang into the holes.
Number of holes required depend on the size of blade being made.
Take a sandpaper which has finer grits. By using it, sand the blade to give it a finishing touch. Keep changing the grits and direction. Sanding can add quality and luster to the blade. Ridges can be added by using a file. In this way a pattern can also be created on the blade.
Here are the steps which will allow proper heating of the blade followed by the cooling process. For the mentioned purpose you need a forge. Because this has been a proven method of heat treatment of a newly carved out blade.
Even a torch can be used for the purpose of a blade that is very small.
As far as the forge is concerned, you can choose anything from gas or coal forge.
One thing worth mentioning is hardening baths for cooling purpose post heating processes. Motor oil can be used for the dousing process of blades. But you need to submerge it completely while cooling it.
Now start heating your blade and keep it there until the metal used gets orange color. Check it if it reaches an optimum temperature. Take a magnet and tap the heated blade against it. A fully heated blade loses its magnetic properties. If the blade doesn’t stick to the magnet then you should stop heating it any more and start cooling it immediately in the air. Repeat this whole process of heating followed by cooling in the air for at least three times. But on the 4th time heating should be followed by cooling in the oil bath.
One precaution is worth mentioning here. When you will immerse the heated blade into the oil bath, it will obviously catch fire. So be careful while dealing with this process.
Post cooling process, the blade automatically hardens and it will break away. So it is very important to handle it carefully.
Now finally treat your blade within the preheated oven. Set the temperature around 425°.
Place the blade on the center of the rack and keep heating it for at least one hour. Once this process is done, heat treatment of the blade is complete now.
Take a sandpaper having finer grits. Sand it by going past upto 400 grits. For extra shine, polish your blade.
Attachment of the handle to knife.
Usually handles are made up of the wooden material. It is attached to a distal part of a metallic blade. Handle was designed in initial planning and designing stages. Now all you need is to cut it down into pieces as per the requirements and design. Most of the handles in common type of knives have handles divided into two parts.
Making a long story short, you can cut the handle into two different but reciprocal pieces. Cut them simultaneously so to augment them in a symmetrical pattern.
When parts of the handle are ready. Join them with epoxy. For rivets, drill the holes on each side. Try to protect the blade from epoxy because it can be hard to remove later. Then put it in the vise so that it gets dry.
Next stage is to pass through it under saw for final cuttings and for adjustment of the handle. Now insert the rivets but remember to leave an extra 1/8th part of it on each side. Now hammer these extra raised parts and put the handle at its fixed place.
Sharpen your blade.
Now a sharpening stone is needed for this last step of knife making. Bring in the sharpening stone from the market. Size of stone can be from middle to larger one. Remember to apply sharpening oil on the rough side of stone. Coat it lightly. Don’t immerse it in oil. Just a light oily touch is enough to make it a perfect sharpening stone.
Here is one important instruction for sharpening purposes of blades. That is the holding angle of the blade with respect to the stone. One needs to keep the blade at a 20° angle with respect to the stone. After adjusting the angle, now push the metallic blade over stone in a continuous cutting motion. Keep the handle side a little above then tip side so that tip side is also sharpened equally.
Speed of motion should be slow in the first few strokes then you can make it faster and harder. Keep changing its sides to make every edge more sharper. Now repeat all this process on the other side of sharpening stone; fine side of stone.
Testing the blade
Last step is the testing of our newly carved out blade.
First, give it a try on a simple printer paper. Just take a simple paper and try to cut it with a blade near its holding point. Ideally a sharpened and a knife with fine edges will immediately cut it into pieces. If this simple task is achieved then you can trust your knife for it’s better quality and work.
Former F&B manager in the Hilton hotel. As a hotel management professional, he is having a wide verity of knowledge on travel and tourism. He loves to write to us and share his experience with our valuable readers.