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How I Made A Through-tang Kitchen Knife

Discussion in 'How I Made It: Tutorials' started by dancom, Nov 25, 2015.

  1. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    In the spirit of the season and sharing, I thought I would do a walk through on how I made my last stock removal through-tang kitchen knife. This will probably be in several parts and be a little heavy on photos. Any comments, ideas, suggestions or criticisms are welcome!
    [​IMG]

    The style is a kiritsuke-gyuto-sujihiki mix, but I will call it a kitchen utility with a 9" blade. The steel selected is Böhler-Uddeholm's AEB-L stainless steel. The stock is 0.094"(3/32") x 1.5" x 12" long. At $1.18 per inch this is very reasonably priced for some great steel that sharpens up very well.

    The pattern is from a KN18 (http://dcknives.com/public/downloads/KN18 Template - DanCom-2015.pdf).
    The original pattern was printed and glued to some thin plywood.
    You can see this is for a full tang version.
    [​IMG]

    Taking the full tang and converting to a through tang means getting more blade from the same piece of steel. With my most valuable of weapons, the Sharpie, I ad-hoc drew the new shape and estimated the tang.
    [​IMG]

    On the Porta-Band I cut the shape out, staying close to the line, but leaving some room for grinding any wobbles out.
    [​IMG]

    On the belt grinder I use a work rest at 90° to the belt and make bring the shape down to the lines.
    I take the liberty to "tweak" the shape here. I lengthened the clip to give it more of a sleek shape and allow for two fingers to sit there.
    [​IMG]

    In the tang, I drilled a hole and cut with the bandsaw to make a keyhole.
    I then shaped an 8-32 x 2" stainless steel machine screw to fit into the keyhole.
    This will extend through to the butt when finished. This is the first time to do this, so I am hoping it works.
    [​IMG]

    As I am going to grind the bevels after heat treat, I am going to check for straightness, clean with acetone coat with Condursal. I give it two coats with a brush and let it dry.
    [​IMG]

    I take the oven up to 1060°C (1940°F) and hold for a brief soak.
    [​IMG]

    Normally, I plate/air quench AEB-L, but recent experiments indicate (empirically anyway) that it gets
    harder when oil quenched. As soon as it goes black I take it out of the oil. The tempering oven is
    standing by hovering around 180°C (350°F). The blade goes in for 2 hours, cools to room temperature and back up to 180C for two more hours.
    [​IMG]

    ... to be continued.
     
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  2. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    After the hardening and tempering, I start grinding away the primary bevel.
    [​IMG]

    I tend to alternate between longways and shortways. I want a gradual taper to the point and a slightly convex grind from the spine to about 0.5mm (.02") at the future cutting edge.

    [​IMG]

    After the bevel is close, I give it some finish with a conditioning belt.
    [​IMG]

    Now the fun part of getting the handle together. The components of the handle are:
    1/8" AEB-L stainless, African Blackwood, red vulcanized fibre spacer, Amboyna burl block and some 304 stainless.

    The first piece has to fit the tang-shoulder junction very well. I drilled a series of holes in a row and then make a slot with needle files. Then with tiny adjustments with the file I slide the piece on the tang and test it. Repeat until the fit is as best as you can get it. This is a photo taken when I was doing the fitting. After it's fitted, it gets sanded and buffed.
    [​IMG]

    The Amboyna block is cut closer to the final size, but still thicker than needed.
    [​IMG]


    The block is then drilled out to accept the tang. I drilled two holes, then bridged them together by rocking the block with the bit inside.
    The other end of the block has a 3/16" hole, on centre, that meets the slot somewhere about mid block.
    [​IMG]

    The butt cap is a piece of 3/8" 304 stainless steel that has been drilled (9/32") and tapped to 8-32 with a bottoming tap. Hopefully this will thread on to my special screw that will attached to the tang.
    [​IMG]

