Monday, November 3, 2008

Bush Knife

I thought while I was at it with making big knives, I'd try my hand at a bush knife. I guess you could call it a machete but that makes it sound rather aggressive so I'm sticking with bush knife.

A friend kindly handed me a few lengths of HRPO (Hot-Rolled Pickled & Oiled) steel. That stuff is STRONG! I thought I'd try cutting a piece off to work with before I annealed it, and it made a mess of the cutting disc I had on my grinder.

So the design isn't really my own - I borrowed a few ideas from here and there. But I figure that I'm not making and selling these so making one for personal use shouldn't stir anyone up too much.

I wanted to have a billie hook but keep the rest of the design as simple as possible so the handle is just a paracord wrap. I say 'just' lightly though - for functionality purposes I'd take paracord over the nicest of timbers.
I've got the macho knives out of my system for now so I'll be going back to something smaller for the next post.

Bowie Knife

I've never had a bowie knife. I know they have a function (aside from looking menacing), but most of the time I don't need anything that big - and if I do, I reach for the axe.
But I wanted to try making one - I also wanted to try making a half tang knife. And the thing I learned.. is that I'll need to try harder next time. I was rushed with this one, and I think knowing that I was making it for myself, I didn't give it the attention it deserved.
So on to the details. I started out with a piece of tool steel, annealed it with the ol' blowtorch, and cut out the blank with an angle grinder, then shaped it up on the bench grinder.
The design wasn't too difficult to come up with - but given that I keep breaking steel guards when I'm trying to make them I cut up a piece of micarta and used that for the guard - that was my first mistake.
The micarta slabs I have really aren't that thick, maybe 10mm. So I had to drill the holes for the tang but leave enough space around them for the rest of the guard. To make the handle not look rediculious, I made this a similar thickness - so when I had glued everything up and got to shaping it, I ended up cutting in too deep and as you can see from the pics, ended up with a resin pommel/butt/bolster/what have you.
I also managed to overshape the micarta top the point where there is a very deep groove where the guard meets the shoulder.
Like everything in this blog, it was a learning curve - and I'm happy to learn - but I do hope I do better next time.
Oh, and before I forget - the wood is curly birch. I gave it a little brown leather stain for the colour.

Handle gluing rig

After the last knife I decided I needed something to hold the handle against the knife while the glue was setting - so I headed down to Bunnings, picked up length of threaded rod and cut it in half with the hacksaw when I got it back to the garage.
I drilled a few holes in a large piece of oregon I had sitting around and bolted the rods in place.
Then I attacked a few pieces of pine with a chisel and positioned these on the rods with nuts and washers and voilĂ  - now I don't have to cover handles in elastic bands to get them to stay still while the epoxy cures.
I tested this out with my first half tang knife. It pushed the guard and handle together nice and tight - almost too tight in fact - it took ages to the epoxy to cure.
I'm thinking I'll be using this again in the future though.

Knife for my Brother

I wanted to make a knife for my brother this time around. We both love fishing and camping so I thought a full tang camp knife would be ideal. It's the same shape as the one I made for Dad with a few variations in the design.
I gave this one a partial scandi grind and some filework along the spine. The handle is made from soapwood and ringed myall with a fibre spacer.
I was pretty happy with the way this knife turned out. It could have done with less gaps when I epoxied it and some of the pins didn't work out the way I had hoped but it's all good experience, and my brother didn't offer up any complaints. He was pretty pleased in fact.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I've been looking around at some of the firesteels (Swedish Firesteel, Blast Match, Metal Match, etc.) and even though I've already got a few of these I thought I'd have a go at making a couple of my own.
I bought some ferrocerium rods from an importer in Queensland and turned up a couple of handles on the bench grinder - wood for one and micarta for the other. I think they came out rather well considering it only took about 5 minutes to make each one, with the exception of the time it took for the Araldite to dry.

A few Sheaths

A few months back I'd been thinking for a while about making some sheaths - or more to the point, replacing the nylon sheath that came with my Winchester knife, with a homemade leather sheath.
I've done a little leatherwork in the past so the learning curve wasn't that great. That said, there's still a lot I need to learn and practice makes perfect.. eventually.
I also made a Scandinavian style sheath for a small damascus blade that I picked up at a show.

Mini Skinners

I was pretty happy with my first attempt at a skinner so I made a few mini versions. I thought one of these would be good to throw in with my camping kit, as a sort of emergency knife for 'light' bushcraft needs.
I decided to make these in two different styles.
The paracord wrapped one is a drop point and the other (hoochie cord wrapped) has a more traditional trailing-point spine.
I also chose to give both knives a smooth, seamless bevelled edge, and left out a ricasso to give a longer blade length that could start a cut from either the point or rear of the blade.

A new Knife

I thought I'd try my hand at some cord wrapping, so I decided to make a knife to practice on.
I didn't have a skinner so it seemed the perfect choice. I didn't really like the finish and was getting a bit bored with the hand sanding so I treated it with gun blue - so it's now got a nice gun-metal grey finish.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The First Knife

Well, I've officially made my first knife. It's father's day today and I've just handed it over to Dad for his gift.
I knew when I started making it that I wanted to give it to Dad - just seemed like the right thing to do. It's not the best knife I'm ever going to produce - with practice I'm sure I'll get much better - but I can only make one ''first'' knife so I wanted Dad to have this one.

It's made from (what I believe to be) O2 steel and I used stock removal for the process. The handle is redgum and the guard is stainless.

Had a hell of a time making the thing - I can say I've learned a lot of lessons about grinding and drilling in the process - like, don't use a grinding wheel on the guard once it's on the knife. The thing fell off several times because the heat kept melting the epoxy. I know now to either shape the entire thing first or just use the slack band of the belt grinder.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Let The Blogging Begin

I thought I'd put together a general blog for my projects - in part so I can show some of the things I make and get some feedback, and also so I can look back on things at a later time and see how I've (hopefully) learned from any mistakes I've made. Enjoy.