Adding Jimping to your custom made knife

The Jimping is the small notches or file work typically cut into the back of a blade. jimping is used to prevent your fingers from sliding when using the knife.

I first laid out and cut with the band saw. A hacksaw would work well here if you didn’t have access to a bandsaw. Then start the filing with a triangle edge of a file. I used a 7/32” chainsaw file to cut this Jimping. I cut 10 Stokes on each hole until the cut marks disappeared. By counting strokes I had even depth all the way across.

There are endless types and styles of jimping. And there are endless ways to cut it.

Some knife makers who do jimping as lot will use a checkering file. These come in different sizes for a fine or course cut. They definitely add to the cost of equipment money spent if you decided to go this route. If you want the very fine and machinery cut look, it’s the best and quickest way to go however.

First you should decide if you want or need jimping, and what you think you need it for.

But here is how I did one knife. You can also see others:

There are mixed opinions in the knife world as to whether jimping is a good thing or not. Some knife makers put it on for aesthetical reasons, others do not like it at all.

A practical reason is to form a reference “feel” point for the blade. Obviously it does do this, the question is, “Is it needed”?

It’s also put there as a “stop” for your hand or thumb from sliding forward. The added grip add when the jimping is made can help ass friction. But once again the question comes up, “Is it needed”?

Some knife users will go as far as removing the jimping from their favorite knife.

So bottom line is it depends on the user and how they are using the knife.


Knife – 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine – Cold Blued

Notes: cross peen or rounding hammer would be used

  • forge the point first
  • keep it straight as you go
  • keep refining the profile within each section as you go
  • for the entire blade profile (we’ll do the tang after)
  • after the profile is formed forge the edge
  • forge one section at a time
  • Remember to use the right side of the hammer  to pull the steel (round side or cross peen side)
  • rough profile the length a section at a time
  • go back and smooth it after
  • Keep the knife bigger than the patter
  • Blade is 5 1/2″
  • Overall Length is 9 3/4″
  • The blade was blued with gun blue (cold blue)

This knife was forged from an implement tine.  This should be close to 5150 if the information on the internet is correct. I found it to be a little harder to forge than the 108x.

I drew out the blade first, shaping it as I went. From a forging perspective it was much different than the last knife I forged except this was to be a full tang.

Wetting the anvil and hammer helps get rid of the scale. Just dip your hammer in your water bucket a few times and throw the water on the anvil and continue as normal.

After forging, I started with a 36-grit ceramic belt and worked my way up to 220. I think I’m starting to hit the other end of the learning curve. Grinding is getting easier. I still did some hand sanding, I only sanded to 180 grit then hit it with a course finishing belt.

There are times when I get closer and into finish sanding, I have the belt going as slow as it will go. It allows better control and mistakes become much smaller and easier to overcome. At this stage taking your time and constant focus is the best advice I can give.

This time I didn’t forget to normalize. I almost forgot my makers mark, but added it in between the first and second normalizing cycle.


Normalizing Your Knife

  • When a knife is forged it needs to be normalized. Forging adds stress to the steel. If you research this, you will find it has to do with the grain structure of the steel. But for now, just know it needs to be done.
  • Normalizing is a pretty simple process. Heat the metal to nonmagnetic then let it air cool. For most metals we’ll talk about in this book, doing this three times should do the trick. After annealing you can go straight to heat treatment.
  • Typically normalizing is not required with stock removal but I recommend you normalize recycled steel. If in doubt, normalize.

Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
the original tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
wetting the anvil to help remove the scale
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine

Adding the Jimping

I marked out and drilled the tang holes and added the Jimping to “Knife – 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine – Cold Blued”.

I marked the tang for the spline embellishment. I marked about every quarter inch and marked the center line. I drilled holes at each intersection. Then using the corner of a square file, I cut a V in-between each hole on both sides of the spline.

Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine
Knife - 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine

Cold Bluing

The blade of this Knife – 42 Hunter Forged from an Implement Tine – Cold Blued was blued using a cold bluing technique. This will help keep the high carbon blades from rusting.

Here is my technique.

  • Polish the blade to the desired finish. A polished blade takes blue better, but it’s not a requirement.
  • Wipe the blue on and let it sit for a minute or so. Buff it out.
  • Repeat the entire process until it reaches the texture you like, or it stops changing.

Knife 34 – Hidden Tang Aluminum Framed Knife

  • 1084 Steel
  • Framed hidden tang
  • Drop point.
  • Blade length 6”
  • Handle length 4 ¾”
  • Overall length 11”

Knife 34 – Hidden Tang Aluminum Framed knife – Here it the process for this knife.

Layout and design. Basically, this was marking the basic outline on the steel.

On this knife I did another Jimping sample and decided to use 9/32″ spacing

The jimping was first laid out and cut with the band saw. A hacksaw would work well here if you didn’t have access to a bandsaw. I then started the filing with a triangle edge of a file. I then used a chainsaw file ADD FILE SIZE> to cut the Jimping. I cut 10 Stokes on each hole until the cut marks disappeared. That way I had even depth all the way across.  (See Adding Jimping to your knife)

  • I the ground the blade profile only
  • I marked the blade center
  • I marked the blade start line
  • Using a grind stop I ground the blade bevel.
  • I marked out the aluminum frame and cut it out on the band saw and used the belt grinder to finalize the rough shape.

