Monday, August 29, 2016


After the epoxy is hard I like to flatten the faces of the scales with the tool rest at 90° and some 60 grit.
Then working at 45°, bevel the handle to get a rounder feel to it.

Now to the slack belt with a 120 grit. This process is about holding the blade and rotating the handle on the slack belt. This creates a smooth rounded handle. 
After moving to a 220 grit Aluminum Oxide (AO) belt any rough spots or depressions are sanded out. The focus is on the stainless bolster with minimal pressure are the scale/bolster transition. We don't want the scale to be gouged out at the bolster transition or it will feel abrupt and sharp.

 Some finishing sanding on the bench with 400 grit and water.

After a few soaks in mineral oil and then a few more of tung oil, the handle is buffed with a clean cotton buffing wheel.

Thanks for looking!


Thursday, May 5, 2016


For the Canadian Knifemaker Forum KITH we are making paring or bird & trout knives. These are generally small blades around 3-1/2" and used for light duties.

I have started with a template printed on paper. The ruler is printed on the page as well for length reference.
Once the template has been glued to some thin plywood I cut these out.
Shaping the finger choil on the spindle sander.
Here's the two patterns. One has a smooth handle taper and the other (bottom one) has a finger choil.
I am able to get both knives from a piece of 2" AEB-L. The stock is 0.130" thick.
I used the porta-band to sever the twins.
To remove the bulk of the finger choil I make some slits and cut them out.
The round is made with a 1" drum on the spindle sander. Also the 1" small wheel on the belt grinder would work here.
I used a chunky 36 grit to get the profile very close to the line.

With a magnet holding the blank on the flat platen I clean it up.

This is the one blank with the choil. This is DH55.

This is the one without a choil. This is DH55a.

Both are the same length.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


I laid out the pin holes and kind of figured where the bolster lines will go. For the pins I use numbered bits which are slightly larger than the pin stock.
The pin holes are drilled.
After the pin holes, I will blap (technical word for careless random  drilling) holes to reduce the weight of the tang end.

Before going into the oven, I coat the entire knife with stop off paint.

And hang them to dry. As you can see I have several knives going into the oven today.
Once the oven is around 860°C (1580°F) I open the door and set the blade in spine down. Then allow them to sit for about 10 minute before starting the ramp up to 1060°C (1940°F).
Once at soak temperature, I let the knives sit in there for about 15 minutes and take them out one at a time and quench in oil. Sorry no pictures of these quenches. Auto timer was off somehow.
They are hard, but very stressed. I wipe them off and turn on the start up the tempering oven.
I then clamped them all together with some steel (not painted) c-clamps.
Into the tempering oven at 185° (365°F) for two hours, cool to room temperature and repeat.
This is my handy oven count-down timer. It runs for 2 hours then shuts off. It can be set to go for 1, 2, 4 or 8 hours. Of course, this is just for convenience. I never leave the shop when the ovens are on. Things can catcha-fire.

P.S. this timer is a Woods model 50030 and it's sold on for cheap.


Once out of heat treatment, I clean up the blade and start marking my bevels for grinding. I do all the grinding after heat treatment. I flatten the faces with the flat platen while holding the blade with a magnet. I've also taking a liking to "cut proof" gloves for this.
Next I work the bevels back from the edge to the spine. Trying of course to keep the plunge lines the same on both sides.
I worked the flat grind all the way to near kissing the spine. That's at 120 grit.
Now some hand sanding with water.
This is after some hand sanding and some work with the conditioning belt.

Here I am using a 400 grit aluminum oxide to put the cutting edge on. In slack belt mode I find the edge is nice and even.

The stencil goes down for etching.I am using the Poor Man's Etcher for this. With proper stainless steel electrolyte solution.

And the etch is complete.