View Full Version : Hey. My name is Michael Miller and I am learning to make knives.

07-05-2013, 11:06 AM
I am currently making knives as a hobby and I have a lot to learn. I would love some constructive criticism on my work, and I have tons of questions to ask. I don't think I will be ready to sell anything for a while, but a pass around my be a possibility on the next batch of knives I am working on.

Anyway here are some pictures of some knives I have made.

This is a neck knife I made for a left handed friend of mine

This is the first successful gyuto I made.

This is a utility knife I made for a friend

Here is the 2nd gyuto I made. It was a wedding gift for a friend.

Another picture of the handle. Bloodwood ferrule, Quina handle and white spacers.

Please let me know what you think. I have more knives in the works now so I will be adding more pictures soon-ish.

07-05-2013, 11:31 AM
Congrats on the Hobbyist/Craftsman tag Michael!
Your stuff looks good. I'm pretty sure your "friend" there is a good judge of your work.
I look forward to seeing a lot of quality work from you.
Best of luck.

Dream Burls
07-05-2013, 12:27 PM
Hey Mike. Nice work. I'm always happy to see a new knife maker in the ranks. Keep em coming.

07-05-2013, 01:48 PM
Welcome to the forum, Michael.

I'm sure you will learn a lot from the members here.

Look forward to seeing more pictures of your work!

07-05-2013, 02:21 PM
Congratulations on hobbyist tag, it will be fun to follow your progress!

07-05-2013, 05:24 PM
Welcome to the forum.

07-05-2013, 08:30 PM
Nice work. Can't wait to see what else you come up with.

07-05-2013, 11:52 PM
Cool! Welcome to the hobbyist tag world.

07-06-2013, 01:23 AM
Congrats! Looking forward to a passaround!


Don Nguyen
07-07-2013, 12:40 PM
Greetings Michael, looking forward to seeing more!

07-07-2013, 01:48 PM
Welcome to the forum.

07-07-2013, 07:58 PM
What tools are you using Michael?

07-07-2013, 08:03 PM
Thanks for the greetings everyone. I haven't had much time to do a whole lot recently, but I should be able to start posting pictures of new stuff soon. I also have a collaboration with a fellow forum member that I will do a WIP thread on, but that will be a few weeks from now.

What tools are you using Michael?
I currently use a grizzly grinder, drill press, miter saw, angle grinder, and determination.

07-10-2013, 08:33 PM

07-10-2013, 10:30 PM

Soon. I am in the middle of a move currently so I haven't been able to get much done. I will be back in the saddle shortly.

07-11-2013, 02:54 AM
Soon. I am in the middle of a move currently so I haven't been able to get much done. I will be back in the saddle shortly.

Good luck with the move. Looking forward to seeing more of your work Mike.

07-11-2013, 06:06 AM
i like very much the pure line of your first gyuto.

welcome and good luck for the move, i'm in one too :)

07-23-2013, 12:17 PM
Here is a rehandle I did for Daveb.

Malachite and Desert Ironwood with a black spacer.


07-23-2013, 12:29 PM
Looks great. Is that real malachite?
If so, how easy is it to work with?

07-23-2013, 12:43 PM
Thanks. I am not sure. Daveb provided the materials, but I think it is the composite. It was pretty easy to work with.

07-23-2013, 12:58 PM
The malachite was composite from Jantz. Ironwood (on sale cheap!) from Mark. Mike brought the knife back to life.

HHH Knives
07-23-2013, 01:15 PM
Mike, Great to see some of your work. Thanks for sharing.

NO ChoP!
07-23-2013, 03:51 PM
Looks good! (But I'm a fan of anything ironwood...)

07-30-2013, 01:03 PM

2nd attempt at a wa handle. Not too excited about how it turned out, but it does feel better than the one it came with. I think I am going to stick to western handles for a while, at least until my attempts at wa handles start looking acceptable.

CCK 1303 with Bloodwood and Marble wood.

07-30-2013, 01:17 PM
That doesn't look to bad. Maybe just a hair fat, but I'm not a clever guy.

Dream Burls
07-30-2013, 01:41 PM
That doesn't look to bad. Maybe just a hair fat, but I'm not a clever guy.

