I have a request for a Christmas gift. It's a hunter like the DH44 pattern but has a deeper blade and modified handle. I am making it from Crucible Industries' CPM154 1/8" x 1-1/2" stock.
I have made a steel pattern for this one, roughly based on the HD44 template here.
I clamp the pattern down to the steel and trace the outline with a permanent marker.
Once traced I take the pattern off and start cutting out the shape on the band saw.
At this stage I am going close to the line. The inside curves are made with a series of cuts that can be easily ground out on the grinder.
On the belt grinder with a fresh ceramic 60 grit I bring the shape back to the line. The flat platen and work rest is great for this. Make sure your rest is 90° to the belt face.
Once the profile is made, I stand the piece up and remove the coarse scale and any pits in the steel surface.
Here I taper the blade portion of the knife. I use a magnet to hold it while I push heavily on the front (stabby end) of the blade. I don't want a radical taper here, more of a line from full thickness at the ricasso area to about 1/16" of an inch at the tip.
Now I layout where the handle will be. We need to know this before we start drilling in the tang. I am using a protractor to make the arc and drawing the shape with a permanent marker.
Once the idea for the handle is set, I determine the mid points and then the quarter points for the pins. This knife will have a lanyard hole of 1/4" diameter.
I like to center punch the pin holes before drilling. This helps keep the bit on mark.
Drilling the pin and lanyard tube holes. Numbered bits 12 and F are used for 3/16" and 1/4" pin stock respectively.
After the pin/lanyard holes are done, I de-burr the holes with a countersink bit. This helps me to identify them later when the whole tang is full of holes.
Now it's time to go nuts and drill a bunch of holes to lighten up the handle and better balance the knife. How many to drill? I check the balance by holding the knife in my hand and then resting the finger choil on my forefinger. When it feels like the handle and blade are the same, I stop drilling holes. The idea here is the that steel removed when making the bevels is about equal to the handle material. Of course this entirely depends on the weight of the scales and pins that you choose.
This is the knife ready to start the layout and primary grinding.