Just finished my first knife build...

Discussion in 'Self-made Gear' started by Kennebago, Jul 7, 2019.

  1. Kennebago

    Kennebago Scout

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    Never done this before, man was it intimidating.

    When I started BushClass I knew I wanted to make or mod as much of my own gear as possible, and at the top of the list was a knife... and after figuring out what actually forging a blade in my backyard would entail and how pissed my wife would be over it, I settled for buying a blank and assembling a knife instead.

    Took a few months to collect the parts but finally got started a few days ago. If anyone has a source for metric pin and tube stock I'd love to have it. I had to wait for weeks in order to get 6mm hardware off Amazon shipped from China.

    Being me, I promptly ground the scales shorter than I wanted them to be. Meant to be in line with the guard, took off maybe 1/8" too much. I also did not realize how much excess material there would be, and began to understand that I would be doing a LOT of sanding.

    [​IMG]

    Thought about starting over with a new set of scales, but decided screw it. Getting everything assembled before the epoxy set up was by far the most stressful part of this whole shebang.

    [​IMG]

    Three nights of sanding later, I went from a mass of wood epoxied on a blade to something resembling a knife.

    I've only got a small combo bench sander, so rough-shaping was awful and after blowing through several sanding discs I started to think I had bitten off more than I could chew... but then suddenly it was over, and it dawned on me that I was almost done. Having a belt to round off edges and do basic contouring was a godsend, doing it by hand would have taken far longer.

    Fresh off the bench, before a little detail work and hand sanding:

    [​IMG]

    And then after walking up to 600 grit with a super-thin coat of BLO:

    [​IMG]

    Obviously I haven't gotten to use it yet, but it feels great in the hand and I don't think the short scales are going to be a problem as I had feared. Thank goodness.

    There are some minor imperfections but overall it's coming out much nicer than I expected. I definitely see why people get into this as a hobby all by itself. Will post the final product tomorrow when it's dry.

    You guys are a bunch of enablers...
     
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  2. jackpine

    jackpine Fire? I don't see any fire!? Supporter Bushclass I

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    Great looking knife
     
  3. DrHuman

    DrHuman Supporter Supporter

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    I would have just opened the holes up to 1/4". Cobalt bits rock. With the way it turned out it sure looks worth the wait though. It's gorgeous!
     
  4. pellegrino

    pellegrino Much to learn... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    It looks great, man. Nice work.
     
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  5. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Midnight Joker #42 Lifetime Supporter

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    Are you sure that was your first? Looks incredible from here. :dblthumb:
     
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  6. PauliWalli

    PauliWalli Supporter Hobbyist Supporter

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    Good job !
     
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  7. buckfynn

    buckfynn Old Geezer Lifetime Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Looks good to me.

    But I'm the same way with the knives I have made or modded. I see all the imperfections of what I could have done better.
     
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  8. central joe

    central joe Wait For Me!! Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Ya made a fine looking pig sticker young fellar. Well done. joe
     
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  9. Bushcraft and Brews

    Bushcraft and Brews Supporter Supporter

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  10. Fixedblade

    Fixedblade 3%

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  11. T. Pollock

    T. Pollock T's Custom Outdoor Gear Vendor Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Nicely done bud.
     
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  12. flintbone

    flintbone Tracker

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    Good job. Don't stop now. Start lookin' at making a sheath for it.
    Keep up the good work.
    flint
     
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  13. halo2

    halo2 Curmudgeon in Training Supporter

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    Well done!
     
  14. bladesmith3

    bladesmith3 Supporter Supporter

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    very nice indeed. :dblthumb:
     
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  15. Bob_Spr

    Bob_Spr Supporter Supporter

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    Once bitten by the knife bug, you will always have something to do...for yourself or mostly for others.
     
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  16. 66drifter

    66drifter Guide

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    GOOD DECISION!

    in your hand no-one can see any minute imperfections

    and once you begin to actualy use it it will gain BEAUTY MARKS that disguise them

    to create a fine blade in one's own forge takes a huge amount of dedication and time virtually consuming your life

    finding a good source of blade blanks and handling them can be great sport and render you some fine/unique cutlery

    handling is a great way to customize your own kit

    flintbone's suggestion to start on your sheath is spot on IMHO

    now go wrap it in some old dead animal hide ;-)
     
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  17. rbinhood

    rbinhood Scout

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    Nice job! What kind of epoxy did you use? Where did you get your blank? Where did you get your scales?
     