I disagree. I think you are very clever.

07-30-2013, 02:00 PM
I disagree. I think you are very clever.

Thank you for the kind words Crothcipt. I was shooting for a much larger than normal handle for this. I think larger handles work better on cleavers, but that may just be me.

08-02-2013, 01:25 PM
Here is a petty to match the gyuto I made him. 1095 steel 59-60hrc bloodwood and bocote.



08-04-2013, 09:17 PM
Looking good! Keep it up!

08-04-2013, 09:22 PM
Yes, keep going and please continue to share.

08-05-2013, 12:56 AM
Will do. Thanks for all of the kind words.

08-05-2013, 07:08 PM

7inch santoku in 52100 61hrc with a Marblewood and Bubinga handle.

This is the first knife I made for a paying customer. I'm pretty excited.

NO ChoP!
08-05-2013, 11:06 PM
Looks good! I like your patented tiger stripe patina!

08-05-2013, 11:48 PM
Why thank you. I was hoping someone else thought it was cool too.

08-06-2013, 12:58 AM
Gratz on a paying customer.

NO ChoP!
08-06-2013, 09:04 AM
How was grinding 52100 compared to 1095?

08-06-2013, 09:47 AM
I'm liking the grating you use as a backdrop. Knives are pretty cool as well.

08-06-2013, 10:20 AM
52100 is much more resistant to anything I try to do to it than 1095. It requires at least twice as many abrasives too. Sand paper, belts, cutting disks, etc. We shall see if the added edge retention is worth the extra effort at this point.

Thanks Daveb, going outside is the only way I can get a decent shot with my phone.

09-02-2013, 10:30 PM
A set of steak knives and a special order chef knife.
Bocote handle and 52100

Mysterious ferrules that I got in a grab bag with Bubinga as the main handle material. Also 52100

Sorry for the poor quality pics. I am not sure why the ferrules on the steak knives look grey in this picture.

09-03-2013, 05:15 AM
Some really nice work - I like the petty most so far.

09-03-2013, 10:04 AM
Thank you. I do really like how that one turned out.

10-09-2013, 12:15 PM
My apologies for the long absence. Here is my most recent completion. A 270mm suji made from 52100, bloodwood and bocote. I am going to set the bevel later tonight and ship it to a friend tomorrow morning.

10-15-2013, 11:55 AM

Here is a line knife I made for myself. 165mm, 52100 carbon steel at 61hrc and a Bloodwood handle. I am very happy with how this knife turned out.

10-15-2013, 12:00 PM
Looking good Michael.

10-15-2013, 09:51 PM

10-25-2013, 10:56 PM
Two santokus for a friend of mine.

Top: 1095 carbon steel 59hrc with Malachite and Bloodwood handle.

Bottom: 52100 carbon steel 61hrc with Bubinga handle and Rhodonite ferrule.

She specially requested these handles.

Bacon Bandit
10-31-2013, 12:08 AM
Very nice, I hope that she is very pleased with you work, I know that Brian is looking forward to getting his!!!

Bacon Bandit
10-31-2013, 12:09 AM
What is the difference in these steels and how is the edge retention hold up?

11-04-2013, 12:31 AM
I am trading a knife for some professional photography work so hopefully I will be able to get some good pictures to show you guys. I also recently acquired a bandsaw so you will start seeing some sayas soon too.

Best wishes,

11-04-2013, 01:31 AM
What is the difference in these steels and how is the edge retention hold up?

They are both carbon steels, but the 52100 has better edge retention and is less reactive. They both take great edges, and I am happy using either. I am sure someone else can answer your question more fully.

11-06-2013, 02:36 PM
Here is my first saya on my Ealy. It is Bolivian rosewood.
Here is my first attempt at a Wa handle on my Yoshikane. It is Bethlehem olive wood with Redwood burl. I tend to like bigger handles, but this is a little too big. It would have been perfect for a cleaver. I am probably going to make a 2nd attempt for this knife. The marks of the handle are from rubber bands that I am using to hold its old saya on before I make a new one. Wish I had noticed them before i took the pictures.
Those may be basswood spacers, but don't tell anybody :whistling:

11-06-2013, 02:59 PM
Nice work, Great job on your first saya!

