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Down the rabbit hole.

Discussion in 'Hammer & Tongs' started by ammotech, Jul 20, 2014.

  1. ammotech


    Jul 20, 2014
    I've always had an affinity for knives.

    I've never owned many, but have always taken care of the ones I did. I recently broke my favorite knife, my SOG trident. :( (All in all probably not the greatest knife ever, but it made it through 2 deployments of rough abuse.)

    With that being said and done, Ive decided to take it upon myself to design and make my own. I've been lurking as a guest on this site for a few weeks now and have soaked up quite a bit of information from various threads on individuals first knife builds, and I know there is still quite a bit of knowledge still to be had.

    With my new found knowledge I have designed my first blade and decided my first post should be to see what the consensus is on my design. Seeing how most of the veterans say to stick with paper first, that's what I have done. I haven't ordered any steel, no handle material has been purchased, and my tools are tucked away on standby until I get the design spot on first.

    So, I fired up Illustrator, the place where I spend most of my free time anyways.

    This is what came out:


    Critiques are greatly appreciated, because I know there are probably some things that need to be tweaked on this.

    I plan on using stock removal on 440c and probably some sort of composite handle, be it micarta or other. I have access to a 60w CO2 laser that I will be using to mark the steel, and engrave it once all is said and done. I plan on making a filing jig, like Gough Customs shows in his videos. Lastly, I have most all the tools I need already, minus a slab of granite or glass for sanding, and the buckets of sanding materials that I will be using.

    As for the design, the pin placement has me baffled. I'm not sure what the general rule is on how to place them. What I did, and I don't know if this is correct, was to keep them far enough from the ricasso and butt edge of the handle slabs as to not put undo stress on them and run the chance of splitting. Then I placed them on a center line in the tang that followed the curve of the spine. There was some guesswork and nudging them off this line to make it more aesthetically pleasing. I'm happy with them, but do not know if this is correct.

    I've heard that the front and rear quillons tend to be tricky, so I may remove them if it is going to be a pain in the rear, however, mine do not seem to be that large compared to some knives I've seen and may not be considered quillons to begin with, haha.

    Also, when it comes to the choil. What is the order of operations for this? Does one drill a hole and then profile the blank? Profile the blank, cut the plunge line, then shape the choil?

    Anywho, Thank you all in advance, and thanks for all of the knowledge dispensed thus far.
  2. Willie71

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

    Feb 23, 2013
    That is a good design. The handle will take a bit of work, but like you said you can simplify it if needed. For the choil, you can use a round file. For the pins, use three evenly spaced pins. Don't go too close to the edge of the scales or you risk chipping out as you said. I would put a third one in the middle. I tend not to use finger grooves, and use a palm swell, but a lot of people like the grooves. They do limit the hand positions that are comfortable though.

    Have you considered a steel like S35VN? There is nothing wrong with 440c, but the newer steels are tougher. I recently did a similar sized skinner in AEB-L and the owner loves it. It's an older steel, but with good heat treat is quite tough too. I only use S35VN and AEB-L now.
  3. newknif

    newknif Banned BANNED

    Apr 30, 2014
    I'll tell you, this is one of the reasons I love this site. Very smart people with knowledge that was probably hard earned willing to help someone simply because they asked. This place has a lot of class for this reason in my opinion.
  4. ammotech


    Jul 20, 2014
    Thanks Willie,

    I will add the third pin and move the outer most two more inward.

    I had chosen 440 because it seemed to be what everyone has suggests in other posts for starter stainless. I will have to look into s35vn and AEB as I am not heat treating them myself.

    And I agree with you Knewknif, the people on this forum are startlingly helpful. It's a breath of fresh air.
  5. Willie71

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

    Feb 23, 2013
    That design would look really good with a hollow grind, but that is a whole different kettle of fish. The pins would probably be ok where you have them, but a little adjustment would keep it on the safe side, especially if you go bigger than 1/8".

