A good knife making guide for beginners?

Discussion in 'Hammer & Tongs' started by akthor, May 10, 2014.

  1. akthor


    Jan 23, 2010
    Thinking of maybe getting into the hobby can you guys recommend a good beginners knife making book? Thanks for your time.
  2. gredpe3


    Sep 22, 2012
    There is more reading right here than one can absorb.Look in the stickies
  3. i4Marc


    Oct 19, 2011
    ^^^^^^^^^^ Agreed. No better place than right here. Start with a large bottle of aspirin. The amount of information here will give you a migraine headache. Read EVERYTHING you can get your eyes on.
  4. mattd

    mattd Basic Member Basic Member

    Oct 6, 2003
    Making a sub-hilt fighter by Steven R. Johnson. You tube is a great resource too. Best of luck. If you want you could order some of Aldo's 1084 steel now so you have some steel to work with as you read.
  5. Rhinoknives1

    Rhinoknives1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 1, 2013
    Back in 96 I started with How to make custom knives by Tim McCrieght. Another is wayne Goddard's book $50.00 knife shop. There wasn't all of this great stuff on the net then.

    I still like to read a book too and enjoy going back over my knife making books from time to time in the late evenings.

    The other suggestion I have is to find a maker or makers group in your area and go hang out with them. That's the way to really shorten the learning curve.
  6. JMJones


    Jul 14, 2010
    Where in Maine are you? I am in Bangor and have a couple of books kicking around.
  7. Sam Wilson

    Sam Wilson

    Sep 3, 2012
    Read everything you can get your hands on. But this ^^^ will speed things up exponentially. The experience that a maker can give you, and even demonstrate something in front of you, will make a difference beyond belief.
  8. 12345678910


    Jul 13, 2009
    The Count's Standard Reply to New Knifemakers V33

    The answer to a 13 young student is different than a retired machinist
    With members worldwide, you may have a local supplier, hammerin or neighbour.
    Join our community by filling your profile with location (Country, State, City), age, education, employment and hobbies so we get a sense of where and who you are.

    Look at the threads at the top of the page.

    The basics in the simplest terms
    Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives-Printable PDF

    Web Tutorials
    Detailed instructions http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=694673

    The Things I Advise New Knife Makers Against-Printable PDF http://www.mediafire.com/?8og1ix21j9dcz4n

    Handle Tutorial - Nick Wheeler-PDF http://www.mediafire.com/?02ra4do6xyzayeq

    Bob Egnath how to http://www.engnath.com/manframe.htm

    A list of books and videos http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9435307&postcount=43

    BladeForums - E-books or Google books http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=603203

    Books I like:
    David Boye-Step by Step Knifemaking
    Tim McCreight-Custom Knifemaking: 10 Projects from a Master Craftsman
    Clear, well organized, available and inexpensive.

    Knife Design:
    Think thin. Forget swords, saw-tooth spines, guthooks, crazy grinds and folders for your first knife.

    Look at hundreds of photos

    Start with a drawing and post it, we love photos.
    French curves, graph paper and an eraser are vital tools.


    Then a cardboard cutout template & with handles, pins and such.
    Use playdough to shape a comfortable handle, good handles are not flat.

    How to post a photo

    Google books thread for Lloyd Harding drawings, Loveless book & Bob Engnath Patterns. http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=603203

    Bob Engnath Patterns in a PDF http://www.mediafire.com/?qgx7yebn77n77qx

    Forging Books:
    Lorelei Sims-The Backyard Blacksmith - A modern book with colour photos - forging - no knifemaking.

    Jim Hrisoulas
    The Complete Bladesmith: Forging Your Way to Perfection
    The Pattern-Welded Blade: Artistry in Iron
    The Master Bladesmith: Advanced Studies in Steel

    Machine Shop Basics -Books:
    Elementary Machine Shop Practice-Printable PDF Http://www.archive.org/download/elementarymachin00palmrich/elementarymachin00palmrich.pdf

    The Complete Practical Machinist-Printable -1885-PDF http://ia700309.us.archive.org/6/items/completepractic00rosegoog/completepractic00rosegoog.pdf
    Right Click and save

    The $50 knife Shop-not recommended
    This book has a great title, but is NOT gospel. It confused me for a long time.
    Forging is NOT necessary; file and grind to create a knife (stock removal)

    Forget the Goop Quench BS
    Back when they used whale oil, it was still liquid oil.
    Use a commercial quench oil & match oil speed to the steel type;
    Grocery store canola oil works for some steels like 1084.

    Junkyard steel requires skill and experience to identify and heat treat it properly.
    Forget Lawnmower blades and railroad spikes, start with a new known steel.
    Good heat treating needs accurate temperature control and full quench.
    Proper steel like 1084FG from Aldo is inexpensive and quench in Canola.