11-06-2013, 10:23 PM
Nice work, Great job on your first saya!


11-07-2013, 01:31 AM
that saya looks amazing

11-07-2013, 01:44 AM
that saya looks amazing


11-28-2013, 12:15 PM
This is my first wa conversion. I think it turned out great. This is for a competition I am having with a friend to see who can restore a Forgie better.

The woods are stabilized Maple and Claro Walnut with white spacers. I am still going to make a saya for it after the thanksgiving business is over in the restaurant. I am planning on making it a WIP to help first timers on the Saya making competition.

I wish the pictures showed off how glossy the handle is. Also this has two days of Thanksgiving prep worth of patina on it.

11-28-2013, 12:19 PM
That Forgie looks gorgeous! Handle just a bit too big for my taste but looks really nice.
Awesome work, keep going :thumbsup:

11-28-2013, 12:49 PM
I would love to see a WIP on that handle conversion!

11-28-2013, 03:11 PM
Nice work but you weren't kidding when you like big handles.

NO ChoP!
11-28-2013, 04:54 PM
It's more photo perspective.

This handle does have a dramatic taper, but the front is in line with the machi, and the taper follows the lines of the knife itself beautifully.

This is Michaels nicest work I've seen.

Maybe a photo with the blade facing front would help....

11-28-2013, 06:22 PM
Here is a blade forward perspective. My apologies for the poor quality.
And here is as straight as I can get it.

The handle is not as huge as it looks and the balance point is right where is should be, about 1.75 inches in front of the handle

Also if I can find another forgie I would love to do a WIP on the conversion.

11-28-2013, 07:15 PM
Here is a blade forward perspective. My apologies for the poor quality.
And here is as straight as I can get it.

The handle is not as huge as it looks and the balance point is right where is should be, about 1.75 inches in front of the handle

Also if I can find another forgie I would love to do a WIP on the conversion.

I have one that needs work, PM me with details of what you would charge to thin it and convert it to wa.

11-29-2013, 01:29 AM
Nice work again Michael. The new set of pics looks a lot better. You've definitely got your own style, and we are lucky enough to be a part of you refining and defining it.
I still really want to try out one of your blades.
Keep up the good work bro.

11-29-2013, 12:07 PM
Thanks. Hopefully I can work something out for you soon.

11-30-2013, 12:02 PM
First gyuto I have made in a long time. It is 52100 at 61hrc with a stabilized Oregon maple burl handle. This one is ground for a lefty. This is very similar to the knife I am thinking about doing a passaround with someday soon if there is enough interest:biggrin:.





I stink at taking choil shots so here are two. Hopefully you can get an idea of the grind. It is heavily and asymmetrically convexed but still thin behind the edge.



Hopefully I will be getting some professional photograph done soon.

Please let me know what y'all think.

11-30-2013, 12:17 PM
Here is another picture. I think this is a bit better.

I'd also like to mention that this is one of my first belt finished blades. So what are y'alls thoughts on the finish?

11-30-2013, 11:17 PM
So I was discussing those choil shots with a friend and they do not represent how the blade is actually ground at all. Hopefully the new owner will get me some more choil shots soon.

12-01-2013, 12:02 PM
All of the sexy choil shots posted on KKF make it seem easy. I think knives and photography are a common pair of hobbies here. I am very tempted myself. But another rabbit hole? When does it end?

12-01-2013, 06:30 PM
Yeah. Hopefully I can just get a camera with manual focus one day and that will be as far as I go into photography, but I highly doubt my addictive personality will let that be the case.

12-02-2013, 05:46 PM
OK so bad news. A recent conversation with a friend and a disaster involving the pass around knife has reminded me that I still have no idea what I am doing. So I am going to cancel the passaround for the time being. Hopefully I can figure this knife making thing out soon. I apologize for getting y'alls hopes up.


NO ChoP!
12-02-2013, 07:31 PM
Don't be so hard on yourself, dude. You've made some awesome stuff. 6 months ago it was all talk.

I tried my hand at grinding a parer, and just when I thought I had it perfect, I blew the tip, again and again, until I was left with a stubby tanto, lol.

