Monday, October 3, 2011

Knife Constructing

A while back I bought some knife Blanks from Smoky Mountain Knife Works and at the same time I ordered some handle material and brass pins for the bolsters.  I got a blank and handle materials for each of my nephews and nieces.  We were ready to build some knives.  Once again, we had never done this before and it turned out to be educational and interesting.

Here is a Bowie knife blank, sheath, and the black and gray laminated wood that is going to be cut and made into the knife handle.

Here is a coffin handle Bowie knife with scales made of horn.  They need to be fitted and sanded down.  This knife is going to look cool when it is done.

Eager knife maker cutting the knife scales in half.

A little knife with black and gray laminated wood scales that are cut roughly to fit.
Sorry about the blurry picture but it is the only one I had of this process.

The scales have been glued on and the Brass pins installed.  There is still a lot of sanding and fitting to do.

Notice how thick the wood handles are?  This is not ideal because it'll require lots of sanding to thin it down.  It would've been much easier to start off with thinner wood in the beginning.

A Bowie knife with the wood handles epoxied on, clamped down and waiting to dry.  The wood on this knife is also too thick and will need to be sanded down.  A lot.

Clamp the blade into a vice and get busy.  There is no picture of this process because............  Well, just because. We started off using a handheld grinder to take off a lot of extra wood then it was good old fashioned sandpaper, a sanding block and lots of elbow grease.  Here they are pretty much finished up.

And here is the little one after it has been completely sanded and five coats of Tru oil applied.  You can really see the contrasting layers of black and gray wood in this picture.  The Bowie knife has not had any finish applied to it yet but my little nephew got anxious and took it home with him anyway.  It was fun building them.

Here is an update.  Little nephew finally finished up his knife.  Here it is below.

Here is one side.  I think he put three coats of tru oil on it and it really brought out the figure in the wood.

And here is the other side.  It is not quite so pretty.

And the other two knives are a little more completed then they were.  Here they are.


  1. Those look pretty nice and it's a cool project for us knife enthusiasts. Were the knife blanks pretty reasonable? Have you ever tried making your own knife blades?

  2. Oh yeah, I considered the blanks pretty cheap. I think the little one was only about seven dollars.

    And yes, we have tried making our own blades. I ordered some 1095 high carbon steel, we traced out patterns on the steel, cut, ground, and sanded them down to the right profile. That is when they lost interest. So now we have several knives in various stages of completion. Hopefully this summer we will heat treat them,fit some handles made of homemade micarta and finish them up.