Knife 46 – 4” Hunter – EDC – Dyed Wood Framed Tang – Stabilizing Scales

Steel –  1/8” 1095

Blade 4”

Overall – 8 7/8”


Stabilizing Scales

At this point I decided I wanted to stabilize the wood I used for handles. Stabilizing Scales (and handles) helps eliminate the possibility of the handle going bad because of moisture causing expansion or contraction if it dries out. It minimizes or eliminates warping, cracking and other issues that can occur with wood when used under extreme circumstances. It also would allow me to use some spalted wood that wouldn’t normally be a good handle.

The equipment required for Stabilizing Scales is a bit expensive, so if you’re only going to make a few knives, and have no other use, it’s may be best to just buy scales or use wood that’s dry and stable. You may also want to focus more on making knives. Either way using stabilized scales is a great way to get some interesting figured scales.

If you want to stabilize your own however, you’ll need a vacuum pump, a vacuum chamber, a scale and stabilizing liquid. You’ll also be using the toaster oven. I chose Cactus Juice (it’s a brand name, not real Cactus Juice) for the stabilizer. This process also allows you to dye the wood in multiple colors, although it will add expense for each color.

I dry the blanks in the oven. I built a rack so they would stay separated. I weigh one and put it in for a couple of hours at about 210 degrees. Some documentation says to use 220 degrees, but I’ve had scales start to burn at 220 degrees. Other documentation says to leave it for 24 hours, but I refuse to leave wood roasting in my shop when I’m not there.

After a couple hours I start weighing one piece and tracking the weight. When it stops losing weight, I give it one more 30 minute cycle and stop it there. I immediately put it in a zip lock bag, wrap it in plastic wrap or put it in an airtight container to keep it from sucking up the moisture from the air.

From here follow the manufacturer’s instructions to stabilize it.

You will see the results in some of the knives.

Knife 46 - 4” Hunter - EDC - Dyed Wood Framed Tang
Knife 46 - 4” Hunter - EDC - Dyed Wood Framed Tang
Knife 46 - 4” Hunter - EDC - Dyed Wood Framed Tang
Knife 46 - 4” Hunter - EDC - Dyed Wood Framed Tang
Knife 46 - 4” Hunter - EDC - Dyed Wood Framed Tang
Knife 46 - 4” Hunter - EDC - Dyed Wood Framed Tang
Knife 46 - 4” Hunter - EDC - Dyed Wood Framed Tang
Knife 46 - 4” Hunter - EDC - Dyed Wood Framed Tang
Knife 46 - 4” Hunter - EDC - Dyed Wood Framed Tang

Full Tang Puukko

This Full Tang Puukko, being a full tang, this would not be considered a traditional Puukko

  • 1/8” 1080 steel
  • Blade 4 3/8”
  • Overall Length 8 5/8”
  • Sapele scales
  • Hand rubbed oil finish

I found the scalloped finishing belts very helpful on the handle of this Full Tang Puukko.

Finding the right belts can be a bit of a learning curve. Here is a little of what I’ve picked up so far. Here is some information that may be helpful for the steel grinding.

You want ceramic belts for rough grinding

  • they last longer (a lot longer) than aluminum oxide.
  • they cut better
  • the cut cooler
  • 120 grit is about as high as they go
  • They do not work as well in wood and other handle materials.
  • Use and old belt to get the corners and rough edges off, then switch to a newer belt. It makes them last longer.

Grinding Nice Plunge Lines.

  • I’ve said this before, but Grinding even plunge lines is one of the hardest things for the beginner to do well. It is also one of the first things a buyer will likely check on your knives.
  • Using J Flex belts. J Flex Belts are about as flexible as abrasive belts get. It’s often recommended to starting with a 120 grit belt tracked slightly over the edge of the platen, but I start higher, like 220 grit. Experience may drop me back to 120, but not yet. The plunge line is ground on one side of the knife, If free hand grinding, normally the first grind is done on the off hand. The belt is then tracked over the other side of the platen and the other side of the knife is ground by eye to match. This method requires only a few dollars worth of belts but takes some practice. It is not uncommon to radius the platen for a better result, but with practice this is not necessary.
  • I will also Clamp the knife in a file guide and grind up the guide with the radiused edge of a Trizact Gator belt. Trizact Gators have an exceptionally deep coating of structured abrasive. Abrasive that has been laid down precisely on the backing. This can allow the user to grind up to the guide and leave a nice finish, even on both sides.