I'm sure Marko has boxes full of fails and practice knives...

12-02-2013, 08:25 PM
I was not trying to be hard on myself. I am much much better than I was 6 months ago, but I am still not good enough to have a pass around yet. Hopefully one day soon, but not now.
I am more ashamed for letting people down on this passaround.

Thank you for the kind words. And I am sure you will do much better on the next parer. :thumbsup:

Don Nguyen
12-02-2013, 09:59 PM
Hey Mike, sometimes to have to take a small step back to jump a little further. The growth we have seen from you in this short time has been tremendous. I have no doubts that soon you'll have a piece that you feel comfortable sending out.

Wish you the best.

12-02-2013, 11:22 PM
Thanks Don.

12-26-2013, 11:13 PM
I am having some trouble heat treating my next batch of steel so I rehandled my Yoshikane again to kill some time. This time I think the handle is worthy of the knife it is on.

Spalted maple, with a micarta ferrule and nickle silver spacer.




I still need to find a way to get a good tang hole. I am going to try a coping saw on my next one.

Please let me know what you think.

NO ChoP!
12-26-2013, 11:36 PM
That spalted maple is killer.

12-27-2013, 01:59 AM
great wood and great yoshi. I love that knife.

12-27-2013, 03:36 AM
Awesome maple you got there!

How about sanding a little micarta and mixing it with epoxy to cover tang hole? I guess it would make it look less visible.

12-27-2013, 11:52 AM
It would. What is done is done though. I will try in on my next one though. I also think that other epoxies look better cured than the stuff I am currently using. I am currently looking for access to other epoxies also.

Also thanks for the kind words everyone.

NO ChoP!
12-27-2013, 12:25 PM
Epoxy dye, matching the ferrule is a nice touch I appreciate in Mike Henry's handles....

12-31-2013, 02:26 AM
better and better

01-01-2014, 08:40 PM

01-04-2014, 08:01 PM
Well. There goes some beautiful buckeye burl. Lesson learned. This was my first attempt at a D handle and I was doing the handle a little out of my usual order. I rough shaped the handle and then tried to install the dowel. Didn't work very well apparently.



I'll see if I can salvage the lower portion for a petty ferrule or something.

It is a shame. This was a very beautiful piece of wood.

01-05-2014, 05:01 AM
I can feel your pain and was in the same boat just few weeks ago. Really nice burl

01-12-2014, 01:25 PM
I Wa-converted this Misono 270mm sujihiki. Now it is a 300mm wa-suji.

Buckeye burl for the handle with brass spacers.

This is a more "normal" sized handle. 19mmHx18mmW at the ferrule and 25mmHx20mmW at the butt and 137mm long.

Once again I apologize for the pictures. I need a better camera.






Please let me know what you think.

Chef Andy
01-12-2014, 02:30 PM
Looks awesome! I think I might have to get buckeye for one of my handles.

01-12-2014, 02:35 PM
Yeah. It is my favorite wood right now.

01-13-2014, 11:22 AM
Very nice! The last pic is really good, I think your biggest problem is getting the lighting correct and a better background.

01-13-2014, 11:33 AM
Looks awesome if you ask me. The previous handles were a bit too fat for my liking but this one is just right. Nice job

01-13-2014, 11:43 AM
look fanastic, the handle for the misono look prefect, the wood look like marble

01-13-2014, 01:37 PM
Thanks everyone.

01-13-2014, 07:38 PM
Put in an hour or two in the shop today putting some Wa-handles together. Thought y'all would want to see.

This is stabilized claro walnut with micarta ferrule and nickle-silver spacer. It is about halfway through rough shaping.

I threw a little water on it to get it a little closer to a finished look.

This one is stabilized redwood with silver spacers and micarta. It is freshly glued in this picture.

Anyway I just wanted to get your thoughts on these and pick your brains for a second.

Which one do you like better? (I know it is very early to tell how these will turn out.)

Also a more general question is: Which type of handle do you prefer? a more simple and clean handle or a more intricate handle with lots of burling? Lots of pieces and spacers, or just 2-3? I know this is a very subjective question, just wanted to get your opinion.

