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I Forge Iron

First Knife : 4" 1084 Utility/Camper


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Well I consider this my first knife anyway. Many years ago I made a few knife shaped objects out of old files, but they never saw heat, and really weren't much more than decorative (albeit ugly) pieced.

These are the steps I took to get to this point:


Draw out my shape on some paper, transfer it to card stock so that if I liked what I made, I could make it again. To be honest, I'm finding the shaping on paper tougher than with the metal itself. There were some things on the paper layout I didn't love (front finger grip, and the nub separating it from the rest of the fingers for instance), that were hard to refine on paper. Much happier with the metal blank results in those areas. I did some web searching, grabbed things I liked about a bunch of different knives I saw, then drew my own.



Trace onto a piece of 1.5"x 1/8" 1084 steel. I chose 1084 because most everything I know about it says its very beginner friendly to heat treat, while still being a good choice for knives. It will rust however if left exposed.



Hacksaw and file baby! All in all this took probably 2 hours or so at most... which I split up over multiple visits to the garage.



And where we sit now. Much happier with the front finger grip and nub on this. Amazing what having a half round file does. The blade is wide for sure, in retrospect it would probably be prettier with a thinner profile, but this knife is all about utility so I wanted it to be a bit beefy for what it was. The handle is quite comfortable even without scales.



Have done this all by hand except for the 2 holes being drilled. I figure though it's going to take me a lot longer, I will learn nuances that I would quickly miss if I was using a belt sander, grinder, etc.

Next up, a bit of sanding on the spine just to assure myself I'm done there with the file, and onto profiling the edge... I built myself this as well...


Saw a video about this, it seemed like a good idea to try given the initial investment was 2 hose clamps, some scrap wood, hardware and some tape. Knowing me, I will spend as much time making the tools to do the job easily, as I will doing the job... so this might get another iteration depending what I learn through it's use. Ignore the lower left profile on the table, that's perhaps a future knife.



Constructive feedback welcome and appreciated.

More to come!

Edited by Zengineer
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i actually used the same "bevel" jig to bevel my last knife and i think it worked pretty good. im sure, as thomas said, drawfiling will be quicker but with the jig it makes it easier to set a consistent grind and plunge line, my previous knife i draw filed and wasnt very happy with the grind for this reason. filing the grind also really lit a fire under my butt to get my 2x72 built, have all the stuff except for the spring just have to find the time to make it.

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I bought the springs for my 2x72 at ace hardware. If you decide to draw file, use a scribe to mark the center of the edge and the top of the bevel, file away then go to your jig for the cleanup before sanding. Calipers work very well to scribe lines with.

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Thanks for the feedback, glad to see most of it was constructive. Agree with the scribed line comment, that was my plan. The layout scribe pictured looks good, might be just the ticket as I do seem to like making tools...

TJ I like the comment regarding starting with the draw filing and using the jig just for the final finishing. I think that will give me the peace of mind that I'm looking for... a bit trepedatious about the beveling step, as I think it's going to be the hardest part for me to do to the quality I want.


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I didn't read the everything but was struck by you saying grind and file together. Are you using "grind" interchangeably with "File". They're two very different things and if you grind THEN file you'll dull your files with the embedded grit. Even dust and dirt dull cutters of all kinds, even carbides.

Grinding and sanding are the last steps and eliminate using any blade tool thereafter. Yes, a file is a blade tool just like a saw, drill bit, lathe cutter, chisel, etc. Grinding sheds bits of abrasive grit in the metal and is death to a sharp cutting tool.

Just saying. Filing to shape goes a whole lot faster if you don't grind the teeth down on your files.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Ah, I see that TP is bubbling over with sarcasm today, lol. I think he might acualy like you ;-)

as to TJ's suggestions, it's real easy if you can con him out of one of his fancy layout scribes...


Good looking start.

You can also order a scribe similar to TJs thru places like Jantz Supplies, handy little tools.

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Well, have started on the beveling process. Going pretty slow and careful. It's certainly difficult to keep things even from side to side, and from front to back. The photo below shows early on how I was doing it, tips welcome. I'm actually quite far along, to the point where I'm pondering using my jig to make sure things are even from side to side. All in all, a lot has been learned so far.



Went to a local wood supply store looking for material for scales... managed to get my hands on some fretboard ebony rejects... 1/4" thick with superficial flaws from my perspective. So ebony it is for scales... and will have enough material for a few more knives in the future as well. The ebony should pop with the brass pins!

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