Tutorials
Hints and Tips:  Page 1
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Visualizing Your Knife Design Before Starting A Project

When deciding what knife blank to purchase, it often helps to visualize what your personal creation  is going to look like. This is especially true of hidden tang knife blades where you have a much wider latitude in handle design.
Find a picture of the knife you like on the internet and save it ( Right click...Save Picture As). Obviously, you need to find a good profile shot.
Use a decent graphics program to blow it up to actual size. There are a lot of programs that will do this simple operation. My personal favorite is a little known and inexpensive program from England called Xara X
Print it out and to clean it up, trace the picture of the blade. ( I hold the printed picture up to a window during daylight or a TV screen at night). Now you can sketch and "try" different handle design to find the one you like best.
Making Custom Bolsters from Bar Stock
Gotta know where you're going if you expect to get where you want to. Plan the bolsters ahead on paper. This is the Shark  blade which, although beautiful blade that it is,  comes without predrilled holes for a bolster or guard. We're going to add  nickel silver bolsters. ( I'm also going to use a fiberglass cutting wheel on a Dremel Mototool to remove the thumb and finger guards on the bottom to give it a sleeker look.
I use a carbide drill in a drill press to drill the two bolster pin holes in the hardened steel of the blade handle. Go slow. Drill a bit, back it off and drill some more. The carbide drill is VERY hard, but it's also brittle. Don't use the carbide drill for anything other than hardened steel. It IS NOT a general purpose drill.

A common hacksaw is the perfect tool for cutting two small pieces off of the larger piece of nickel silver bar stock to use for your bolsters.

Shape and clean up the front edges of the bolsters before mounting  to the knife. It's a whole lot easier to do it now. Pass the back and inside edges over the bench sander now too to make for perfectly flat edges.

I
use a fiberglass disk on the Dremel to cut the 1/8" pins to length. Cut them about 1/8" oversize and bevel the ends so they'll slide into the bolster holes easier without getting hung up.
I use a drop of super glue and a pair of vice grips to hold the first bolster in place while drilling through the holes you already drilled in the blade. Use a regular high speed steel drill for this, not the carbide drill bit. Brass and nickel silver are both soft enough to machine with normal tools.
Use a drop of super glue and the vice grip pliers to hold the second bolster in place. Check alignment several times since once you start drilling there's no going back. Use the holes you drilled in the first bolster ( facing up) as a guide to drill the bolster holes through the second bolster.
Insert the pins and peen ( hammer). The soft metal of the pins will expand under the hammering and lock the bolsters in place much like a rivet would. Don't worry about hammering the pins  flush, just tight. These can be sanded off when you shape the handle slabs on the bench sander.

I
use the bench sander to trim the profile to the rough  shape of the handle. Final shaping and sanding can be done after you add the slab handle material of your choice.

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                       Got a good tip that you think your fellow knifemakers would like to know about?   Drop me a note at  northcoastknives@juno.com