Thanks everyone.

01-14-2014, 12:18 AM
I like the walnut and nickel silver its clean and strong. I have a handle like that on my 240 takeda. strong, simple lines, and a little shiny does the trick for me.

Chef Andy
01-14-2014, 12:25 AM
They both look pretty similar, but I think I like the top one better. Hard to say tho since they're both not finished yet, like you said.

They both look like they'll turn out great.

01-14-2014, 12:32 AM
I think they will look a little more different when I get them both rough shaped. I have 2 different knives that need handles and I am trying to decide which handle will go where.

01-14-2014, 11:34 AM
Here is a better comparison picture of those two handles, both are still just blanks right now.

So do you like more simple handles like the one on the bottom? Or do you like handles with a few more pieces and a lot of figuring in the wood like the one on the top? Or maybe a simple 2-3 piece handle with lots of burl?

I would love to hear your input. Thanks to everyone who has already given their opinions.


Chef Andy
01-14-2014, 11:45 AM
Hm, I like the one on the top in that new picture more. The wood looks more unique, kind of looks like fire.

01-14-2014, 11:46 AM
I like the rosewood burl handle more, but I would make the micarta spacer smaller. Maybe half the size.

If there is going to be lots of figure in the wood I would prefer letting the burl stand out, what you did on the top one is great, but if there is not much figure I would prefer an end cap and some spacers

01-14-2014, 10:35 PM
I prefer the top one. Very, very nice :).

01-15-2014, 01:25 AM
Thanks, everyone. The compliments mean a lot and the advice is very welcome.

01-15-2014, 01:35 AM
I really like the second very clean and classic looking

01-15-2014, 11:11 AM
Also a more general question is: Which type of handle do you prefer? a more simple and clean handle or a more intricate handle with lots of burling? Lots of pieces and spacers, or just 2-3? I know this is a very subjective question, just wanted to get your opinion.

I was asking myself similar questions lately and here's what I found so far. You'd better stick with simple design for a workhorse type of knives. I would refer to DT ITK knives as an example of simply and good looking handles. Most Japanease made workhorse knives are supplied with pretty simple black and white traditional handles… and there's a reason for that. Just by looking at the knife you can tell that it's a serious tool, not a kitchen toy. So take it as simple as possible.

The whole different story comes when we are speaking about knives, that aren't workhorses. The knives that you would polish to the mirror death and baby for the rest of your life. Those knives DO look better with fancy handles. Just by looking at those knives you would feel how awesome they are. And you'd want to take those knives into your hand just for the sake of holding. To feel awesomeness in your hand. So go for the craziest handle you could imagine!

Another thing which I never thought about until I started making handles is interest. Right now I'm making a new very simple handle for my Shigefusa and I'm bored. It's just 2 pieces of wood. Nothing special. The wood isn't special at all. Just boring to make. But it will look good. And I'm also making new handle on a small petty knife for my sister. And that handle is interesting because I tried to make curved wood joints along with triple spacers and really special wood. Can't say that I like such style of handles, but it's really interesting to do.

01-16-2014, 01:24 AM
I see your point, but I disagree a little. There is no reason why a heavy use kitchen tool can't be pretty, and I have seen plenty of kitchen toys that weren't.

I guess my views on handles is: if they perform the same job equally well, but one is pretty/cool then why not have the cool looking one. Although there are trade offs between custom handles and factory (price, , balance in some cases, etc.) but generally durability is the same.

01-16-2014, 03:45 AM
I see your point, but I disagree a little. There is no reason why a heavy use kitchen tool can't be pretty, and I have seen plenty of kitchen toys that weren't.

While is purely subjective let me make an analogy with cars for example.
Here's Bentley

Here's taxi

Both are just cars, but imagine for a second that taxi drivers starts using Bentleys. You take a taxi to nearest airport and they give you a bill for 12500$. Does it makes any sense? :)
The same IMHO goes for knives. If DT start using mammoth tooth and golden pins for his ITK series it would cost 2-3 times more and would be a much less of a value for anyone, who needs knife for everyday cutting tasks.

01-16-2014, 12:51 PM
Ahh. I wasn't even considering price right now. I was considering the differences between a fancy custom handle and a less fancy custom handle, so in my mind I was thinking of similar price points.