    I've also cut some African Blackwood and few pieces of red fibre spacer.
    Here it a dry fit to see how everything lines up and squeezes.
    [​IMG]

    Here is a shot of all the handle components in an exploded view.
    [​IMG]

    Mixed up about 10ml of West System's G/flex and slathered it on and filled the slot.
    [​IMG]

    The screwing on of the butt cap squeezes everything together. This causes the epoxy to ooze out everywhere, but that's the idea.
    [​IMG]

    After a good day in a warm place, I started squaring up the handle. A 36 grit Zirc belt on the flat platen makes easy work of this task
    [​IMG]

    I am sure to use plenty of dunks in the water to cool the steel when grinding.
    It gets very hot and will burn the epoxy. I literally dunk every pass on the belt.

    Here the faces are square and I slanted the butt cap.
    [​IMG]

    Now I can start rounding and adding some shape to the handle.
    I like the work rest for this as I generally work at 45° angles to start the rounding.
    Again, lots of dunking to keep the stainless cool.
    [​IMG]

    After the handle is more or less the desired shape, checking in the hand and tweaking it, I put a lightweight AO belt on and work the shape in slack belt mode.
    Running this belt fast will burn the wood. In a controlled burn I bring out the darker parts of the burl.
    [​IMG]

    I have applied some tung oil to the handle and buffed.
    [​IMG]

    To be continued...
     
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  3. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    A few last details to work on. The maker's mark is electro-etched on the blade.
    I add my logo as well as the steel type on the opposite side.
    [​IMG]

    To set the edge I use a 220 grit belt to get a wire edge, then water stoned to get a very sharp cutting edge.
    [​IMG]

    A little spit polish here and there and we're done.
    I hope that you have enjoyed this. Your comments and questions are always appreciated

    Dan
     
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  4. snailgixxer

    snailgixxer Golf season is here:)!!!!

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    Awesome. I'm really interested in trying this out. Great tutorial! Did you tack the machine screw in place? Also, did you get any warping when you quenched? I've seen Aeb-l plate quenched, and only read of it oil quenched.
     
  5. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Thanks Chris,

    I had hoped that the shape of the screw head (modified) to sort of grip when tightened. I was prepared to put some super glue on it at construction time, but it held tight. It's also kind of pressed into the keyhole with pliers.

    The AEB-L was heat treated before any bevel grinding, so I had the whole 3/32" thick stock. The tang was a little off, but I go that fixed immediately after the steel was black.

    Dan
     
  6. snailgixxer

    snailgixxer Golf season is here:)!!!!

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    That's good to hear. I may have just spent some money at CKS lol. 25" 3/32" aeb-l, 12" 3/32" 1095 and 16" 1095 x 5/32". I also just ordered some curly koa. I think I found a diamond in the rough actually, 4 pcs of 1.5"X1.5"x4.5"-7" for 70$ shipped. It looks really nice anyways. Here's to hoping eBay doesn't pull the wool over my eyes. But he did have 100% rating. I haven't tried kitchen knives before, but really wanted too. This tutorial should go well for me I hope. I'll be sure to show off my results. Hopefully in the new year
     
  7. snailgixxer

    snailgixxer Golf season is here:)!!!!

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    How hard on the belts was it to grind post-heat treatment?
     
  8. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    A little hard on belts, especially the right angles. Initially, I use an old belt to knock the sharp edges off. Then a fresher belt to cut the bevels. Ceramics hold up pretty well against hardened steel.

    Dan
     
  9. Putterer

    Putterer New Member

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    Great looking knife Dan. Thanks for another step by step.
     
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  10. krash-bang

    krash-bang Active Member

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    Awsome knife! Thanks for all the pics, it's great to see how it's done.
     
  11. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Thanks! There are many ways to do it. This way made sense to me, but someone out there will always have improved methods. That's the beauty of sharing knowledge. ;-)

    Dan
     
  12. lordsnow

    lordsnow New Member

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    That looks great Dan!
     
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