  18. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead LB#42 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I’ll echo what everyone else has said, great job!
     
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  19. Kennebago

    Kennebago Scout

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    Oh wow, I did not expect this many responses! Thank you guys for the kind words!

    Ugh, 100% did not think to do that. I did it in reverse, drilling 15/64" holes in the scales to start and then opening them up with a hobby file until the pins fit (I wasn't perfect on this, which is why you can see a slight epoxy shadow on two of the pins below).

    Just 5-minute epoxy gel, Dev-Con I think. Went a lot faster than 5 minutes. It started to get thick as I was doing the second scale, which is something that will wake you right up.

    The blank came from Custom Blades EU on Etsy, which I think is one of Marcin Tomaszewski's outlets... he also goes by Killrathi Knives (which explains the double-K maker's mark).

    I used the Rosomak ("Wolverine") in 80CrV2, he has a few different bushcrafty styles. I left the "rustic finish" alone... we'll see how that decision turns out for me. I do really like how it looks.

    Tomaszewski is based in Poland so shipping takes a little time, everything is metric, and his website is in Polish (Google Translate pasted below).

    https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=pl&u=https://customblades.eu/&prev=search

    Scales came from Arizona Ironwood as I imagine many people's do.

    I already had two more projects in mind and my wife just asked me to fix a kitchen knife... trying to keep this from turning into a snowball!

    As promised, took a few more pictures of the finished product:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And in the hand:

    [​IMG]

    Thanks you guys. This was a really cool project that I probably would not have attempted otherwise.

    Edit: Now for a sheath...

    2nd Edit: 15/64", not 5/16"... oops.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
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  20. mjh

    mjh Supporter Supporter

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    Nicely done! The Ironwood looks really good. Much nicer than my first attempt that is for sure. If you like your efforts and results keep up with the effort you'll only get better!
     
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  21. Scotchmon

    Scotchmon Supporter Supporter

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    Nice work! Snowballs are fun! It sounds like your wife is on board with your new found skill, too.
     
  22. dial1911

    dial1911 Supporter Supporter

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    Awesome looking wood on the handle! And dang nice looking knife to boot.

    One of these days I'm going to make my own too... whether I make my own blade or use a kit- I think either is a big accomplishment. Good work!
     
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  23. cbrianroll

    cbrianroll Professional Tinkerer Supporter

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    Next time dont use 5 minute epoxy lol! I dont like to rush, I always mess up. Looks good! Now let's see a new sheath for it!
     
  24. buckfynn

    buckfynn Old Geezer Lifetime Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    It turned out pretty good.

    Seems like when one starts making his own knives or assembling them, he becomes his own worst critic, and sees every flaw in the knife. Often other people won't even notice the minor imperfections.
     
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  25. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Bushmaster

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    Damn bro, super clean grinds.
    Job well done.
     
  26. Gizamo

    Gizamo Hobbyist Hobbyist

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    Very nice....well done!
     
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  27. Quinlan

    Quinlan Supporter Supporter

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    Greetings,

    It looks like a professional job. Very well done!

    This is like reliving my 1st knife build!

    You can say that again, many times! I don't have one so I can attest to the truthfulness of your statement. :D

    May I make a suggestion? Only and if only you are curious and willing to do it repeatedly and over a long period of time. Every day apply a couple of drops of BLO and finger rub it in the scales. Keep this up for 3 months. You will not be disappointed. @Ptpalpha knows what I am talking about.

    Regards,

    Christos
     
  28. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Bushmaster

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    Indeed. Just takes a couple minutes, and the results are well worth it.
     
  29. Barry J

    Barry J Guide

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    That is a very fine job!
    The handle contours are nicely proportioned and even.
    Making the scales symetrical is one of the hardest aspects for me.
     
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  30. Kennebago

    Kennebago Scout

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    I will do it. I don't really have anywhere to really keep a loose knife until I make a sheath, so leaving it in the garage to dry won't hurt anything.

    Do you buff with steel wool or something to knock down the wood between coats, or just leave it? I have never worked with ironwood before, but I remember doing that when I finished a couple of rifle stocks with BLO many years ago.
     
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  31. Kennebago

    Kennebago Scout

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    I slowed way down doing contours and tried to find index points... using the sanding disc on a small bench tool, I tried to just do everything at a constant speed and pressure and start/stop my contouring pass at the exact same spot each time. This was easier on the bottom of the tang than the top, since the pinky swell in the blank made for an easy reference. Up by the guard I had to eyeball it, and while it is very close the two scales are not exactly the same. Next time I will use calipers instead of checking by feel and sight.