I cut grooves in frame with bandsaw. These were just cut free handed.

I found a piece of Walnut and cut the scales fr this Knife 34 – Hidden Tang Aluminum Framed Knife.

I test fitted the scales and frame to tang. I marked the outside outline where tang is going to be after installation.

I epoxied the scales and frame together. I used epoxy colored black to accentuate the aluminum frame pattern.

I decided to try grinding this knife free hand. I’ve discovered a couple tricks over the last few knives. Since they are working and improving, I’ll share them here. First, being able to slow down the grinder helps with control a lot.

Also, you need to make sure you move up the grit sooner than I thought to get the aggressive grit marks. I also discover I can move to hand sanding quicker, and back to the belt if needed. Hand sanding shows the problem areas that the grinder hides.

Moving back and forth between hand sanding and belt grinder seems to be my training wheels.

Slowing down the grinder also allows to keep going on a full grind from one end to the other without the blade getting to hot to hold.

One thing it took me a while to figure out is during grinding is you want to keep the knife perfectly level through the stroke, just like it was in a jig. Think of your hands as the jig. I have a desire to want to follow the curve at the end of the blade. Don’t do that!

The other thing I decided to try on this knife is a ball peen hammer pattern. I tried on the anvil buy it left scratches on the back side, so off to the bench with a piece of leather under it.

I’ll try this process while forging on a future knife, but this time it was a cold steal hammered pattern.

The knife came out of the quench warped. I used the Temper straightening technique in Temper Straightening a Custom Made Knife

Next step was to hand sand again from 220 grit to 3000.

I then epoxied the handle on the Knife 34 – Hidden Tang Aluminum Framed Knife and pinned both the handle to the knife and pinned the back part of the handle together with the frame.

This was then sanded using the grinder to 600 grit.

I then hand sanded from 500 grit to 3000.


Knife 33 – Hidden Tang Antler Handled Hunter

The Knife 33 – Hidden Tang Antler Handled Hunter knife was made from a file using the stock removal technique.

I typically anneal the files buy heating them to nonmagnetic then just shutting down the forge and sitting some firebrick to close of the doors. I leave them over night. Another process I have used with success is heating the files to nonmagnetic then putting them in a container with wood ashes. Again, just leave them overnight.

Day 1 started at 12pm, done at 4pm

  • Layout. I designed based on the file size and what I was trying to achieve.
  • I cut the jimping. I marked grooves 5/16″ apart (see Adding Jimping to your knife )
  • I cut a rough profile with the bandsaw
Knife 33 - Hidden Tang Antler Handled Hunter - jimping
Knife 33 - Hidden Tang Antler Handled Hunter - jimping
Knife 33 - Hidden Tang Antler Handled Hunter - jimping
Knife 33 - Hidden Tang Antler Handled Hunter - jimping

Then I went to the grinder and ground and finished up to 320 grit

Knife 33 - Hidden Tang Antler Handled Hunter
Knife 33 - Hidden Tang Antler Handled Hunter

The bevel was ground with the bevel jig

Knife 33 - Hidden Tang Antler Handled Hunter
Knife 33 - Hidden Tang Antler Handled Hunter
  • Added touch mark
  • Hand sanded the knife. I started with 100 grit and went to 600 grit I found a piece of brass to make the finger guard. I used the milling machine to cut out the finger guard but drilling a couple holes and filing with a round or needle nose file works as well.
  • I fitted the finger guard. Final fitting was completed by hand filing.
  • Last thing of the day was Heat treating the knife
Knife 33 - Hidden Tang Antler Handled Hunter
Knife 33 - Hidden Tang Antler Handled Hunter
Using the mill to cut the slot
Knife 33 - Hidden Tang Antler Handled Hunter

Day 2

  • Temper
  • Hand sanded again (I eventually learned not to do this twice)
  • Sharpened
  • Fitted the finger guard
  • Drilled and fitted the antler epoxy the antler on

A little research showed that there are several ways to mount antler on a hidden tang knife.

You can burn the antler in. Like burning in a wood handle. You drill a hole smaller than the tang. Heat the tang and push the handle down on the tang so it burns in. You repeat the process until the handle is in place. You’d want to do this before heat treating or wrap the blade with a wet cloth. I tried this process, but it didn’t work very well on this antler so I decided to file it out.

You can also boil the antler then push the antler on the tang. You repeat this process until the antler is all the way on. Try to push straight with no side to side movement. Once in place hold it until the antler cools. The material will cool and bond like glue and hold the handle in place like it was epoxied on.

I filed the hole until I was able to get the antler in place. I then filled the void with epoxy and clamped it to dry. I wiped any excess epoxy with a rag and denatured alcohol.

Knife 33 - Hidden Tang Antler Handled Hunter
Knife 33 - Hidden Tang Antler Handled Hunter
Knife 33 - Hidden Tang Antler Handled Hunter
Knife 33 - Hidden Tang Antler Handled Hunter
Knife 33 - Hidden Tang Antler Handled Hunter
Knife 33 - Hidden Tang Antler Handled Hunter