Martell Knife Blanks: WIP

Discussion in 'Handiwork Display' started by Kippington, Dec 3, 2017.

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  1. Dec 3, 2017 #1

    Kippington

    Kippington

    Kippington

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    As many of us know, Dave recently recently sold a few knife blanks to keen enthusiasts around the world, asking the question: Want to try your hand at making a knife?
    Now we have a great opportunity to display our attempts at tackling this challenge head on!

    [​IMG]

    It just so happens that in my corner of the world, JayGee and Marek07 bought three of the blanks between them. They decided it was a good idea to start the first part of this project on a rainy Friday in my garage (where a 2x72" grinder happens to reside :biggrin:).

    I figured it was a bad idea to throw them straight into grinding the bevels by hand, so I set them up with a crudely improvised grinding jig. It was incredibly wonky and they had to deal with it's wobbles and shakes as best they could. Even with the jig controlling most of the angle, there are plenty of other subtleties to learn while grinding a knife.

    The blanks had no bends or warps and the flats were straight, so we decided to try our hand at flat grinding the bevels as a first step. Marek started on the nakiri, which was done at the shallowest grind of the three, making it the hardest to look good. He slipped up at the very end and scratched up the side a bit, but we'll see what we can do to fix it up later:

    [​IMG]

    Jay had a go on his sujihiki. Dave designed a nice K-tip at the end of the suji which lines up nicely with the height of the shinogi line, making it easy for Jay to see where he was aiming to grind:

    [​IMG]

    Side by side with a Shiro Kamo Black Dragon - slightly off angle (both of them are 300mm long):

    [​IMG]

    And I spent a short while on the gyuto before it got late and we had to call it a night.
    We only had the time to work on one side of each knife (the other sides are untouched) but it was a solid start. It took the fellas about an hour each to get to this stage - not bad for a first attempt. Thankfully we had variable speed on the grinder, top speed can get pretty wild for a beginner!

    [​IMG]

    Hopefully we can get some others that bought blanks to share their journeys too!
     
  2. Dec 3, 2017 #2

    Doug

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    Subscribed! Look forward to following this thread. It'll be a while before I start on mine so I hope to pick up lots of tips.:thumbsup:
     
  3. Dec 3, 2017 #3

    Marek07

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    While we're using Kipp's grinder, knowledge and guidance (many, many thanks!), I'd love to see Badgertooth's progress on pavement.
    :wink:
     
  4. Dec 3, 2017 #4

    Nemo

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    Well done guys. Very nice consistent bevels. Not as easy to achieve as it looks!
     
  5. Dec 3, 2017 #5

    Dave Martell

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    Hey check it out, nice start fellas!
     
  6. Dec 3, 2017 #6

    Dave Martell

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    What are the handle plans?
     
  7. Dec 3, 2017 #7

    Kippington

    Kippington

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    Plans? What plans? We're working it out as we go! :biggrin:
    Seeing as these aren't my blanks, maybe JayGee or Marek can give you a better answer.
     
  8. Dec 3, 2017 #8

    valgard

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    I've actually seen Tanner grinding a cleaver on his parking lot's pavement a few months ago lol.
     
  9. Dec 3, 2017 #9

    Marek07

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    Much like Kipp said... what plans? Once the grinding gets done, I'll think about handles then. The distance between us prevents sending them to you... sadly. BUT, as you know the dimensions, perhaps you could offer Martell scales to suit... ? Hint, hint (he says opening wallet)
     
  10. Dec 3, 2017 #10

    JayGee

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    It was so nice of Kipp to let us use his grinder - and give us a total grinding lesson. I only lost two fingerprints. Looking forward to the other (right) side. I'm thinking it might be nice to convex that side a little to complement the flat on the left.

    For the handle, I've got a nice little block that I bought ages ago from a mill when I was buying boards for furniture. Can't remember what it is at all! Anyone know? Its def a native Aus species. Will try and arrange it with yellow (sapwood) on the bottom of the handle.

    [​IMG]

    I figure this timber with no bolster because I'll be shaping just with files and rasps. Brass pins - or maybe Corby bolts? I'm not sure what the advantage would be of one over the other.
     
  11. Dec 3, 2017 #11

    Dave Martell

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    I think you're on your own on this one Marek. :)





    Just remember that the tang is fully hardened. If you plan to use scales then you'll need more power than files and rasps can provide...they'll just skate on the steel.

    I like the wood a lot and your plan to use the sapwood is exactly what I would do too.

    I don't use Corby bolts anymore as they're a pain in the ass and way overkill for a kitchen knife handle. Pins and epoxy will hold scales in place just fine.
     
