View Full Version : Look what was dropped off at my house...

04-11-2013, 09:48 PM
Yep, I have been inspired to try my hand at making something that resembles a metal stick with a cutting edge.


Mil-cut Bastard File
Mil-cut Second Cut File

1/4" x 1" x 12" O1

Linen Micarta Scales

Until next time... :bladesmith:

Dave Martell
04-11-2013, 09:53 PM
Pete - you're nuts! :wink:

04-11-2013, 09:54 PM
Pete - you're nuts! :wink:

Plenty of that going around here ;)


04-11-2013, 10:03 PM
Are you going to forge that?


04-11-2013, 10:16 PM
Here's the plan after spending the last few days reading every thread at a knife making forum. I will be filing the blade to shape to about 85% with files and sandpaper, then I will attempt to heat treat it myself with a bootleg furnace made from a fire pit until it demagnetizes. Then I will quench in oil and then temper in the oven at 500 degrees and then finish the blade and handle.

I am sure I will have many questions to ask here when I finally start this project.

04-11-2013, 10:26 PM
What really inspired me to jump into this project is the fact that the more I know about knife making, the more I will appreciate the amazing knives I already own. Similar to being able to play an instrument will give you a better appreciation and understanding of music.

El Pescador
04-11-2013, 10:39 PM
You realize that this is going to take you a really long time, right?

What really inspired me to jump into this project is the fact that the more I know about knife making, the more I will appreciate the amazing knives I already own. Similar to being able to play an instrument will give you a better appreciation and understanding of music.

04-13-2013, 09:18 AM
Yes, and the chances of actually producing something that gets sharp are highly unlikely but why not try to learn about the process? I don't expect success, luckily the bar was cheap and the files are something I should have in the old work shop anyway.

04-13-2013, 11:58 AM
Definitely interested in the WIP. Agree that the experience should prove quite interesting.

04-13-2013, 12:13 PM
My hands ache just looking at that Pete. You are definitely crazy. Best of luck!

04-13-2013, 12:36 PM
What shape are you shooting for?

04-13-2013, 12:40 PM
Pairing knives although I am starting to think 1/4" bar stock might be just a tad overkill :sad0: . I may have to order something thinner, maybe 1/8th to start otherwise I'll be filing for an eternity.

For the shape, I was thinking a flat edged sheep's foot pairing knife would be a good starter.

Don Nguyen
04-13-2013, 12:57 PM
You might have issues with shaping it after HT, because files will have a tough time cutting into hardened steel. A less headache-inducing method might be to just get a really, really coarse diamond plate for that, and then sanding away.

Good luck! Looking forward to hearing how it turns out.

04-13-2013, 01:33 PM
After more research it looks like you are absolutely right Don, I will file to 85% finished shape, then move to 95% with sand paper. Once I am at the 95% mark I will heat treat and then finish the remaining 5% (sanding blade face to the desired level of finish, final sanding of handle and of course putting an edge on it).

Marko Tsourkan
04-13-2013, 01:36 PM
Pete - you're nuts! :wink:


04-13-2013, 06:45 PM
For a paring knife, you might want to start closer to 1/16 inch!

04-13-2013, 07:58 PM
Who's doing the custom wa handles for the files? :biggrin:

04-13-2013, 11:55 PM
file knives are fun.

04-14-2013, 12:31 AM
Who's doing the custom wa handles for the files? :biggrin:

This man is a genius!

04-20-2013, 05:41 PM
Bar stock is cut!

04-20-2013, 10:38 PM
Holes drilled including weight reduction.


04-21-2013, 04:49 PM
So progress is slow due to the fact that I don't actually have a vice. I made a make shift one for filing with a cut off piece of 2x4 bolted to another 2x4 and then hand clamped. It worked amazingly well for the resources that I had. I filed the blade tip to shape and haven't messed with the butt of the knife due to the fact that I am rethinking the handle design with a mockup and some clay.




04-21-2013, 04:51 PM
I appreciate crazy. Carry on!

