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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
    Thanked 232 Times in 177 Posts

    How to make a nice little knife.

    Hey guys,

    So here is a little gift from an old timer to those that are keen to learn.

    My name is Steve Wheeler and I am a deeply lazy person. Which is why I am always looking for the fastest most efficient way of making
    gear as I would much prefer not to have to work 15 hours a day. I still do, and probably will until I expire, but hey, dreams are free!

    I have been a full time, self employed, knife and swordsmith for over 18 years. A sculptor for the last 26.

    So, over the next few weeks I shall take you through step by step of how to make a good quality utility knife.

    And feel free to ask me as many questions about knifesmithing as you need, but please no questions on design, that is up to you. I will show you my preferences and have to also say that I will not take offence if you copy them because really there is very little under the sun which is really new.

    Oh, and also show you the quickest way to sharpen a knife as well.
    In fact how about we start with that. Sure as hell makes slicing up your tomatoes for a sandwich so much easier.


    Steve W
    We are remembered only by what we leave behind.

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  4. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Thanked 6,723 Times in 4,629 Posts

  5. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Cambridge UK
    Thanked 4,526 Times in 2,458 Posts
    Ha ha sweet! What materials will we need for this make?
    I have staples and Blu Tak.
    sb most art copied to page 1
    Weapons of Mass Creation 2011 ::: Add your favourites!
    skype: velocitykendall
    facebook: Alface Killah

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  7. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Manchester, England
    Thanked 591 Times in 199 Posts
    Yes I want to learn! Love the knife designs on your website.

    Soooo, where to start with the materials and tools?

    Do you have any examples of your design process?
    Last edited by B u r l; January 23rd, 2013 at 08:24 PM.

  8. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    North Carolina
    Thanked 379 Times in 256 Posts
    I look forward to reading this.

  9. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
    Thanked 232 Times in 177 Posts
    Yeah this will be cool. Lots of interest. Thanks guys.

    OK Sharpening.

    Get a knife sharpening 'steel' the longer the better.
    Hold it like I demonstrate in the images.
    Tip of the steel on the table top (rock) cutting board etc,
    Cant across so that the steel is about 22 degrees off the vertical.
    Place the knife against the steel so the blade is vertical.
    Push it against the steel with the same amount of pressure you would use to take the top off a bottle.
    Draw the knife back towards you as you slowly slide the edge down the steel maintaining the same pressure until you are at the tip of the blade.
    (Slow count to 4 as you drive the knife down.) Be slow and deliberate in your stroke.
    Cant the steel so it is on the opposite side and do the action to the other side of the blade.
    Repeat four times as above.
    Then repeat using lighter strokes.
    Test the edge. If it is still not sharp repeat the whole procedure. Still not then we go to a whet stone which I will cover in the next installment.

    Design and steel types I shall discuss later today as well.

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    We are remembered only by what we leave behind.

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  11. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Thanked 257 Times in 209 Posts
    Sure beats sharpening them with the unfinished lining at the bottom of ceramic plates!
    Now I'll know what to do with that big, wonky rod that came with my knife set [insert inappropriate joke here].
    Thanks Waipunga!

  12. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Thanked 1,009 Times in 538 Posts
    I'm used to seeing tutorials on drawing, modeling and light, first time I've seen a knife tutorial. Awesome. Also I saw your location was New Zealand and the thought came to mind of the Hobbit. But thought "naw, couldn't be.... ". Then VK's post in another thread confirmed it. That's amazing.

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  14. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Thanked 849 Times in 457 Posts
    I'm glad to know I've been doing it right all this time (except the part where I tilt the knife and not the rod.)

  15. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
    Thanked 232 Times in 177 Posts
    Thanks guys!

    Well done Quitsune. That is a very old steeling method taught to me by an English butcher many years ago. Allows great control.

    OK you have tried the steel method and the edge is still dull.

    You need a whet stone, a method of locking the stone down onto the bench/table and a bottle of kerosene.

    Yeah I know what we have all been told about using oil etc but trust me I have used everything and kero is the best even on a super fine water stone.
    It does everything right. Excellent stone to steel contact, evaporates nicely so all the crap comes to the surface of the stone so cleaning it is easy with a cloth, has sufficient lubricant effect, is a cutting agent in its own right and is easy to clean off the blade afterwards.

    I always drill a little hole (2mm) in the cap of the kerosene bottle which allows me to flood the surface of the stone but not slosh the stuff all over the bench.

    OK so .....
    Lock the stone down at the edge of the bench.
    Flood the surface of the stone
    Now take up the knife as if you as grasping it normally. That is your power hand to keep the vertical pressure constant.
    With your other hand lay the tips of your fingers and thumb along the spine of the blade. These are your control to make the horizontal action.
    Establish an angle of about 22 degrees. This is a good general purpose edge angle. If you want to do brain surgery then go for a finer angle.
    A trick to establish the angle, and I don't know what it works but it does really well, is to put the end of your thumb against the top end edge of the stone and lay the blade against your thumb nail. Like I say, its weird, but it works.
    The pressure you use is the same for taking the top off a bottle. Quite firm as you are grinding steel.
    Start at the heel of the blade and drive the blade down the stone maintaining the angle and envisage that you are trying to take a slice off the top of the stone using the whole length of the stone to go from the heel of the knife to its tip.
    Run the length of the stone then flip the blade over and drag it back in the alternate direction.
    Make the sharpening strokes long slow and even. A slow count to 4 is quite acceptable per stroke.
    Keep the stone flooded with the kero.
    Carry on sharpening, feeling the edge every few strokes until you can start to feel it bight on your skin.
    As soon as it feels that sharp then lighten up your alternate strokes until the final strokes are feather light.

    Pics to follow as soon as the camera is charged.

    We are remembered only by what we leave behind.

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