    Cable damascus is an advanced project has no place in a beginner’s book.

    The grinders are the best thing about this book, but 2x72” belt grinders plans are now free on the web.


    Don't be this guy

    Heat Treating Basics Video-downloadable
    Right click and save this. Watch it once a day for 10 days. http://www.archive.org/download/gov.ntis.ava08799vnb1/ava08799vnb1_512kb.mp4

    Right click and save this. Watch it once a day for 10 days. http://www.howtomakeaknife.net/FreeStuff/SafetyVideo.wmv

    Many knifemaking videos are available, some better than others.

    The best beginner videos I have seen:
    “Steve Johnson-Making a Sub-Hilt Fighter”

    "Ed Caffrey - Basic Bladesmithing-Full DVD-ISO"

    “Custom Knife Sheaths -Chuck Burrows - Wild Rose”
    -(Paul Long has 2 videos, his sheath work & videos are fantastic, but more advanced-with inlays, tooling and machine stitching)

    Green Pete's Free Video
    Making a Mora bushcraft knife, stock removal, hand tools, neo tribal / unplugged heat treat.
    Use a piece of known steel, not a file. This as an example of doing it by hand with few tools.
    "Green Pete" posted it free.
    Be sure to look at the other titles I mentioned too - spend some time searching.

    Greenpete Knifemaking Basics-on TPB

    How to download that video

    Videos for rent,read the reviews, Some are good, some bad, expect to wait months

    Draw Filing Demonstration
    YouTube video -Draw Filing-for a flat finish http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dec78RQsokw

    Nick Wheeler- Hand sanding 101 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4I4x4QLpfnk

    The “welding steel” at Home Depot / Lowes is useless for knives.
    Forget about lawnmower blades ,files, railroad spikes and other unknown junkyard steels.
    For the work involved, it is very cheap to buy and use a known good steel.

    If you send out for heat treating, you can use
    Oil quenched O1, 1095, 1084
    Or air quenched A2, CM154, ATS34, CPM154, 440C, plus many others.

    For heat treating yourself with minimal equipment, find Eutectoid steel and quench in Canola oil.
    1084FG sold by Aldo Bruno is formulated for Knifemaking, Cheap & made for DIY heat-treat.
    Phone # 862-203-8160

    Suppliers List

    Heat Treating

    You can send blades out for heat treating at $10 or $15 per blade for perfect results.

    Air Hardening Stainless Steel Only
    Buck Pau Bos -Be sure to check the Shipping and Price tabs.

    Oil Hardening Carbon Steels and Air Hardening Stainless Steel
    http://www.knifemaker.ca/ (Canadian)


    1095 is good carbon steel, but a bad choice for a beginner with limited equipment.
    1095 is "Hypereutectioid" and needs precise temperature control and proper fast quench oil Like Parks 50 or Houghton K
    Kevin Cashen - 1095 - hypereutectoid steel

    If you are sending one or 2 knives out for heat treatment, use 154-CM or CPM-154 CPM-s35vn Elmax, and ship it out to TKS -Texas Knifemaker Supply
    It's the cheapest way to do 1 or 2 due to minimum charges.

    Quenchants for Oil hardening steel
    Forget the Goop Quench and Motor oil.

    Use commercial quench oil & match oil speed to the steel type;
    The best explanation and classification oil speeds I've seen

    Grocery store canola oil works well enough for your first knife-if you use the right steel like 1084

    Brine and water are cheap, and technically correct for "water hardening" steels W1 and 1095 but a fast oil like Parks 50 or Houghton Houghto Quench K are less likely to give you broken blades
    If you use water or brine, expect a "tink" and a cracked blade

    Don't quench in a plastic pail of oil

    Glue – Epoxy
    Use new slow setting 30 min to 1 hour, high strength epoxy to attach blades to handles and seal out moisture.
    Slow epoxy is stronger and gives you time to work with it.
    Surface Prep is vital, drill tang holes/ grind a hollow, roughen the surfaces with abrasive or blasting is best.
    Ensure the surface is clean and no oil including fingerprints.
    Use Acetone & Alcohol, or Blasting.
    Don't over clamp it A “glue starved joint” is weak when all the adhesive is squeezed out.

    Brownell's Acraglas
    West Systems G Flex
    JB Weld-leaves a grey line

    Grinder / Tools

    Hand Tools
    You can do it all by hand with files and abrasive cloth like the Green Pete video.
    Just use 1084 instead of a file.
    spheroid annealed steel is butter soft to file.