My bad.

01-18-2014, 12:23 AM
I like the bottom handle better. Great job on everything, by the way.

01-18-2014, 12:53 AM

01-24-2014, 12:50 PM
Here is one of those 2 handles. I am still looking for something to put the Redwood handle on. The forgie I had intended it for may not be good enough for it, since it has some pitting.

This is the claro walnut, nickle silver spacer, and micarta ferrule. It is on a stainless damascus Goko 240mm gyuto.






I have some epoxy dye on order so that will fix that epoxy mediocrity, but this is the cleanest tang hole I have made so far, so that is cool.

01-24-2014, 01:19 PM
Great work!

01-24-2014, 02:20 PM
Well… I see no flaws here. Looked hard enough but it just clean and nice. And of super right size :thumbsup:

01-25-2014, 12:06 AM
Thanks Pete and Chzbrgr

01-30-2014, 08:01 PM

20 inches of pure unadulterated bakelite. Red and cream. I am super excited to start working with this.

01-30-2014, 08:22 PM
Nice find!

02-06-2014, 08:26 PM
I rehandled my konosuke 240mm ginsan with that redwood, micarta, and nickle-silver handle I ask yall about a while ago. I also made a rosewood saya for it. Let me know what you think.




Hopefully I can get some better pictures in the sunlight.

02-06-2014, 09:20 PM
The handle work and saya are gorgeous. I can do about anything with metal but wood is still a mystery to me.

02-06-2014, 10:12 PM
Nice Mike

Are those Konos handmade?

02-06-2014, 10:18 PM
Looks great! nice grain on the saya

Brad Gibson
02-06-2014, 10:51 PM
really nice work.

02-07-2014, 12:31 AM

20 inches of pure unadulterated bakelite. Red and cream. I am super excited to start working with this.

That's some nice polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride you got there!!

02-07-2014, 02:08 PM
Thanks everyone.

I am not sure if the konosuke ginsan line is hand made.

Also: Science

02-07-2014, 02:11 PM
I think you'll like working with the bakelite. I've just started using some in my handles and it's real easy to work with, just don't overheat it.

Be well,

02-08-2014, 12:41 PM
Nice Handle, looks great on that knife!


02-08-2014, 12:50 PM
Thanks everyone!

Mucho Bocho
02-08-2014, 01:15 PM
Looks amazing Mike

02-23-2014, 06:31 PM
really great work in this thread! keep it up!

02-27-2014, 01:10 PM
I did wa conversions on a myabi and a Lauderhung 14" chaf's knife. I removed the bolsters, kiritsuked the tips and did the wa handles.

The Myabi is in cocobolo and the Lauderhung is in ironwood. Both have micarta ferrules.

As always sorry about the pictures.




Dog not included.

02-27-2014, 01:11 PM
that lauderhung is HUGE!

02-27-2014, 01:13 PM
that lauderhung is HUGE!

Yeah. Its ridiculous. Talk about a prep killer.

02-27-2014, 01:14 PM
I am digging the handles by the way nice job! I always appreciate something that is out of the norm with the cool looking micarta ferrules

02-27-2014, 01:16 PM
Thanks. And here I was thinking that these were pretty close to the traditional 2 piece handle. :lol2:

02-27-2014, 01:19 PM
They are pretty close to the traditional 2 piece handles but they just look different to me and you did a good job of taking that into your own vision

02-27-2014, 01:21 PM
Michael, the only thing you still need to improve — your camera. Everything else rocks! :doublethumbsup:

02-27-2014, 02:09 PM
They are pretty close to the traditional 2 piece handles but they just look different to me and you did a good job of taking that into your own vision
Thanks. I understand now. I really like micarta it has a lot of character but is also very simple if you need it to be

Michael, the only thing you still need to improve — your camera. Everything else rocks! :doublethumbsup:

It is on a wish list. Thanks.

01-31-2015, 10:04 AM

First time, in a while, I have noticed this thread. Super happy with both conversions. Miyabi = onion destroyer. Lauderhung, thinned considerably = BAK, prep monster workhorse. :cool2: