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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I made a new knife this afternoon. I have been wanting a detail knife with some belly in the blade so I took an old file and ground the blade. It came out great. Then I dug out a piece of South American hardwood that my father passed on to me many years ago and whittled out a handle. The wood Is little like mahogany but is not - don't know what it is.

In the picture below, the new knife is on top along with two others I made back in 1979. The handles are walnut. Those blabes are made from old jointer knives which I think are too hard. They are hard to sharpen but hold an edge forever. The file steel blade is GREAT - I love it. It is easy to sharpen and holds up well. It is the sharpest knife I have! The new one only has one application of boiled linseed oil on it so far. I will probably poly it. These are what I do all of my whittling with and use for carving too.
 

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Nice looking knives I have put together some carving blades i have bought with home made handles. I did make a couple out of jigsaw blades many years ago but was never happy with them.These are my favored knives. All but one have flame boxwood elder handles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Those are some good looking knives CV3. I like the color in the handles. Nice shape too.

I haven't used the one I just made much yet, but with my initial tests, I like the file steel blade. It will shave frogs hair. The wood I randomly chose for the handle, I would not use again. It was way too difficult to work with in that it wanted to tear out badly if cut in the wrong direction. It would have been easier to shape if I had a drum or disc sander. It is gratifying to work with tools you have made for yourself, especially when they work well.
 

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Both you guys made some nice tools. The most I've done is turn some small screwdrivers into mini-chisels. I'll have to dig around, and see if I have any old files I'm willing to sacrifice to learning.

FWIW, I knew a fellow who made his own kraft knife blades from dull hack saw blades. He got them as sharp as any X-acto.
 

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Rodnogdog, those are very nice knives. You get a great job on both the blades and the handles. I have also found old files make very nice blades. It is always a pleasant surprise to take an old rusty file and turn out a shiny, sharp carving knife out of it.

Randy, those are all very beautiful handles that you made for those knife blades. If you ever decide you want to make your own blades, I would be happy to give you some suggestions and direction. I have made knives from files and old tools, industrial band saw blades, and even concrete nails (one of my favorite materials), not to mention old straight razors and O-1 tool steel.
 

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I have found a source for box flame wood and will have to have a go at making my own knives trouble is there is so many things to do
 

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Another source is Starret brand power hacksaw blades. They can be found at some hardware stores. I find them a little hard to sharpen, but they really hold an edge.
 

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Never thought to make carving knives, great idea Gordon. Do U have to temper a file? I have been kicking around making a knife using a piece of elk antler I picked up at an auction.
 

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Never thought to make carving knives, great idea Gordon. Do U have to temper a file? I have been kicking around making a knife using a piece of elk antler I picked up at an auction.
Hi MJC4,

Caution! Knife making can be addictive. I got started by grinding down a paring knife I bought at the thrift store. A fellow carver saw what I had done, gave me a strip of O-1 tools steel and explained the knife making process to me. I got hooked right away and started grinding, shaping, tempering and sharpening anything I could get my hands on. LOL! I'm going to post some pictures of knives that I made. I will be happy to share my limited knowledge and experience with you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Two of the knives in the picture are made from jointer blades (the bottom two), the top one in the picture is from a file. I was very careful when grinding/ shaping the blade and kept a cup of ice water next to the grinder. When the steel started to get hot, I would quench it quickly in the cold water. I was holding it with my fingers so I could feel it when it got warm and I was also watching the color of the steel too - I never let it go beyond straw, so the temper of the file steel held up pretty well and I am satisfied with it.

If I didn't like the result, I would have heated it to cherry red with a plumbers touch and quenched it in oil, then sanded it to a bright finish so I could see the color of the steel as I reheated it. As has been said, put it in an oven and heat to 375 to 425 degrees (F), then immediately quench in oil again. The steel should turn a light straw color at that temperature.

The two jointer blades are too hard in my opinion, making them hard to sharpen - I never can get a wire edge on them but once I get them sharp, the edge holds up very well.
 