    In terms of scale thickness I kept my number of sanding passes even... make two passes on one side, then flip the piece over and give the other side two passes. I tried not to make more than four or five at a time for fear of losing count!
     
  32. SpookyPistolero

    SpookyPistolero Slow learner Lifetime Supporter Bushclass I

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    That thing is boss, congrats! And heck of a product for your first go. Modding/making your own gear is super addictive.
     
  33. Road King

    Road King Scout

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    Wow what a beautiful job!
     
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  34. Swadehead

    Swadehead Plain Vanilla Supporter

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    Excellent job!!
     
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  35. Dillon Finan

    Dillon Finan Scout

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    Beautiful job. I would buff with steel wool between coats of BLO.
     
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  36. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter

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    I'd sure be proud of that knife!
    Good job!
     
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  37. Stags Crest

    Stags Crest Crafty McBushcraft Supporter

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    That looks excellent!
     
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  38. riokid87

    riokid87 Scout Banned

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    Very nice.
    For your next one,
    Slower drying epoxie does make it less hurried and stressful. And you can wipe off excess with a alcohol wet towel before it dries and make sanding easier. let it dry completly before sanding and I don't use jb weld because it seems to get worked in the grain while sanding and makes it look dirty.
    I also stopped messing with Screw type bolts and just use solid brass rod peened into countersunk holes. I use wood pins until I get it shaped then use the brass.
    Check out ytube for knife fileing jig to make your own from flat stock and 2 brick forge for heat treating. Two soft fire bricks, some refractory cement, and a propane torch is all it takes. 1080/1084 is easy to heat treat at home and makes a good knife. Heat it up a little past nonmagnetic, quench in canola oil pre heated to 130f, temper in preheated oven 400 to 450f for 1 hr twice.
    The problem with using a belt sander made for wood is they tend to be high rpms and can overheat the steel, esp the thin edge, and ruin it before you know it.
    You also may benefit from making a test handle from a soft cheap pine 2x4 to get the hang of it instead of learning on expensive hardwood blanks.

    For kitchen knife handle you may consider walnut oil. BLO is flax seed oil w chemicals added to dry it faster and isn't food safe.
     
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  39. Kennebago

    Kennebago Scout

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    The forging process looks like it would be a lot of fun but I think it has to wait until my kids are older... right now my working time is after 8 pm.

    Making blanks from stock seems well within reach... if I get an appropriate bandsaw. I have a few things I want to try, especially since I did not grind this knife myself (it came ground and roughly sharpened) and want to learn.

    To fix our kitchen knife I want to revisit ironwood with higher grits and a different oil, as you said.

    I was oddly comfortable shaping the scales after putting them on... it felt like trimming spun deer hair on a fly with a razor, but more much more forgiving.
     
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  40. White Falcon

    White Falcon Scout

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    Looks great to me.
     
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  41. riokid87

    riokid87 Scout Banned

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    Band saw smand saw. You can get bar stock in normal knife widths, 1, 1.25, 1.5...
    They come anneiled (soft) so a hack saw works just fine. Or an angle grinder w a cut off wheel works good on 1080/84. I used a hack saw on that and 80crv2. Just get a saw that lets you tilt the blade for long cuts if you need to.
     
  42. riokid87

    riokid87 Scout Banned

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    If you do get into this do yourself a big favor and get a respirator w good filters, metal and even many hard wood dust is hard on the lungs and sinus. Its worth $35.
    A bandana isn't a good dust filter. Neither are those surgical looking masks.
     
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  43. Finnbarr

    Finnbarr Tracker

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    Really nice job on the fit and finish of the handle!
     
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  44. Kennebago

    Kennebago Scout

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    I learned this the hard way.

    As an update, I've been oiling the wood with a few drops every night and everything does seem to be deepening. Tonight I buffed with steel wool before rubbing it in, we'll see how things look in the morning.

    AM Update: gently buffing every few days is definitely the way to go. This is starting to look nice.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
  45. highlander

    highlander Veni Vidi comedit lardum Supporter

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    That is a very nice first attempt. Great job!
     
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  46. jordanzwon1

    jordanzwon1 Husband, Father, Christ Follower Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Man great work! Looks professional
     
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