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First Knives: Stories And Pictures...

Discussion in 'Fixed Blades' started by bRIBEGuy, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. bRIBEGuy

    bRIBEGuy New Member

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    Well, I've decided to let the proverbial cat out of the bag, and show off my first three knives. And by "show off", I mean "post online and hope the ridicule isn't to harsh".......LOL. Seriously though, I am looking for any and all open comments and criticisms. I know I certainly have a ton!

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    I've been interested in knives for quite some time, and have had blades in one form or another from the time I was a fairly small kid. Over the last year or so, however, I really started to get drawn to the appeal of trying to build one from scratch. Since I was finally starting to get my garage sorted out a bit, I figured it was high time to try.

    Now my grandfather (RIP) used to make knives (utility/kitchen) out of old saw blades back after WWII, and to this day, they are still the favorite knives that both my Mother and Grandmother use (despite me buying my Mom some nice Henkels years back). His knives were always pretty rough and tumble from a fit & finish perspective, but they were highly functional, and hold a surprising edge. While my ultimate interest is in making some folders, I figured it'd be a fun nod to my family history to start with a few fixed blade knives.

    Now as much as I love all of the techy goodness out there in tool land these days, I'm not quite lucky enough to have been born into a machine shop, have buddies at a water-jetting company, or anything like that. Despite having solid abilities in CADD (I do piping design/drafting professionally), I opted to go all old school on these knives using basic power tools, and heaping piles of elbow grease.

    Current shop set-up:

    -2'x42" Belt Sander
    -69" blade metal bandsaw
    -Drill Press
    -Scroll saw
    -Dremel
    -6" Bench grinder

    And with that...........it was off to the races. I ordered up a short length of 5/32" 154CM steel, and starting thinking out loud on paper.

    Now one of the other drivers in this project was my wife's side of the family. When her grandmothers old house was packed up after her passing, we came across a stack of old new stock seed bags from when her grandfather worked for McKenzie Seeds sometime way back when. We took a few of them and used them for various projects, but the ultimate plan was to try our hands at some Micarta. I built a ghetto-fabulous press out of some mild steel plate and layered plywood, and we trimmed one of the bags into 2" strips. We did a thin test strip first, successfully making a 12"x2" block about 3mm (1/8") thick. For the second block we went thicker, and came out around 6mm (1/4"). The micarta is a nice natural canvas color with lots of dark flecks, and some blue stripes. Looks pretty cool, imo. For the third press, we opted to die the canvas in a red and a black batch, and then layered them up in an alternating fashion for a second 6mm block.

    By this point, I had come up with a design I kinda liked, and was ready to move forward. The plan was to cut 6 blanks of the same knife, and then use them to focus on grinding and finishing. Of course, the steel didn't go nearly as far as I though, so I ended up with only two full size blanks. Each blank had a cut off scrap just big enough to play with, so I opted to make a tiny knife in a similar style. The remaining 6" or so turned into a shrunk down version of the main knife at my wife's suggestion. So in the end I still got my six........just in two sets of three designs. Oh well.

    I've finished up the first set in the natural micarta, and the second set in the red and black.

    But enough talk.............here's the pics.



    First knife has a 4" blade, and a 9" overall length. Copper corby bolts and SS lanyard tube. Full flat grind on the front of the knife, and a convex grind at the back.

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    Medium knife comes in with a 2.2" blade and a 5-5/8" overall length. Pretty much the same as the big one otherwise, but with a rounder handle shape.

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    The tiny knife has a whopping 1.75" blade, and a 4.75" length. SS acorn bolts were used here. Full flat grind. I left the front edge untouched since I kinda liked the color from the heat treating.

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    All the knives were professionally heat treated by a local shop, and tested at between 60-61 hardness (depending on the blade)

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    And there you have it......my little story.
     
  2. bRIBEGuy

    bRIBEGuy New Member

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    I'm a big fan of small hatchets and cleavers, and that definitely came thru in the blade design. I had fun trying to come up with something that was a bit unique, even if it did end up being fairly challenging to pull off with basic tools.


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    The next three blades that got finished up saw a few minor experimental tweaks. I tried out a slightly different shape for the finger choil and a bit of a shorter handle length on the larger knife.........and decided I'm not as big of a fan. I'll change that back on the next ones. I also profiled the handles a bit differently on the smaller two, and I think it's an improvement. The died black & red micarta is cool, but it did end up with some inclusions, and I just think that I personally have a pretty strong preference for the natural.

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  3. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    Looking real good, cleavers kind of grow on you. Those little guys look like some handy little pencil sharpeners.
     
  4. bobbybirds

    bobbybirds Best New Maker

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    I am more of a traditional guy in regards to personal preference of styles and materials, but you definitely went all out on your first knives and it shows! Nice job sir!
     
  5. bRIBEGuy

    bRIBEGuy New Member

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    Thanks.

    :)

    The knives actually work quite well, though the "medium" sized one doesn't seem to offer any more utility then the tiny one (which worked out to be WAY more useful then I thought it would). As much as I wanted all of them to look unique, they still had to be functional first and foremost. A few more quick shots of the full size one showing how the oddball blade shape actually works out to be quite functional in hand as you change your grip and/or choke up.

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    Shadnuke likes this.
  6. krash-bang

    krash-bang Active Member

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    Very nice. I like the shape of the blades, very original. They look very comfortable in hand. Your micarta came out nice too. I like it, good job!
     
  7. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Very cool knives. The burlap micarta looks great!
     
  8. bRIBEGuy

    bRIBEGuy New Member

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    Thanks for all the kind words. :)

    I'm in the process of gearing up to make a bunch more micarta (markarta?...he he he) after recently sorting thru some bins in the basement. I used to have a small clothing company many moons ago, and somehow I still have a bunch of fabric kicking around. So.........why not use it for knives now! Denim, canvas, some goofy fun stuff, and a few experiments should all be coming soon. Well, once it warms up a bit........dealing with a +16 degree minimum set-up temperature and an unheated garage is a bit of a speedbump at the moment...lol. Guess I should order up some more steel and get back to the grind in the meantime.
     
  9. Icho-

    Icho- Staff Member

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    Those are very different but cool looking knives. Great job on the micarta. The first burlap scales remind me of a fish.
     
  10. poppa bear

    poppa bear Member

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    Awesome job, kind of looks like the ones I'm working on currently. Love the micarda you made by the way.
     
  11. bRIBEGuy

    bRIBEGuy New Member

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    Thanks again for all the kind words everyone. :) More blades are in the works now that some more CPM154 showed up. Now if that temperature would just rise so I could get on making more micarta........

    Started up an Instagram account for some of my projects as well: https://www.instagram.com/bymjsdesign/
     
  12. poppa bear

    poppa bear Member

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    Suggestion only, what I do when making my micarda is I start making it out in the shop, do my layers, wrap, jig, put it inside a garbage bag, tape it off over the excess of the garbage air tight and take it into the basement over night or put it in a separate room for the night. It turns out nice and hard by morning after I go to the shop and open it up and do my thing with it.
     
  13. bRIBEGuy

    bRIBEGuy New Member

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    Not a bad idea, poppa bear, thanks. Not sure if it'll quite get the wifey seal of approval, but ya never know! ;)
     
  14. poppa bear

    poppa bear Member

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    :beer:More then welcome. I didn't know either because we have a 1 1/2yr old but she seen there was no smell. Give it a shot... worst thing she can say is that it either goes out or you get the couch Lol. (Shrug)
     

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