Kitchen Knives Set – Part 4: Getting Some Serious Wood

Since I have spent more time making the blades than I originally intended, I have decided to go the full hog and NOT make the handles out of some plain wood. Instead, I have decided to kill two birds with one stone – to get some fancy wood for this project and to reduce the clutter in my raw material storage. I have decided to use the apple stumps that my neighbor gave me.

First I had to cut the stumps into smaller logs of course.

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That was not fun. Like, at all. I hate working with a chainsaw because the work quickly exhausts my meager strengths. Luckily the battery in this small saw gets drained after about half an hour of serious work, so with two batteries, I can get in about one hour of work before having to take a long break. Which is about the duration that I can do this without trouble.

Even so, before I was done it did actually happen once that the batteries held longer than I did and I got unpleasant mild hypoglycemia. That did not happen to me for a long time, but it was a reminder that absolutely must not skip or delay meal breaks.

I also blunted and had to sharpen the chain at least three times because there were small stones embedded in the wood.

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Next came cutting the logs to a smaller size on a circular saw. Another not-favorite work of mine, since my circular saw is small and not exactly up to the task. I am also afraid of it most of all my tools. But I managed it mostly, although I too blunted the blade again by hitting an invisible stone inside the wood. That was not a happy week at work. I can tell you that. This I cannot sharpen myself, I have to pay for it and it ain’t cheap.

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Aaand more cutting! This time on my Crappola bandsaw. I “only” broke three saw blades before cutting most of the wood down to workable size and shape. And whilst these are cheap on an individual basis, three at once cheap ain’t no more.

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And these are the pieces that I have decided to use for the actual project – there is plenty more for future projects, including some smaller pieces of burl. So I did get some value for the destroyed sawblades, only not as much as I would like to.

On the left is some partially rotten but still reasonably hard and strong root wood. It still gives a nice resonating “clonk” when struck. I do love the stripey coloring, given to it by the decay.

In the middle is some mostly healthy wood, still completely hard and strong, but with a few cracks and occasional woodborer-holes. I hereby declare that those add to the character. They are inevitable parts of wood harvested from a tree that stood dead for several years.

And on the right is some really fancy looking spalted wood. This is so decomposed (by a fungus), that it is significantly softer and less-dense than healthy wood. It sounds a bit dull when struck too. But it is still not so soft and spongey that it would be unworkable on its own. That is important, otherwise I could not do my next step.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I have cut the slabs and I cut and ground rough outlines of the handles, with a few mm to spare. This will save me some resin later on and it will also mean I won’t have to grind away as much resin-soaked wood as I would otherwise. Which is good, because working resin stabilized wood sucks. Majorly.

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And now the wood is drying up on the heating radiator in my living room. Not only does it need to be completely dry before I proceed, but it also has to wait until my ordered vacuum pump arrives. I do hope it does arrive next week. It is already delayed a bit. I also hope it works OK and that I have not thrown 100€ out of the window.

I do love that I have got three sets of different woods, all from the same species but each with its own unique character. I do not think I will dye the resin for these and I will just infuse them with a clear resin, leaving all cracks and holes distinct and visible. I think there is real potential for beauty here.

 

Tumbler Upgrade

My tumbler works well for some blades and worse for others, and it works really well for removing scale from pieces with complicated gomtry. However, as I alluded to last time, I had several problems with the drum itself.

The first problem was the water tightness. Not only the lid was not properly watertight, but the sides were neither. I have used screws to secure three wooden planks inside to prevent the contents from simply sliding around the inside without tumbling. And the water was seeping around the screws too. I was able to make it watertight in the end, but it was still not ideal. Plus the inner wooden ribs got worn down a lot quicker than I thought they will, they impeded the contents probably a bit too much.

The second problem was the change of the tumbling medium. I found out that fine gravel with water works great for removing scale, fine sand with walnut shells for a nice satin finish, and walnut shells with ferrous oxide for an even nicer satin finish. However, getting all of the coarser medium out of the drum in order to be able to use a finer one has proven to be nigh impossible. I did not run into any quality problems due to this, given the limited amount of time I have used the tumbler so far, but it did worry me enough to actually postpone its use until I find a solution.

The main problem was finding some kind of receptacle with a screw-on lid of the right size. I was crawling the internet occasionally for months, I even recruited my mother to help me, but we found nothing. We found plenty of products of course, but there were not always measurements written near them and thus we could not order them. And when the measurements were written, they were always of the ronk size.