    I was shocked with the helpfulness of this site when I joined too. It's a great place.
  6. Fletch Helical

    Fletch Helical

    Sep 29, 2009
    Overall I think it's a pretty good design, not necessarily my cup of tea but that's why we make knives, to make them how we want :D.

    I don't see the need for the choil to be like that, you have the front finger guard why bother putting such a big curved choil in there? I'd go with more of a straight one even if you have to lessen the width of the blade a bit and give yourself a bit more ricasso.

    For the handle I'd just make it more a curve from the finger guard to the rear quillon if we want to call it that. I agree with Willie move the pins further in to give yourself a bit more "meat" around them. You can stick with two pins like that (I like Corbys over pins) or you can toss in a third if you like. And I wouldn't leave that exposed part of steel at the butt. If you want a lanyard hole put a tube in the handle and have the scales cover the whole handle. Mind you I'm being fairly conservative and like the school of though that for your first knife just make a knife to gain the experience and gain an understanding of the steps involved. Make it as "perfect" as your abilities allow, whatever they may be. Focus on making sure the fit and finish are good, you're not leaving any scratches on the blade in your finish, etc. If you're serious about making knives it won't be the last one you ever make and you can always make your "dream" design on the next one or the one after that because it never ends lol. But a basic drop point hunter design is a good all around user for most tasks.

    But again nothing particularly horrible about that design either if that's what you want to do. If you're building it for a specific task then by all means run with it. For me when I got into making knives I just wanted a good hunting knife and that's what I went with. Even now I'll eventually build myself another one someday that will likely be different from my first one and carry that on hunts but I know mine is better than a store bought anything so I'm good with that for field dressing game until I want a prettier one. But if your making it for a specific use in mind, whether it's hunting, camping, fishing, survival, military use, everyday carry, display, or the zombie apocalypse then go for it :). That's part of the fun of making them you can do what you like. When you're ready make a cardboard cutout at least and "use" it as a knife for a little while. If you want to go more realistic use thin wood or a piece of plexiglass get some play dough and mold the handle shape too to see how it feels in your hand, that's also useful when you start shaping the handle regardless you can even shape it around the cardboard cutout.

    Last for steel you can also consider something like CPM 154 or ATS 34 both are similar. My first knife was ATS 34 and done basically all with hand tools and it wasn't horrible to work with and I've made a few knives out of ATS 34. But again like anything else you're the maker and the decisions are all yours. Keep us posted.
  7. ammotech


    Jul 20, 2014
    Quick update.

    Work has been nuts. I work for a rather large Japanese auto manufacturers R&D department, and we had an incident with one of our cars on the Green Hell...so lots of countermeasures need to be applied. And thats about all I can say on that subject, on to the knife.

    I got a chance to work a little bit tonight on making a prototype of the blank out of some gray ABS (PLASTRUCT) that I picked up at the local hobby store. I used it back in the day when I was heavily into tabletop wargaming making my own units, but thats a whole other can of nerdy worms. :D

    It feels nice in the hand, but the handle may be a bit short. That's ok though, many sheets of ABS still remain...haha.


    I'm having quite a bit of fun doing this. Still, refinement and attention to detail prevail, so this may be a drawn out process...thanks OCD...

    Let me know what you all think.

    As always comments and crits are a big help!
  8. Fletch Helical

    Fletch Helical

    Sep 29, 2009
    I still think that hump behind the finger guard will feel uncomfortable with the scales on. Good trick since you have that done in the ABS is get yourself some Play-doh and mold them as the scales so you can get a better feel when there's some meat around the handle. It's also a good way to play with different things like palm swells and whatnot for when you shape the scales on the actual knife, you can cut it off once you have the shape you want when the time comes and use it as a guide when roughing out the scales especially with a palm swell so you know where to start and stop it.
  9. EastCompassoKnivery


    Feb 26, 2014
    My only recommendation if you plan to heat treat it yourself is to use a different steel. Also I think the bump behind the finger will be more trouble/un comfort than it's worth. But that is just my opinion

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