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filet knife (kevin's 5th knife)

kevin (the professor)

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Hello Everyone,

I am posting pictures of a filet knife that I just finished. It is my 5th overall, and it was a serious challenge.

I only made a filet knife at this point in my learning because a friend and colleague wanted one to give to her husband. He is a serious fisherman. Its nice to know that someone will use and appreciate the work, and that motivated me to make this difficult design. Otherwise, I would have made a hunter or fighter or camp knife for myself.

It was definitely a learning process.

1095 (from 1" x .25" stock)
12" long
1" wide at widest
7.5" blade
.125" thick (a little less at ricasso, a little more at point, deliberately)
edge quenched in heated canola, diff hardening line visible but camera shy
tempered 415 F, two one-hour cycles (it is springy)

coin mokume for butt-cap (I love this stuff, and it is becoming a signature kind of thing. This person asked for it specifically).

There is about 1 centimeter of "flat" near the spine that tapers to nothing toward point. So, the entire blade is essentially one long and flat bevel. I did put a very slight secondary bevel when sharpening after the dropping and chipping incident described below.

PLEASE DON'T BOTHER TO TELL ME THAT IT IS NOT POLISHED WELL, OR THAT IT COULD BE POLISHED BETTER. I KNOW, AND I AM LEARINING. I appreciate your comments, and I need advice to keep growing. I am just stuck with polishing, and hope to get better with next knife.

Dee- if you read this - thanks for all of the effort and information you gave me. I did what you said, and had it polished pretty well. Then, I dropped the d*** thing, and it landed, edge first, across a piece of a post-vise that I have "stored" on the floor of my basement. I was tempered well (I think), so I decided to change edge geometry just a tad.

So, I had to grind the chip out of the edge, added a very small secondary bevel, and I decided on a nice satin finish. My excuse - it is to be used, not looked at.

It is still, by far, the sharpest knife I have ever made. (probably about average or just below for what a lot of you out there are doing).

Enjoy the photo's. Thanks for looking, and any and all comments are encouraged.






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Everybody here who is making filet knives is making them too wide! When you have ground that blade down to about 1/3 of it's present width it will be about right. You cannot have the proper spring in an inch wide blade. This is currently a boning knife... not right for filetting. I don't mean to be mean but I have caught and filetted a whole lotta fishes and I would have a lotta trouble with that knife. For less experienced filetters it would be even harder to work with. My old mentor (Ted Trueblood) preferred to use a regular butchers boning knife that was many years old and ground down to the proper profile from use and many sharpenings... I like the nordic mfrs versions though (sometimes I still will thin them a bit more on the belt sander). My advice is to trace out a Rapala profile and emulate it.

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Yeah, I have tried the worn-out knife trick for a filet knife, too. I appreciate your input, but I don't think I am going to grind the knife down. I, too, have done a lot of fishing and filetting, and this type of blade works for me. It is also easier to keep a shallow angle with the inch wide blade. With the worn-down boning knife, the angle of the bevel can often become to steep (if the knife was 1/3 inch wide, and only 1/16th inch thick at spine, then it would have an included angle of about 20%, and that is if the piece of steel that is .0625 inches thick). This knife has a 13% included angle on the bevel, 6.5% per side. That was my goal. To get the same bevel angle on a 1/3 inch knife, you would have to have the knife 1/24th of an inch thick, and that is not a wise idea from my perspective. I wanted a shallow knife with a "zero bevel."

Other people prefer other attributes, and that is ok, too. Many professional fisherman use electric knives and would laugh at us for doing it this way.

take care,


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