First Knife Build - O1 Skinner

Discussion in 'Hammer & Tongs' started by bikedave99, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. bikedave99


    Feb 9, 2016
    Well, I've lurked around here for a few months soaking up the good stuff and perusing the FAQs and WIPs. I've been working on my first knife on an off for a few weeks now wanted to share my progress. I wanted to make a skinner type knife and I really like my Sharpfinger so figured I would emulate that to a degree. I ended up at dcknives.blogspot perusing the knife templates he has generously put up there and my eye caught the design inspired by Bona's "Lizard". Beautiful simple knife with good lines, I love it.

    I settled on O1 and picked up a 5/32" x 1.5" x 36" piece as well as some 1/8" brass rod for pins. I scavenged some walnut chairrail cutoffs from work so that is what I will use for scales. I don't have any photos of the rough cut, but used my angle grinder and a 4"x36" belt sander to cut and then smooth out the rough cut. I used a small spindle sander mounted in my die grinder to clean up the finger groove. I then laid out and drilled the handle pin holes. Using an 1/8" drill bit I scribed two lines down the center blade to give me something to file to. I built the Aaron Gough (thanks!) file guide and went to town on filing. It was at this point that I learned the joy of filing a recurve blade. I realized I had to switch between my larger wide file and a narrow 3/8" wide file in order to keep the bevel at the inside curve section even.


    I was going to stick with the bevel following the blade edge, but with the somewhat thick piece of metal I was working with, I elected to go to a mostly flat grind. Here is after all the bevel filing, then draw filing and sanding to 220:

    I then drilled some bigger weight reduction/epoxy puddle holes in the tang:


    I rough cut out my walnut scales, drilled the pin holes and cut my pins:

    Then for fun, dropped my scales into thinned poly and pumped it down to 25" mercury with my brake bleeder pump and held it there for a few hours. I have no idea if this is beneficial or not, but it bubbled like crazy and sucked up the combo so it may have done something:

    Heat treating was next, I built a 2-brick forge with some K23s sourced form a local pottery shop. I lined it with furnace cement and wrapped it in mesh. I botched the first attempt at treating and didn't get it hot enough. The second time I took it to non-magnetic then let it heat for a few more seconds and plunged into canola oil:

    I file tested it for hardness then tempered it in oven at 400 twice. It warped a little in the quench, and I had to clamp it to something straight for the tempering. It came out as close to straight as I could hope. I hand sanded it up to 1000 then epoxied on the scales:

    I chucked up my small spindle sander attachment into my router table, slowed my router way down and sanded the scales to match the tang. That leaves us here:

    I cut then 1/4" and 1/2" strips of sand paper, clamped the knife blade in my vise and rounded the scales over to where I like them. I sanded up to 1000, then coated it in boiled linseed oil and here we are:


    On the next one I work a little longer on hand sanding the bare blade before putting the scales on to get the sanding grain I want. I think I will also leave a nub metal at the tip of the blade so that it isn't so easy to accidentally ruin the tip with lazy file stroke. I learned that trick from someone on here (can't remember who) but forgot to implement it. Well, there's lots I'll do different but I'm thrilled with this one so far. Hopefully I can get it to take an edge well. I will be using my Lansky 5-stone kit to set the edge, hopefully that goes well!

    I appreciate any constructive criticism, thanks for looking!
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016
  2. 66sprint6


    Jan 21, 2016
    Very interesting, turned out really nice. Im a fan of Walnut handles for some odd reason and I really like the way yours turned out!

  3. tinkerer


    Oct 6, 2009
    Nice. Big fan of working out of the box.

  4. redsquid2

    redsquid2 Добрая Росомаха Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 31, 2011
    The brake bleeder! I love it!

    Also, great knife profile; a graceful design!
  5. Hengelo_77

    Hengelo_77 Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    I like it
  6. bikedave99


    Feb 9, 2016
    Thanks guys, it's been fun. Got the edge set on my 5 stone lansky. Took a long time on that extra coarse stone to get it roughed in. Took it to 1000 on the stones then stropped it.


    And now I'm missing some more arm hair:
  7. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    Excellent job!

    One step you didn't mention it as part of your project was finishing the front of the scales before assembly. After your poly treatment, you should have cured them for a couple days, and then temporarily pinned them together off the tang. You then sand the front surface smooth and to the final grade of paper/buffing/etc. The front can't be finished easily after assembly. Also, the little point at the top of the scales should have been rounded back to take the point off. It will easily chip off in use as it is now.

    Another note is not to clamp the scales on too hard. With all those screw clamps, you have squeezed all the epoxy out except in the two big holes. Those epoxy bridges plus the pins and any epoxy they have along their sides is all that is holding your handle on. At the little tip I was commenting on, there is likely no resin really left in the bond. On the next one, use light weight grip spring clamps.
  8. bikedave99


    Feb 9, 2016
    Stacy, thanks for your input and criticisms, they are very welcome. I did neglect to note some aspects of the build which you called out. After my poly treat, I did give it probably 3 days or curing, including some time over an incandescent lamp to bring the temp of the scales up a little bit. I then dryfit the scales with my pins, and sanded the front of the scales to 1000 grit, which, in the end grain of walnut, produced a magnificently smooth finish. I did intend to use spring clamps for the glue up, but had to abandon that track since the clamps I had on hand were too wide to fit in-between my pins. I tried to be very gentle in the clamping, but I could still very well have starved the joints. I also neglected to mention that I roughened the inside of the scales and the tang with 100grit in hopes of providing more grip for the epoxy. I was mostly concerned about the tip were the wood goes to nothing, hopefully that holds. I probably do need to round that over, I really like the look of the sharp front but I'm certain you are correct about it chipping.
  9. Justin Schmidt

    Justin Schmidt Schmidt Forge

    Feb 18, 2016
    wow. as a newb myself i gotta say, that is BEAUTIFUL. Good luck on your adventure. Btw I love how you angled the scales to flow with the blade, very nice touch. :thumbup:
  10. Lance23


    Jul 24, 2014
    Way nicer than my first few, but I'm on #5 and way less patient it seems.
    I'm learning though and seeing your work gives me confidence.
  11. abbydaddy

    abbydaddy Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 14, 2014
    That is a pretty outstanding first try!
  12. bikedave99


    Feb 9, 2016
    Thanks Valk, it can be done! I did pull my inspiration on this knife from another so I can't claim design credit.

    Thanks Lance! I'm on #2 now.

    Thanks, hey, I'm an abby daddy too! Nice!

    Here is my second knife, shape and style selected by a friend. Fresh out of quench, getting ready for a little scrub in the sink and into the oven for temper:
  13. DukeHarley


    Apr 11, 2014
    That is a very nice looking knife. You did very well.

  14. Bona

    Bona The Art of Harmony

    Apr 27, 2006
    Nice :)
  15. bikedave99


    Feb 9, 2016
    Bona! I finally just put it together! Truly a beautiful design, I very much appreciate you stopping by!

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