I've always had a thing for sharp things from kitchen knives to chisels. I have also had a keen interest in bushcraft since going camping with my family as a kid. Combining these two things with some of my famous DIYness, I decided to embark on a self taught lesson in knife making. I hope to make this more of a photo heavy how-to.
Since I do not have a forge made yet, I figured that the stock removal method of would work best for an intial effort. I found Canadian Knifemaker's Supplies here in Alberta and ordered some stock. I chose 154CM (more on this choice later) as it is tough and stainless. I wanted my bushcraft knife, which I have dubbed BC1, to be about 8 or 9 inches long (overall) and possess a thick, indestructable blade.
Above is my first finished knife.
The steel arrived yesterday. One piece of 3/16" x 1-1/2"x8" and one 5/32"x1-1/2x9". Going forward I will refer to these by their decimal equivalents: 0.187 and 0.156 respectively.
The 8" piece was actually about .25" longer, so I planned my profile with this in mind. The price of this stock was just over $2 an inch, so about $18 to $19 a slab. Shipping via courier as extra.
Profiling is the art of transferring an idea to the steel. I sketched a basic shape on back of an envelope, then redrew it on some printer paper. Once I had the basic idea together I trued it a little and traced it to another sheet.
I then worked the scroll saw and belt sander to get a shape that was close to what I wanted. It should be noted that the template should be a tiny bit undersized so that when you trace around it, you get very close to the desired size.
A few photos can walk us through the process.
Once traced out with permanent marker, it's hacksaw time! This steel is incredibly tough. I was lucky to have a new, very good hacksaw blade. This is one thing you don't want to cheap-out on. Clamp it in the vice and give it a go. Slow steady strokes, about 2 per second works best.
Rough profile achieved and this puppy is ready for the sander. Total time with hacksaw and grinder, 3 hours. As this stock was 1/4" longer I altered the shape of the handle slightly and used up some of that extra to create a longer handle. If future stock pieces are exactly 8" long, we will follow the template.
Once the stock is exactly how I want it, I will trace this back to paper for the record.