I love knives for as long as I can remember. My parents thought they were dangerous and when I bought one as a kid I had to hand it over immediately. But older and.... well older, the love for well crafted knives and beautiful designs still holds firm.

This combined with my DIY skills brought me here, the making of my very own knife. Well assembling is a better word for it I think.

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First thoughts and supplies

First I looked on the internet and browsed old catalogues what and how to build. I wanted to make a 'smaller' knife 7,5 cm blade (3") and 17,5 overall (7"). My hands aren't that big and a smaller knife suits my needs better. I wanted to make a knife I could use when going camping, to be used for a series of small chores. For bigger jobs I always have my small hatchet at the ready. So it had to do jobs like cutting rope, slicing tomatoes and, in combination with a fire steel, start a fire etc. When going camping rust resistance would be nice too so the blade I would buy would have to be of some quality.

As mentioned above I was going to buy a pre made blade and after looking around I bought myself a BMW1, a blade by Fallkniven sweden. Of an exceptional good quality, and already finished.

After I got the blade by mail and opened the package I was pleasantly surprised. It looked great, beautiful finish and nice and sharp (love that convex grind on the fallkniven knives).

The time waiting for the blade I had spent on redesigning the blade and thinking of just how to make the scales. Less is more with most of the things I like and this would not be an exception. I drew up some ideas and bought most of the materials I thought I would need. Furthermore I would use mostly handtools, I'm just a student, I don't have a big workshop so with the following materials and tools the job had to be completed:

- a 600Watt drill in a drill press (with drills and a sanding drum);
- a dremel tool with sanding and grinding bits;
- files and sandpaper in various grits
- epoxy (with 1,5 hour open time);
- 1/4" steel tubing by bahco sweden;
- a piece of ebony;
- a white pencil;
- oil for finishing the handles;
and I probably used some more tools, but nothing out of the ordinary

Finally, time to get started!

With the fire starting qualities my knife had to have in mind I ground a small, almost halve circle just before the place I wanted my scales to start (about 8-10mm wide the size of my fire steel). This would act as a thumb rest while making a 'carving cut', but more important, would keep the fire steel firm in place (not ruining the rest of the knife finish or scales), when striking the steel. I did not know if this would work, but the gamble paid off, the little dent makes sure you have the blade well in control and directs the ray of sparks in the process.

I relieved the sharp 90 degree angles on the top of the blade just a little (not the ones of the fire steel 'dent' because for a fire steel to work you need a sharp/straight edge!), just because i hate it when you make a small hole in a piece of e.g. wood the top of the blade digs in. When relieving the edges a bit you cab turn it freely.

After that I came to discover that the tubing I got from was oversized. The holes predrilled were 5,5mm and the tubing I got was 1/4" or 6,35mm (probably for standard corby rivets). At (a dutch knife maker) it was suggested to try and make the tubing a bit smaller in diameter by putting a small piece in a drill press and filing or sanding it smaller. I tried that but there remained not enough metal to use as tubing. After that I tried the method used at (a great place for materials and blades for the not yet professional, mostly hand tool using starting knife maker like myself. But more importantly it has some great detailed hands-on tutorials for a variety of knives.) There the author used a carbide grind bit in a dremel kind of tool to enlarge the holes in a heat treated blade. I had some of those grinding bits lying around and with a slow circular clockwise motion I ever so slowly enlarged the holes. (the blades by fallknives are fully hardened to 61 rockwell so drilling is for a not professional is near to impossible) After a 45 min period of grinding and test fitting the tube and trying not to overheat the blade too much I had a blade with 3 6,2/6,3 mm holes. After that I secured the blade and on low speed I drilled those holes with a 6,3 cobalt drill (and a drop of oil or two) just to make sure the holes were round, true size and straight!

Time to make the scales! I designed the scales with a big backward sweep, mostly because I wanted them to start at the finger guard but wanted it to end well after the firesteel'dent'. The knife has a big handle for its length and I like it better when the handle and blade size are more or less the same, it just looks better. So I decided to start the scales in the exact middle of the knife (8,25 mm from either end and behind the firesteel'dent') and with a fluid motion it had to end at the beginning of the finger guard.

I had a block (40x40x300mm) of ebony and used a ryoba (a japanese pull saw with a crosscut teeth pattern on one side and an ripcut pattern on the other) to cut a piece of 8-9mm. The piece of ebony was then sanded on a 8mm piece of glass with sandpaper sprayglued on top to make sure it would end up perfectly flat. Then I made 2 oversized scales out of the piece and taped the two pieces together, flattened surfaces against each other. I drew the curve I made for the bolster side on one of them with a white pencil. With files and sand drum I sanded until I had a fluid curve.

After taking the tape off I aligned the blade on one of the scales with the flattened side of the scale against the blade. I used a pair of C-clamps to firmly hold it all together and drilled the 3 holes using the blade for direction and repeated the process with the other scale.

more will follow shortly!


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