But the week before Christmas I got lucky and during shopping for groceries, I stumbled upon just the thing I needed. I bought six pieces without hesitation. And this week I took a break from making knives and I made six new tumbling drums. That way I can use six different tumbling mediums without having to worry about contamination.

I started by cutting a 38 cm piece of 100 mm plumbing pipe that remained surplus during house renovations. It is a bit discolored on the outside because it lay outdoors in the sun for a few years, but other than that it is completely fine.

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Second, I have marked and cut in half the receptacles.

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The receptacles were a teensy tiny bit too big and did not fit inside the pipe, but that was not a problem since they are made from PET which is thermoplastic. I have carefully heated the edges with my heat gun and they shrunk a little when cooling town. The edges are not very neat, but that is not a problem.

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Copious amounts of adhesive putty helped to seal both the bottom and the top of the receptacle into the pipes. This was actually the hardest work of all, the putty is a bugger to squeeze out of the tube. theoretically it cannot glue PE, PP, and PTFE, but I did glue PVC to PP with it and it held watertight and strong enough so PET to PVC should not be a problem either. Maybe it won’t be the strongest possible bond, but it should be strong for this application. It is strong enough for me to be able to screw the lid on very tight.

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To prevents the contents from sliding and force them to tumble I have decided to try a different approach, one that does not involve breaching the integrity of the pipe. I have cut three pieces of PVC vinyl flooring, also surplus from house renovations. On one side of those pieces, I have made four cuts and inserted the uncut end s into them as depicted.

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Duct tape helped to hold the pieces in place while I rolled them together and inserted them inside the pipe.

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And voilala (or somtin’)! The inside of the drum is not smooth and round anymore, so the contents should be forced to tumble.

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There were some bugs to figure out and correct. The lids were not perfectly watertight, but I was able to cut circular gaskets from some softer leftover PVC vinyl flooring that has solved that problem. I also had to increase the span between the bearings on the axel on which the drum spins, because I am an idiot and I did not measure it correctly and I made the drum too big.

Currently, it is spinning with fine gravel and a few uncleaned broken blades to see how it works. After twelve hours there were no major problems and it did make reasonable progress on removing the scale.

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One problem remains and I have yet to find a good solution to it. During tumbling, some bigger particles of the tumbling medium (a fine stone or a piece of walnut shell) do wander into the thread of the lid and make it difficult to open the drum afterward. I have tried a few things, but so far without success. But as long as the lids do not get stuck completely, it is a minor issue and I am sure I will find a solution eventually.

 

Kitchen Knives Set – Part 2: Making the Blades

There are multiple pictures, so I am putting the post below the fold. I have filmed most of these works, but if a video ever comes out, it won’t be this year. I am already getting a bit sidetracked by making this project more elaborate than I originally intended and by my desire to re-build and improve some of my tools. Whilst being hampered in my endeavors by cold weather and other, previously mentioned, things.

[Read more…]

Kitchen Knives Set – Part 1: Thoughts and Design

So, this is my next big-ish project, I have decided to make a basic set of kitchen knives – three knives and honing steel. I am not entirely sure about how useful honing steel is with knives from N690, but I have used it on my mother’s knives and it seems to work. It does not appear to hurt. If this small set works out OK, I will make more in the future and perhaps add some specialized knives along the way, but this basic set is meant for casual cooks like myself (and indeed most of my friends), who do not need a special blade for every task and will be probably very content with one knife for 90% of work.

And because this time I am preparing perhaps for more future projects, I have made templates in photoshop, printed them out, and laminated them in transparent foil for future use.

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© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The grid is metric, with the smallest scale being 1 mm.

The “meat” knife is a de-facto universal knife, one that I expect to take care of that 90% of work. Medium-sized blade with a round tip, ergonomic handle for firm grip, suitable for slicing protein as well as fine-dicing herbs and vegetables. And for remaining tasks, there is a small peeling knife with a sharp tip for piercing and a relatively straight blade for scratching-peeling, and a big chef knife for tackling difficult cabbage and for those occasions when cutting a lot of big-ish vegetables or huge chunks of whatever is necessary.

The chef knife has holes along the blade edge, which should help with reducing the sticking of whatever is being cut to the blade. It is easier to make than hollow grind or S-grind and it does work too. The handle is ergonomic as well but it is formed with a focus on two main uses of such a big blade. The thicker butt with a hook end prevents the knife from flying out of the hand when chopping, and the thin front with a lot of space for fingers allows for a choked-up grip with the index finger and thumb on the blade for fine slicing and dicing with a rocking motion.

