View Full Version : Making another knife. it's about the materials

01-19-2012, 7:33 AM
here's the blade:


4 layers of 5160, 3 layers 203E, 3 layers of 52100, and 3 layers of 15N20 . The steel is forged out and folded 5 times to give 416 layers and a helluva nice pattern after etching.

I'm going to use burled yew wood for the scales but I think I might forgo the plain boiled linseed oil on this and do something more interesting... maybe a stain or tung oil. In any case the yew handles are VERY light and have all kinds of little inclusions so I want to make the grain stand out a little.

suggestions and ideas below please. it'll get boring without others ideas.

01-19-2012, 7:45 AM
I'll take it!

Can I afford it?

Amazing work, thank you for posting it.

01-19-2012, 8:18 AM
Oh don't misunderstand, I didn't make the steel... purchased it. I'm not that good. I'm making a knife from it.

here's the scales material before finishing:

I'll be reshaping the blade to get rid of that little bump at the back end and to narrow the back end of the handle in general. Ever notice that the pinky side of your closed fist has a lot less sectional volume than the index finger side. I think I'm going to make the knife aware of that. perhaps it'll be more comfortable.

I've got ~150grams of iron meteorite (with nickel and carbon). Wonder if I should actually pound that into a blade. A meteorite blade would be really neato I think.

In any case the blade shown above cost about 50 bucks. the handles are less than 20 even if you overpay. Add a drill with a 2" sanding roll and a dremel tool with an assortment of bits and you can quite easily make a very fine knife for under 100 bucks that you couldn't buy for 500. I use 2-part epoxy for fixing the scales to the tang and then use the sanding roll to whittle them down to match the blade. After that it's all about custom finishing the handle to fit your hand and applying a finish to the handle material. I use mostly boiled linseed oil and various grades of steel wool and sandpaper. I've made a few knives so far. All came out nice. I have one with a planer blade and blacktail antler handle and 2 with 1095/15N20 damascus blades and amboyna burl handles.

reggie 00
01-19-2012, 7:45 PM
should look nice when done.

I have a couple kits i need to finish.
They have nice sales at woodcrafters every now and then.

I also started collecting Pop's old table saw blades. Read an article where they took the blade cut out the knife blade with a grinder. Inexpensive looked pretty good when done.

reggie 00
01-19-2012, 7:46 PM
and if you catch it on sale the Ocilating sander at HF works real good for shaping the scales.

01-20-2012, 6:46 AM
I use a drill and a paper towel core and a piece of broom handle and a pair of clamps and a vise to make about the most redneck engineered belt sander you've ever seen for thinning the scales but the wood I got this time is fairly thin already so i won't have to thin em much. For gross shaping I use a utility knife and a sanding roll on a power drill and sometimes have to resort to a dremel with a sanding roll for the fiddly bits.

if you want really awesome blades the planer blades from sawmills are pretty nasty and all you need is a busted one which if they have they're liable to give you for free. They're a little tough to sharpen but tough as nails with nice thickness.

Twofingerknife.net is where I get most of my blades from. Quality is high, made in USA and price is tolerable.

01-27-2012, 7:34 AM
well got the wood in... dayum is all I can say. it's really quite pretty. It's also about 12x the amount of wood I thought I was buying and the seller included a big ol' hunka wood in addition I guess for good measure. So I'm going to use that 2nd hunk to make a 3-knife holster/cutting-board combo that can clip onto my belt.

here comes the pics:
some handmade knives on unfinished wood.



my very first legal buck and a cold blued planer blade makes a nice knife with a helluva story. (later) I blued it because it'll rust if you just leave it on the counter without oil on the blade, so it's at least protected now.

experimenting with acid etch and bluing. I like the etched then blued look.

01-27-2012, 7:34 AM
new knife on the intended handle material... see how I got more than I planned on?

kinda a small knife.. gunna have to get another blade steel so i can use both hunks of handle wood.

now, you can see a little figure here but wait till you see it below when i've put a very light rub of BLO on it after a light sanding.

that's some pretty wood isn't it?

glamour shot.

01-27-2012, 7:35 AM
Here's what I'm thinking for the scabbard. The block is 1/2" thick. So cut it down the middle and (as can be seen in the pic) where the knife outlines are on the wood in pencil, just whittle that out with the dremel and router bit so the blades sit down in it. take the other half (next pic) and put it on the facing side, clamp together with hardware and put a couple belt loops of leather on the back and bango... portable cutting board that is also the scabbard for 3 knives (the 3 in the pics above) and it won't rattle, is natural and secksy lookin' and is intended for hunting/camp use. Never forget the cutting board again or have to use that cheap plastic junk that ruins the edges of your blades.

the other half. This is the eventual "face" of the scabbard. Imagine 3 knife handles sticking out of it and a couple screws in the middle to tighten the scabbard onto the blades. the face is also a cutting board that goes with the knives. Neat huh.

