Building myself a new knife.

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Oct 12, 2012
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I decided to make myself a new sheath knife to pass some of the winter time indoors. I hope nobody minds me posting this on this site, this is more camping related then canoe related but I always take a knife with me canoeing. I do not wear a sheath knife because of all the slipping tripping hazards. I don't want to fall on a knife out in the middle of nowhere. I will have a folder on me and a sheath knife on my day pack that I take even on multi-day trips.

The method I will use to make this knife blade is called stock removal. There is no forging involved. I will hollow grind the blade on a sander that I designed and built just for knife making. I have been making Knives on and off for about 24 years so this is not a new experience for me. Nor is this expected to serve as a how to series. I just thought it might be interesting to some and help pass the winter. If you learn something from me that's fine too. I will warn you that knife making is addicting. Don't make your first knife if you don't want to make your second one.

This knife style is called a bird and trout knife. It is on the light duty end of the sheath knife family. I like them because they are suited to do medium to fine tasks like picking a sliver or cleaning a rabbit. I carry a hatchet tripping so I won't be splitting logs with it.

Here are the materials I am starting with. For the blade I am using D-2 tool steel. I chose it for for it's edge holding ability and it's stain resistance. At 1 1/2% it has a higher carbon content then the average tool steel. This contributes to the edge wear resistance. D-2 has a chromium content of about 12%. It's not quite a stainless steel but close enough to be stain resistant. The finger guard material is nickle silver which is sometimes called German silver. The wood is Black Ebony. I will be cutting some thin spacers to stack on the handle for extra decoration too. See you all later. Dave
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Just walked into my basement workshop to look around and plan how to photo the different steps. OMG what a bloody blinking freaking shameful mess I have made of my shop over time. Stuff laying everywhere that there is a horrizontal surface. I got some cleaning to do before you all arrive in my work shop for the ten cent tour. I'll be back in a couple days I hope. Dave
 
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This is a sketch of the knife I will be building. The blade is 3 3/4" long and 1/8" thick. The knife will be about 7 7/8" long over all.
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No offence buddy, but I'm not pitching in to clean up the shop, I'll just pull up a stool and wait... You could point me to your beer fridge though.
That's an incredible looking knife. Correct me on this; does higher carbon hold an edge better vs s steel being lower maintenance?
I'm looking forward to this Rippy.
 
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Well, your drawing is better than anything I could do. Looking forward to seeing the process.
 
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Why not full tang?

Glenn, in this case it is for appearance reasons. To me the handle looks better with the wood wrapped all the way around. I realize that full tang is stronger but this is a lighter duty knife in the first place. That being said, I have made knives in this pattern before and tested them for strength. I can't break one with my bare hands so I'm good with it. When I first started making knives all my knives were full tang. To me it is a easier construction method. If I was making a survival type knife I would go with a full tang knife with a micarta handle. I would drill lightening holes in the steel tang to reduce weight some. Dave
 
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Correct me on this; does higher carbon hold an edge better vs s steel being lower maintenance? .

Brad, I'm not sure but it seems as though you are comparing high carbon steel to stainless steels suitable for making knife blades, like 440C for example. You could sort of make that generalization but there are many variables and types of steel. Hardness plays a huge factor in wear. Steel selection is a matter of priorities and compromises. I use only air hardening tool steels as I heat treat in my basement and oil quenching would stink up the whole house. My priorities for this knife are first that it hold a edge as long as possible and second that it not rust or stain (with blood). If my priorities were the other way around I would use 440C because of it's higher chromium content (16-18%) would have more stain resistance then D-2 at 12%. The added chromium in the 440C would make for a more brittle knife. I would have to temper it to a lower hardness to get a similar strength. That would reduce wear resistance even more. Don't know if this helps. Dave
 
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Thanks Rippy. You're a craftsman metallurgist talking to a backyard simpleton, but I'm learning. I didn't realize there were many variables with differing properties. In fact, I'd never heard of oil quenching till now. I won't drag you off topic Rippy, and will do some reading up on this stuff.
If this is the same knife (or anything similar) than your blade on the other thread, then it's almost a shame to hide it away in a sheath. Beautiful work.
 
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Ya Brad, lots of variables. I just don't want to start the argument that High carbon steels are better than stainless steels because there are good stainless steels that I would consider using and a few high carbon steels I wouldn't use. It just depends on your end use and priorities. If I was going to be in the Amazon or around salt water high chromium would be my top priority. For tough use in arctic cold conditions I would choose a shock resistant steel like L-7 at the sacrifice of some edge holding ability. Some knife factories are able to take a mediocre stainless steel and through their particular heat treat process come up with a pretty serviceable product.

