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Questions about Knives

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This page contains a few knifemaking questions we have come across, along with some tips and tricks that we have found useful and presented as questions.

Note: The links will take you to the answer.

  1. I'm a kid and I really want a knife.... ?
  2. I got this knife and I want to know what its worth ... ?
  3. What steel makes a good knife ... ?
  4. How do I color expoy, such as "araldite'... ?
  5. I want to restore grandad's sword ... ?
  6. Looking for a source of inexpensive materials, supplies etc. ... ?
  7. How do I stop the wood on my handles from shrinking.... ?
  8. What are blind rivets and how do they work ... ?
  9. How do I do a wire wrap ... ?
  10. How do I replace the scales on my knife... ?
  11. How can I do a cord wrap without knots ... ?
  12. I can't get my welds to stick anymore..... ?
  13. The file blades I made tend to break... ?
  14. My scale tang has gaps at the glue join.... ?
  15. I want narrower belts so I can make finger grooves ... ?
  16. The damascus pattern on my using knife is ruined.... ?
  17. What is "Superquench" ... ?
  18. I want to put teeth on my knife.... ?
  19. Whats a good clay to use for clay hardening ... ?
  20. Whats a Sen.... ?
  21. I can't get my flats flat enough.... ?

I'm a kid and I really want a pocketknife.... ?

You should have a talk with your Dad or your Mom. Explain to them that you want a pocket knife and what you intend using it for. Abide by their wishes and don't give them a hard time if they decide not to give you one. I know this is probably not the answer you would like to hear but it is the best advice. Part of being a knife owner is being responsible enough to take care of it and ensuring that no one comes to harm from it, yourself included. Nobody knows you better than your parents so they are the best people to talk to about this. Good Luck

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I got this knife and I want to know what its worth ... ?

This question is rarely answered. People are slow to offer dollar values on knives they have not personally handled. Knives generally show up in various states of preservation. The best bet is to search for the same model knife for sale online somewhere.

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What steel makes a good knife ... ?

Most of the commonly used steels in knifemaking today make excellent knives. The choice of one over the other depends on application and personal preference.

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How do I color expoy, such as "araldite'. ... ?

Use the colorants they use in fiberglass. Try a boat store or a hobby center. Texas Knifemaker Supply has epoxy colorants in 6 colors.

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I want to restore grandad's sword ... ?

Don't !. Without a detailed description of the sword and a viewing of same it is difficult to comment.

The best thing you can do is oil it and clean it and store it properly. Sword restoration is problematic. You should have it appraised and take it to a professional cutlery restorer if need be.

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Looking for a source of inexpensive materials, supplies etc... ?

http://www.cancom.net/~hnilica/material.html


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How do I stop the wood on my handles from shrinking... ?

Stabilise it before you build up the knife. If you do not have access to stabilisation proceedures, cut the wood to slightly oversize then leave sit for a month before fitup. After fitup bring to final size slowly taking care not to heat the wood. Nothing warps wood faster or pops glue joins quicker than heat. Once at final size, apply cyanoacrylate (superglue) or other sealant. Thin superglue is very penetrative and helps to seal the surface.


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What are blind rivets and how do they work.... ?

The term blind rivet is a misnomer. The blind rivet is really a pin which is so short that it does not break the surface of the scale on a scale tang knife. So its really a hidden pin. The scale is clamped to the tang prior to glue up and a hole is drilled half way into the scale from the back through the tang. The same is done with the other scale. Pins are fitted to the hole in the tang and ground to a length that allows the scales to fit over the pins without interferance. Once the scales are all glued up they can be finished off without exposing the pins hidden underneath.


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How do I do a wire wrap... ?

Make the handle base material slightly smaller in crossection than the finish size. File a small groove on each end to bury the ends of the wire. You can twist stainless, silver, gold, brass or copper wire. Anneal the wire as you go making sure it does not lay down in a workhardened state. To begin wrapping put the end of the twisted wire into the tang cavity and lay it into a groove bringing it to the outside and commence wrapping. Pull as tight as you can without breaking the wire. When you get to the other end, bend and lay the wire in the second groove and tuck the end into the tang cavity, screw on the pommel to secure.


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I messed up the scales on my first attempt, Now what!... ?

Dial down the temp in your freezer and put the knife in there for a few hours. Use a flat ended drift to punch the pins out and the scales should pop off fairly easily. Clean and flatten everything and you are ready to try again.


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How do I do a cord wrap without knots... ?

My uncle showed me a way of tying off that did not involve any knots. He would overwrap the begining of the cord until he got half way then he would loop it and continue overwraping until he got to the end. Then he would put the end of the wrap into the loop and by pulling on the free end of the loop pull it through to the middle where he would cut the ends. No knots and completely secure.


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I can't get my welds to stick anymore.... ?

You may have poisoned your forge by using it to heat copper or brass. A forge used to weld iron or steel should never be used for anything else.


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The blades I made from files tend to crack and break... ?

Grind the teeth off the file before you forge. Move to a slower quench and temper without delay. A sound blade rings true.


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The scales on my scale tang have ugly gaps at the glue join... ?

Hollow grind either the tang or the inside of the scale prior to glue up, leaving a narrow flat strip round the edge for bedding in. The scale will seat much better and result in a thinner and more consistant join.


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I want narrower belts so I can make finger grooves... ?

You can cut wide belts down to a half inch. The risk of belt breakage is higher as are resultant dangers. Cut the splice first and then tear along the weave.


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The damascus pattern on my using knife is ruined ... ?

Clean the steel with soap and water. Dilute circuit board etchant, (ferric chloride), one to one with distilled water. Bring it up to body temperature. Paint the etchant onto the blade with a soft bristled brush. Take care not to splash etchant onto the handle of the knife. Etch for a minute then rinse and repeat until satisfactory. Then neutralize with baking soda. Discard unused etchant once it is mixed. It looses its bite in storage.


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What is "Superquench"... ?

A super fast quenchant. So fast it can be used to harden mild steel but too severe to use with a higher carbon content.

  1. 5 gallons water
  2. 5 lbs salt
  3. 28oz bottle of Dawn blue dish washing detergent
  4. 8oz bottle of JetDry or other rinse aid.


As the quenchant becomes exhausted the color changes from blue to yellow/green.

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I want to put teeth on my knife.... ?

Sandvik make excellent saws.


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Whats a good clay to use for clay hardening... ?

You can use furnace cement but it is dificult to remove from the blade.. AP Green #36 comes off easily by scraping and some makers wire wrap it to keep it adhering to the blade during the heatreat.


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Whats a Sen... ?

Its a draw knife for steel as used in Japan..


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I just can't get my flats flat enough on the platten of my belt grinder.... ?

A disc grinder is called for.


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Questions about Knives
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