My hand next to the hunk of wood that I'll make into the scabbard/cutting board combo to give you some idea of scale.

01-27-2012, 7:56 AM
ditching the screws idea... just realized that's bad in a cutting board. So I'll have to fix the 2 halves of the board together with glue.. no big deal. But that also means I need to make 3 widgets to hold pressure on the blades so they won't rattle or fall out.

puts on thinking cap. sits in thinking chair and thinks thinks thinks

01-29-2012, 12:56 PM
Ok.. glued on the panels and whittled at it a bit. Got the scales down to a pretty consistent width and got the basic shape whittled out. Still have a bit of sanding and fine file work to clean up the last bits. I have some minor shaping to do on part of it up near the finger guard. It's generally taken shape and is starting to look pretty good considering the scoring of the wood from the file not having been sanded smooth yet.

Started teaching another member the rudiments of hand-loading and since he's a wood worker by trade we have a pretty fair arrangement for him to cut my scabbard block for me on the band saw. I had considered using a coping saw and doing it by hand but I only have the one block so I'm going to let power tools hit that. The knife so far has needed only handwork with a rasp and file set.




01-29-2012, 3:02 PM
I'd be willing to give you a hand. Know a little bit about working with wood.

01-30-2012, 6:52 AM
Note to self... don't try to use a sanding roll on yew wood as a primary material remover. This is not oak or even amboyna (which not only cuts pretty quick for a mega dense wood but smells bloody awesome while you do it), this is really hard wood. Must have cell walls just loaded with silica. Stuff is as dense and hard as it comes. I barely managed to pull the saw lines off the surfaces to pick out my faces before it'd burned the grit off 3x 1" rolls.

Ok... where does one go (and I mean go, not order from but, arrive at) to find a nice actual selection of sandpapers. Wet dry, dry only, 80-1500 grit, you know... a nice selection. The big 3 (Home Despot, bLowe's, and OSH) have terrible selections. Anyone know of a wood finishing kind of store around the east bay?

01-30-2012, 9:28 AM
http://www.macbeath.com/ in Berkeley has Norton abrasives. A belt sander clamped upside-down to your workbench might work better than the roll too.

reggie 00
01-30-2012, 7:36 PM
There is a Woodcraft store in Dublin.
I usually hit the one in Sac, but stopped by the Dublin one to grab some stuff.
Good people in both stores.


01-31-2012, 6:28 AM
Thanks for the tips fellas, that's mighty handy. didn't even know there was a place I could walk into and buy exotic wood at either. Neato!

01-31-2012, 8:47 AM
K&G out of AZ. is where one can find awesome two part epoxy,along with other parts and accesories. We used their epoxy to attach handles like wood,micarta,bone,antler to seel.You would have to grind the material off of the blade it is that good. Never had a handle or scale come off on our blades. Even if we were to bang it on a cement floor.
On mountain man knives we used elk leg bone for the handle.For the final touch we would rub super glue into the leg bone one layer at a time and let it dry. Took a while but the pourous bone took the super glue and left a bright shine what would buff like glass. Had to hold our finger to the belt sander just a little to remove the super glue,took a steady hand for sure.
FYI- Sears has a belt sander,disc sander combo. Belt sander is 1" and the disc is 6-8" I don't recall. It works pretty good. Mine has paid for itself over and over.
Keep up the good work.

01-31-2012, 9:07 AM
Where did you get the blade blank?
Happy with the quality?

01-31-2012, 9:09 AM
do you recall the brand of epoxy or spec? So far i've been using stuff like long setting (not 5 minute) jb-weld which has been ungodly strong. I've been liking it because it's pretty easy to work with files and such after it sets, doesn't kibble off, machines nicely.

I had another epoxy which I tried and it worked well enough but it stuff started curing so fast you really had to get sloppy with the application to make it in time for a good solid bond. If you didn't make it in time you'd find out a couple uses into the knife when a scale fell off but it wouldn't happen right away and was hard to figure out at first.

I'm going to drop by the wood store in dublin on the way home today and pick up some abrasives and finishing tools.

I'm considering trying my hand at inlaying a strip of something like ebony around the scale face. Thoughts? Other material suggestions? design suggestions?

01-31-2012, 10:57 AM
knifeandgun.com is the web. Their two part epoxy is a 24hr. Like they say, its incredible stuff. They also sell epoxy colorant in blue,red,tan,yellow,white and black. I use it,very little is needed,when I want the look of a contrast. Looks kind of like a spacer between the blade and the handle. Use a c-clamp to hold the handle to the blade,carefull not to press too much epoxy from between the blade and handle. After a couple hours you can take a rag and lightly wipe the excess epoxy. Take your time and it will work great. Try some Iron-wood scales.Just be careful with the dust. It can mess with your sinuses.Hope that helps.Good luck.

