Vanessa Schmidt

Handmade Knives

This article is meant for beginners. It is exactly for those people who want either to make with their own hands or to sharpen in a right way their handmade knife they made on their own. This can be done at home with the help of a not so big set of simple instruments. Keep in mind that the main thing here is that the creation of any handmade knife as well as any other creative process is meant to be exciting and enjoyable.

You will significantly save your effort and time working on your future handmade knife if you manage to buy a metal stab board. The stab board should be of minimally appropriate thickness. Firstly, you need to draw or copy a sketch. It will help you define not only the form and the location of holes for fastening a handle, but also with how much material you need for a knife. Of course, you’d better chose a simple design of the article since it is your first experience in creating knives.

Apart from steel for the blade, you’ll also need some material for onlay of its handle. Here you’d better use wood. For example, an oak bar. However, any other material that is easy to work on will also do. The handle that is manually assembled should not only be convenient to hold, but also pleasant to touch (it should be warm). The most important thing is that the material that it is made of shouldn’t be slimy.

A silhouette of a knife is drawn with a crayon on the metal stab board for a future blade of the knife. Then, you may make holes according to the outline. Before doing it, you need to fasten the stab board on a solid surface with the help of a clamp. This technique is not very elegant. However, if you have a powerful drill, good auger and enthusiasm, you’ll be quite successful in this. Everything will be easy and clear. After that, you need to remove the maximum amount of unnecessary material with the help of a hacksaw. The thing is that if the steel you use is more than solid, a chisel won’t do.

Let’s go on to working on the blade. To be more exact, let’s start creating it. Colour the whole blade in a black colour with the help of the crayon and outline a future blade. Firstly, a file is used in order to carry out the sharpening for the first time and only shape it. However, you need to be attentive in order not to grind down too much. From time to time you may paint the blade in a black colour again and outline the blade once again. The work on this stage will be rather painstaking. Therefore, you need to have enough patience and be rather careful since some mistakes made while sharpening the blade may be so serious that all efforts will go in vain.

Probably, you managed to create a blade that has smooth edges and can cut things very good. (May be you needed to make several efforts for this, but this doesn’t matter) Then, you need to make it solid enough. In other words, you need to temper it. This process involves 2 stages: The tempering itself and “dipping”. In order to temper the blade of a future knife you need to carefully heat it on coals or in a stove. You should temper it until the steel loses its magnetic features. This is checked with the help of a simple magnet. Once the need temperature is reached, the blade is put into oil. You keep it there until the fume stops.

Then, you need to take out the blade, wash it in water and thoroughly wipe since on the next stage we’ll need a simple kitchen stove. You make check how well it is tempered with the help of a file. You need draw a line on the blade with it (do not press the chisel on the blade too much) If the chisel goes smoothly, the tempering was successful. On the next stage, you need to “dip” the steel a bit. This way it won’t be too much fragile. Heat the stove up to 350-400C, put the blade into it and leave it there for 45 minutes. After that, give your handmade knife time to cool down on its own till the normal temperature.

Now it is time for the onlays that are applied on to the handle. Cut 2 bars out of a piece of wood. These are our onlays. Make holes in them in accordance with the holes on the area of the blade handle. We need to work on the onlays beforehand. It is only necessary here to get the needed thickness and leave some more for the final processing. You need to tightly fasten the “approximate” onlays to the base of the handle with the help of glue. Then, you need to also use clamps (made of metal bars) for this. Then, you need to work on the handle you have until you get the desired look and form. You may start polishing and backfitting your article once you get a convenient and nicely looking handle.


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