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The Workshop

Discussion in 'Other Tools' started by Mythtaken, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. Mythtaken

    Mythtaken Staff Member CKM Staff

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    Not many new makers start out with all the toys and tools they need to set up a professional shop. Most of us had no idea what we needed to get going. (And if most of our spouses knew what it all cost, we never would have started :laugh:)

    Here's my list of what you must have to get started making knives. I'm sure others will chime in with anything I forget.

    At a minimum, you'll need the following for stock removal:
    • a set of good quality files (i.e., flat bastard, flat smooth, round, half-round, triangle)
    • a set of needle files
    • a comfortable hacksaw with a good supply of blades (24tpi & 32tpi)
    • a couple of ball-peen hammers (small and larger)
    • a couple sets of locking pliers
    • a couple of sizes of pull saws
    • a sturdy bench vise (4 or 5-inch, preferably rotating)
    • a variety of clamps (c-type and spring)
    • a drill press (bench or stand-up, variable speed)
    • lots of sand paper for metal and wood, in grits from very coarse (36) to very fine (1200+)

    As you can see, it's not a huge list. Nor is it overly expensive -- until we add in a short list of some "nice to have" tools.
    • belt grinder
    • lap wheel
    • milling machine
    • metal cutting bandsaw

    Tools are important but you also need somewhere to use them. You don't need a dedicated shop to get started in knifemaking, either. You can get by quite well in the corner of a garage.

    Whatever space you have, there are two things you can't do without:

    Light - more is better. I recommend overhead florescent fixtures to minimize shadows and movable task lights for detail work.

    Surface - a sturdy workbench you can bolt your vice to is a must. It needs to be big enough so you aren't feeling cluttered and crowed. More important, it needs to be the right height so you aren't working bent over. Your back will thank you. If you have the room, it's nice to have a "dirty" space where you cut and file and sand and a "clean" area where you plan and put finished pieces together.

    That will get you started in knifemaking. If you want to get into forging straight away, there are some other items you'll need, but I'll save that for another post.

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