01-31-2012, 1:50 PM
sure does. thanks much!

reggie 00
01-31-2012, 8:46 PM
I have a wood working DVD where the guy goes thru the process of making a couple different types of knives. One of them is using inlay material.

If your going to the gun show in Vallejo this month remind me and i'll bring it so you can check it out.

Also on the super glue bone thing. Pen makers have been rockin that tip for a while. I found that using the "thin" type works best. it just flows into the pores. you can then hit it with activator and repeat. once a few coats are on you can switch up to medium or a heavy to build thicker coats.

You'll like the woodcraft store. I try not to go in to often as it puts a dent in my gun money.

Make sure you check out the knife supplies. Some times they will have knife blanks on sale of under $10

02-01-2012, 6:45 AM
Woodcraft was great. Finally a place that has sandpaper and proper tools. I did a little rubbin on it last night and there's a pretty substantial change to right now. I have a good bit of finishing up work to do but you can see the fire starting to come out in the wood. And yeah, i pulled that garish etched colored finish off and began polishing the steel up. You can still see the grain of the steel but I don't need it in living color... well at least not that color.

just lookin'

Slight angle change with some situational setup

02-01-2012, 8:01 AM
This all looks very good. If you can make one of these:


Let me know! I have zero skill or ambition to make my own blades.

02-01-2012, 10:45 AM
I don't seem to have access to that thread. Could you get a pic posted.

reggie 00
02-01-2012, 7:11 PM
Now that you found Woodcraft.
There is a Rockler in Concord.

What you cant find in one you are usually able to find in the other.

02-01-2012, 9:35 PM
Thanks for the tips fellas, that's mighty handy. didn't even know there was a place I could walk into and buy exotic wood at either. Neato!

holy ****balls, really? South San Jose, Southern Lumber. They have about 30-39 bins or so, each with small cutoff pieces of all sorts of woods from straight grain maple (to figured maple to curly maple) through bubinga and bocote all the way to ironwood, snakewood, lacewood, bloodwood, and more.

Not only good for knife handles, but also good for revolver handles (my first pair are purpleheart), and cutting boards too.


This is all Southern Lumber wood. Curly Maple countered with Rosewood with Cherry striping and a border of Bocote.
Top of the pic is a coaster-caddy I made, also (I think) Bocote.

02-02-2012, 6:22 AM
that's right purdy. What did the TTSX hit? Oh, and thanks for the tip. I can always use more wood sources.

I want to make a cutting board pretty soon. I'd like to use birds-eye maple and claro walnut in a checkerboard patter for the board and edge it in lacewood. I'm also still waiting for a birds-eye maple grip set for my Dan Wesson .357 (monson 15-4vh of course) to get roughed out so I can finish it.

02-02-2012, 5:36 PM
Some unsolicited advice (from experience) birds eye maple looks best when in large swaths across a board. Dicing into small pieces loses the beautiful texture. The same with curly or figured maple. May as well be using straight grain (as per picture above).


#3 and #4 are easy to make and look fantastic. One day I'll take the time to make #1. #5 is no good IMO, and the rest are just beginner's projects. But #3 is probably my favorite, there are 100 ways to make it different/yours. (hint: bloodwood + yellowheart or yellowheart and vermillion is seriously a winning combination)

The bullet has two petal-sets. First opening is from the shoulder of a pig. Second is the other shoulder. :)



02-02-2012, 5:46 PM
By the way, starting with a board like the above, I bet they could be diced up to make an AWESOME looking set of knife grips. :)

02-02-2012, 6:18 PM



Thanks for the tips... I guess that looked better in my head than it's liable to have turned out. Same with the plans I was thinking of for inlaying ebony on a set of scales.... just can't work that small without some special tools and cracking problems.

Now i'm starting to think BEM as the cutting surface might be a little blasphemous too.

The pics above are after a good fine sanding. I haven't got a finish on it yet but from some test patches I've done it won't darken the wood basically at all with the BLO. May want to get darker on the finish. Would Tung oil do the trick? Other suggestions are welcome. I don't want super dark but just a nice sub-tropical tan on the otherwise nearly british kinda pale wood.

02-02-2012, 6:44 PM
dunno. I only use paraffin and mineral oil on my stuff. Paraffin would turn out nice, but wouldn't darken at all. At all.

reggie 00
02-02-2012, 9:16 PM
Not sure either.
Go by or call the guys at woodcraft.

Im thinking a tinted clear coat, or a thined out stain. but i dont mess around enough to be sure.

02-02-2012, 9:39 PM
Or The Sawdust shop in Sunnyvale


They definitely know everything that's worth knowing, from my uneducated eyes. Not far away, either.