Don't worry about going off topic Brad, this is just to pass the time till we can get back in the boat and paddle. Got lots of time to burn. Also, I don't consider myself an expert. I know just enough to get myself in trouble. Dave
 
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Well I got some more done on the knife project. First I had to sand the mill scale off the hot rolled D-2 material. It's sort of like a bark layer on a tree. You can buy surfaced D-2 but it's a lot more expensive. I next rough sawed the profile out on a band saw and then finish sanded the profile on my sander. I stamped a serial number (308) on the back side and stamped my name on the front then called it a day.
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The other night when looking for a back ground I decided to use some plywood pieces that were laying on the pool table cover in the basement. It's kind of ironic in this case. It was a project I started twenty years ago that didn't get to far. I couldn't find any clear cedar of decent length in my area.There are more pieces to this puzzle some where in the basement.
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My stars Dave! I'm gone a little while and here's a winter time project already started up! That's one good looking knife.
I do wished you'd showed us your shop while it was still a mess; it would help me not to feel so bad about mine.
I enjoyed your description of the various qualities of steel; I don't know beans about metals but it sounded much like life in general: If you get something here then expect to pay for it over there! Or as the man says "there ain't no free lunch!"

Best Wishes,

Rob
 
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So, Rippy, I think I'm just clueing in to your internet handle. Rippy……knife making…am I close? Up here, a guy called Rippy would stand for a wild child, as in someone who is always going on a rip. A rip is when you go all out and crazy with the liquor and some wild adventure. In fact, there is a really good music video out right now called "Out For A Rip". I won't link it cause it's full of swears, but it's pretty funny.

Sorry for the highjack, going out for a Rip now.
 
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So, Rippy, I think I'm just clueing in to your internet handle. Rippy……knife making…am I close? Up here, a guy called Rippy would stand for a wild child, as in someone who is always going on a rip. A rip is when you go all out and crazy with the liquor and some wild adventure. In fact, there is a really good music video out right now called "Out For A Rip". I won't link it cause it's full of swears, but it's pretty funny.

Sorry for the highjack, going out for a Rip now.

Not knife related. And I certainly was a wild child for a time but that's not it. When I had to come up with a user name for web sites I wanted something that would keep me anonymous. Rippy was what my mom used to call me about 45-50 years ago because I was hard on my clothes. My mom doesn't get on the internet so nobody knows it's me right? I wonder if it really is me, I'll have to check.

So Mem, I bared my soul and revealed my silly user name. What is a Memaquay? I Googled it and all I found were posts on other web sites, your real name, and a cool wedding party video. Care to share? David Possehl (my real name)(don't mind if my friends here get to know me)

Wow I just googled me and there is like five of me and one of me is dead.
 
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Joined
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Here's a few pictures of my basement workshop. I live down here in the winter. Mostly metal working equipment in here. On the bench are my sanders. My principle product is sanding dust with a few knives as a by-product. The variable speed sander in the center on the bench I designed and built for knife making projects. It has different sized rubber faced contact wheels that I can mount and sand against to produce a different radius. I use a 8" contact wheel for hollow grinding. To the right is a small milling machine that I use to slot finger guards and spacer materials so they will slide on the knife tang. I also use it when machining the locks on folding knife projects.
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On the left is a 1 1/2 HP 8" buffer. I use a sewn buff and a loose buff. The sewn buff is harder and cuts quicker. The loose buff is real handy for yanking blades out of your hand and throwing them at your knee at 90MPH.
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Over by the wall on the table is a digital controlled heat treat oven and a Rockwell Hardness tester that I use to check my progress while heat treating.
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Your workshop is immaculate. Mine is so bad I lose tools the minute I put them down. The knife making thing is pretty cool, Rippy, and the derivation of your name is pretty special too. Mine is Ojibway, I taught on a fly in reserve for a couple of years, learned to speak a smattering. The year the internet hit our school, I was on a canoe trip with the kids, and these orange butterflies followed us for about six days, landing on the packs in the canoes, on people's fingers, just about anywhere. My english spelling of butterfly in Ojibway is memaquay, and when I got back to school and had to set up an account, that's the first name that came to my mind. Trust me, in no way do I resemble a butterfly.
 
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