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Discussion Starter #1
A while back I got the bug to try to make my own knife so I started surfing around to see how hard it would be. I watched a lot of videos and read a lot of material before I started the project in earnest. I decided on a lawn tractor blade for the raw material since I had a lawn tractor with a blown motor sitting in my yard. So I stared out with this:


Step 1 was to straighten the blade and since I don't own a forge I decided to build a good hot fire in the firepit in the back yard and then use an electric leaf blower from about 6 feet away (to keep down the sparks) to get that fire hot enough for forging. Then I needed to shape the blade but since I don't own a bench type belt sander, band saw or drill press all the grinding and cutting was done with had power tools. I used a sawzall to cut the rough shape of the blade and then a bench grinder and dremel tool to refine it. I used a belt sander clamped in my vice to create the bevels on the blade, this allowed me to keep both hands on the stock to get the bevels consistent. Once that was done it was time to select the handle material, I settled on a piece of red oak from the local home improvement store, I cut the wood and then clamped the scales to the stock to drill the holes for the brass pins I was going to use. I then sanded the stock to 400 grit before heat treating. For heat treating I basically used the same method I used for forging and then quenched in hot used motor oil to up the carbon content in the blade. After the heat treating I cleaned up the oil and put it in the oven at 400 for an hour or so to temper the blade. More sanding on the blade all the way to 1200 grit and I was ready to attach the handle and start shaping that. I used brass pins and Gorilla Glue epoxy to attach the scales and then shaped the handle. The handle is a little chunky for almost anyone else but I have big hands and it fits me like a glove. Once the handle was final sanded I did 10 coats of Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil and a final polish on the blade. It was a lot of work but I'm pleased with the results, there's a couple small imperfections in the blade (scratches) that I should have done more sanding to remove but they don't bother me. Here's the finished product:



I had a lot of fun with the project and am planning at least 2 more 1 will be a machete type blade and the other will be some sort of fighting knife, I may also do a boot knife before it's over with. I'll be working on those this winter to keep myself from turning into a couch potato.

-Infidel
 

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Nice job! How does it work for you? Keep a nice edge? A decent chopper?

Did you do your own pattern? The blade sort of resembles a Buck 101 or a Sharade 70. Sort of a modified bowie design?
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I basically freehanded the blade, I was going for sort of a Bowie feel with a little bit shorter blade than most Bowies. So far I'm pretty happy with the the blade, only time will tell how well it holds an edge but it sharpens up pretty easy. I used a Chefs choice electric sharpener to put a rough edge on it I still need to get the stones out and put a razor sharp edge on it. I still need to pick up a sheath or make my own for it, think I'll go see the local leather shop and see what they can work up for me. I really can't wait to do some work with it to see how it does.

-Infidel
 

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That looks pretty sweet! Nice job! I used to make knives all the time out of power hacksaw blades that were past their point of productivity and they made great boning, paring and Fillet Knives that held their edges exceptionally well. Of course I have seen Filipino's make machetes from Jeep Leaf Springs too.
 

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Nice work. I've always wanted to make my own knives but never had the space and tools to do it. I hope it's not too long in the future I get to. I've drawn out many blade designs over the years and would like to see some come to light.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Figured I'd give an up date for anyone interested. I got the stones out today and put the final edge on it, it doesn't get razor sharp which I think is because of the steel more than anything else but it gets plenty sharp for it's intended purpose which is a general camp knife. I took it outside after I put the edge on it to try it out. I whittled my way through a couple pieces of maple approximately 1" in diameter and it was still sharp enough to cut through some rope with ease. I figured I'd see how it did batoning through some small stuff while I was at it and it did pretty well there as long as the wood wasn't too thick. I'm very happy with the result of the work, the time invested in the project was well worth the end product with the added bonus of knowing I did it myself. Anyone considering this kind of project should definitely go for it you will not be disappointed. I'm looking forward to the next project which I'll start after the holidays.

I hadn't thought about using leaf springs for blades for stock but that's a great idea and they should be pretty cheap I think. I like the boning knife idea too and may use that later on down the line.

Fuzzee- You've got to try it, I had a lot of fun with the project. The key is when it starts to feel like work stop and walk away for a couple of days. I did this all in my spare time on days off or after dinner I'd go out to the shop for an hour or so. This is something I would consider doing to bring in some extra cash after I retire in another 8 years. By then hopefully I'll have the equipment to make them perfect. I drill press and a bench top belt sander would definitely make them a lot easier and faster to make.

-Infidel
 

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I've always wanted to. Just can't yet. Soon I hope and at the same time I'll give a shot at making kydex sheaths for them.
 

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Nicely done Infidel !! Thanks for sharing it with us.
 
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That looks pretty sweet! Nice job! I used to make knives all the time out of power hacksaw blades that were past their point of productivity and they made great boning, paring and Fillet Knives that held their edges exceptionally well. Of course I have seen Filipino's make machetes from Jeep Leaf Springs too.
My first PMC job was in Central America in the late 80s and I used to see a lot of machetes made out of old leaf springs. Wish I had one of those things today.
 

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I've always wanted to. Just can't yet. Soon I hope and at the same time I'll give a shot at making kydex sheaths for them.
That's where the real money is because you make them on order, don't have to accumulate a lot of inventory to get started and you can even ask for the knife to be sent to you to custom form it for the customer.

A good kydex shaper can make money if you can turn them out in a hurry and offer up a good design, well made product, at a fair price.
 

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That's where the real money is because you make them on order, don't have to accumulate a lot of inventory to get started and you can even ask for the knife to be sent to you to custom form it for the customer.

A good kydex shaper can make money if you can turn them out in a hurry and offer up a good design, well made product, at a fair price.
I think it would be more work and far less fun to make them without knives I made. I bet you're right though, as there are lots of knives that are great knives, but come with leather or substandard sheaths. Not that leather isn't nice, but lots of people want a sheath that doesn't rot or dry and crack like leather does from constant outdoor use. I know I particularly need new sheaths on certain knives that come only with a righthand setup, being a lefty.
 

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That looks awesome, great job! My dad and I always talked about making a couple knives ourselves, as a project. I wish there was a local bladesmith in town I could watch, or order something custom from lol
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Get on youtube and do a search for videos, there's plenty of them out there and some are very good. I put quite a bit of work into it but the best decision I made was the minute it started to feel like work I put it down and walked away for a couple of days, this kept it from seeming like a job and more like a project. I really enjoyed the project and have started my second project, it was a lot of fun turning that piece of steel into a good knife.

-Infidel
 

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I wish my first knife had turned out that well.

Google Wayne Goddards "$50 dollar knife shop"
A great book for people begining to make knives without breaking your wallet.
Lotsa good info
 

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Thanks for resurrecting this thread...i never saw it. Good job on the knife
 
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