Finishing get a little trickier

  • Different finished require a different belt and a different technique.
  • I recently tried the Surface Conditioning (Non-Woven) Belts. They work very well for a non polished finish.
  • I still haven found anything that eliminates hand sanding for a finer finish, but slowing the belt down and working to higher grits in 3M 2X72 307EA TRIZACT works pretty well for me. They have a very flexible cloth. Used for metals only. Not used for wood because it will load up the pores. It’s a little slower but helps reduce hand sanding.
Knife 44 – Full Tang Puukko
Knife 44 – Full Tang Puukko
Knife 44 – Full Tang Puukko
Knife 44 – Full Tang Puukko
Knife 44 – Full Tang Puukko
Knife 44 – Full Tang Puukko
Knife 44 – Full Tang Puukko

Hidden Tang Puukko – Apple Cider Vinegar Patina

A Puukko is a Finnish utility knife

  • 1/8” 1080 steel
  • Blade 4 3/8”
  • Overall Length 8 5/8”
  • Sapele handle
  • Hand rubbed oil finish

I force a patina using Apple Cider Vinegar on “Hidden Tang Puukko – Apple Cider Vinegar Patina

Apple Cider Vinegar Forced Patina

A patina is a protective layer on your blade. It prevents further oxidation of your Carbon Steel and can make your knife more resistant to other forms of corrosion……… If you intend on forcing a patina onto your blade, just remember one thing. Appearance. A properly-done patina can look great, and you can actually customize it into special design and colors.

https://www.theknifehub.com/patina/

I have tried several different types of forced patina at this point. Using apple cider vinegar seems to work fairly well

I first did it before adding the handle.   I cleaned the knife with denature alcohol

I put the apple cider vinegar in a plastic container and heated it to boil in the microwave.

I let the knife sit in the vinegar for several hours. Every once in a while, I took it out for inspection. After a few hours I took the knife out, buffed it with a clean shop rag, wiped it clean with denatured alcohol.

I put the vinegar back in the microwave and ran through the cycle again.

When it was dark enough, I wiped it clean. I cleaned it well to neutralize the acid.  (I didn’t wash it with baking soda, but I would recommend it to be safe)

I then finished the knife.

From the work on the handle there were some scuff marks, so I taped the bolster and handle and ran the knife through one cycle with the vinegar. As I put the knife in the vinegar, I tried to get the vinegar to a level that it hit all the blade but not on the bolster. Error ever so slightly on the side of the blade. It’s already etched, and you shouldn’t need to leave it in to long for this touchup.

I then dried the knife, neutralized the blade, and buffed with some polish being careful not to buff the patina off. I then buffed the blade with oil.


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 39 – Hunting – Larger Skinner – Etching with Ferric Chloride

Knife 39 – Hunting – Larger Skinner – Etching with Ferric Chloride is still one of my favorite designs. It’s a simple yet elegant. It a great looking knife in a very simplistic way. A traditional old style knife.

  • This one was made from 3/16” 1095 steel.
  • The handle is Cocobolo with an aluminum added spacer and firework.
  • Brass pins

I did this knife with all hand grinding (except for final hand sanding). I finally figured out how to grind straight and completely horizontal. As the knife curves, pull the handle end away from the belt ever so slightly. It only takes a little practice to get this right.

I made an aluminum spacer for this knife. After some fussing around I wound up epoxying the aluminum spacer to the blade. After the epoxy had cured, I was sanding it back flush and one side popped off. I found the other side easy to remove. I decided not to use the aluminum spacers for this knife because of this.

Etching

I wanted a dark etch on this knife so I set up with some Ferric Chloride. I used the Ferric chloride straight. After a 15-minute soak it came out with an even light gray color.

Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner
Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner
Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner
Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner
Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner
Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner
Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner
Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner
Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner
Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner

Etching with Ferric Chloride

To make the containers for the ferric acid I took 2 pieces of 3” PVC and plugged one end and added a cap on the top. I found this sand blast medium barrel perfect for a base for a bit more stability. Clamping it to the wall or a post will work as well. You just do not want it to be tipped over.

I have Used it full strength. Some knife makers suggest diluting it. It will take some experimenting to determine which works best for you.

The second container is for a baking soda mix to neutralize the acid after etching is complete.


Knife 37 – Utility/EDC – With File Work

  • Blade 3 3/8”
  • Overall Length 7 5/8”

A small utility knife made from a file. I made this knife to try filing on the spline.

  • I marked the plunge line and the handle so I would know where it was.
  • I started by grinding off the file serrations.
  • I figured while I was at the grinder I might as well put the bevel on.
  • Then I sanded the spline to 400 grit
  • Then I added layout blue to the spline
  • I marked the starting point
  • I marked the center line
  • I marked line 3/8” apart
  • Then I cut every other line one alternating sides with a 7/32” chainsaw file cutting at 45 degrees. I cut to the center line.
  • The I cut a line at 45 degrees on each side with a small triangle file.

The Mistake. Try to make sure the scales do not end up in the middle of a cut out like I did.

Knife 37 - Utility/EDC - With File Work
Knife 37 - Utility/EDC - With File Work
Knife 37 - Utility/EDC - With File Work
Knife 37 - Utility/EDC - With File Work
The Mistake. I should have made sure the scales did not end up in the middle of a cut out like this.
Knife 37 - Utility/EDC - With File Work
Knife 37 - Utility/EDC - With File Work
Knife 37 - Utility/EDC - With File Work
Knife 37 - Utility/EDC - With File Work

See: Knife 55 Seax – Vine Filing-laminated scales and Knife 54 Hunter EDC from a file – Blade Filing for more filing details.



Knife 35 – Serbian Cleaver

Made from 3/16” 1084

Even though I did very little to this before heat treating, I still wound up with a small warp. I clamped two pieces of metal to provide a very slight over bend and tempered. It came back straight.

Because of its size, it took some hand sanding. I used the grinder with an attachment for hook and loop pads (like Knife 30 – Cleaver). It helped a little, but it tore up disk pretty quick. Projects like this make you want a surface grinder.

Knife 30 – Cleaver also has a good definition of different cleaver geometry.

The blade is 7″
Overall length is 13″
Hand rubbed oil finish



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

Knife 30 – Cleaver

This Knife 30 – Cleaver is the last knife of the Knives 23-30 – Kitchen Knife Set .

I had played around trying to build a cleaver type utensil out of some salvaged steel and it kept warping badly when I heat treated it. I tried several things to straighten and normalize the knife several times, but nothing seemed to work, so I was a little nervous when I started this one.

This cleaver is made from 3/16″ 1080. This knife was made with the stock removal process. I copied the pattern of a vintage Dunlap cleaver.

Because of the issues with warping I decided to cut a rough shape and heat treat before grinding the bevel.  I knew I would need to be a little extra careful grinding the bevel, but with the ceramic belts and the practice

Since I wanted a traditional finish on this cleaver, I was a little intimidated on sanding it, so I purchased an attachment for my grinder to make it a hook and loop sander. I did help a little, but it tore up disk pretty quick. This is another tool that variable speed is required to perform really well.

Knife 30 - Cleaver
Knife 30 - Cleaver

To grind the bevel I clamped a straight edge to the grinder table to use as a guide and just slide the cleaver back and forth. This worked very well for me and I continue to use this technique on this style of knife.

Knife 30 - Cleaver
Knife 30 - Cleaver

Slicing tomatoes is a good knife sharpness test.

A cleaver will have different geometries depending on what it’s intended use is.

  • For breaking down carcasses you’d likely choose something like a heavy cleaver with a very high angle edge (60 degrees +/-).
  • For slicing off larger cuts between bones and for breaking down poultry or smaller game use a medium size cleaver with a more acute edge…..about 30 degrees or so.
  • And for trimming up meat cuts, mincing BBQ, chopping vegetables and general table tasks we’d make a cleaver with a longer and narrower blade, and a sharper edge. Like a heavy knife.