Making a knife
Making a knife is a late, subtle, multifaceted and laborious procedure. Knife making requires some metalworking, carpentry and design skills, a lot of stamina, care and peace of mind.
You will need to take it easy and not rush to ensure success. Fine projects take practice, and you can create dozens of knives before you do your excellent.
DESIGN THE SHEET
The concept of the blade is the most crucial component of the knife design. It must present the best possible combination of functional power and appearance.
First you need to draw the shape of the blade and handle on tracing paper, as close to actual size as possible. So you won’t have to alter the design after it has been transferred to the metal.
Then you need to determine how the handle will be attached to the blade. The three popular solutions are: full tang, partial tang, and full tang. The full tang has the same profile as the knife handle and is covered by two wooden planes (scales) on both sides.
The partial tang is probably the most difficult to make: this type of tang is a pivot that sticks out of the blade and is attached to the handle by rivets.
The through tang is almost the same as the partial tang, but the shaft extends through the entire handle and is secured with a nut or by hammering the end.
CHOICE OF MATERIALS AND COMPONENTS.
For a thin blade you will need carbon steel. Stainless steel will not do as it needs to be over tempered and is generally not a top sheet.
Take a carbon steel plate about 3/16-inch thick. Also, to make your knife handle you will need materials such as wood, bone, leather, cord, stone, or maybe even gold, gems, or mammoth ivory.
Precious wood, such as ebony, will be excellent for a fancy knife. Pins or rivets and epoxy adhesive will be needed to attach the handle.
Trace the design onto your steel plate with a permanent marker. At this point, you can modify your layout as needed to suit your demands.
You will need to:
- jigsaw or skiver, with several blades
- angle grinder with hard wheel and flap wheel
Remember at all times the protective equipment (glasses, gloves, protective jacket).
First, cut the blade with a jigsaw or beveled. A stronger saw is required for thicker pieces of metal. For a relatively thin piece of steel, you can use a Chambers to cut a very thin profile;
This will save you the time needed for grinding. You can simply cut a rough piece around its basic shape with a stiff wheel, to remove the excess later.
Put on your gloves and goggles and start grinding. Use a 36 to 40 grit abrasive belt to cut excess metal from the blade profile.
You may notice different colors of the metal appearing along the edge – these are just products of heat changes in the steel that will not detract from the strength or appearance of the blade.
Then start grinding the edge. Use the grinder to accurately and evenly grind a slope to the middle of the blade. Be careful not to go past the center, so as not to create sag.
Grind the other edge in the same way. Be careful, as this is perhaps the most delicate step in crafting the blade. You have to work the edge in a smooth and flowing way so that it is perfectly straight and consolidated.
Next, drill holes for rivets. The bit you apply should have the same diameter as the rivet you are going to use. Wood scales are usually attached with two rivets.
Before starting the heat treatment stage, you need to pre-finish the blade. You will need to:
- Sandpaper, grits from 60 to 240.
- Sanding block or sanding wheel.
Start with a coarser sandpaper and work on successively finer grits until you reach 240 grit. The most important tip here is not to skimp – you should remove even minor scratches at this stage so you don’t let them mar your blade. later.
Be sure to work each successive grit crosswise to the direction you worked the previous one: if you sand along with one grit, use the next grit for edge sanding.
Also, remember to work all visible surfaces along the length of your sheet. Pay particular attention to the ricasso (the area where the blade meets the handle) and the edges of the knife’s spine and handle.
Never be afraid to work too much: it is better to work a part of the blade that will be hidden than to leave a visible part without sanding.
The heat treatment of the blade is perhaps the most technical part of the entire job. You can use a coal forge, a gas forge, an electric furnace, or an induction furnace.
Almost everyone knows that steel must be tempered. The ability of the iron-carbon alloy to acquire, under certain thermal operations, a better hardness, resilience and durability depends on the proportion of carbon: the higher the carbon content, the more easily a steel will harden.