Timelapsed audio makes this even more entertaining
September 12, 2013 7:43 AM   Subscribe

This just reminds me why I am so happy to have access to CNC tools, and other time saving power tools.
posted by MrBobaFett at 8:06 AM on September 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by Sternmeyer at 8:09 AM on September 12, 2013 [3 favorites]

Thank you for this...

Some of.. scratch that... THE best paring knives I have were hand made by my grandfather(s) and other older generations but they've pretty much reached the end of their lifetime as they have either been sharpened down to a thin whit of steel or the rivets and scales have deteriorated to the point of needing wraps of wire to keep them going. From what I recall most were either made from old crosscut saw blade steel or old files. That also rings true with some of the resources I've found online for this sort of thing...

There's just something nice to me about a thiner, carbon steel blade that's much superior to the thicker, stainless blades that come from moderately high end manufacturers like Henckels. Ease of sharpening being one, not to mention the fact that I really don't mind handwashing/drying a knife after using it so rust/discoloration isn't as much of an issue for me as it might be for others.

I'd love to make some replacements via something like the method shown above but the lack of a proper shop and simple tools like a nice bench vise make that idea not so great right now. That means waiting or trying to find something affordable from a craftsman, which isn't easy nor do I really expect it to be.

Anyway, cool post.


No kidding. I'm a fan of not bleeding for my projects whenever possible.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:11 AM on September 12, 2013

Ooh, dat filing jig. Nice.
posted by echo target at 8:13 AM on September 12, 2013

YES, I was just about to say that the jig that appears at 2:10 is the star of the show.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:14 AM on September 12, 2013

That looks so fun! I am really impressed by the straightness of the bordering ricasso.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:17 AM on September 12, 2013

Every so often I am reminded that I'm a few degrees off normal. Like when I realize that a coffee can full of refractory cement is not a common tool no matter how many of my friends have one.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:18 AM on September 12, 2013

Hey guys!
One of my friends pointed out this thread to me! Glad you all liked my video!

I made a video about how to make/use the filing jig here.

It actually doesn't cost much at all to make, you could make it for $20 in an evening and be making a knife the next day!

I love helping people get into working with their hands, so if you have any questions just let me know!
posted by aarongough at 8:24 AM on September 12, 2013 [19 favorites]

Welcome, Aaron!
posted by a halcyon day at 8:43 AM on September 12, 2013


Why? Looks like gloves were used, and not used, when appropriate.

I wonder if the pins in the handle are just decorative. I didn't notice them getting peened.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:45 AM on September 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

Thanks Halcyon!

2N2222: I generally use gloves as you said, when it's appropriate. Around machinery it's a big no-no (although I don't use any machinery in this vid), and for many things in the video I needed the extra feel of going barehanded (like when sanding for instance). Gloves are a good idea when using the filing jig though, otherwise you'll likely end up with bad blisters!

The pins in the handle on this knife as not as strong as on my newer knives, because they weren't peened as you pointed out. They do still serve to provide extra glue area, and some extra shear strength.

I did a bunch of testing on the strength of different glues for holding the scales on, and unfortunately you can't really trust any of them! Good superglue and good epoxy have decent strength, but ONLY when the glue surfaces are sandblasted before joining. You would think just sanding with rough sandpaper would be enough, but it's sorely lacking.

Peened pins AND glue are definitely the way to go. The glue acts as a sealant to prevent corrosion under the handle scales, while the pins provide the large part of the mechanical strength.
posted by aarongough at 8:55 AM on September 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

aarongough: "I generally use gloves as you said, when it's appropriate. Around machinery it's a big no-no..."

For those who may not understand this point: A high-powered, large tool can grab the loose edge of a glove quite easily, yanking the hand into the danger zone. They can be even more dangerous than baggy sleeves, in those instances, because they're more likely to be near the working area.

Think of it as a choice between getting a nasty finger cut because your skin wasn't guarded by a glove, versus losing the whole hand.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:59 AM on September 12, 2013 [3 favorites]

Any idea what song is playing at 3:28?
posted by orme at 9:11 AM on September 12, 2013

This is the next step for me - I'm currently having a lot of fun repairing and restoring old French, German and American pocket knives. I've also just discovered Old Hickory carbon-steel kitchen knives, and I am having a hoot modifying the handles and blades of these $10 junk knives into serious culinary tools. (I'm also becoming a better cook, as I have to do =something= with all of these veggies I've been attacking to test the mods.)

Next step is to make my own stainless sunfish slipjoint or carbon-steel boning knife, as I don't like the Old Hickory design. Maybe a santoku.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:13 AM on September 12, 2013

Welcome aarongough! I'm in the process of putting together a knife using a similar process to what you did here, and while trying to find a video that explained some of the steps for a friend, I found your time-lapse, which made the understanding process much easier.

Hope you decide to stick around, Metafilter is a cool place, and having knowledgeable people around just makes it more so!
posted by quin at 9:26 AM on September 12, 2013

Thanks Quin! I'll happily stick around! The number of forums/etc that I post to seems to be growing by the day! I get an immense amount of satisfaction in helping people re-connect with manual skills, and this is a great way to do that!
posted by aarongough at 9:30 AM on September 12, 2013

Great fun to watch.

How many hours of work are represented by the c.7 minutes of video that we saw? I would be so proud to say I had made my own knife, but I don't know that I have the time. :7(
posted by wenestvedt at 10:06 AM on September 12, 2013

Wenestvedt: it was around 12-14 hours if I remember correctly. It would likely take quite a bit longer if you hadn't done it before, and even longer again if you're not used to working with your hands.

That being said, you could just work on it a couple of evenings a week for a week or two! It's very relaxing and you end up with a great tool!
posted by aarongough at 10:38 AM on September 12, 2013

Interesting videos! I'd like to try my hand at knifemaking sometime, but as it is my manual labour is needed to fix up my house and take care of my kids, so it'll probably have to wait a few years.

Aaron, is the grade of steel you use something you can by over the counter in Canada, or do you need to find a specialty store or order it online? Are there any types of scrap steel that is useful for blades? I've got a couple of spring leaves off a leaf-sprung Land Rover laying around. Could that be used?
posted by Harald74 at 12:00 PM on September 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Harald74: the steel that I used in that knife is O1 tool steel, which is very commonly available. You can actually buy it off amazon if you like! Another good source in the US and Canada is KBC tools, they sell it in their 'toolroom supplies' section.

The leaf-springs you have would probably make a serviceable knife, but I generally advise people to stay away from salvaged material... So much effort goes into a knife like this, finding out at the last minute that your blade won't harden because the steel is an unknown grade would be very frustrating!
posted by aarongough at 1:42 PM on September 12, 2013

This is why you don't wear gloves while working with power tools, in this case a lathe.
Don't worry, he lived and talked about it on Reddit.
posted by MrBobaFett at 5:00 PM on September 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't like that picture please.
I reckon you owe me another breakfast. Please put more warnings on it.
posted by glasseyes at 3:59 AM on September 13, 2013

The leaf springs are actually unused, so I guess they are solid enough. But they are quite thick, and probably more suitable for a sword on closer inspection.
posted by Harald74 at 5:08 AM on September 13, 2013

Harald74: No doubt they're solid enough! They'd likely be fine for forging, as then you can thin them out a bit with no issues. I wouldn't recommend them for a first knife however!
posted by aarongough at 5:12 AM on September 13, 2013

NSFL and lathe accident should be pretty clear flags. Would it help if I linked to the pictures of his arm after they put it back together?
posted by MrBobaFett at 8:58 AM on September 13, 2013

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