Will W.

Camp Knife

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Just finished this one a few hours ago. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Im unsure of the exact alloy but it is tool steel. The handle is just some oak i had kicking around the shop. 10 inches overall. Any thoughts? Critiques? Advice? How can I make the next one better? Anything is helpful in my book. Sorry for the bad image. 

IMG_20170119_194054.jpg

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It should also be noted that I am not a professional and this knife is far from perfect. I was just hoping to get some pointers from the truly skilled knife makers here. Thanks in advance. 

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Will W., I am by no means a "truly skilled knife maker" and thus have no pointers to offer, but I do have a request: could you post a clearer picture of your knife? The focus is pretty fuzzy, and it's hard to make out the details. Thanks.

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I can try to get a few good ones when I get home. I apologize, I only have the camera on my cell phone to work with and it is terrible, honestly. 

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I certainly don't qualify as a truly skilled knife maker, but I'll take a stab at tending the same kind of constructive criticism that I appreciate for my own work.  All of this is purely subjective as regards my personal aesthetics, your blade appears quite balanced and useful, so it passes the critical "function" test as far as I'm concerned.  I also like many of the design choices, including selection of handle scale material, location and size of rivets, and general proportions of blade and handle.  As far as things I'd look into further:

  1. It looks like your primary bevel is too short, or your secondary bevel is too long (hard to tell from the photo).  I personally strive (not always successfully) for a crisp break between the primary bevel and the flat section of the blade.
  2. I also like to see the primary bevel either follow the contours of the blade profile, or clearly depart from same.  To me it appears that you have tried to follow the profile, but not succeeded, especially near the tip.
  3. I also like to see a defined plunge line where the primary bevel starts at the riccasso as well as a clearly defined riccasso.
  4. Suggest you try to photograph with diffuse natural light to minimize the washing out effect of the camera flash.

As I noted a nice looking early effort.  Of course some of knife evaluation is in the intangibles: how does it feel in the hand, is the balance optimized for slicing or chopping, how successful was the heat treatment...  Bottom line is that you are happy with it, and you learned something from making it.  My aesthetic suggestions are only recommendations for your next project.

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Here are a few more images. They are still kind of fuzzy, and overall my camera still sucks, but I hope it helps.

IMG_20170120_153110135.jpg

IMG_20170120_153557964.jpg

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JHCC and Latticino, I've seen work from both of you, and I do consider you guys truly skilled. I hope my work may reach half the quality of your own. Thank you for taking the time to reply Latticino, I appreciate the recommendations. I did get a little carried away with the grinder near the ricasso and plunge line, so it kind of killed the crisp lines it could have had. My secondary bevel is short. Almost non existent. Again, too grinder happy towards the finish. I need to learn to slow down I guess. The heat treatment went very well though. I work with this steel a lot so I think I have the treatment down, but it is an unknown alloy, so I'm playing a guessing game. 

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Apart from the issues with the grind (which you've described well, and I have no further criticism), the only thing that concerns me is the sharpness of the points between the finger grooves. The wood in the handle is very coarse-grained, and those sharp ridges could easily break off if they bump into anything hard. Which, this being a camp knife, they will. The same goes for the point of the handle right between the index finger and the heel of the blade; that's not going to survive very long. A bigger radius rather than a sharp point and a finer-grained wood would be good choices.

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Yeah, I see exactly what you mean. During the sanding of the handle, I actually chipped pieces off of those points a few times. I suppose I should have taken the hint. I wanted to make it look sharp and neat, but function trumps form. I appreciate the criticism. Thank you. 

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As far as the short grind goes, I consider that perfectly acceptable as long as it is flat. It's called a Scandinavian grind. As far as the beginning of the bevel goes, I consider that acceptable as well. 

 

 

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image.jpeg

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i like the profile and the design of the handle. i agree with jhcc on the breakability of those points, though. 

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It's not a bad design, just not the best choice of handle material. Slap some micarta on there, and you're good to go.

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Thanks for the input guys. If I go for another knife similar to this design, I will heed the warning. A little more rounded may actually look pretty good. May feel better in the hand as well. I had no idea that was called a Scandinavian grind though. There is a term for just about everything it seems haha. 

Speaking of micarta though, where can you actually buy the stuff? Besides online of course. I like to tangibly hold the item before I buy it, I am very weary of buying almost anything online. I have looked for it almost everywhere I could think to. 

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Google knife supplies.  Should bring up all kinds places to look for handle  material. 

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If you buy from a reputable company like Jantz, you will not have problems. You can't buy it at the hardware store, but you can buy Bondo there. I've made micarta from blue jeans and Bondo before. Just look it up on YouTube.

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asking where to get something that's not online without mentioning where you are at???     All I can say is "over there a ways"

Most large knife shows and even some blacksmithing shows like Quad-State will have people selling knifemaking supplies on site.

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