View Full Version : What sort of knives have you made?

Grahame Collins
9th Dec 2008, 08:05 PM
G'day All,
A few posts back there has been some inquiry from Arda about the method /process used in cutting materials used in knife making.

In an effort to expand the collective knowledge, I hope everyone who can, will offer some of their knowledge about materials, processes or even both.

Hopefully those amongst us that have already made a knife or two can offer some instructive insights into the mysteries about the materials and methods used in the making of knives.

As I said in the other post I am far from calling myself a knife maker and had made a few,not more than twenty just to see if I could make some workable and useful tools.

Not being much into the show pony type stuff, mine are made to be used,

I stated as many do with power hacksaw blades and felt that while the blades where sharp they were better materials.
I have made blades from varying materials including:

Carbon steel springs from cars and trucks.
High speed steel -lathe parting off tool.
A circular saw blade
A broken cold saw blade.

I like to recycle and did so long before it became eco fashionable , mainly because of $ rather than the environment.

I still have a piece of 440C $tainless $teel 50 x5 waiting for the right blade shape to come along.

The high steel and cold saw blades were ground ,while the others where fabricated ,forged and heat treated.

Tools have been hacksaw ,files, wet & dry paper, grinders for roughing out and in later years a linisher tool that bolts onto an 8" bench grinder.

Perhaps this may start a few more knives being stared off.

What do you reckon ?


9th Dec 2008, 08:41 PM
I make knives as a hobby, I don't make show knives and most that I make now are by commission, the list includes hunters, bowies, carving, boot knives, under water knives, religous items, I very rarely nowdays use anything but new stock, saves a lot time not having to aneal first. I harden all but stainless steel myself the latter I send to Melbourne. I use grinders and hand tools, forging is some I would like to do in the future.

9th Dec 2008, 08:52 PM

As stated in my post to Ardas inquiry , I have made a few knives ,as like yours users and utility tools .Mostly roughies.
I have made them from HSS powerhacksaw blades steel rule and car springs .
I still have the hss hacksaw blade one in my tool box ,it has served me well for many years .The handle is made from copper wire wrapped around the end with a cover of thick adhesive filled heat shrink.
One use ful knife Ive made is for cutting rubber sheet ,I made it from a good quality paint scraper the cutting egde is curved and the knife is held upright in a fist grip with the blade down wards .Water is used to lube the blade as it is drawn through the rubber as rubber tends to grab the blade.
I made a pig sticker for a pig hunter from a car spring a few years ago, not really a knife but more of a lance , the brave soul wanted to hunt pigs with the point on a pole.
I've used a variety of tools to shape them but mostly grinders and linishers.

By no means am I knife maker or cutler.


9th Dec 2008, 10:22 PM
Whilst in New Zealand last year we saw an add for a knife making day. We thought it would be fun (alright...I thought it would be fun but my wife really enjoyed the day as well) so signed up for the day. It was a great experience and my wife and I both learnt a lot about making a knife.
We started out with the raw materials

we then heated the steel in the forge and pounded it into shape

Initial shaping on the linishers then attached the Rimu handle slabs and brass bolster followed by more shaping at the linishers

Once the shaping was finished it was on to the sanding and polishing with finer and finer grades of sandpaper and then wet and dry. A LOT of sanding but the results were pretty impressive and we were/are very proud of our hand made knives.

The forging process adds a fair amount of carbon to the steel so a resonable quality blade is produced.
My wife and I both had a great day and would recommend anyone in the region of Barrytown NZ to have a go.

The photos on here are not mine. I don't have any stills of the day because we were both so engrossed in the process. These photos are from a travel blog on the net.
Google knifemaking in Barrytown if you are interested.
The knives we made were very similar (but better :roll:) to the ones in the photo.
I bought some pre tempered blanks from the US when the dollar was good and am working on them now.

9th Dec 2008, 11:43 PM
Thanks for the posts and this certainly help me as a beginner.

Grahame, may i ask where did you get your 440C from?

I rang around Brissie found a place which sell Gauge Plates . it's asking me around 60 to $90 for 500mm length (thickness about 5mm x 50 mm) - I belive it is O1 type toolsteel.

Any info on where I can get D2 or simillar at about 5 to 8 mm thickness and 50 to 60 mm width would be appreciated


10th Dec 2008, 02:58 AM
Dad was an airframe fitter (3SQN RAAF) during the war, and I've just inherited (he hasn't died yet) his course notes from his training.

I found the information on heat treating steel pretty interesting. Particularly as I discovered some tempering could be done in a domestic oven, right alongside the pizza.

I don't believe they carried any furnaces in the desert (if a part was broken it was replaced with new or [presumably] cannibalised), but he knew how to harden, temper, anneal and case-harden steel.

More recently, I found a how-to on the www by a bloke who makes knives out of circular saw blades. I found that pretty interesting too. I've got a couple of blades I'm not likely to use as blades, and if anyone wants one to try out sawandbits.com has a few for sale at a competitive price.

10th Dec 2008, 04:30 PM


Keith writes the knife making articles in the Australian Shooters Journal. He also publishes a free newsletter.

I have some 40mm tool steel in the shed (in Brisbane). I will check the grade and thicknesses and advise back. I am pretty sure I have some wider lengths as well.

Andy Mac
10th Dec 2008, 04:54 PM
I've made a couple of functional ones, as in whittling knives which I've posted before (http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com.au/showthread.php?t=24288&highlight=whittling+knives).
I've also made more decorative ones, like a Medievel dagger as part of a costume, but still dangerous! I mostly use spring steel for blade stock, either leaf or spring...its easy to get hold of and not overly fussy with tempering. It can be bought from a spring works as annealed stock.
I have made a number of whittling knives from recycled kitchen knives (ex St. Vinnies), so more a case of modifying the blades than starting from scratch. I have about a dozen in my workshop toolkit for teaching.
My next knife will be a crook knife (http://www.raymears.com/Bushcraft_Products/Specialised_Tools/), a curved blade tool for hollowing wood when spoon making etc. There are a few sites around that go into detail about making them, but can't find one right now! Try Googling mocotaugan.


Grahame Collins
10th Dec 2008, 08:02 PM
Thanks for the posts and this certainly help me as a beginner.

Grahame, may i ask where did you get your 440C from?

Any info on where I can get D2 or simillar at about 5 to 8 mm thickness and 50 to 60 mm width would be appreciated

Honestly I would do my learning on stuff you can afford to throw away if you fubar!

Places like ASM - Australian Speciality metals, Bohler Uderholm, Atlas steels and others you may find in the yellow pages under steel merchants will likely carry D2,O1 and 440C, possibly in the stock sizes suitable for a knife.
I would not mention it was for a knife as I found some merchants were not particularly helpful to amatuer knifemakers and was left with a feeling they would rather talk to industry clients who know what they want.

Keith aka (The Blademaster) has developed the AKC into a venue for enhancing his own sales of Knife magazine books, tools, hardware the knives themselves and and materials.
Without saying too much it may be cost effective to search other avenues first.

eg. Note the 316 for guards etc in the link. At $69 for 300mm x 50mm x 5mm thats $230 per metre.

Compare this price with a steel merchant to understand what I mean.

There is a Book title on handmade knives out there which can be picked up cheaply on Plough Books or Nile books..

When I get a bit more time maybe later after tea.I will do search.
Edit found it- see pic -Book is at Nile(google it)
Also a great link for povo (like me) knifemakers.You do not need expensive materials or a lot of tools.See this