Shovel to Knife

Discussion in 'Monthly Projects' started by Grayson, Jun 27, 2017.

  1. Grayson

    Grayson Tracker

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    One thing I've always thought was impossible to do on my own was building my own knife, but I've decided this is a something do-able. Very do-able in fact. Once I did some research online I decided to go with the stock removal method. I will be updating my progress on this thread!
    I went down to the Habitat for Humanity restore originally looking for a saw blade as the steel.
    Tools:
    A file ($1)
    A shovel ($3)
    Hacksaw ($15) I highly suggest owning one of these; blades are cheap and last a long time very versatile product
    Sandpaper
    IMG_7175.JPG IMG_7176.JPG IMG_7177.JPG IMG_7178.JPG unnamed (1).jpg unnamed.jpg
    So I got the shovel instead of the saw blade because it's stronger, firmer, thicker, and I know it's tempered steel (as marked on the shovel), plus it's USA made!

    I cleaned up the shovel, drew the knife and started with a hacksaw. It took a little tinkering around, but I got pretty far for something I have no idea what I'm doing. :4:

    I'll gladly hear tips/advice but I'm only 18 right now on a very tight budget and am trying to get through this without an angle grinder. I do own a belt sander so we'll see where that takes me!

    - Gray
     
  2. Duncsquatch

    Duncsquatch Scout

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    Looks like a good start, what kind of grind are you planning on? I have a some circular saw blades that I am eventually going to do something similar with. Except I'll use power tools.
     
  3. Grayson

    Grayson Tracker

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    I couldn't help but laugh at how inefficient I am by using all hand tools currently. :D
    @Duncsquatch
    I'm thinking I'll go with a Scandinavian grind, but since I'm new to the art I don't want to get ahead of myself. It's a pretty fun project so far, not too rough. I'll actually probably invest in an angle grinder sooner or later.
     
  4. Duncsquatch

    Duncsquatch Scout

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    Flip your belt sander upside down clamp it to your work surface. Make a wooden jig to hold your blade at the correct angle and you will be better off than with a angle grinder imop. The grinder just removes metal too fast for my skills.
     
  5. Grayson

    Grayson Tracker

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    @Duncsquatch I've been considering that actually, I wasn't sure how safe it was but I'm more confident about it hearing it from someone else.
    Do you recommend any belt sandpaper brands that aren't going to wear out too quickly with the metal? Thanks
     
  6. 1066vik

    1066vik Guide

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    the blue ones (silicon carbide) last longer than the red ones (aluminum oxide), and the ones at harbor freight are just as good as the ones at sears for 1/2 the price.
     
  7. Grayson

    Grayson Tracker

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    @1066vik Thanks for the advice! It might be just your 2 cents, but it's a saving me a paycheck or two :dblthumb: I'll definitely put it to good use.
     
  8. Duncsquatch

    Duncsquatch Scout

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    Just wear glasses, gloves and make sure the sander is pulling the sharp metal away from you not towards you. Also have a bucket of water or some other way to cool the steel as you go and go slower so as not to mess up the heat treat.
     
  9. Grayson

    Grayson Tracker

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    @Duncsquatch Thanks! Would you happen to know if I could remove the stock using the belt sander too? Or should I just stick with a file? Thanks :D
     
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  10. Duncsquatch

    Duncsquatch Scout

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    Do you mean put a distal taper on the blade? If so I don't think you will need to do that as the shovel steel is not that thick. If you mean just to smooth out the edges that you've already cut out with a hacksaw, yeah should be fine. Also I have only made two knives so I'm not an expert.
     
  11. central joe

    central joe Guide

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    Just remember to not let it get too hot. You should be fine with what you have. Don't!!! forget safety. Plus if you do mess up, you have lots of material left in the shovel. I believe you can do it young fellar. joe
     
  12. anno lynke

    anno lynke Tracker

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    yes you can use the belt sander for stock removal.
    low grit sand paper (60) will eat thru your metal.
    remember faster removal means faster mistakes.
    make sure you cool your metal often, otherwise you will mess up the temper and have to heat treat
     
  13. Pastor Chris

    Pastor Chris Hardwoodsman #7 Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass II

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    I dig it! I am a fan of using the file on the bevels, especially when finishing them up. I know many folks have amazing skills with a belt grinder but for just a few knives, I prefer the slow and thoughtful precision of a good quality file.
     
  14. Skeptiksks

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    While an angle grinder is probably a bit extreme for grinding the bevel for your knife, especially without messing up the temper or just the knife in general, you would be amazed what you can do with one with enough time behind one. They aren't a precision tool by any means, but you can definitely do some pretty precise stuff with them. I spent 3 years whipping stuff up with an angle grinder, bench grinder, and some crappy files. Not the prettiest stuff, but I got good at it lol. Lack of funds makes you get creative for sure.

    Good luck on the knife, its a great project and you will learn a lot every time you make one.
     
  15. Grayson

    Grayson Tracker

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    I don't trust myself to do a distal taper yet, but I'm definitely going to use it to smooth out the edges.
    Would you recommend breathing protection?
    @anno lynke
    Thank you for your response! If I did mess up the heat treat, would I be able to send it out to get fixed?
    @Pastor Chris
    I'm definitely going to do at least a little work with the file even if it's just to learn how to use it well.
    Thank you for your insight! It's greatly appreciated.
     