All these designs should work as expected since they are based on knives that I have already made in the past. Of these, the least tested is the chef knife, but I still do not expect any trouble. I won’t follow the designs exactly, they are just approximations and I expect to tune them up a bit during the work. Any thoughts and remarks on the designs are welcome, as well as any suggestions for further additions to the set ( I am thinking about fish-knife and cheese-knife).

However, I will definitively introduce one new and relatively original feature right now. One that I have not seen used by another knifemaker (which does not mean nobody does it, I just did not see it done). As you can see, there are four-five holes for pins in each tang, which might seem a bit excessive and dorky-looking. That is because I need more pins – two will be wooden and two will be metallic. And they will not be visible. That is, the knives are designed as full-width tang, but the pins won’t appear on the outside of the handles. I have tested this idea on one broken blade and it seems to work perfectly OK for a kitchen knife that won’t get hit with a mallet or hammer too much. Or at all, as things should be.

So stay tuned for the following articles with a full write-up of my manufacturing process for this project. I am decently far already given that I only could work three days this week. And because a video was requested, I am filming (almost) all work as well. But I make no promises there – a future video is, at this time, uncertain and might or might not happen.

Whinge, Knives, Whinge

It took me four months to finish the batch of knives that I started in July. I have documented every hour that I have worked on knives, and the results are not good. I have only managed to work about 20 hours a week. Plus some hours that I have not counted, like when I was making new tools, repairing or improving them, etc.

Please allow me to whine a bit about the causes of that.

I either have chronic fatigue or I am a chronic hypochondriac. I am reluctant to go to a physician right now, partly because of the ongoing pandemic and partly because of last year when after several months of pain, I never got a conclusive diagnosis – and the pain only subsided after a course of steroids that I got for a really bad but unrelated virus (possibly flu) that snuck up on me right before Covid hit Europe. So I am not all too optimistic about our GP being able to help me with this.

I have been more or less tired ever since that possible flu. You remember that short walk in the forest in August when I brought home two full shopping bags of ‘shrooms? It took me three days to get over that, and one of those days my legs hurt so much I was barely able to go to the loo. After just several hours of hand-sanding knife handles my back and hands hurt for two days. Etc. etc. ad nauseam. Add to that the necessity to spend time carting my parents to/from doctors, stacking firewood to the cellar, caring for my trees, and the result is that I do a lot less work than I want to.

I have never seen the point of exercise because my body never reacted to it the way other people’s bodies seem to. I did get stronger, but only in relation to my starting point. In high school, when I could exercise under professional supervision free of charge, after months of work I was barely getting just below the level where my schoolmates have started. This year is that – only worse. I am not going exactly downhill, but just barely. Plus my hands started to hurt again two weeks ago. With the sun gone, I have at least looked at what safe dose of Vitamin D I can take in supplements and I am taking that because it seems to help a bit.

Whining over. I hope it gets better. At least it is not getting worse.

The last knives I have finished are four universal kitchen knives from a batch of five blades. One of those blades was not suitably hardened after all- near the tang was about 2 cm soft part. I do not need to toss it, but I do need to try and quench it again with the next project.

These are a bit heavier and thicker (3mm) than my previous knives of this type because they are made from what was left over from the slabs for chef knives. I have also changed the geometry of the handle a bit – instead of a rounded rectangular profile it has a rounded trapezoid profile. They are also about 2-4 mm thinner overall and 5 mm thinner and shorter at the front to better allow a choked-up grip with thumb and index finger on the blade. And they are pointy this time.

One knife has the handle from apricot wood and I have tried tubular pins filled with the same wood. I think it looks good and I will use that idea in the future again.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Two knives have the handles from pickled black locust. It is perfidious wood, in the future, I have to be more careful – the scales were probably not fully dried when I ground them to final size and they shrunk on me a tiny bit when I was finishing the surface with resin. So the tang does exceed the handles a tiny bit. That can happen due to a bad shaping job too, but that was not this case – they were perfectly flush originally, I swear. Lesson learned I have to put this wood in the oven for an hour or so before glue-up and grinding the outline. Now I can forget the lesson before finishing the next batch.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

And last was fitted with padauk wood that I have again got for free with steel shipment. A prime example that there really is no need to use tropical woods, it does not look that much better than the black locust.