    Stacy - 10 Tools

    Examples of filing jigs

    A professional three or four wheel 2x72 is worth it
    In my opinion, variable speed and a small wheel attachment are essential on a good grinder.
    You can almost always improve tracking with more belt tension. It needs to be way tighter than you first think.

    Entry Level Grinders
    Sears Craftsman 2x42 belt grinder

    Low Speed Modification Craftsman 2x42 belt grinder http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qfYT_m2Tw0

    Commercial Production 2 x 72” Belt Grinder Reviews

    DIY 2 x 72” Belt Grinders

    KMG Clone Free Plans

    NWG No Weld Grinder-buy plans

    EERF Grinder (EERF =“Free” backwards)

    Buy the kit

    What Belts to buy?

    VFD Variable Speed made simple

    Step pulleys are not as cheap as you may think
    Maska steel pulleys are good plus shaft, bearings, belt

    It all adds up to about 1/2 the price of a KBAC-27D

    I like direct drive with no belts using a VFD and 3 phase motor for about $200 over the price of the step pulleys with finer control.

    NEMA 1 VFD’s are designed to keep your fingers out and the metallic dust intrusion will smoke it.

    3 phase 220v 1.5 HP motor, TEFC, frame 56 or 56C,
    RPM is up to you some use1700 RPM at double speed.
    Make sure it has a footed base for the KMG and NWG, or a C flange face mount for Bader, Bee, Wilton and GIB styles.
    I get them on ebay, even with paying $100 for shipping to Canada I save $ on used motors

    The 1.5 HP combination is the most common
    It allows you to plug into any 110vac, 15 amp outlet.
    A 2 HP motor requires a 220vac input.

    Use the Distributor Locator to find a local source, online sources may be cheaper.

    There are cheaper units, but the only VFD I have found that runs a 1.5 HP motor on a 110v 15 amp input is the KBAC-27D

    It is NEMA 4, sealed from metal dust

    Good community and company support, manuals, hook-up diagrams, photos and settings.
    If you buy a bargain vfd, you're stuck with a chinglish manual and ridiculous programming.

    I like that I can buy it in person from a local distributor in Canada.

    Travis W reports running a 2 HP on a 110v circuit, but I haven’t tried it.

    Hookup is simple

    Safety Equipment
    Protect your -Eyes, Ears, Fingers, and Lungs – remove jewellery and use safety gear.

    Chronic lung disease and cancer really suck the joy out of life.

    If you can't breathe, nothing else matters.

    Wearing a mask and glasses on the top of your head doesn't count.

    The minimum I would consider are silicone half masks with a P100 Filter
    3M 7500

    and North 7700

    Use a VOC & P100 combo cartridge for acetone and glue fumes.
    Prefilters can snap over the main filter for longer life.
    There are 3 sizes get fitted in person

    Shave, also test the every time.

    For beards
    3M PAPR
    3m Breathe Easy
    Trend Airshield Pro
    Air Cap II


    This Google page searches BF well.

    Get rich making knives ?

    A shop visit

    V33 March Jan 27, 2014

  9. MMuhlhauser


    May 9, 2014
    Welcome to the fun of knife making. Ditto on the aspirin. If it helps, go ahead and check out the "How the Knives are Made" Section of my website. It may be helpful to you. Let me know if I can be of any help! www.mgmknives.com
  10. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
    I started reading this over a year ago, and have been through most of it. The only other recommendation I have is to look through the heat treating section of Kevin Cashen's site. Nick Wheeler's videos could be added to this as well, if he agrees.
  11. Robert Erickson

    Robert Erickson KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 2, 2014
    As a newb myself I've seen just about every YouTube video on knife making. Look for Walter Sorrells especially. I've been on this forum almost every day since joining a few months ago. Bought David Boye's book "Step by Step Knifemaking" which is a little dated but most of the stuff still applies. The other thing I've done is try to look at tons of pictures of knife designs on the various knifemaker's websites. As I've made a few knives I'm going back and looking at all the millions of details that I didn't think about before diving in.
  12. EastCompassoKnivery


    Feb 26, 2014
    A while back I asked the same question via email to another knife maker and he said I should download "Copy". It's an app that allows for legal sharing of documents and data. I am willing to email you the two dozen or so books on anything and everything knife making if you get the app.
  13. Maelstrom78


    Sep 21, 2013
    Can I get in on that as well?
  14. EastCompassoKnivery


    Feb 26, 2014
    Yah just email me @[email protected] . That goes for anyone that wants em.
  15. MMuhlhauser


    May 9, 2014
    Feel free to check out the page we have on our web site on how the knives are made (mgmknives.com) . Maybe you find a few helpful tips in there. Don't hesitate to ask if I can help out! Best of luck!

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