04-26-2013, 11:34 PM
Well, I finally had a chance to do some filing on the blank and I was able to finally finish the profile. She's coming along and at least looks like a knife from the profile. I am pretty happy with the results although I am thinking the center hump in the handle is a bit too preggers. I believe it will be more comfortable once there is a handle on it with some meat.



04-27-2013, 12:31 AM
Lookin' good Pete!

U R still crazy, but I like it!

04-27-2013, 12:51 AM
Pete...much respect for attempting this. Keep going. This is awesome.

Mike Davis
04-27-2013, 07:51 PM
I will look when i get back from the hospital, and find you a link for a cool filing set up. Agree with all the above....you are crazy!!!

04-28-2013, 02:50 AM
I will look when i get back from the hospital, and find you a link for a cool filing set up. Agree with all the above....you are crazy!!!

Mike.. What's happening at the Hospital? Thumb overgrind on yr 5HP belt sander?

Always appreciate a craftsman that can come up with a work around solution or circumvent the problem as it is creativity personified. I am sure that you wld be deriving much pleasure from this piece adn also during the process of making it... Then the next think to watch out is the possible inherent masochist tendency.. just kidding......

IF I have half your skill, I wld consider myself successful in this kind of endeavour.


Look fwd to more pics.


04-28-2013, 07:43 AM
Thanks Mike, I hope everything is ok at the hospital.

04-28-2013, 01:15 PM
Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
This might give you an idea for a bevel filing jig made from scraps, that someone on a UK forum made for their current project


Pics from:

04-28-2013, 01:30 PM
Like a giant edge-pro! Cool!

04-28-2013, 08:17 PM
Wow that is an interesting setup.

05-01-2013, 01:00 AM
Well, today I had a few hours before I was due in at work. I decided to have a go at filing bevels after watching videos of people doing it two different ways. I ended up experimenting with both methods, filing from edge to spine and filing from tip to ricasso. The tip to ricasso method was painfully slow and the edge to spine method was very quick, a bit too quick and I ended up over-grinding one side of my knife. Hopefully I will be able to make the two sides meet in the center through sanding and then after heat treat when I finally create the primary edge and sharpen. Here are a few pics of the set-up and a couple pictures, where you can see the overgrind.




Nasty Mess:





I guess my question is, what is the preferred method of cutting in bevels with a hand file? Also, should I have cut in the plunges before grinding the bevels, because I really didn't get much of a plunge at all.

Should I have taken a steeper angle when doing the initial beveling such as a 45 degree angle?

Thanks for looking and for your feedback.


05-01-2013, 01:04 AM
I decided to begin sanding since I had filed my edge to nickel thickness. The geometry is downright bad since I clearly had no idea what I was doing when filing the edge down. You will see what I am talking about when you spot my terrible plunges. I decided to start sanding and this where I am at now.

Do I go back to filing or is it too late since I started filing the edge at too low of an angle? And once again should I have done the plunges first like Mr. Swanson does?


05-04-2013, 02:29 PM
Here's another update before I start working on the knife again.

I've continued to sand the edge and I am slowly straightening the edge out. I am about .50 to .54 along the edge and will continue to sand some more until I am happy with the straightness of the edge. I clearly need a lot of practice on plunge lines and draw filing but this is the my experience doing any sort of metal work.

A few questions I would appreciate answered...

1. I feel that my files only cut well when pushing the file from tip to ricasso, versus what I've seen from videos posted by Coop who files from ricasso to tip. Am I imagining this or does the file only cut one way when using the push file method similar to standard filing?

2. You'll notice that I am having trouble thinning the edge near the ricasso so I was thinking about using my chainsaw file to create a spanish notch, which would eliminate most of that. Would you recommend such practice or is this a bandage to a faulty technique that I should work on?

Thanks as always and I would love comments.




This is turning into a mini-cleaver with the thickness behind the edge :beatinghead:

05-04-2013, 04:51 PM
So I decided to cut in a spanish notch...