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© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Knives are a bugger to shoot, I will have to build myself some better lighting system. Either the blade is over-exposed, or the handle is under-exposed, or the colors are off, or all three.

If you are interested in knife making, on Sunday I will start a detailed series about my next knife-making project. Not because I am qualified, but because I want to.

Prototyping Chef Knives

This was an interesting project. Interesting in the sense that nearly nothing went as planned.

First I started to make five blades and I broke one after hardening, so I have made it into a smaller knife for my neighbor. But what happened after that was a real bummer – the four remaining blades stubbornly resisted my attempts at tumbling. After over a month in the tumbler, none of them had the pretty, regular finish that I have gotten on my full-width tang blades. Maybe the point of balance of these blades, or their width, or both, have played a role. I simply do not know. I only know that after over a month I took it as “lesson learned, you cannot tumble these, finish them or toss them as they are”. And because they are prototypes whose main purpose was learning, I have decided to use them as they were.


The first piece went on a bed of flowers into a land far, far away. What happens there is in the stars and out of my hands.


The second piece I have finished with an experimental piece of wood – one of the very rotten willow pieces that I have stabilized with resin during my first tests. Only the piece was just a tad thinner than I needed, so the resulting handle is slimmer and straighter than I intended it to be. I am keeping this knife for myself. I just cut onions for dinner with it and it works reasonably well. Whether it works better or worse than other chef knives I cannot evaluate, since I do not use chef knives regularly.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The handle looks…. interesting, but not very kitchen-knifey. I have used dark brown dye for the resin on the assumption that it will give the wood the most natural look. And it did that. Only it gave the wood also a decidedly camo-tacticool look. I think it would be great for a bushcraft/camping knife, but on a kitchen knife, it looks a bit odd. But maybe infusing the wood with bright colored resin – yellow, red, green, or even blue – might lead to interesting results. I am definitively going to try that next time. The rotten log will not burn – yet.

I have made my first bolster from buffalo horn here and fitting that and the handle together with the curved spacer from bone went reasonably well right until the last step in the process. That last step was buffing up of the horn. I have used my DIY red hematite buffing compound because it worked well on the horn – it is less aggressive than industrial steel buffing compounds. But some of it got stuck in the pores in the bone and it is impossible to clean afterward. That is unfortunately a common problem with bone – it has nearly invisible pores that tend to pop-up at the very end of the work when the piece cannot be replaced. So working with bone is always a bit gamble and you often get some dark spots here and there. It is not plastic but a natural product after all. But these red spots look like someone bled all over it. Grrr.


The third piece got fitted with bubinga handle and bone bolster. It goes to my former colleague, who has been patiently waiting for it for nearly a year by now.

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© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Nothing went wrong with the knife itself. I have fitted the bone bolster with the handle really well, there are no gaps between the white bolster and the blade. Nothing to complain about except the large cut in my right thumb during assembly because the blade cut during all that wiggling through several layers of cloth and masking tape.

Bubinga is beautiful and very hard, but it is not a wood that I would normally use. It is not grown sustainably and the species, while not endangered yet, are on a way to becoming endangered. But since I got this piece for free with a shipment of steel, I have used it. I think I got it for free because it had a worm-hole, but luckily enough it got completely ground away during work. And the piece was big enough for me to make the handle in a shape and size that I have initially intended. It has a trapezoid-profile with rounded edges, for better grip and edge-alignment.


The fourth blade was fitted with a horn bolster and cherry crotch wood with a bone spacer. And this is the closest to my intended design of all three. It is now in the possession of my main tester – my mom.

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© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The cherry wood is very beautiful, all the more pitty for the unseemly cracks. I will have to devise and use some kind of end-cap for cases like this when it would be a waste to toss the wood but there are some blemishes on the end grain. My mother does not mid it as it is and I hope it will serve well. Apart from these cracks, the only thing that went wrong was a cut in my left thumb – yup, I got symmetrical cuts with different knives.

Stats for all these knives: blade ~210 mm length, 3 mm thick, 50 mm wide, grip ~130 mm long. They are more forward-weighted than my full-width tang kitchen knives, so they would be probably very effective choppers too – the point of balance is right at the heel of the blade.

