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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is about making your own simple but utilitarian knife at home.

One of the utility knives that I made was from a hack-saw blade. I wanted a knife for cleaning the trout when I was stream fishing and for making "figure 4" traps on back-packing trips.

I bought a good "bi-metal" hacksaw blade.
I then positioned it so the teeth were angled back toward where the handle would be.
Leaving the hole in the handle side I broke the blade using my vise to hold the part of the blade I would use. (don't clamp the teeth in the vise)
I then ground the blade from the spine of the hack-saw (leaving the teeth) to a gentle drop point blade. (I did lose about 3/8" of the teeth)
Next I ground the spine to a sharp edge that extended to the top of the drop point.
I made brass sides and fashioned a "spring lock" from the rest of the hack-saw blade.
I ground a notch in the plade and fit the lock to keep the blade in the open position until I wanted to fold it.
I used some parts from an old (yard sale alert) bowling ball for the scales (sides of the handle) and riveted it all together using stainles steel wire.
After finish polishing of the blade and scales it was almost pretty. It was great for cleaning fish and the saw made it simple to make figure 4 triggers for snares and dead falls.

This is a simple knife that anyone could make and if you think a folding knife is too hard you could easily make a fixed blade the same way. It is not strong enough to use as a pry bar or even a screw driver but for its intended purpose it was a great little knife. It was one of the first knives I ever made and I have never seen anything better for the same use.

Try making one and you will be hooked on making your own knives.
 

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I actually made something very similar when I was around 8 yrs old. My Dad was making a Bowie knife and I just had to be involved, so he handed me an old hacksaw blade and told me to have it.

Mom was thirlled.
 

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I can buy a stainless steel Kabar type knife for $6, a really decent carbon steel machettes for $8, not sure why making a homemade tool is worth the effort.

Luv ya man
 

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You never know when you might land in jail. I like the hacksaw blade knives. I use the rounded end with the hole as the handlle end because I want the hole and it impossible to drill the blade. On my fire steels I use one of these hacksway knives as the striker.
 

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The 1 1/2" wide steel banding used to secure bundles of lumber to rail road flat cars make excellent knife blades. As long as you keep the blade part fairly short, a couple or three inches, due to flexability. We used to use those at the lumber yard, using many wraps of duct tape for a handle.You can sharpen the edge on concrete, it's mildly hardened carbon steel.
 

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I can buy a stainless steel Kabar type knife for $6, a really decent carbon steel machettes for $8, not sure why making a homemade tool is worth the effort.

Luv ya man
Sometimes it's just fun to get creative and make things.
All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
It will be hard for me to get pictures untill my "garages" are finished. All of my stuff is in a different state in storage so it is going to have to wait.
I rarely take pictures of the projects when I am working on them. But I will get pictures of the finished product to you when I can.

As far as just buying a knife goes - you can get very good knives from the store but it might be difficult to find a knife the fits the same niche as this one. Most small knives don't come with a saw on the spine and if they do that saw will not cut metal. You can make the knife folding or a fixed blade - I made mine fold so I could carry it in a pack pocket or in my pants pocket. One of the projects that I was in the middle of when we moved was a "ceremonial" dagger made from stainless. It is not hard enough to hold an edge for long but it is not actually meant to cut anything so it doesn't matter. If it had been intended to use I would have used 4xx-x stainless instead of the more corrosion resistant 340 stainless. The 400 series stainless can be heat treated and tempered in much the same way as carbon steel - though at different temperatures, while the 300 series stainles is not heat treatable - it just gets soft when heated and quenching does nothing to harden it. Working the 300 series stainless will harden it but it will never be a good knife edge for actual use. On the other hand you could sharpen it with a file in no time at all. For my utility knives I much prefer a blade that is hard enough that you must use a hard stone to sharpen. I use ceramic and diamond stones to sharpen my good knives. I switched from Arkansas stones after wearing a couple out getting a couple of my knives sharp.

Files make excellent knives but you have to aneal them to work on them and then quench and heat treat the blades when you are done. Get them hot enough that a magnet will not hold and then place them quickly into an ice water bath with as much Epson salts as you can disolve. Then you take it out once it is cooled and heat them to 525 - 550F for two hours per pound and quench them again. You get a very hard blade that is not brittle. That last heat treating is of absolute importance as it takes the brittleness out of the steel.

I should add that you hold the temperature for 2 hours per pound - it takes about an hour in the oven to get an eight ounce blade to the same temperature as the oven so for the eight ounce blade it would be in the oven for three hours. Longer won't hurt it but less time can cause an uneven temper and ruin the blade.
 

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The Backwoodsman Magazine (not to be confused with any other that has the term Backwoods in the title) often has articles on knife making. Recently there was one using 10" circular saw blades, the maker got two knives out of each blade.
I highly recommend the Backwoodsman to anyone interested in the old-time self reliant ways. They have been in publication for about 30 years now, I've been a subscriber since the early 90's. The articles are written by the readers, not profesionals that are out to endorse something.
I've often thought about making heavy work knives from lawn mower blades, smaller ones from lawn edger blades.
 

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Not that I have tried, but I remember my father grinding down old, dull files into butcher knives with a full tang and a 6"+ blade. They held their edge well.
 

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The Backwoodsman Magazine (not to be confused with any other that has the term Backwoods in the title) often has articles on knife making. Recently there was one using 10" circular saw blades, the maker got two knives out of each blade.
I highly recommend the Backwoodsman to anyone interested in the old-time self reliant ways. They have been in publication for about 30 years now, I've been a subscriber since the early 90's. The articles are written by the readers, not profesionals that are out to endorse something.
I've often thought about making heavy work knives from lawn mower blades, smaller ones from lawn edger blades.
Lawn Mower blades work well for fixed blade knives. I made this one not too long ago from a lawn mower blade:

I haven't tried making a folder yet but I think the hacksaw blade would work fairly well. For me I like a heavy blade on most of my knives since I tend to abuse them (I've been called Primitive Pete a few times over this) so I'm not sure the hacksaw blade would cut it (pardon the pun) for me but as a fillet type knife or a boning knife even it should work well. I'd like to see some pictures when you get a chance also, sounds like it should be a pretty good looking knife.

-Infidel
 

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Lawn Mower blades work well for fixed blade knives. I made this one not too long ago from a lawn mower blade:

I haven't tried making a folder yet but I think the hacksaw blade would work fairly well. For me I like a heavy blade on most of my knives since I tend to abuse them (I've been called Primitive Pete a few times over this) so I'm not sure the hacksaw blade would cut it (pardon the pun) for me but as a fillet type knife or a boning knife even it should work well. I'd like to see some pictures when you get a chance also, sounds like it should be a pretty good looking knife.

-Infidel
Very nice!!
I think you would really like The Backwoodsman Magazine. If you can find it on a newstand pick one up. They have a website, but no online magazine - print only. To see what they are about and see the table of contents for the latest issue http://www.backwoodsmanmag.com/
Forget the fluffy "prepper" magazines, for serious old time stuff that works read Backwoodsman. I've been a subscriber since the early 1990's.
 
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