Monday, October 19, 2015

Bushcraft knife build

Finally, a real knife. That I made, from beginning to end, with all of the correct materials. (Mainly and most importantly the right kind of steel. Thanks Uncle Danny!) For everyone who is interested, I am also showing the process and the work that goes into making one of these.

This is what you would call a Bushcraft knife. It is a certain style, very simplistic, no frills kind of knife which can be used for just about any outdoor survival task. So much for the design, now onto the construction.

First step, find the design. I simply printed one off of the internet, there are several websites that have printable knife designs.

Then I laid it out on the metal, and traced it with a permanent marker.

The next step is to roughly cut out the shape with the angle grinder. I clamp the metal to the work bench to get at it easier. And yes, those are my size 12 feet.

After getting the rough shape with the angle grinder, I go to finish the shape with the bench grinder.

Then I clean it up with my sanders, and then hand sand the blank to make it shiny and clean.

Then I drill the pin and lanyard holes in the tang, followed by more sanding.

Then I grind the edge. Since this is a bushcraft knife, I do a simple scandi grind.

Then is my favorite part, the heat treating. What is heat treating? I'll tell you. When you get a piece of steel, it is very soft. That makes it easy to shape, sand, and grind out the shape. The downside is that it is too soft to be a knife. So you have to harden it. The best way to do this is to heat it up to glowing hot in the forge, and then dunk it in oil. The oil cools it down very quickly, the only downside is that it is now so hard it is as brittle as glass, and would break if you dropped it. That is why I then stick it in the oven for a couple hours at 400 degrees. By slowly heating it up again like that, it slowly softens the metal down, until it is the perfect hardness for a knife blade.

So that is what I did. I heated it up to 1500 degrees, then plunged it in oil, (making lots of awesome flames) and then stuck it in the oven.

Now for the handle. First step is to find the wood. I used dark walnut. Then you must of course cut it to shape, and then drill the pin holes.

Then I epoxy the scales and the pins and the tang together, clamp it, and leave it for 24 hours to cure.

Then I rough shape it with this tool, a angle grinder with sanding flap wheel attached.

WARNING: this tool takes off material extremely awesomely extraordinarily fast, there is no underestimating the complete and thorough overall coolness of this tool.

Using the above said really cool piece of equipment, I grind the handle scales down till I can see the metal.

Next, I round out the handle. I forgot to take some of the pictures of this part, but it is pretty simple. First I take the cool tool, (you can probably guess) and grind down the sharp edges. Then I further refine the shape with my belt sanders, and then a whole lot of hand sanding.

At this point, the knife is practically done. All I did after this was to put a wood finisher on the handle, and then made the kydex sheath. Yes, I know leather would have been way better, but I ain't got that kind of money. 

This is the knife in the kydex press I made. I'll post a blog about how to do that someday, but it won't be today. Simply put, I heat up the kydex in the oven, (kydex is a thermoplastic material that comes in sheets), and then stick the knife in between two pieces of kydex. Then I clamp it in the press, which molds the kydex around the knife. When the kydex cools, it retains it's shape, making a really cool sheath in which secures the knife very well.

Oh, this is what my hands looked like when I was done. (Yes, of course I sharpened the knife before I was finished working on it, what do think I am, smart or something?)

And here are some pics of the finished product. Overall, I am very satisfied with the knife. It is
strong, holds its edge, and is a great all around handy knife.

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