The Art of …

… blades. These photos are from the 2019 Knife Awards, a yearly competition held in Atlanta by Blade, the world’s’ #1 knife publication. The event wasn’t held in 2020 due to Covid, but they are planning a June 2021 show, for those of you interested aficionados. Today, I’m sharing just the best custom knives from the show, but if you want to see the full cadre of winners the link is here. I’ve saved the best of show for last. All photos are from Blade Magazine.

Best Art Knife, by Veronique Laurent

Photo from Blade Magazine

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Marcus Gave Me Wood, Here Is What I Did With It

Marcus sent me a piece of stabilized maple burl last year. It wasn’t very big, not enough for my usual chunky knife handles, but it was big enough for two badger knives, so I used it for the last two blades in the current batch.

I did not do the brass bolsters and pommels very well, I am afraid. The pins refused to blend in – they do so so seamlessly in aluminum and stainless steel, but so far I did not have any luck with brass. And since this blade is stainless steel, some artificial extreme patina would not look proper. I tried to make the heads rounded this time, but I did not like the look of it at all, especially because I did not position them correctly for that kind of look. Nevertheless, the extremely beautiful wood from Marcus, when polished with beeswax, does redeem the knives a little. And when I saw how pretty the wood is, I have decided to make better and nicer sheaths for these knives too.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

This is the better of the pair. Making the silver maple leaves was real fun, and I have managed to get the colors very close to what I have originaly designed in Photoshop.

It looks pretty, but silver maple is not native here so for the second one I have used a different design and color palette – yellow small-leaved linden leafs.

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© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The small-leaved linden tree is pretty common here and it is also Czech national tree, so I have been intentionally a bit patriotic with this one. Unfortunately, I run out of the medium thickness leather so I had to use the thicker one and it was just a tad too thick for this small knife design. It is not a functional problem, only the leather could not be formed so snugly around the knife, because the knife would not get out.

I think my leatherwork is improving and I like these leafs-designs. I shall definitively use them more, even though they are a bit labor-intensive, especially since I do not intend to use the same design twice. I might use the outline, but I will always at least mix up the colors differently.

Upcycling Old Jeans

During my first experiments with resin stabilized wood, I had a lot of dark brown leftover resin at the end of it. So I have decided to do a little experiment.

I took some old black jeans, cut them into squares of approximately the sizee of a hand palm, soaked the pieces in the resin, stacked them in a receptacle and I poured all the remaining resin all over them. I have tried my best to chase and push manually all the bubles out and let it harden.

The resulting material has an official name – micarta – and the results look quite well, I think.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

The pieces were not too big, but big enough for four small scales for two of the badger knives that I had in production, so I have used them straightaway. The material works well, it is sufficiently hard to take decent polish, but not so hard as to be difficult to work with. It does heat up a bit and clogs up sanding belts, but reducing the belt speed and using only fresh belts did away with that problem.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

That the layers are not perfectly perpendicular and flat adds a bit more character to the material, which I like. I think it is a good way to use excess resin and these knives should now be extremely resistant to elements – the blades and fittings are all stainless steel, the handle scales are micarta and the sheaths are leather infused with beeswax. They would probably survive for a non-trivial duration in fog and rain outdoors. Not that I would do that to them.

I am also pleased that now that these knives are significantly less work than the bowie-type small hunting knivest that I was presenting previously. The goal is to have a mix of cheap(ish) and expensive items on offer in the future, I do not wish to only make luxury items that take weeks to months finish each, neither do I wish to destroy my enjoyment of the craft by bogging myself down in repetitive tasks o making the same thing over and over again.

Finally I got Something Done

The original plan was to make ordinary knives, no fancy stuff, no distractions, just to build up some stock for sale when the bureaucracy here finally gets its act together. But I did not stick to that plan too well. First I got distracted several times making new tools, then two knives came out so nice that I thought it a shame to not make sheaths for them that are just a little fancy. But after two months, I have finally finished four pieces.

Today I was trying to take pictures, with very varying success. For reasons that I do not understand, I get usually the best results with reddish/magenta cloth background.

Here are the four knives, details, and some talk about each piece are below the fold.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

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Punch and Die (and Fun)

I do not have the genius of Leonard da Quirm, but I do share one trait with him – I get easily distracted and sometimes spend several days trying to shave off a few minutes of some task or save a few bucks. Sometimes the effort definitively pays off – as in the case of my belt grinder or my forge burner, sometimes it is a success but with a question mark whether it was worth it – like the unbender (now I know it was worth it, btw, I have used it several times already and it is time-saver), and sometimes it is a bit of a flop, as when building a vacuum pump. If I had a definitive fail, I do not remember it, and so I allowed myself to get distracted again these last two days.

