New to knife-making

Thread starter #1

Redman54

Senior Member
I decided last year to try my hand at making knives. I have be reluctant to post any pics because the quality of craftsmanship posted by many of you on this forum is unreal. I realized I'll never get any better without the valuable insight many on this board can give me. So here are some of my "cutting instruments". Any advice would be much appreciated.
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The first is made from an old cross-cut saw blade with whitetail antler handle. Second one is a file that belonged to my grandfather, I also used two silver half-dollars from his collection, handle is blackwalnut. This knife was given to my aunt for Christmas. The next two are made from 1095. The last is also part of the old saw blade. It's definitely additive and frustrating all at the same time.
 
They are a couple of master, well experienced, knifemakers who post on this forum. They do great work. The rest of us either have never tried to make a knife, or tried (and decided that we will never admit it to anyone).

You are not YET in the same league as the grand masters. You ARE head and shoulders above the best most of the rest of us can do. You have NOTHING to be ashamed of, and every reason to take pride in your efforts. Please, please, keep posting!

I like especially the second knife. That is good work!
 

Bigtimber

Senior Member
The masters didn't get to be on their first knife....or there tenth. Takes time and experence. Nothing AT ALL to be ashamed of. Your doing very well for a beginner. Advice? A good quality grinder makes a BIG difference. Quality belts make a big difference. Lot of videos of fine knife makers on youtube using the above mentioned. Watch....practice.....don't give up.
 

Bigtimber

Senior Member
Id also suggest find a knife maker in your area that makes the type knives your interested in making/mastering. Ask him to show you a few things. If your lucky and run into the right one..... A good teacher can show someone a lot in a few hours that might take you years to figure alone.
 

Anvil Head

Senior Member
Redman - not bad work. Yepper! we all started with the first one. Thank you for sharing. No matter how many you make or how long you make them, you will always know you can do just a little better with the next one. As stated above, it looks like you have a good start and a decent understanding about the mechanics of knifemaking.
Not sure if you knew or if you where there (lot of folks and I'm not so good with names) - The Georgia Guild just had it's winter meeting down in Statesboro this past weekend at the shop of Twin Blades. You would have been more than welcome to attend. "Timing is everything" thing, you know. If you are really addicted or even moderately addicted, the Georgia Guild is an excellent way to connect with some of the most talented knifemakers in the US. We are a teaching Guild and share all we know with all that are interested.
If you haven't yet, contact Harry and/or Charlie Mathews - Twin Blades, there in Statesboro. They can give you details on the Guild and upcoming events you might find beneficial.
If you don't have a problem with honest critique, take some of your work when you visit them. They won't be brutal but will be honest and will follow up with how to improve your technique.
If you're interested in the bladesmithing approach (not Forged in Fire nonsense) and don't mind a little traveling, watch for details on the Trackrock Hammer-in late March (22-23). You are more than welcome to attend.
Also, as with any maker who post here on Woody's, ask questions - we will help anyway we can.
 
Thread starter #6

Redman54

Senior Member
GeorgiaBob- Thank you for the kind words.

Anvil- I wasn't aware of the meeting, that would have been great. I am familiar with Twin Blades and their work, I don't know either of them personally, but I know a relative of theirs. May try and connect that way.

Bigtimber- Thank you sir, I am in desperate need of a quality grinder for sure. I've been on the hunt for one but haven't located one that fits in my budget yet. It's on the wish-list for sure.
 

Anvil Head

Senior Member
Do connect with the Twins, Harry and Charlie are genuine good people and don't mind sharing their knowledge. You can learn a tremendous amount just spending an hour or two with either of them.

On the grinder issue, while it is an asset in the shop it is not a total "have to have". A tremendous number of beautiful well built knives are made with out the use of an expensive grinder (yep they are expensive). With a little practice and learning how to clamp your material safely secure you can do the bulk of stock removal with a side grinder then follow up with draw filing and hand sanding. Sure it takes longer, but you can get the same results. Don't focus on how many you can turn out, but on how well you finish the one on which you are working.
Because I am a bladesmith and can get my blades to 90% complete with just the hammer alone, I often opt out of using any power tools except a drill for pin holes (this can also be done "unplugged" if necessary). My big belt grinder is often relegated to quick profiling, handle shaping and final sharpening - the rest done by hand. I get pretty decent results and it's much less dusty and noisy.
If you just have to have a grinder - two lower priced options: Get the Grizzly Knifemakers' Grinder - strong, durable and fast (no speed control so it's wide open grinding). Or google grinder kits where you get the basic structure material and put it together yourself. You can kind of get by with the little 1"er's made mostly for wood/softmetals, but will eventually get frustrated with their lack of belt selection, speed and torque. Also the bearings and framework are not built/specked for serious metal work.
What ever you decide to do be sure to keep it fun and enjoy yourself....and above all be SAFE.
 

sea trout

Senior Member
Glad you decided to post them! They look great I love the pics!
The 3rd one is my favorite, it looks very practical for dressing/quartering deer in the field!
Would be great to have an object in your pics for size comparison. Great job
 
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