An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.
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Neighbors aren't an issue.
I swore I wouldn't get into this but things seem to be calling me. I was going to put in a commercial kitchen but I'm getting a little burnt out on the cooking thing. A knifemakers shop will be less expensive and more fun.
I would take 1000 and buy as much wood as possible.
Wait...there was bona fide knifemakers there? Ha! Salty...I am planning a hammer in at my place here before too long. You are more than welcome to come and make something. You can even come early and practice before people get there. I would be happy to show you as much as i possibly can. I think you will find that most makers are happy to show someone new to this a few tricks Plus with all the sharpening and reshaping experience you have, you wont have any issues....I agree about the wood thing by the way...It is addicting as making the knives lol
Actually, I was kidding about Salty. Personally, I can't stand people watching me do things that require concentration. I never do my best work that way.
I consider 3 pieces of equipment to be essential to make knives with any efficiency. There may be some that disagree, but I have made knives with exactly these three tools and if I had only these three I could still make knives. They are;
A good belt grinder, I have a Bader and I love it, but the wertz grinder looks good too.
The important thing is to have a 1 1/2-2 horsepower motor.
Drill press, a small one is fine, as long as it drills straight holes.
A metal cutting bandsaw, the 4 x 6 is a popular size for knifemakers.
With these three tools you can effectively make almost every knife you can think of.
Coming in at #4 is a good heat treating oven, and for you I would recommend a 22 inch deep, just in case you ever want to make something in the 330mm range.
And to go along with the oven a good quenching oil.(this depends on your steel choice)
There are many other tools in the knifemakers shop that will vary from maker to maker but I will list some other i have and those on my wish list
Flex shaft machine
wood cutting bandsaw
A mill(although I don't have one, or want one those knifemakers with a machining background love to recommend this tool, I always thought the learning curve was too great to make it worth the few minutes of time savings)
A surface grinder(nice to have in the shop but i consider non-essential, if you really need it done you can job this out-I do)
I am sure there are many more, but thats it for now.
For a forging shop, all tools in addition to above. This depends on exactly what you want to do, simple forging-or making your own damascus in large quantities
Forge; there are many types depending on needs
anvil at least 75 lbs with a hardened face for hand forging, larger for other tasks
I would also recommend shop visits to a few experienced makers, and learn all they are willing to teach. There are quite a few in wisconsin, and you have an open invitation to mine.