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Simple Instructions for Knife Making

NEW! Check out Chris Crawford's Slip Joint Pocket Knife tutorial for more on building your own folder.
   * Click here to access the pocket knife tutorial.

NEW! DIY Hunting Knife tutorial. No pix but a great instructional on how to build your own custom hunting knife from a knife making kit.
   * Click here to access the hunting knife tutorial.

Knives are one of mankind's oldest tools, and they are both very simple and very complex. The simplest instructions for knife making are to take a rock and sharpen the edges - this, in its most primitive form, is a knife.

But that's not what you want! Any instructions for knife making will include a list of the basic components:
  1. a blade
  2. a handle
  3. a guard and pommel
  4. epoxy or solder
Instructions for knife making will also require sandpaper, files, and a vise, and if you're using solder to fasten your guard to the blade, a soldering iron.

The simplest instructions for knife making are for making a round-tanged knife such as a Bowie knife. The instructions for knife making will include covering the edge, deburring the tang (i.e., taking any rough patches off the end of the blade that goes into the handle), sliding the guard onto the tang, inserting the tang into the handle, and then fixing it there with epoxy or solder. These instructions for knife making cover the very basics.

Not complicated, is it? But a knife made in this manner may have a looser blade than one fixed with rivets. Instructions for knife making including rivets will always have at least two rivets in the handle. These instructions for knife making are invariably more complex than those for the simple round-tanged knife; but the knife that results is much more sophisticated and sturdy.

You can get instructions for knife making for a variety of different types of blades. There are three basic types of knife blade making techniques: mould cast, forging, and stock removal. Mould cast and forging require special equipment to heat metals to very high temperatures, and when you do that, you need to understand what happens to steel at those high temperatures. You're better off getting instructions for knife making with the stock removal method, which involves using pre-formed blanks as the base for your knife.

When you use instructions for knife making involving stock removal, the most important consideration is the base material you are putting into your knife. The most common choice is stainless steel, which is a good all-purpose metal. Damascus steel and titanium blades hold a better edge and are better for heavy-duty tasks like hunting and fishing. You should find instructions for knife making that address the type of job you're going to use the knife for: simple stainless steel plans for ordinary knives, and more complex plans with rivets and other tougher anchors.

Instructions for knife making of all sorts can be found online, or you can purchase instructions for knife making in a variety of publications. Knife making is an ancient art, and you can find ancient Arabic texts discussing knife making as well as recent publications discussing the most advanced new technologies and materials.

Instructions for knife making often don't include some basic tips, however. Don't heat your steels too hot; you can actually damage the crystal structure that makes them tough, winding up with a brittle blade that chips or just doesn't hold an edge. You don't have to apply direct heat to do this, either; oversanding or grinding the blade will damage it in this way if you're not careful.

If you do damage your blade with heat, you can quench it with oil (i.e., drop it in a container of oil), then pack it in lime and bake it at 500 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour or two. This may repair the damage. Instructions for knife making rarely include tips like this; you'll have to talk to professionals and people who've made knives for years to get this sort of information.

Your instructions for knife making may include directions on the type of work area you need to have. You'll need a steel base on which you can do your grinding and shaping; ideally, the steel base should extend off the table a bit so you can clamp your vises to it. Instructions for knife making will include many places you will want to use vise grips, C clamps, or a regular vise. You should also have sanding equipment, files, and a drill with disc sander attachment. Don't forget safety; use safety goggles or glasses. You never know when a stray piece of metal will fly off.

The best instructions for knife making are probably on the same web sites you're using to find your knife making kits and materials. There are dozens of books, and a number of excellent web sites, that include easy to follow instructions for knife making. If you look around, you're sure to find the perfect guide for you.

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