05-04-2013, 04:54 PM
Coming along nice. I like the Spanish notch. This thread is giving me ideas on how to waste my next weekend off, lol

05-05-2013, 01:27 AM
#KnifeUpdate: Well, I finished sanding the knife to the point of being ready to be heat-treated. Here's a few pics of my wonky edge :beatinghead:



I really am not concerned with aesthetics, I just hope it will cut...we shall see.

05-05-2013, 08:17 AM
If your going to be using hand tools after HT, do yourself a favor and thin the edge down to 0.5mm or so before you harden it. I wouldn't worry about unfixable warping on such a stocky knife.

NO ChoP!
05-05-2013, 09:27 AM
You'll be able to pare a coconut with this thing. lol and jk. Very fun wip, thanks.

05-05-2013, 09:40 AM
If your going to be using hand tools after HT, do yourself a favor and thin the edge down to 0.5mm or so before you harden it. I wouldn't worry about unfixable warping on such a stocky knife.

Thanks for the advice Squilliam I shall sand it some more.

05-05-2013, 09:40 AM
You'll be able to pare a coconut with this thing. lol and jk. Very fun wip, thanks.

Yep, I agree she has gone from a sheeps foot pairing knife to a wharncliffe mini-axe lol.

05-07-2013, 05:23 PM
Well folks, the mini-axe/wharncliffe/pairing knife is on hold as I don't want to send just one knife out for heat treatment. Here's a snapshot of one of the sides of the blade where you can see the terrible grind. Is this dishing in the center of the blade what you guys are talking about when it comes to Moritaka's issues?


And another picture just because... :groucho:

Here's a quick glimpse at project #2. I'm fortunate to have an amazing Dad and Father-in-Law so I wanted to make them some knives that they can beat the crap out of. Here's the profile, although I will be changing the design of the handle to thicken it on the bottom half.

Steel = O1 1"x1/4"x9" (Real thick, it's going to be able to take an absolute beating.


05-09-2013, 11:46 PM
Here's a quick update: I started working on another blade, because this is not a kitchen knife I will post a new WIP in the appropriate thread. I just wanted to show you a quick snap shot of my plunge line improvement!


05-10-2013, 07:52 AM
Out of curiosity, How many hours do you estimate that you have invested in the first knife?

05-10-2013, 09:25 PM
Out of curiosity, How many hours do you estimate that you have invested in the first knife?

The first knife I probably spent close to 6 hours total. I rushed the bevel process because I became impatient.

My second knife, I spent 4 hours straight just filing away the bevels on one side of the knife. :bigeek:

05-13-2013, 05:40 PM
Here's a few pics of what I have been doing with that giant 1/4" bar of O1. I decided to make my Dad a Father's Day knife, which I imagine he will be pretty pumped about. Granted the design is somewhat limited due to the bar stock only being 1/4" x 1" x 18," But I did the best that I could. The more and more that I work on this beast, the more I want to sell some stock to buy a belt grinder. Hand filing 1/4" bar stock is the devil!!!




The good news is that this knife will be pretty much indestructible

05-13-2013, 05:44 PM
That thing is crazy. How long is it?

05-13-2013, 05:56 PM
That thing is crazy. How long is it?

Edge is 3 3/4" long and OAL is just shy of 9"

05-15-2013, 11:23 PM
Rumor has it that there might be a batch of homemade micarta curing in my garage...

05-16-2013, 05:58 PM
Ok, after almost 18 hours of rest, the epoxy has not hardened. Clearly I did not put enough hardner in the mix so I have two questions.

1. Will it eventually harden if given enough time?

2. Should I just toss it and start over?

05-16-2013, 06:13 PM
Also, what brands of epoxy do you recommend for handles and making your own micarta?

05-22-2013, 05:18 PM
Ok, so I finally pulled the plug on this project, here are the results of the first failed "mycarta" batch.

Here's the sheet right out of the press...http://imageshack.us/a/img834/6403/badcarta2.jpg .
The sheet was tacky on the exterior and very flexible bending to 45 degrees.

