harold hoffman advanced knife making(2000), Manual de História. bonifazi
py2dht23 de janeiro de 2016

harold hoffman advanced knife making(2000), Manual de História. bonifazi

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Copyright (c) 2000 Harold Hoffman

If you want to learn how to make custom knives, folding knives, spring back knives, knife repair, lock back knives, fix blades, knife, knives, this book has all the information that you will need. It is an excellent book for the beginner or advanced craft person.

This manual shows you how to make all different types of custom knives, folding, spring backs, fix, Damascus knives, knife blades, or learn how to repair all types of knives. This book covers grinders, rigid, lock backs, blades, fix blades, fix blades, sharpening grinders, and nickel-plating knives. This book has hundreds of drawings, and photos that you can follow step-by-step as you make your first knife.

All rights reserved. No parts of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without the written consent of the publisher.

Action Books 7174 Hoffman Rd. San Angelo, TX. 76905 Phone/Fax 915-655-5953 Home Site




Harold Hoffman has through his 30 plus years of experience as a Gunsmith, Toolmaker and Custom Knife maker has passed on to you through his books information that soon may be lost or forgotten. His books are not intended for the person wanting to make a complete firearm, but for learning basic shop tool making. The information found within his books is for instructional purpose only. -- The titles DO NOT actual cover gun repair on firearms, but how to make needed parts for firearms which is about 40% of all gun repair. Without this information you will be severely limited in gun repair.

He first started gun repair when he was 18 years old doing minor repair for the farmers and local hunters in the Bucklin, Kansas area. His main interest was how to make rifle barrels, as he was an avid hunter. Moving into a bigger shop he bought a lathe and proceeded to learn how to use it.

He wanted to find out how to make rifling buttons to rifle barrels, tool making, and learn everything about making barrels. Over the years he became an expert toolmaker and how to build most everything that was needed in the shop. The information found in his books will show you how to make most of the equipment and tools needed in most shops.

After an eye accident he quit Gunsmithing and started writing books on everything that he knew. He had so much difficulty finding any information that he wanted all this information that he had learned in over 30 years to be available to everyone otherwise it would be lost.

His books are now about the only books available on Gunsmithing/Tool making, as most publishers do not publish Gun or Gunsmithing books anymore.




If you want to learn how to make custom knives, folding knives, spring back knives, spring back, lock backs, knife making books, making folding knives, knife repair, lock back knives, making knives, knife making, fix blades, knife, knives, this book has all the information that you will need. It is an excellent book for the beginner or advanced craft person.

This manual shows you how to make all different types of custom knives, folding, spring backs, fix, Damascus knives, knife blades, or learn how to repair all types of knives. This book covers grinders, rigid, lock backs, blades, fix blades, fix blades, sharpening grinders, and nickel-plating knives. This book has hundreds of drawings, and photos that you can follow step-by-step as you make your first knife.

All rights reserved. No parts of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without the written consent of the publisher.




Make your own knife? Now, that may sound strange to most people. Why would you want to do this, when there are so many low price and attractive knives for sale?

Many people have asked me this many times. Most people are satisfied with a small knife that they can carry in their pocket. They use it to clean their fingernails, open envelopes, etc. Others want a hunting knife that they can pry or pound on in splitting out game. If they lose it, so what, it did not cost much.

The small majority of people look at a knife as a very important tool, one to take care of, and not to be without. These people want a knife that will last a long time, or a lifetime. They also want a knife that will hold an edge, and sharpens easily.

Most people that make knives, or thinking about making knives, are not satisfied with the knives that are available. Making their own is one way to get what they want.

This book is about making fix blades, folders, spring backs and Lock backs. I will show the reader how to make these knives in this book, as well as many other processes that will be useful as well as save you much time. I also go into the advance phase of the Knife Makers art that includes casting of special parts and fittings. This will allow a higher profit margin on duplicated knives.

I will show the reader how to make one or a dozen knives, using patterns or templates. This method eliminates hours of work on the knife. After making a dozen or more knives, you can expect to be able to make a first class folder in eight hours or less.

The equipment needed is not that expensive, and most people that like to make things will have some of the equipment that I will describe in the next chapter.

Each knife that you build can be a beauty, and a work of art. It will surprise you of the beauty and the uniqueness of the knives you build. They are sleek and graceful, and you can build each with your personal touch.

I do not normally go into the making of fix blade knives, but the casting of special parts will be valuable to you in this area. I made most of my knives as fix blades for more than forty years. I started make folders about five years ago and from that time on have made nothing but folders. Folders are for me much easier than ridged knives, and more useful.

Do not let other knife makers discourage you from making folders? Many that I have met have told me they tried to make one and it took twice as long to make as a fix blade. They are right. If you try to make a folder, using the same methods as making a fix blade, it will take a long time.



The secret is as stated above is the template. I make the template from 1/16 tool steel, fitted as you would a regular knife, and heat-treated. Once this is done, I just take minutes to fit a knife. Without this template, it would take hours.

Many processes discussed in this book are basic machine shop practices, but do apply to the knife maker.

Another advantage in making your own knife is that you can select steel that will meet your requirements. After heat-treating the blade, you can draw the blade (temper) to meet your requirements.

This book will give you all the basic instructions that you will need. It will also tell you how to make some tools that you need in the shop.

Harold Hoffman




So you are serious about getting started making knives. There are some knife makers that I know that started with a hacksaw and an electric grinder. These were the hard nose knife makers, who gathered up some old files and ground them into first class knives.

I have made several knives this way, with good results, but this is the hard way. You have to be very determined or you soon lose interest in making knives this way.


If you want to start off right, one of the first piece of equipment that you will need is a drill press. The drill press can be a table or one that is on its own stand. I prefer the one that is on its own stand, as it can be set Just about any place.

The drill press is one of the most often used tools in the knife repair shop. It is designed to cut round holes into or through materials. They come both in bench and floor models, It is referred to as sensitive because you can "feel" the cut and feed of the cutting tool into the work piece. This "feel is due to the balance of the spindle. Drill presses come in a variety of sizes. Sizes are determined and rated by the distance from the center of the spindle to the outside diameter of the support column. For the average shop, a 14" press is suitable.

A drill press vise is almost mandatory, and a rotary c cross-feed table is desirable. Quite a few tools may be used in the drill press including: the twist drill, reamers, Router bit, rotary files, counter bores, countersinks, and grinder cups. A good heavy duty drill press can also double as a light duty mill by utilizing the cross-feed table and various end mills.

I use a Sears craftsman drill press. They have as good a model as any, and what is more important is that you will always be able to find parts for it if it breaks down. Also Sears carries quite a few accessory items that can be added to it. If you buy the heavier model, you can get a milling vice that will bolt on the table. This will let you turn the drill press into a light milling machine. In most cases you will never need this option. Certainly get one that has quite a few speed settings.

Another handy item is a vise. You cannot appreciate how important it is until you are holding an object with your fingers, and have it jerked from your grip.

Usually what, happens is that, (1)you cuss, (2)you shut off the machine, and(3)you head for the first aid kit, dripping blood all over the floor.


A drill and wire gage are very much needed. With several small drills lying around it is very



hard to tell a .082 from a .086. Also it is the best way to check pin size without a micrometer.


A series of number drill sizes that range from 1/8" on down is also needed. The following sizes will take care of about all of your pin sizes. .125, .092, .086, .082, .073, .063, .054.

You will also need a box of numbered drill bits, as well as the standard decimal size. The numbered bits are the main ones that I use in knife making. The nickel silver rod and wire that is used to pin the knives, are never the same size, so you have to drill to suit.

A small metal countersink should complete the hardware necessary for the drill press.


The anvil is nothing more than a cutler's anvil. This tool along with the hammer will be the most small tool used in making or repairing knives.

This anvil is used by the cutler for many things as well as a small anvil. It is on the anvil that pin holding blades are peened. The slot on the thick end of the anvil is used to insert a blade while adjusting it so it will not strike other blades when closing.

The surface is flat with a step down at the front. A hole is at the rear for driving pins out of the bolsters and scales. A slot is at the front for grasping and palling pins. The thin lip is used for tightening rivets in an assembled knife.

The thin portion of the anvil can be used to reach into a knife so that a cover pin may be peened. This is an item that will have to be made by your local machine

The knife is slid upon the lip with the blades open. This will give support to the back of the rivet while you peen the top of the rivet.

The anvil should be made from a good grade of tool steel and hardened to about 45 Rc. The hole at the rear should be drilled approximately 5/16 ". The slot can be cut out with the cut oft wheel of your drymel-tool or a band saw and then filed. Be sure to have holes for bolting the anvil to a good firm table.

An anvil of some sort is needed on the work bench. When you peen the blades in the knife it is set on the anvil. The knife maker's anvil is a handy item also. It will allow you to put new pins in the handle without taking the knife apart.




Every repairman will need a vise here is no substitute for it. Vises come in a variety of styles and sizes and there is no such thing as one that will suit all needs. Foremost is the vise used in assembling the knife. I strongly recommend using brass jaws.

I do not believe the brass jaws are available for this vise, so they will have to be fabricated in the shop. Other vises to consider are the drill press vise and a large general purpose vise for rough work.

Any good 4" or 6" vise can be used. Be sure to get one with removable jaws. These jaws will have to be ground smooth to prevent damage to your knife while you have it in the vise.


I use the Sears 6 by 48 inch belt sander, as well as a smaller 4 by 36 model. I consider these belt sanders to be one of the most important pieces of equipment in the shop. They have a round disk sander that I use to cut 45 degree angles on my bolsters. On the bigger sander it uses a 9-inch disk.

You can get three different grits of belts from Sears, but I get most of my belts from WHOLESALE TOOLS, as they have over 10 different grits to choose from. If you buy in quantity, the cost goes down quite a bit. You will need grits from 36 to 220. You will find that the belt sander will be the main tool to give you the very close fit that you will be going for.


A standard 9" table disc sander will enable you to sand all of your handle material to a good flat surface. I would also suggest mounting a piece of flat bar stock on the table to act as a guide and will also help hold your work. Disc sanders also can act as a saw to the ends of your handle material. It will grind them to a good straight edge. This is very important when you are hand-fitting handles or cover scales.


A shop just cannot run without a good one. Bench grinders start at 1/4 hp and go up. A good compromise is a 1/2 hp grinder that will normally carry two wheels of stone. As a rule, one wheel is coarse and one fine. These wheels are man made and have limitations. Observe the rpm maximum on these wheels.


To do the grinding on the back springs, blades, and cover scales you will need a belt grinder or drum sander. Belt grinders are the heart beat of the cutlery industry, They can cut faster and give a better finish than any emery wheel. Also they are much safer.



Before installing new wheels on a grinder, check for cracks in the wheel. One way to safety check this is to insert a rod into the arbor hole and lightly strike the wheel with a metal rod. The wheel should have a slight ringing sound: beware if there is a dull thud. I use a 1/4 hp unit to hone knives. One side holds a fine grit stone while the other side holds a 4" felt wheel with emery.

The fine stone will do a good job of putting a factory edge on a blade and the felt wheel will finish it off to a razor edge. As a rule, grinders will turn 3450 rpm.

Several companies make belt grinders, but for all practical purposes one that uses a 2" x 48" belt will serve all of your needs. The grit you can choose from will range from 60 to 700. The finer grit belts work very well when trying re remove deep pits in blades.

One more word of advice, make sure your belt grinder has a rubber contact wheel. This is what gives the uniform finish on your blades.


You will need a good metal cutting band saw. The band saw will be used more than just about any piece of equipment, with the exception of the blade grinder.

Band Saws come both in table and floor models. In knife repair, as well as knife making, you will find the band saw in indispensable item. It will serve to cut bone, stag, wood, micarta, blank out a back spring or blade, and make brass liners or guards. Many hours of sweat will be saved by the band saw.

A 12" or 14" band saw is very handy around the shop. For sawing handle material or for cutting a piece of steel they are quite useful. The band saw can be used to trim excess handle material on scales and save much sanding on the disc sander or belt grinder. The best all around blade size to use is 1/4" width with a pitch or 14 teeth per inch.

There are quite a few saws in the market place, although the checkbook will be one of the deciding factors in the purchase of a saw. This is a once in a lifetime purchase and lower price isn't always good and good isn't usually lower price!

The band saw will need to have a speed reducer on it to reduce the speed for cutting metal. If you buy a Sears band saw they sell speed reducers for cutting metal. Use 14-18 tooth blades for metal cutting.


The next piece of equipment that is necessary is a knife grinder. I have looked over several, and have two. A belt grinder is a most useful tool in the shop. Depending on the grits used, the machine can be used for heave stock removal all the way through polishing. The Olympic



Square Wheel unit marketed by Wilton Corporation and is one of the most versatile machines available. It will grind concave surfaces as well as flat surfaces. Attachments are available so that one may grind as small a radius as 3/16" or as large as 5'. Another very useful machine is the Grinder or Finishing machine. Abrasive belts are available through the full range of grits, from extra coarse through extra fine. Butt joint belts seem to work better than lap joint belts.

You can get quite a few accessories for it, which makes it a very handy and fast machine. It uses a 2 by 72 inch belt, and comes in grits from 36 to 600. Normally an assortment from 36 to 320 is all that is necessary to make knives. I only use to grind the blades and radius the handles. It will be a scary piece of equipment to use as first, as it runs very fast. Always wear some type of protective eye shield when using the grinders. The belts have a way of flying apart at the most inconvenient time.

When grinding or buffing always wear safety glasses. Grinding is the act of shaping, dressing, or finishing material on an abrasive surface. You will note that the quality of the work you do will depend on the handling, movement, and speed in which you grind.


To become proficient in grinding takes practice. Use an old piece of bar stock to grind on to obtain the feel and touch of grinding. You will learn that hard fast grinding causes the metal to heat up and possibly draw the temper. Allow a certain amount of time between each pass so that the metal will stay cool. You can even keep a pan of water close by to submerge the work piece to make sure it does stay cool.

The Wilton grinder is used to hollow grind the blades. It can be used to flat grind also. In flat grinding blades, I prefer to rough it off with the Wilton, then finish on the flat sanders.


Do not worry about grinding a knife blade. This is how they are shaped at the factories. The blades are blanked out, tempered, and then wet ground. If you should have a blade that has "mooned" out in the center, you can shape this blade to a good straight surface by grinding it down from the bottom of the edge.

Rust pits and scratches can be removed by grinding. Start with a 240 grit belt and work your way down to a 500 or 600 grit. Always be careful and not press too hard with the coarser grits or you will remove more surface than you intend to.


This is not a necessary piece of equipment for knife making. I included it in case you have one, or can get one reasonable. If I have my choice of the drill press or milling machine, I



would take the Milling machine. It will do everything.


I use a shaper to remove excess metal from knife stock. What it will do, the milling machine will do better. It does come in handy to remove metal, while you do other things. Again this is not a necessary piece of equipment.


A lathe is not used to much in knife making. Where I use it the most is making special size pins, for metric knives. At times you have to make up special tools, and this is where it comes in handy. It is not necessary to have it.


A good buffing wheel is also necessary. You can use a metal grinder to make a good buffer. If you have any old electric motors, you can get a mandrel that will make up an excellent buffer.

Buffing machines are one of the most used pieces of machinery in the shop. It is impossible to repair knives without it. Buffers come in sizes from small fractional horsepower units for jewelers to 10 hp units for buffing auto bumpers. Usually, a 1/4 hp buffer equipped with 6" to 8" wheels will be satisfactory for the home hobbyist who wants to remove tarnish and shine his knives. This size will remove light rust and scratches. If you are looking for a machine for commercial use, I would recommend no less than a 1 hp unit. Of course, even the large shop will encounter needs for a smaller unit.

I have used the Baldor units in my shop for years under constant use and can recommend them. A pedestal model is available as well as dust removal options. Buffers come in two speeds: 1725 rpm and 3450 rpm. Some shops prefer 3450 and one commercial cutlery uses 2800 rpm.

Rpm is not really as important as surface per minute is what determines the finish. Rpm is how many feet of wheel passes a given point in a minute. In other words, a 10" wheel on a 1725 rpm unit does the same work as a 5" wheel on a 3450 unit. Homemade units are also a possibility, and are quite easy to build. Although not as nice to look at, nor as compact as a commercial unit, it will do a good job. The primary product of a buffer is dust. Blade polishing seems to be secondary. A good vacuum system is highly recommended.

There are commercial type buffers you can buy or you make one with a line shaft, pulleys, pillow blocks, and an old motor. The ends of the line shaft will have to be threaded for locking



nuts. One advantage to this system is by placing a set of step pulleys on the line shaft and motor you can have a different speed selection. The main speeds for buffing using 6" or 8" wheels are 1750 RPM and 3600 RPM.

Buffing or polishing is for the most part the final act on repairing or building a knife. There are many different systems and rarely will you find two alike. Some will consist of a high speed with 90 ply muslin or felt wheels while others will have a slow speed with loose 20 ply stacked muslin wheels.


You will need at least 2 Buffing wheels. I like the eight inch size. You will need one loose buff to do the final finish on the handles. Use a full disc sewed buff for using a coarser grit, to remove the scratches from the metal.

Grease wheels are used in the cutlery industry in finishing blades and preparing them for polishing. Most all manufacturers have now discontinued them for the silicon carbide impregnated nylon wheels. The nylon wheels are very expensive and will not cut any better than the grease wheels. The only advantage is they do not have to be "charged" or coated as often.

A grease wheel is a hard muslin buff 70-90 ply sewn and glued together. The face was coated with hide glue and then the wheel was rolled in a pan of Turkish emery (depending on the size grit desired) and then baked. After the wheel was placed back on the spindle a shaping stone was used to knock off all high points. A light coating of grease was also applied to the surface to give a smoother cut. Now we use special buffing compounds that replaces the grease wheels.


You will need a good assortment of buffing compound, from 180 grit to 400 grit. Most of these can be purchase from knife suppliers. I however finish out my blades with 320 grit on the Wilton grinder, then bead blast them. The reason for bead blasting the blades is that after going over them with a fine wire wheel I have a finish that holds up. The wire wheel takes the roughness off the bead blast finish, and puts a satin finish on the blade. It is a very attractive finish, and holds up well.


If you want to use a bead blasters to get a satin finish on your knives, I am sure you be pleased with it. The bead blasters can be purchase from Machine Supply Houses. A large amount of the knives that I make is used by Ranchers, Farmer, Hunters, and people who used the knife on an everyday basis. I had been using a High Polish Finish on the blades.



After about 6 months the blades were all scratch up from use. My knife had a Satin Finish on it and it to and was well used. It, however was no scratch up from use.


Over the years I have used quite a few different types of heat treating furnaces. Electric is by far the best for average use. If you are using Stain less Steel it is almost a necessity, I you can not read the temperature by color. If you are using 01 tool steel to make the blades, a gas heating furnace works fine. In a later Chapter I will show you how to make one.


I heat treat all of my knives in a gas blast furnace. To protect the blades from decarbonizing, I use brazing flux as a coating to keep this from happening. This totally protects the metal from burning.


An acetylene torch is nice to have, as there are usually quite a few small parts that will need heat treating. It is not a necessary item though. A butane torch works good also, but the heat is limited. It works good for drawing small parts.


The hammer is one of the most important tools that the cutler possesses. The hammer is an extension of the knife maker's hand and mind. The 7 oz. tinner's hammer. It is of the cross peen type.


I addition to the tinner's hammer, a selection of ball peen hammers plus a light brass hammer is needed. A 7 oz. ball peen hammer is better for most work. A cutler's hammer is similar to the above, but it is like a cross peen hammer. These hammers are useful in peening bolsters, blades, and springs.

These hammers do a good job of riveting, crink in blades, and stretching run ups, kicks and back springs.

The second hammer can also be a regular 7 oz. tack hammer. With your cut off wheel on your Dremel tool, cut cross lines on the face of the hammer. The tiny square boxes will have a cutting affect on the surface that it will strike. This type hammer is often called a cut face





This tool is used in layout to mark materials. In a sense it is really a pencil used to scratch a line. There are many on the market from plain to fancy. I use a mechanical drafting pencil with a #40 sharpened drill instead of lead.


A drymel-tool or heavy-duty valve grinder is also an important tool used in knife repair. A speed control unit is also needed when used with the drymel-tool. This unit can be used to cut, grind, and drill. Different size collets come with this tool. By using different size collets you can use drill sizes from .125 down to .040. This tool will give you better control on drilling small holes, even more than a drill press.


Burrs are very handy when used with the flexible shaft tool. They can be used to accomplish a variety of cutting and shaping chores. They are especially useful in jigging bone and cleaning up solder seams.


To remove pins after they are sheared, you must have an assortment of punches. You will need a set of small pin punches. The punches illustrated are to remove blade pins from bolsters. This punch was modified to suit my purpose. The drawing shows the proper style punches to remove pins from covers and shields. Standard 1/8" pin punches from local hardware store can be made into a good set of pin punches.

To make the correct size you need grind these punches down on your belt or drum sander. Always use your drill gage to check the correct thickness.

Surplus stores carry broken punches that are fine for regrinding into special shapes, or you may want to fabricate your own. 0-I steel makes a dandy punch.

Also be sure to not allow the punch to become too hot or it may draw the temper from the steel. Grind a set of punches for the following sizes: .080, .070, .060, and .050. On one punch grind a blunt end as a center punch. They are useful in starting to drive or locate pins in bolsters.


Every workbench should have a good selection of files. A good start would be: an 8" second



cut flat file, an 8" second cut half round, an 8" smooth cut, and a set of jewelers'


Although not especially pertinent to knife repair, every shop requires screwdrivers, so a good set is a wise investment.


Don't waste money on a cheap pair of dikes. A good pair will be worth the difference in price. Some cutler's like the regular cut, but I prefer the flush cut. One has to be careful with the flush cut since it will dull or chip more readily, but I do like the nice square cut it makes. Never cut hardened metals with diagonals.

A standard pair of end flippers is also a very handy tool. You can pick SIDE CUTTING DIKES up, a pair of these pliers at your local hardware store. There is one modification you will need to make. The face needs to be ground down flush with the lips. This will enable you to cut pins much closer and gives you more ease in grasping pins and rivets.


Vise-grips are handy to use while grinding and polishing single blades and springs. When a blade or spring is not in an assembled knife, vise grips will be a useful tool for holding these parts while you work on them.


Every shop should have a good pair of 1" micrometers 6" steel rule, combination square, drill gauge, and wire gauges. Special care should be taken of your measuring tools by never leaving them lying around. Have a proper location for them and return them to that location after each use. Keep dirt or grime from them.


A good set of Dial Calipers is a necessity. A 0-1 inch Micrometers will do the same job, but a 6 or 8 inch Caliper is handier. When you start fitting the knives together, you have to know what the measurements are on each part. If you don't, you will either have a sloppy or a sticky knife.




A good bench grinder is needed to sharpen dull drill bits. You can however do a good job of sharpening the bits on a belt grinder. A Hand Held Grinder like a Dremel is very handy for fitting and finishing in small places. You can get many accessories for it, to help make your job easier.


Files are the main tool that you will use. Just about all the fitting will involve the file. You will need files from 6" to 12". Also a good set of

needle files will be needed to finish sharp or narrow parts. They are also used in the file work on the back of the knife. This is artwork, and is used to decorate the finish knife.

You will need a couple of small Ball Peen Hammers. Get the smallest size that you can find. They are used to peen the pins in the knife. You will need a slightly larger one for use in stamping the nail notch in the blade (This is a piece of Tool Steel shaped like the nail notch. It is used to swedge the nail notch in the blade).


A good set of wire nippers is also necessary. These will be used to clip the pins oft that are used to hold the knife together. The end nippers are by far the best, though side nippers will work just about as good.


This is used to coat the steel so you can mark out the pattern of the knife .025 SHIM STOCK TAPERED 10.005 for cutting out.


This is the standard tool grinder. The stones are removed and card board wheels are put on in place of the stones. When the knife is completely done, you use the belt grinder to rough shape the cutting edge.

You then go to the cardboard wheels to finish the sharpening. One wheel is coated with fine carbide powder, is use to put a fine burr on the cutting edge. The other wheel is coated whit a fine buffing compound. This removes the burr, and puts a razor sharp edge to the knife.




The slacking tool is used as a spacer when the knife is being assembled. This item, can be purchased, but I usually make them in the shop. It is used to insert between the blade and scale or liner while peening blade pins. It will give the proper clearance to allow the blade to work smoothly, but not too loose.

There must be a certain amount of play between the blade and the bolster scales. If there is not, the bolster scales will act as a brake and not allow the blade to move freely. To have a good tight fit and be able to peen the pins tightly in the bolster holes I use a slacking toot to allow the right amount of slack between the blade and bolster scales.


The slacking tool is easy to make. Cut a piece of shim stock about .010 to .015 in thickness. This should be about 1/2" wide and 3" long. With your cut off wheel of your drymel-tool cut a slot or notch 3/16" wide and deep. This will allow you to slide this tool between and bolster scale while the slot will pass over the pin.

A crinking block is used for crinking or bending blades. The block is used on the anvil to rest the blade. The high or low side of the block is used according to which side of the knife the blade you are going to crink is on. This will keep your blade up level with the bolster. With the blunt end of your cutler's hammer, strike the blade directly on the long stamp area. Always check the hardness with a file before trying to crink a blade. This will cause the blade to bend upwards.

CAUTION -Some blades are tempered too hard and may have to be annealed slightly past the tang or they may break.

I make my crinking blocks from a piece of key stock. You will need a different size block for the different size knives you will be working on. I use stock 1/2" wide and 1 1/2" long to make them. Grind one side down. This will give you a high and low side.


While not actually a hand tool, it is also not a power tool. It is used to obtain that nice round head on cover pint and the back spring pin. This would be more for burnishing than for cutting tools. Several sizes will be used according to the size pin to be spun. These can be purchased from knife supply houses.

This is the tool that spins the head on pins and rivets. You use two for spinning, one is placed in the chuck of a drill press with the other being stationary in a vise. The center pin or rivet in a newly constructed knife is placed between these spinners.



After the top side is spun, the knife is turned over and the other end of the pin is spun. They will form a nice round head to hold the pin and cover scales securely.

I make them from drill rod and turn them in a lathe. The cutting cavity is drilled from a 1/ 8" drill. It can either have a slot inside or ground to an angle for a cutting surface.


The spreader does exactly as it says. It spreads the blades apart. During assembly if the front of the knife becomes too tight this will cause the blades to strike each other. It is also used to "level" the knife, meaning the distance of the back side from scale to scale is the same as it is at the front.

I make mine from a 1/4" piece of round brass stock and grind a taper on the end for different types of knives.


On the blades that I use 01 tool steel, I use a product called Marine Tuff. This is very similar to Nickel plating. 01 tool steel rusts very easily, but as a knife blade material it is hard to beat. Marine Tuff eliminates the rusting problem, and puts a very thin coating similar to Nickel Plating (See chapter on Nickel Plating). It is almost as hard and wear resistant as carbide. Electroless Nickel Plating works almost as good. This is not new, as some of the well known knife manufactures had started using this many years ago.

There will be many other items that you will need as you go on. In the Appendix you will find the names and address of suppliers where you can get all the supplies you will need.




The best part of any knife is the handle. Just about all types of materials have been used, from jade to wood. We will look at the most common materials used in the cutlery industry.

To fit a handle to a bolster scale, the backside must be flat, and this is done on the disc sander. After the backside is flat, turn the handle to so you can grind the ends to fit against the bolsters. At this stage, it is a good idea to go ahead and rivet the handle to the bolster scale.


Impregnating wood laminate, linen, or paper with a phenolic resin makes Micarta, and it takes much abuse, works well with sanders and routers, and buffs to a high luster.

Bone, or ivory colored Micarta is more difficult to work with; it usually contains tiny imperfections that can mar the finished handle. Just about the time you think you have got your handle polished to perfection, a black speck or two will appear, and back to the emery cloth you must go. It also will turn yellowish under high speed buffing.

Micarta comes in several colors, and these varieties have tiny imperfections too, but because of their darker color, the specks are not as visible.


Delrin or composition handles are by far the easiest with which to work. This material is very durable and will polish to a high gloss. Be careful and not use a fast speed on the buffer.


They introduced Celluloid's years ago as handle material, and the majority of the cutlery manufactures used it. Celluloid makes a unique handle that can give a Christmas tree or Waterfall look. There is one major problem with celluloid. The flash point of this substance is very low. When grinding celluloid, be extremely careful for it will ignite anytime after it gets hot. When buffing, be sure to note that it will burn or blur very quickly at a high speed. Use a slow speed with a light amount of pressure.





An exceptionally dense, very hard wood that works well, and needs no finish. It is as dark as ebony and extremely fine-grained and dense. Polished, it takes a deep satin finish, and it does not split like ebony. Sad to say, it is in short supply and about twice as expensive as most other exotic's. It is a rich dark brown with contrasting tan to set off the figure. Weighs 82 lbs. per cubic foot.


It is also known as Mesua, Indian Rose Chestnut, and Ironwood in India. It is found in India, Burma, Ceylon, and the Andaman Islands. It is very hard and heavy. It has a very distinct grain pattern, no matter which way they cut it. Close stripe if quarter sawed and an open wavy pattern, if sliced. The colors range from tan to brown when freshly cut and turns to reddish brown after exposure, it works easily with sharp tools and finishes well. Weighs 65 lbs. per cubic foot.


It is a rich, golden brown wood with strong chocolate brown to black figures, and it is very heavy, hard, and oily and finishes to a smooth satin finish. It makes a beautiful presentation knife when paired with gold or brass hardware. Weighs 68 lbs. per cubic foot.


This is the outer casing of the Black Palm tree. The wood is made up of bonded round fibers. The color is dramatic black with gold streaks appearing frequently but on a random basis. Sealing it is necessary for this wood because of its structure. Black Palm is native to Central and South America.


This brilliantly colored wood and, as the name implies, is a rich deep red with undertones of purple, but very little figure. It is not as dense and heavy as other woods, but is free from warping and shrinkage. Weighs 60 lbs. per cubic foot.


It is also known as Mayan Rosewood, Canalete, and Cordia, is a hard, heavy, strong wood full of exotic figures. This African import has alternating bands of yellow and brown, interspersed with narrower stripes of black. It takes a good luster on buffing, but tends to



darken with age. It is resinous and does not require oiling.

No two pieces are the same. The figure runs from a bird's-eye, to flowered heart, to stripe. The color ranges from red brown to gray brown, and gold with pronounced dark closed grain. Weighs 55 lbs. per cubic foot.


One of the most colorful woods available; it varies from red to black, gold, and yellow. They import it from Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. This wood is fine-grained and very durable; this wood is a favorite of knife makers and pistol smiths alike. Smith & Wesson uses it for their magnum grips on their pistols. Lighter in color than rosewood, it has streaks running from dark brown to black throughout. We can oil it, but takes nice semis lustrous finish without it.

The dust resulting from sawing and sanding is hazardous to those who are allergic to it. A good mask should be worn while processing the wood. Despite this problem, it is one of the all time favorites for knife handles because of its beauty and durability. Weighs 60 to 77 lbs. per cubic foot.


Usually called golden pheasant in the trade, and it has a pale golden color and a nice firm grain. It is extremely hard and takes a beautiful finish. Scorching with a propane torch can obtain an unusual effect to get alternating bands of reddish bronze color, and it is hard to work with, but worth the effort.


This wood exists in many varieties, varying from black (from Gabon, Central West Africa, and Ceylon) to black streaked with yellow and yellowish brown (from East India). It is an extremely dark, fine-grained wood used for knife making for more than a century. It polishes well without oiling or other finish, but its propensity for splitting makes it difficult to work with and less than desirable in a finished handle. All ebony is hard and dense, and, therefore, is durable and takes a very fine polish. Weighs 5075 lbs. per cubic foot.


This is a wood of moderate density, works easily, and takes a high polish. Its color ranges from light to dark brown, sometimes reddish, exhibiting vertical bands or stripes of black. You have seen it on Smith & Wesson handguns. It comes from Southern Mexico to tropical South America but the primary source is eastern Brazil. Weighs 53 lbs. per cubic foot.




This is a dense, hard wood with blue to purple figure, either a highly figured pattern or closely spaced lines, depending upon the way they cut it. They import this wood from Mexico. Weighs 75 lbs. per cubic foot.


This South American import is about the color of walnut and almost without figure. It works extremely well, and is a good choice if you plan to score or checker your handle. It buffs well and requires no filler, but an oil finish will add to its luster.


They also call this wood Guayacan and Guaiacum. It is the hardest and densest of all the woods. The color varies somewhat from piece to piece. It is brown, oxidizing to a greenish brown or almost black. Another South American import, this is so dense it refuses to float. It has a straight yellow and brown striped figure and buffs to a high gloss. Working with it is hard, (use a sharp drill bit) but it gives an extremely durable handle. Do not use it if you want a lightweight knife.

The pattern is quite plain, but can be mottled or striped. This wood is oily and very dense. It polishes well and is extremely durable. It grows from Mexico to South America. Weighs 83 lbs. per cubic foot.


It ranges in color from dark walnut to light cream, with bands of light purple to black. It is an easy wood to work and takes a good, but not particularly lustrous finish. Oiling accents its color and grain.


This is a scarce beautiful wood with a characteristic burl figure throughout. Coloration is a reddish tan with darker tan swirls, flecks of very dark reddish brown and occasional creamy white flecks. A dense wood that achieves a brilliant glassy finish and one of the most dramatic woods we carry. It requires sealing. Weighs 44 lbs. per cubic foot.


This wood (bird's-eye, curly, and fiddle back) is all white or cream, to light brown in color. Bird's-eye has small eyes scattered throughout the surface. Curly has wavy lines that make a shell pattern or parallel curving lines depending on the direction in which they saw it. Flddleback possesses parallel lines of wavy grain from 1/8 to 1/4 apart. Staining and sanding can enhance these figures. The stain penetrates into the figure more deeply than it



does the surrounding area, and the result is a darker figure against a very light background. Weighs 45 lbs. per cubic foot.


This wood has a medium texture that finishes easily. It is light to dark cocoa with a reddish cast that achieves a golden luster when polished, and the figure ranges from straight too wavy. It is hard and heavy. Weighs 55 lbs. per cubic foot.


A dense, easy working wood is rich red to orangeade with alternate layers of hard and soft open grain. It is a beautiful, exotic wood highly prized because of its coloration. When exposed to light, this wood becomes a rich brown with red undertones. Weighs 45 lbs. per cubic foot.


It is also known as Rosa, and it grows in southeastern Brazil. The color is rose-red too yellowish, often variegated or streaked with purple, or brown. The surface becomes brownish yellow to dark brown upon exposure to light. It has a low to medium luster. It is a hard wood. Weighs 46 lbs. per cubic foot.


This is one of the more rarer and expensive woods that is found in South Africa, it is bright pink to pale red, very dense, and hard. The texture is very fine and takes a beautiful high polish. Weighs 70 lbs. per cubic foot


This wood originates in Mexico, Central America, Brazil and British Guyana and is a dull brown in color that turns to a deep purple up on exposure to air. It has little figures, even texture, hard and heavy, and works well. We must seal this wood. Weighs 65 lbs. per cubic foot.


Bird's-eye is a variety of redwoods that has wavy lines and bird's-eyes; it is a pinkish red color with dark streaks. It is a softwood and does require sealing; this wood has a great deal of pattern and makes an outstanding knife handle. Weighs two lbs. per cubic foot.




This a heavy oily wood with a prominent figure on a background that varies from light rose, to dark violet, to almost black with darker streaks. This is an old favorite and has one of the most pleasing grains and colors of any wood. Oiled and polished, it takes on a deep purplish color, not as dark as ebony, but with more contrast. It works well and takes a high luster.

It finishes to a very beautiful natural sheen. There is much variety in the coloration of rosewood depending on where it is grown, but it is all beautiful wood. Weighs 47 lbs. to 68 lbs. per cubic foot.


This is native to British Guyana and South America. It has a reddish brown tone with irregular black speckles or stripes. They often call this wood Leopard wood. It has a fine texture, takes a beautiful finish, and is a very rare and expensive wood. Weighs 75 to 84 lbs. per cubic foot.


It is golden red with shades of brown burls, and is moderately hard and heavy, but it works well with tools and polishes to a fine luster. It is relatively rare and therefore expensive, but well worth the price. They import it from Algeria and Morocco. Availability dictates size and price of this wood. Weighs 42 lbs. per cubic foot.


This is a very colorful Brazilian hard wood with striking mauve, violet, or a rose red stripe contrasted by a creamy yellow. It is a strong, dense wood that is not to easy to work with, but it attains a high natural polish and is very soft for use as knife handles. This wood tends to darken when exposed to light but retains a rosy hue. Weighs 60 lbs. per cubic foot.


This wood is native to Africa. It is dark brown to black in an alternate layer that gives it a very distinctive appearance. It shows heavy veining that requires filling. The wood is hard, heavy, stable, and machines well. Weighs 60 lbs. per cubic foot.


It is also, known as Zebrano or Zingaua, it is an African wood, and gets its name for its pronounced striped patterns. As the name implies, this is a heavily figured wood with



alternating bands of light tan to light cream, interspersed with black. It works as easily as walnut and buffs to a nice luster, and oil finishing accents the figure.

It is tan with narrow brown stripes. The grain is somewhat coarse in texture. It is hard, heavy wood that achieves a lustrous finish. They should fill and seal it. Weighs 45 to 55 lbs. per cubic foot.


This is a very hard, dark gray brown wood with highly irregular, prominent black lines that establish patterns totally unrelated to the grain of the wood. This results in a very striking appearance. It is native to Mexico and Central America. Ziricote attains an attractive high luster with polishing. Weighs 50 to 60 lbs. per cubic foot.


There was a time when leather handles was about the only kind you could get in a store-bought sheath knife. Many disadvantages have caused it to lose favor in recent years, however; it tends to shrink and mildew unless properly cared for.

Cutting and laminating leather discs or a washer from heavy cowhide makes handles for knives. You can cut your own from 12 oz cowhides, or buy them precut and slotted. The average size knife handle requires about sixteen to eighteen washer's cut from 12-oz hides. They make the ones you buy from thicker stuff and they require only about fourteen.

They slip the washers over a round tang one at a time, and glued together using a good rubber-base contact cement. Then the handle is finished as you would any other material by shaping on a sanding disc and with rasps, and it is buffed to polish and then treat it with a leather preservative.


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