Friday, January 21, 2011

Making Knives, stock removal.

The art of creating knives is (from what I gather) a relatively time-honored and extremely craftsman-oriented activity. [ ] has a pretty thorough picture-aided walkthrough of the steps involved.

I've had great success with stock removal (just one of many methods you can use), wherein you take steel (or whatever metal you decide to use) and - much like the artists that chiseled figures from marble - remove whatever isn't the blade you want to produce.

Once you've removed the excess and have the profiled stock, it's recommended that you scribe a centerline along where you want your cutting edge to be located, typically along the center of the stock. After you've figured out where you want your edge, you grind the blade down such that its edge is relatively defined. At some point you should probably heat-treat the blade and smoothly grind everything down. With any skill (and/or luck) your blade will look exactly as intended. The next step involves creating and then attaching the handles for your knife. You'll typically treat the wood with a vacuum-pump to waterproof it, and then append the handle to the blade using whatever fixative method appeals to you.

That's pretty general, though.

More specifics:

- Steel tends to be pretreated to discourage rust, you'll probably have to grind this off.
- Scribing lines: If you don't have the right tool and have a drill bit to spare, a bit that is exactly the thickness of the stock will scribe a line exactly down the middle of the metal when drawn down the edge of the stock (while faces are parallel, naturally).
- If you want to draw out the hamon (or pattern) of the metal, you can etch the blade with acid. Results may vary.
- Heat treating can yield interesting colorations with metal. Damascus steel also yields interesting patterns (even when un-etched).

Related: If you're feeling less craftsmanship-inclined, you can buy kits over at [ ].

The process involves a multitude of skills. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Caveat: I'm no expert, but I have found the process to be very rewarding. I have made two knives from stock (One folder, and one fixed-blade full-tang tanto, if you're wondering), and find the work of master craftsmen to be fascinating.


  1. ive made a few knives in my past life as

  2. Cool info dude. Following.


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