  12. Dec 3, 2017 #12

    JayGee

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    Thanks for the tip. I was thinking a saw rasp for the timber, and diamond files for when working across the tang. Good quality diamond files can be up to 72HRC, I'd have thought they would be able to cut hardened metal. But they are expensive..

    Is there any reason to use liners for a kitchen knife handle?
     
  13. Dec 3, 2017 #13

    Nemo

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    Could you temper the tang without affecting the blade?
     
  14. Dec 3, 2017 #14

    Butters

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    Looks like Jarrah to me, with some curly figure too. It's a hard timber that polishes up nicely and darkens with age. Historically it was widely used for construction in Australia, but these days it's too valuable for that so it's mainly used in fine furniture. I've used the burl form for handles before and it's brilliant stuff.
     
  15. Dec 3, 2017 #15

    Dave Martell

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    I never tried diamond files so I can't comment there. I'd be skeptical though on their rate of wear.

    No reason to use liners at all. They're only used for aesthetics and/or hiding an poor fit.




    Yes you can. I'd drop the blade into a coffee can full of water, leaving just the tang exposed, and torch the tang.
     
  16. Dec 3, 2017 #16

    JayGee

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    It is definitely heavy enough to be Jarrah. Thanks for the ID! If it is Jarrah that makes using hand tools even less attractive. I've certainly broken saw teeth and drill bits in things like Jarrah and Spotty Gum before.

    Because the handle is using a heavy timber, perhaps that's a rationale for tapering the tang? Is this too complex a move for us? Do you fit scales to a tapered tang simply by planing the scales to shape? Or is there a trick to it (like liners)?
     
  17. Dec 3, 2017 #17

    Dave Martell

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    A few things come to mind....

    Tapering a tang can be hard or easy, depends on how you approach it. If you can grind down the length of the platen/length of the tang then it's not so bad but across the platen/across the tang and it's sort of a mess waiting to happen experience.

    Mark the center line of the tang and go slow and keep looking at your progress and adjust as necessary.

    I drill the pin holes in scales while the scales are on the tang (held in position with clamps). I do this because it gives perfect alignment for a tang that's flat or tapered. I'm sure that this can be done doing one at a time but I have better luck with this way.
     
  18. Dec 3, 2017 #18

    Dave Martell

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  19. Dec 4, 2017 #19

    Chicagohawkie

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    Very cool. Looking forward to progress!
     
  20. Dec 4, 2017 #20

    Badgertooth

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    I may have ground away a little too much on the gyuto blank and doing my first integral was tricky so be gentle guys.
    IMG_1290.jpg
     
  21. Dec 4, 2017 #21

    Marek07

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    :laugh:
    Thought you said something about being found bent over pavement to do your grinding. Only way you got to this profile was from a moving car!
     
  22. Dec 6, 2017 #22

    tripleq

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    Liking this thread a lot. Can't wait to see what others come up with.
     
  23. Dec 6, 2017 #23

    Dave Martell

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    I wanted to mention that you guys might find it easier with a handle on the knife during grinding. When I did full tangs I would temp mount scales using Corby bolts. Now that I do hidden tang only I shove an old Japanese wa handle on the tang. This really helps me in getting leverage/pressure/control.
     
  24. Dec 6, 2017 #24

    Marek07

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    Thanks for the tip Dave. Will try to source some wood asap.
     
  25. Dec 6, 2017 #25

    Dave Martell

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    Just know that the temp handle used for grinding can easily be screwed up. Use some junky wood for this.
     
  26. Dec 6, 2017 #26

    cheflivengood

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    Here are some WIP doing this by hand. Atoma 140, CZAR sandpaper, strong ferric chloride etch for hollow behind edge.

    Phase One
    IMG_6208.jpg IMG_6205.jpg
    Phase Two
    IMG_6213.jpg IMG_6214.jpg
    Phase Three
    IMG_6222.jpg IMG_6224.jpg
    Phase Four
    IMG_6229.jpg IMG_6233.jpg

    VIDEO: [video]https://www.instagram.com/p/BcSfYLwHXo9/?taken-by=cheflivengood[/video]
     
    Nikabrik likes this.
  27. Dec 6, 2017 #27

    Doug

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    The Shig of Chicago. Hand made without power tools. Impressive accomplishment!
    Looks like a great cutter.
     
  28. Dec 6, 2017 #28

    tripleq

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    Awesome. That your first band-aid on this project? ;)
     
  29. Dec 6, 2017 #29

    cheflivengood

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    Haha Shig of Chicago, It cuts pretty well, better and better after every session on the stones.


    Band Aid was actually just to brace my knuckles which were getting fatigued, no opps's yet!
     
  30. Dec 6, 2017 #30

    tripleq

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    Good stuff. I've done a few projects like this by hand. Really not easy. You should be proud of that work.
     

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