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Latest Knife - Few Questions

Discussion in 'Working the Steel' started by ToddR, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    Hi guys. Here's the latest kinfe i've been working on. I've got some Amboyna burl to use as scales (not done yet). I have a few nagging questions that i need some help with.

    I still have problems where i can't get my plunge lines to be square. They are more like gradual slopes. I don't mind the look, i really kinda like it. But, it bothers me that i should be able to get the really square plunge lines if i want. I tried it on this one but i got the slope again. What am I doing wrong? Is it my platen? Where i have the belt running?

    This is also my first use of a choil. I think I may have gone too wide. I dunno. I don't think functionally it matters much but I'm not sure of the look of it. I used a chainsaw file I had but it was tough to keep it from moving. I was thinking of starting it with a small cut or a groove. How do you guys start a choil so that the file doesn't skate around on you.

    Weight and balance. I have been trying to balance my knives so that they're balanced somewhere near the handle and the blade. I'm not sure this is correct, i just saw it somewhere on youtube i think. Where should the balance point be and, if the knife isn't really all that big, does that even matter that much. I know it would be vital in a throwing knife or a serious fighting knife maybe. But for a camp knife? Anyway, how much of the handle should i drill out? How concerned should i be with balance?

    I still have some hand sanding to do on it. Not much though, i just got some conditioning belts and man, do i love them. They save me a ton of hand sanding. I'm also thinking about getting rid of my 36 grit belts. It's a pain getting those lines out.

    As usual - any comments, suggestions, pointer are appreciated.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    boy, that picture makes it look huge. It's not really. It's about 8 1/2 inches in total.
     
  3. CaptainDevlin

    CaptainDevlin New Member

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    Like how the handle and blade curve down to the point. Nice blade.
     
  4. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    for the choil you can use a triangular file too place a groove that the round file can run in.

    for 36-60 grit I use them sparingly or at least try to switch up to 100 as soon as possible. Seems like there are always a scratch or two that do not want to go away if you take the course grit to far.

    Most people try and get angled and smooth plunge lines and have difficulty, sorry but having a chuckle over this :)

    I prefer a knife that balances on the first finger when resting in the hand or slightly blade heavy, seems to make a chopper more natural to use at least for me.

    A couple I have used that were handle heavy I did not find comfortable and gave the knives away many years ago. It can be tricky at best of times to get this nailed down and I have built a couple that sit on the display shelf because I did not like the balance when the knife was completed.
     
  5. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    Thanks Capt. I'm still learning and there's lots of things i wish i could redo but i'm doing better on each one. Still very much a newbie. I've only done handles to completion on one other knife and have never done a sheath at all. I promised a knife for my family gift steal so i have to learn fast.
     
  6. dancom

    dancom Dust Maker Best Shop Tool

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    Hi Todd,

    For a small choil you can give it a kiss on the bandsaw and then use the chainsaw file. Do that before heat treatment.

    I like the balance point to be where my index finger will be.

    Unfortunately, grind and plunge lines get washed out with indiscriminate hand sanding or conditioning belts. Real artists (not me) get their belts to run the exact same pattern through the grits so the grind lines are super crisp. I think that is a muscle memory thing. I use a sanding block with sheet sand paper and work the plunge area at the same angle as the bevel. I find it more controllable.

    Do you hang your belt over the edge of the platen? A little or a lot?

    Dan
     
  7. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    Thanks John. Are you saying that I should be trying to get the gradual slope lines in the plunge? Or just that it's very difficult for most people. I'm really thick today.

    I think i have a tendency for wide blades. It makes the whole knife much heavier. There's no functional reason for it. They're all shorter (5" max) so it's not like they're machetes. In my head i think my brain thinks knives are just wide pieces of steel. I do like the wide sweeping blade style. Like a skinner I suppose. I have yet to do a more tradional, "normal" style blade. I do have a idea for a utility/chisel/scraper/bottle opener blade that i'll make thinner.
     
  8. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    Thanks Dan. I will work on the balance. I think i need to just use less steel (thinner blades). I'm also making all my handles for my hand i think. I have a big hand and that makes them bigger than normal knives. I will work on those things for sure.

