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Old December 12, 2019, 12:42 AM   #1
SGW Gunsmith
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Anybody Can Make a Knife

I'll bet most of the folks that frequent this site have enough skills to assemble a knife from a kit. If you deal with firearms in any sort of serious manner, you can certainly put together a kit and come up with a knife like this:


Which is easily assembled from a kit and will work very well to open letters and Amazon boxes, but the style isn't much useful for anything else. It's basically the same as what others do, sorta like a "lego kit". Some of those who assemble these style knives even call themselves "master cutlers".

Now, true "Blade Smiths", are perfectionists in the art of knife making and are able to actually craft a fantastic knife that's worthy of praise:


Now, it's not to say that, at least from my opinion, that most of those who hang here on this forum, could not acquire a nice blade and skillfully attach scales and hilts to make a very fine, personalised knife that will do exactly what any so called "custom" knife will do:



But, when you really think about it, what do pearl or abalone scales do for a working knife, other than make that knife awful slippery and hard to hang onto? I'll bet 10 to 1, that most around here can make a knife that will serve you and your grandson very well, with no need to rely on anyone else.
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Old December 12, 2019, 07:35 AM   #2
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Many times i see pictures of or videos about very handsome blades. Only very rarely do I see any reference to the metallurgical processes that go into making a fine blade....hardening,.normalizing, tempering. Either people do not do these things or they ignore them in their explanation of the how to.
An excellent video that includes all of these ideas is Bob Lewis’ “how to make a razor”. Very thorough.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvFO3TqhDj0

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Old December 12, 2019, 09:52 AM   #3
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That would be a good way to learn, watch a video that will actually show how it's done.
I've made some flat springs for older Stevens Favorite rifles. The whole knack is in drawing the hardening back a bit so the steel is not brittle. One very good knife make I know uses worn out files and makes some excellent blades.
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Old December 12, 2019, 10:03 AM   #4
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I agree that fancy scales actually detract from the utility of a blade.

I much prefer Kraton or oiled hardwood to anything exotic.

For my money, there are two things that detwrmine wheerther or not I like a knife.

Those are the quality of the steel, and the heat treatment.

A quality steel, like CPM M-4, S90V, Maxamet, etc, properly heat treated will last under hard use and hold a good edge forever.

Unfortunately, many, perhaps most, custom knives made today are made for looks rather than function. And that is sad. Really sad. Because those custom makers know better, but most consumers will pay premium prices for a "pretty" knife, but not for quality knife.
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Old December 12, 2019, 01:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Dover View Post
I agree that fancy scales actually detract from the utility of a blade.

I much prefer Kraton or oiled hardwood to anything exotic.

For my money, there are two things that detwrmine wheerther or not I like a knife.

Those are the quality of the steel, and the heat treatment.

A quality steel, like CPM M-4, S90V, Maxamet, etc, properly heat treated will last under hard use and hold a good edge forever.

Unfortunately, many, perhaps most, custom knives made today are made for looks rather than function. And that is sad. Really sad. Because those custom makers know better, but most consumers will pay premium prices for a "pretty" knife, but not for quality knife.
Agree, usefulness "TRUMPS" gaudy everytime. Mother-of-pearl or abalone scales, to me, look like crap. What was it that General George Smith Patton said when someone asked him if his ivory grips on his Colt SAA were mother-of-pearl?
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Old December 12, 2019, 01:54 PM   #6
Bill DeShivs
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It's easy to buy pre-made blades and stick handles on them. At gun shows all over the country you'll see this passed off as "custom knifemaking." It's not.

Here's a picture of a real custom knife. I'm sure the owner likes it-as it was made to order.
1084 high carbon blade, 1095 springs, nickel silver hardware, laminated mother of pearl handles.
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File Type: jpg IMG_3461.JPG (27.9 KB, 65 views)
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Old December 12, 2019, 01:56 PM   #7
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If anyone is interested-I'll post lots of pictures of my custom knives-including work in progress pics.
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File Type: jpg micartafixed.jpg (19.5 KB, 53 views)
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Old December 12, 2019, 04:51 PM   #8
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Here's another one. If anyone thinks there are 1/2 size German springer kits available, I sure would like to see one!
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File Type: jpg IMG_3187.JPG (46.5 KB, 49 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_3190.JPG (48.9 KB, 43 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_3181.JPG (19.6 KB, 36 views)
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Old December 12, 2019, 05:02 PM   #9
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Here's another one.
1095 high carbon steel, nickel silver and laminated mother of pearl.
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File Type: jpg IMG_2965.JPG (16.6 KB, 40 views)
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Last edited by Bill DeShivs; December 12, 2019 at 11:57 PM.
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Old December 12, 2019, 05:57 PM   #10
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The pre-made blades at gun shows are for hobbyists, not cutlers. They were never intended for anything other than to be polished up and have pretty scales installed.
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Old December 12, 2019, 11:52 PM   #11
Bill DeShivs
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Here's another one.
Blade made from customer-supplied damascus. Handles and fittings are nickel silver.
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Old December 13, 2019, 12:02 AM   #12
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Here's one with a stag tine and 1095 high carbon steel.
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Old December 13, 2019, 05:59 AM   #13
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Pretty stuff, Bill.
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Old December 13, 2019, 04:56 PM   #14
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Kit ? I made my first knife , when in grade school , from a discarded putty knife that had a riveted on wood handle and pewter (pot metal) bolsters .
The guy that was reputtying (glazing ?) and repainting our wood windows tossed it into the trash because it had a badly worn front edge and the handle had paint and putty all over it .
I cleaned it up and used my dad's belt grinder to grind a little 3 1/2" drop point blade .
Kept the blade cool with water while grinding and that old putty knife made a nice little knife . Holds a good edge too .

Not near as good looking as BillDeShivas knives but I was only 12 .
Gary
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Old December 13, 2019, 05:46 PM   #15
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I've assembled a few fixed blade knives from a blanks. The two shown in the picture were made from the blank shown in the center. The handles of the top knife were made from strips cut from old blue jeans and layered with epoxy resin. If I remember correctly, the bottom handles were from Cocobolo.

3 Knives s.jpg
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Old December 14, 2019, 09:29 AM   #16
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Here is one I made. Forged for a friend from a John Deere mower blade.
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Old December 14, 2019, 12:41 PM   #17
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Cool. Like that blade shape Nanuk.
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Old December 14, 2019, 02:41 PM   #18
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Thanks BBarn.
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Old January 13, 2020, 08:18 PM   #19
chrisintexas
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What would be good foldable pocket knives for-
Hunting
Outdoors/woods like cutting wood for like making fire
Defending against small animals
And Things like this.
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Old January 14, 2020, 09:29 AM   #20
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Anyone can make a crude knife-ask any prison inmate. Few can match the skill of a true Master Bladesmith like Bob Kramer. Here's a great clip of him with Anthony Bourdain in a Raw Craft episode, a fascinating series of master craftsmen, interviewed by Tony, who take the time to make things as good as they possibly can be made.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4x0f2b_0kn0
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Old January 14, 2020, 01:04 PM   #21
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Nanuk,
That's a nice knife, definitely one that would make me stop and look at what else you have. Not a fan of stag but that can always be changed out.

I would rather pay more for a good working knife than a shiny one that I would be afraid to get dirty.
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