I cut off a small chunk to try sanding on with my Dremel and layers would peel away from time to time, so clearly it would not make a good medium for sculpting a handle.

Granted I failed but I will say that I learned a lot and will change quite a few aspects of the process in the future.

Dave Martell
05-22-2013, 09:56 PM
You're making micarta too? I've got to give you some applause here Pete! :happy3:

05-25-2013, 10:01 AM
Blades were shipped off to Peter's Heat Treat, will update when I get them back.

05-29-2013, 03:57 PM
My Father-In-Law dropped off some steel a few weeks back that he found at a work site. It came in a clear plastic package with a label from Pacific Steel and the steel is designated as precision ground O1. Now this isn't my idea of precision ground but I feel obligated to use the steel for something, since it was a gift and the fact that it is identifiable makes it worthy of heat treat. The problem is that it's only 1/16th thick which limits the possibilities between pairing knives and steak knives.

I decided why not use it to make a chisel ground pairing knife but before I went through all of the work of manually sawing the steel, profiling the blank with files and yadda yadda yadda, I would test it out. There was a small piece of the steel that had been lopped off the bar already so I did a quick profile with a shoddy bench grinder, and then cleaned it up with some 80 grit sandpaper to rid the blank of the burrs from grinding. Now in my haste I ended up creating a single bevel for a left hander instead of a right hander :beatinghead: ,but the concept is the same.

I was forced to use a dremel tool to create a terrible hollow grinder on the reverse side, although with my pairing knife I may not bother and see how she performs.



My freehand filing is definitely getting better with each blade so I am at least happy with that.

06-07-2013, 11:38 PM
Blades just arrived back from Peter's Heat Treat, O1 finished at R/C 59.


06-08-2013, 12:41 PM
I had some free time before I had to head into work today so I figured I would jump in and start working on a handle for my wharncliffe.



06-16-2013, 10:05 PM
So I have my Dad's knife that I am making waiting for the epoxy to cure on their handles. I decided to work a bit on my wharncliffe since I had some downtime today, here's a 600 grit finish.



Mucho Bocho
06-17-2013, 01:31 PM
You're almost there Pete. thanks for the update!

06-17-2013, 10:39 PM
I spent some time with the old upside down belt sander and made some progress on the handle.




Granted my experience with grinding is extremely limited, I find it very difficult to square up curves if that makes sense. For example, in one of the pics you can see where I had trouble balancing the grind on the but of the knife. Any tips or tricks to correct these problems?

Oh and I know it's a downright ugly handle and design, I have a feeling my third knife will break the ugly barrier.

06-18-2013, 01:26 PM
Relic from another time or my first finished knife? All that is left is to put a final edge on this one and then it will be ready to be gifted to my Father.

**Teaser pic


I will post more detailed pictures once I completely finish the above blade. I love this new hobby of mine, it's the first hobby that allows me to create something rather than consume it. Thanks to everyone here for their input, advice and patience with my questions. I still have another blade that is near completion, I am confident that my third blade will break the ugly barrier with everything I have learned from the 2 knives featured in this thread.

Brad Gibson
06-18-2013, 01:53 PM
Very cool Pete! Keep it up!

06-19-2013, 03:23 PM
I managed to create a faux lamination line or kasumi finish due to my convexing of the edge.


06-20-2013, 05:41 AM
I love this new hobby of yours too! Awesome too see the generous knowledge of this forum being magnificently utilised. Enjoying the wips too, cheers!

06-25-2013, 01:49 PM
Alright, here's my first finished knife. Just a quick reminder that I've had absolutely no metal working experience and to be honest, very little craft experience other than stained glass. This knife is definitely an ugly design, largely in part due to my lack of experience in knives other than kitchen cutlery. Specifications are as follows...