    I tried sanding blocks with wet dry 400grit. I didn't want to mess up the line too much but I sanded with the 400 until my fingers ached. I need to start with a straighter plunge i think so the hand sanding is minimal. And you're right about the conditioning belts. I love the satin finish but i think i underestimated how abrasive they were. I think the coarse one actually removed material. I don't mind it but i'd never get a crisp plunge line and keep it with one of those belts.

    My platen is actually exactly the width of the belt. I adjust it on each side so i get about 1/16 or overhang. Just a touch really. Then i move it the other way for the other side. i read somewhere that that's what you needed to do to get the lines. When i think about it, it kinda doesn't make sense but i figured they wanted you to avoid the hard corner of the platen.

    Thanks for the help Dan. I really appreciate it.
     
  9. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    The harder corner on the platen and aligned belt will cut a line or hard edge in the plunge line but running the belt off to the side will smooth out the transition. You can also get J-flex belts with scalloped edges as well as a modified wheel in 8-12" with a solid shoulder if you ever get into hollow grinds.
    I Have run up to a 1/4" off the platen when putting the final radius on the plunge line so the belt rides the whole radius.

    I was thinking the angle of the plunge line and smooth radius was the problem but maybe you are talking about the transition to the flat area where the bolster is? If so I have kind of cheated here and ran the blade flat on the platen lengthwise which seems to crisp things up.
     
  10. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    I got the handle shaped today. I couldn't see them in the shop but once i got outside, in the light of the snowy daylight, i can see all these minute scratch marks. I guess i didn't sand quite enough. Also, i learned a lesson about shaping the top of the scales before attaching them.

    I can't imagine putting it back in the vice with the handles on to take the scratches out. I think i'll have to chalk it up to a nice 3rd attempt. This is also the first complete knife i'm not embarassed to show you guys so, progress... tomorrow i make make a kydex press and do my first sheath. I'm thinking earth brown or maybe coyote and black rivets.


    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  11. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    i forgot to mention, the balance point is just a hair back from the top pin. If you have fat fingers like me, you're almost under the pin...
     
  12. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    here's another silly question, should i sharpen the knife before making the sheath? will i make that much difference in the shape of it? I tried looking it up online and, oddly, nobody mentions the order. I always just assumed the sheath was the very last step...
     
  13. Swivel

    Swivel New Member

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    Very nice piece, Todd!
     
  14. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    I sharpen and cut myself at least once no matter when it gets sharpened. Before the Sheath is made is not a bad idea so when slide in and put on the shelf or sold you are not rushing because it is still dull.

    If you have a air powered oscillating sander with 400 or 600 grit you can get those scratches out quickly just be careful and go slow, from there sand and finish like normal. I have started using the sander at 400 so the blade has a random pattern and it seems to help me get those last little scratches taken care of. With a big bonus of taking a minute and not the hours of hand sanding.
     
  15. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    That bottom picture almost looks like some sort of distressed or antiqued finish. I like that
     
  16. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    Thanks guys. I'm glad you lIke the distressed look John but, I didn't mean for it to come out that way. I'll call it a happy accident. Tell me about the air powered oscillating sander. Is it along the lines of an orbital sander? I'm going to Google it now because I don't seem to be very good at hand sanding. Maybe just not patient enough or too much of the 36 grit.... still working on it
     
  17. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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  18. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    that is the idea, I have air powered but electric should work just as well
    [​IMG]
     
  19. ToddR

    ToddR Putterer, Tinkerer, Waster of Time Staff Member

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    Hey John, I have a 20 gallon "portable" compressor. Would it run sanders? I really only ever use it for nailing. But, I watched a youtube video where a guy talked about one of those mini belt sanders for shaping handles and it was air powered too. You can get some decent air tools at reasonable prices. Maybe I should look into it. (if my compressor will work)
     
  20. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    the 20 gallon is just enough to drive you crazy as it runs out every few seconds unless you run sanders very slowly.
     

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