I have a problem with making metal bolsters, handguards, end-caps, and pommels. As in, it is difficult to get material thick enough to make them pretty, and even if it were not difficult, the result would be overtly heavy and thus would put the knife balance totally out of whack. The proper way to make bolsters and end caps is to make them hollow, and there are techniques for that. One of them is forging – as I did in the rondel dagger project. But that is labor-intensive, has poor reproducibility, and requires special tools anyway. Or I could buy prefabricates and adjust my design(s) to fit what is already on the market. Screw that!

So I have decided to make some new tools, and test them. The inspiration was a technique of minting coins before the invention of fly screw-press, which I have seen as a child in some black and white movie which has shown the making of Prague groschen at Kutná Hora. I remember nothing else about the movie except the part where they strike a punch on a silver blank with a hammer and thus make a coin. I think there was some drama and history in there too…

First I have made a die out of 5 mm high-carbon tooling steel. It consists simply of two holes – one for the bolster and one for the end-cap  (I have chosen my small hunting knife as a pilot project because I think the design will be improved a lot by it and because I do plan to make more of these knives in the future). Second I have ground two punches out of square stock of high carbon tooling steel that I have scrounged at my previous job. Grinding the forms with angle grinder was not easy, but it was not insurmountably difficult either. I had actually a lot more trouble with welding onto it the 15 mm round stock for holding the punch in place and for striking – my welding sucks, bigly. And because at least the first strike needs to be real mighty, I have built a small wooden stand to hold the punch in place for that.

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With the assembly on the concrete floor, as you see it in the photo, I have given it a mighty whack with my puny Mjolnir. And I rejoiced because it was a success. To protect the floor from damage I have put it on a steel plate for subsequent tries and I went and punched four sets for the four blades that I have currently in making, three out of brass and one out of pakfong.

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The pakfong was a bit thicker than the brass so it gave me some grief, thus the surface is not so smooth on the end-cap – I had to whack it several times and it wandered off the die and I struck it without noticing it. But that should not be a problem, there is enough material in there to polish these dents out.

It took me mere minutes to punch all these, and after a long time, I was really, really happy for a bit. There are a few details to iron out – like making a better stand for the punch, making it so I can put it safely on my anvil, figuring out the ideal amount of overhang and so forth – but it functions as it is and it is a massive saving in time already. Whether the knives will really look better remains to be seen, but I am confident they will. Further, this opens a lot of new possibilities for knife designs for me.

I Probably Won’t Do This Again…

After a month of work, I am finally at a phase where I have something to show for it. The kitchen knives are in the tumbler for the second day now, tomorrow I shall check if they are ready or not. But it need not hurry, I have enough to work with – eight fully polished blades.

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Today I have etched the logos and numbers on these because it is easier to do on a naked blade than on a finished knife. Now I can finally work on finishing at least some of these into final products while the kitchen knives tumble.

Working in bulk does save significant time and even resources, but 18 blades in one go was a bit too much. I am going to reduce the batches to 8-12 in size. That way it should keep its savings, but the polishing hell will not be that long. Polishing is extremely onerous and unrewarding work because one keeps doing the same thing day after day, working through the row of belts with very slow progress. With one knife, it is one-two days of a boring slog. With eighteen knives, it was three weeks – and one of them got broke and nine only to 120 grit before going into the tumbler, if not for that, it would be even longer.

These are not perfect, some of them have serious problems regarding symmetry, although only in one case it is visible with the naked eye. On all of them is it visible with calipers. I am starting to doubt that I will ever do a good job, but there are some signs of progress. One of those signs has, unfortunately, a bit of a negative consequence on these blades, all 17 of them – they are a bit thicker than I expected (a few tenths of a mm). That is because I have gotten a bit better at working on the belt grinder and thus I did not grind away as much material as I used to by having to correct mistakes

Mind you, they all will cut perfectly fine even so, and some of them already do despite not being sharpened yet. But a thinner blade will always cut better. On the other hand, these should be extremely sturdy and should be able to withstand even some serious abuse, and that is a plus for a hunting knife. We will see if there will be people willing to pay for these without bashing me over the head afterward.

Now to think about how to dress-up these blades and the accompanying sheaths. I think I have quite a few more weeks of work ahead of me, but now it should be creative work, and therefore much more fun.