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  16. Pastor Chris

    Pastor Chris Hardwoodsman #7 Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass II

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    A mask is ALWAYS a good idea when using power tools for grinding or waning metal or any other material. Eye protection as well, as eyes are squishy, delicate, and hard to replace.

    The steel from a shovel might not heat treat very well, others can provide a better answer but I would go into the project thinking it is more of an exercise in construction and design versus producing a durable knife. You have to start somewhere though. My Uncle builds arch top Jazz guitars that start at 15K$ and he leaned bye using wood from old bookcases and things.
     
  17. Grayson

    Grayson Tracker

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    Just an update on my progress today! More to come tonight.
    IMG_7192.JPG IMG_7191.JPG IMG_7190.JPG IMG_7189.JPG IMG_7188.JPG IMG_7187.JPG
     
  18. Grayson

    Grayson Tracker

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    Okay so just two photos but as you can tell, I did a whole lot of work. Took everyone's advice!
    I got coarse belt paper, clamped the belt sander on my work bench and it definitely ate the metal but took a while. Then I used a few different types of files to smooth out areas that my BS couldn't. I tinkered a little bit with the edges but tomorrow I plan on doing the following:
    Drill holes for rivets
    Find a nice material for the handle
    Cut, trim, and epoxy the brass pegs in along with the material
    Polish and and grind the blade

    And then I'll probably go to the store because I realized tonight I don't have a sharpening stone at home anymore.

    One of my ideas depending on the type of handle I choose is to do a little dremel work, fill it in with colored epoxy, and sand it down flush so I have a beautiful but sturdy tool. Personal touch, yano?

    More to come tomorrow, thanks for following my work!
    IMG_7194.JPG image.jpg
     
  19. Grayson

    Grayson Tracker

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    So today I found some old plywood material from a craft and decided it's a good blank for my handle. I'll probably replace it later in life but for now it's good enough for me. I traced out the pattern and cut the holes for the pegs. I glued it up with some metal and wood glue. I used a lot of clamp-things my dad had laying around, because it's a mess on his work bench. Left it there for an hour or two, took it off and shaped the handle with the belt sander and a few files. It's not the shiniest blade, but it looks pretty good for coming out of a shovel. I coated in a thick layer of homemade wood stain, so we'll see how it turns out soon!

    I sharpened it and it passed the paper test along with the shaving test with flying colors :)

    More to come by tonight! Will be finished. :p:cool::D:dblthumb:
    IMG_7201.JPG IMG_7202.JPG IMG_7204.JPG IMG_7205.JPG IMG_7203 (2).jpg
     
  20. Skeptiksks

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    It looks pretty darn good for a first swing at it. A lot better than some of mine... They all looked like prison shanks lol thankfully my skills have improved as will yours the more you work with this sort of thing.

    Also I totally dig using the clamps from thw jumper cables to clamp your project. Gotta do what you gotta do.
     
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  21. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I'm impressed . That looks like a real user. What do you have in mind for a sheath?
     
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  22. Grayson

    Grayson Tracker

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    I appreciate that a lot!! @Skeptiksks

    I haven't given it much thought, what do you recommend? @Winterhorse

    Here's some pictures of the handle after my homemade stain:

    IMG_7209.jpg IMG_7208.jpg IMG_7211.jpg IMG_7210.jpg IMG_7212.jpg

    There's some glue poop (it's what I call glue smudges especially when they're dirty) on the blade but it'll come off with a quick sand. I'm also thinking about burning the date or maybe do an etching or in-lay in the handle?
     
  23. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I'm no leather worker but if you look in the skills forum or edge tools forum there's tons of ideas from simple to absolute artistry.
     
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  24. Duncsquatch

    Duncsquatch Scout

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    Looks better than my first knife! Good job.
     
  25. Muleman77

    Muleman77 Hobbyist Hobbyist

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    Shoot, that looks pretty good. It sure will do the job!
    I've always kind of preferred a thinner knife, like yours is there, because of how well they slice.
     
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  26. PauliWalli

    PauliWalli Supporter Supporter

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    Looks good @Grayson !! Bet you learned a ton in the process.
     
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  27. GreySwampFox

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    Very well done!
     
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  28. OrienM

    OrienM Guide

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    Looking good!

    I've made some blades from shovels before, they tend to hold an edge quite well.

    On the "glue poo"...acetone or rubbing alcohol on a shop rag will take that right off, if you get it before it cures. Fixing by sanding afterwards is trickier.
     
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  29. Jim L.

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    not bad at all young sir. Well done.
     
  30. Ascham

    Ascham Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Well done.
     
  31. turdle

    turdle Tracker

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    very nice.
     
  32. THRsucks

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    I second that! HA!
     
  33. Primordial

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    Nice work! I'd carry that.
     
  34. FreudianSlip

    FreudianSlip Guide

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    Great job!
     
  35. HunterX9

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    Looks awesome! Bravo!
     
  36. Crosslandkelly

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    Great work, looks a real user.
     
  37. DocSmith

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    Outstanding. Going to have to try this one myself.
     

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