Steel: O1 with a HT from Peter's at 59R/C
1/4" stock
Black Dymond Wood grips
Brass 1/8" pins
Blade Length is 3 7/8"
OAL is 8 3/4"

Currently I am having a hard time getting the blade sharp. I started sharpening after heat treating using a flat granite tile with a soft/spongy shelf liner and then sand paper clamped on top of that. I started with 80 grit and ground the two edges until they became one. I then progressed from 120, 220, 320, 500, 600, 800, 1000 and finally 2000 grit. I also stropped on felt and diamond spray loaded leather. The knife will not shave, cut paper nor does it feel really sharp if I run my fingers across the edge. What I think is keeping the knife from getting sharp is the extreme thickness behind the edge. Granted this is my first time sharpening a convex edge versus my typical flat bevels on my kitchen knives. Any suggestions on what I might try to get the knife sharper?

The blade was taken to 2000 grit but I did not take it high enough before HT, so there some deep scratches I was unable to get out. I finished the handle up to 600 grit, there are no sharp edges on the knife and it is very comfortable. My Pops has large handles so I purposely made the handle a bit bulky. There is still some epoxy in the finger guard that I was unable to get off. I am leaving it as it offers a weathered look just like the dymond wood. This will be the last knife I make out of 1/4" stock until I can rationalize spending the funds on a 2x72 belt grinder.

Obviously I am looking for your critiques and suggestions. I can tell you I learned an incredible amount from this first knife and I am really excited to start designing a brand new one that will definitely break the ugly barrier.



Thanks for everyone's help and once again please share your feedback.



Mucho Bocho
06-25-2013, 02:44 PM
Way to go Pete. You beat that steel down. It may not have the looks of a Hass or the steel of a Devin or the curves or a Radner or the ergonomics of a Rogue or the fit and finish of a Tsourkan, but you made it with your own hands and nobody can take that from you!

06-25-2013, 02:45 PM
Looks great Pete.

Dream Burls
06-25-2013, 03:12 PM
A++ for effort. Keep at it and each one will get better and better.

06-25-2013, 03:13 PM
Quick Update: I sanded down the epoxy in the finger guard, I have higher standards than that...


Dave Martell
06-25-2013, 07:49 PM
You never forget your first. Congrats Pete! :)

06-26-2013, 12:42 AM
Holy crap Pete!! I just found and read through the whole thread! Dude I'll give you credit for doing it the hard way, and just jumping in and doing it! Well done! I still have my first knife, it's as ugly as a pimple on a bulldog's arse!! But it was the first. My next half dozen, I clamped a portable belt sander in a vise, and let modern technology help out! I paid $25 for the sander, and $30 in belts ( 3 different grits ) and final sanding by hand. That was not too many years ago. School of hard knocks is a tough teacher, but you don't forget lessons learned that way. Keep it up, and looking forward to seeing more!

12-05-2013, 01:09 AM
Well after quite a few months off from making knives I decided I had better finish the other knife I had started on back in April. This one will be a Christmas present for my Dad and I have tested its' cutting ability and she does quite well. The idea of this knife is to be an awesome box opener/utility knife for odd jobs around the house. Unlike the previous finished knife, this one is 100% functional. The blade was about 85% finished, what was missing was the handle and the final sanding/sharpening in order to be complete.

I mixed up some epoxy yesterday and mounted the scales and today I spent time with my new Harbor Freight 1x30 grinder working on the handle. Wow, talk about a total time saver in terms of the 1x30 grinder. I've regained my interest in knife making now since it won't take me 30 hours to make a handle by hand. Here's a few WIP pictures that tell a small portion of the story.

Scales ready for sanding

Initial sanding (very square and the butt of the scales are not even with the tang)

Scales are now flush with the butt (sounds kinda dirty) but still a very square handle

Finished with the 1x30, rounded the edges with the next step being hand sanding. Handle feels nice in the hand and 100x more comfortable than my first knife's handle.

P.S. This dymondwood sure is ugly ;)

12-05-2013, 07:48 AM
IT'S ALIVE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I forgot about this Pete!
Go Pete go!
Yeah Dymondwood is pretty ugly.
Good luck and looking forward to seeing it finished.