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The Stock removal method of knife making part 2

In the first part of this tutorial I showed you how to select your steel and how to make the template and grind out the profile of the knife. In this second part we will finish off most of the metal working on this blade and get it ready for hardening/tempering and the final grinding and polishing.


Center punch the handle holes

We need some way to attach the handle to the blade and I am going to be pinning my handle with two dowels of wood. This means I need to drill two holes. I drilled my holes 1/32 of an inch under 1/4 inch. This is so a 1/4 inch dowel makes a nice tight fit.

According to your template center punch a spot where each of the holes will be drilled. It is important to center punch because the drill would otherwise ride around and not drill exactly where you want it.

Drill the handle holes

Drill the holes using a slow speed on the drill. Steel is not like wood where you want to drill fast.

Make the holes as perpendicular as possible. Drill nice and straight down. If you have a drill press then use that!

clamp for the ricasso

If your knife will have a ricasso line then you clamp a piece of wood on top of the blade with the edge right at the ricasso line. Now you can run a file along it and create that ricasso.

filing the ricasso

Now you can file right along that piece of wood to create a nice crisp ricasso line. When you are filing your knife you will do a lot of creative clamping like this. you will move the blade, reclamp, set it in different positions and file. You will do the other side too.

A Mill file

A quick note about filing your blade - You have to follow good form with your filing. First off always use a Mill file. This is the kind of file that has only one set of angled grooves. This is rather than something called a bastard file that has a crosshatch of grooves. The bastard file will leave a rough finish.

The picture here shows a closeup of a Mill File. There is no crosshatching.

And, when filing you only file in the forward direction. See how in the previous picture I am holding the handle with one hand and pressing down on the front part of the file with the other hand? This is the technique you want to use. Press down as you move forward, then lift the file right off the knife and return to start. File forward, lift and return, file forward, lift and return.

Filing the blade bevel

You will file the whole length of the blade (the part that will be sharpened). And you will do this on both sides of the blade. The picture here shows the blade bevel has been partially filed down. This filing process will go right down to the centerline of the piece of steel. And you file the other side of the blade too bringing it to the centerline of the steel.

This takes some practice and you have to look at the work regularly. Slowly file both bevels down until they form a nice sharp edge right at the middle of the blade.

Okay, go ahead and file that bevel! Here you can see I have the blade clamped at the edge of the workbench so I can get the filing and be sure to use good filing technique. I like to use small pieces of wood under the clamps to protect the blade from damage.

The completed blade bevel

This picture shows the nice uniform bevel on one side. Being an 1/8 inch piece of stock this blade is a bit thick for this bevel so it would probably be good for me to file out that bevel some more so it is longer and less steep.

illustration of various bevels

This illustration shows the bevel. In "A" you see what the blade above has for a bevel. We will continue to file this blade so it is either "B" where the bevel goes half way up the blade. Or "C" where the bevel goes all the way up.

The completed blade

Ok, but for now you understand the whole process to this point. Now this blade is ready for the next steps in the process which are Hardening, tempering, mounting the handle, sharpening and polishing.

NextLet's Continue on with the KnifeMaking Tutorial


Custom Knifemaking: 10 Projects from a Master Craftsman

Spanning the gap between pre-cut and 'art' knives with step-by-step illustrated instructions for unique and beautiful knives. Learn how to make projects, or designs of your own: Kitchen paring knife; Full-tang all-purpose knife; Partial-tang carving knife; Through-tang skinner; Wilderness knife; Forged camp knife; Kitchen chopper; One-blade pocket knife; Lockback folding knife; Damascus steel dagger.


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