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Never thought to make carving knives, great idea Gordon. Do U have to temper a file? I have been kicking around making a knife using a piece of elk antler I picked up at an auction.
Hi MJC4,

Caution! Knife making can be addictive. I got started by grinding down a paring knife I bought at the thrift store. A fellow carver saw what I had done, gave me a strip of O-1 tools steel and explained the knife making process to me. I got hooked right away and started grinding, shaping, tempering and sharpening anything I could get my hands on. LOL! I'm going to post some pictures of knives that I made. I will be happy to share my limited knowledge and experience with you.
Here's a link to Ron's website with his knife making tutorial! Ron, I hope you don't mind me doing so, but if you do, please let me know and I will remove it from this post.

http://stickcarving.webs.com/carvingknifetutorial.htm

Regards,
Gordon
 

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Nice knives guy,s

I have made a few and use Sawzall Bi- meMetal saw blades (ones the can be used on thin steel) I find that these blades make and keep a good edge, to counter any tempering effect of "blueing" during grinding I re harden and temper prior to fitting handle and final sharpening.
 

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Never thought to make carving knives, great idea Gordon. Do U have to temper a file? I have been kicking around making a knife using a piece of elk antler I picked up at an auction.
MJC 4, the elk antler will make a really nice handle. I don't know how much experience you have making knife blades so you could consider purchasing a pre made blade. In regards to your question regarding tempering a file, the answer is no since the file is already hardened and tempered. If you make a knife blade from a file, you have to cold grind it. Have a container of water next to you while you grind out the blade shape. Every few seconds, you dip the blade in the water to cool it off. That way, the steel will not lose its tempering. Whenever you grind steel, you will see the steel begin to turn blue. That is an indication that the steel has reached a very high temperature. Usually, one high enough to affect the tempering and softening the steel. When steel is hardened, it is usually heated to a cherry red color and then quickly quenched in oil. At this state, the steel is quite brittle and a knife blade in this condition can easily shatter if dropped or the sharpened edge can be easily chip. Tempering removes the brittleness from the steel.
 

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As I use thin material "blueing" is a problem it happens so quickly, so re harden and temper is inevitable.

Kit needed gas blowtorch, magnet and a pot of vegetable cooking toil and access to a oven for tempering.

A magnet - this is a temp indicator when steel structure changes at hardening temp it loses its magnetism, during heating touch with a magnet when it doesn't stick heat a little further and quench in vegetable oil, to temper put in a oven at 200 deg c and bake for 40 min, this can be done when the good lady is using the oven at that temp, leave to air cool.

it is a good idea to initiually sharpen to about 90% of finished edge prior to hardening leaving a little hand sharpening to finish.
 

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Never thought to make carving knives, great idea Gordon. Do U have to temper a file? I have been kicking around making a knife using a piece of elk antler I picked up at an auction.
Hi MJC4,

Caution! Knife making can be addictive. I got started by grinding down a paring knife I bought at the thrift store. A fellow carver saw what I had done, gave me a strip of O-1 tools steel and explained the knife making process to me. I got hooked right away and started grinding, shaping, tempering and sharpening anything I could get my hands on. LOL! I'm going to post some pictures of knives that I made. I will be happy to share my limited knowledge and experience with you.
Here's a link to Ron's website with his knife making tutorial! Ron, I hope you don't mind me doing so, but if you do, please let me know and I will remove it from this post.

http://stickcarving.webs.com/carvingknifetutorial.htm

Regards,
Gordon
Hello Gordon, I don't mind you pasting the link to my website at all. In fact, there has been very few visitors during the past two years that I have stopped carving. Thank you.
 

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As I use thin material "blueing" is a problem it happens so quickly, so re harden and temper is inevitable.

Kit needed gas blowtorch, magnet and a pot of vegetable cooking toil and access to a oven for tempering.

A magnet - this is a temp indicator when steel structure changes at hardening temp it loses its magnetism, during heating touch with a magnet when it doesn't stick heat a little further and quench in vegetable oil, to temper put in a oven at 200 deg c and bake for 40 min, this can be done when the good lady is using the oven at that temp, leave to air cool.

it is a good idea to initiually sharpen to about 90% of finished edge prior to hardening leaving a little hand sharpening to finish.
Hello Gloop, thank you for posting your instructions: hardening and tempering a knife blade. That is the most concise yet detailed explanation I have ever seen. I wish I had seen that when I first began making knives. It would have saved me a lot of confusion and time.
 
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