Marking the centre line of a knife edge

Hi to all my followers :).

The post is actually need to be called:

Marking the centre line of a knife edge prior to establishing the bevel.

It’s been some time now that I wanted to post a little trick about how I improved my method of marking the blank blade edge prior to grinding the bevel.

The original trick was to improve a known technique (the one that using a drill bit inscribing against the edge of the knife to mark the centre line) . the old technique was working well but, it is nuisance on your fingers and a lot of time the centre line turn to be crooked.

So my ‘brilliant’ idea was simply to clamp it to the base surface, to avoid the needs of using my fingers to hold the drill bit (you may say Dhaa.. and rightly so). For me however it was enlightenment and it worked. Knife edge center line marking

The thing is, that it is not the best technique out there and there are lot of ingenious gadgets that one can see on the internet.

But then I had a divine revelation. For some reason (which I won’t bore you with), I accumulated a lot of discarded unfinished blades. Most of my knives are either 4 or 5mm in thickness. Its mean that I use 4 or 5mm drill bit for marking the centre line.

And here is the thing.

Way not taking the tang bit of a blade, and use it for marking? It is flat, it is exactly the thickness that I need and it is harden able steel.  Marking knife edeg

So all I had to do is take one 4mm peace of steel and one 5mm peace. Grind one end to give it a 45 degrees edge and give it a proper heat treatment. As I want it hard as possible I didn’t bother with tempering.

Marking knife edgeMarking  knife edge

Now we talking. It is flat so it didn’t wiggled while scribing and do as good job as any high tech gadget out there. knife edge center line marking

It is not important to establish precise symmetrical hedge.   If it’s not symmetrical, inscribed one line on one side, then flip the blade over and inscribed another line on the reversal side of  the blade.  You will get a double line that marking the centre. Marking the edge of a knife

That is good, as you anyway want to leave some thickness to the cutting edge of the blade, for the heat treatment process . If the double line are too wide, then you can always grind a little bit more to close the gap.

That it.


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How to make Mosaic pins for your knives

How I make my mosaic pins

As always I do try to: One save money, by do it myself and Two learn how to do it.

So this post is all about I  built my mosaic pins, to decorating my knife.

The way I construct my hidden  tang knives is always (nearly) to mechanically secure the blade tang to the knife handle with a pin. I know modern epoxy are strong enough but I just like  the extra security.

I did try to built the mosaic pin directly on to the handle with the ‘security’ pin as integral part of it. it worked okay but I found it bit cumbersome technique, and I restricted to the  ‘security’ pin  always be  in the middle.

This days I use a different method. I build the mosaic pin in advance and use whatever materials I have. Then I use it to decorate the knife. In this method  I still have my  ‘security’ pin in the handle but it is hidden. The way I do it is like that: Mosaic pinNow for the subject of this post:  How do I build my mosaic pins.

First of all let me say that to use deferent metal pins is not the best practice, as deferent metals that been in contact with one another can cause the metals to corrode. You can read about it in:

For this post pin  I used: aluminium tube and brass roods in various diameters.   I believe that the glue is creating a insulation between the deferent metal  element, and my knife will spare the corrosion effect. I didn’t show it on the illustration, but I always roughen up (with a thin saw blade), the deep end of the rods to allow the glue a better grip.

How to make mosaic pins

I use a heat resistant epoxy,  as when sanding the pin to flush with the rest of the handle, a lot of heat can be created . That in turn can compromised the integrity of the glue. Also, If you use a clear epoxy, you can add some colour pigment to it, then you will have a coloured surface for t he pin.

Mosaic pins for knivesMosaic pins for knivesI let it to dry and then glue it to the handle. Needless to say that I already glue the ‘security’ pin  inside the handle.  Knive's Mosaic pinsMosaic pinsWhen the glue is dry, I saw the excess length of the pin,  then give the entire handle a rough sanding.  Mosaic pins for kinves I then finish the handle (as they all do) by sanding it with progressive finer grit size sanding papers. Mosai pins for kinvesFinally I finish it with buffing.  I using masking tape to mask the wood from the metal pin and vice versa (the white tape on the handle is for something else) , as if you do the buffing  all in one go, the wood can be tarnished from the metal buffing residue.

That all, have fan, and  don’t be afraid to leave comment (positive) on my blog.







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How to build a bush craft knife, part 3.

Better then Ray Mear’s bush crafts knife.

I finished the last post by gluing and fixing  the handle materials to the blades. So today post will continuo from there (obviously).

I do the rough shaping on my belt sander using the 60 and 80 grit belts, then I use drums with progressive finer grit size, and length of send paper to finish the polishing process. To achieve smooth handle finish, It is important that the drums diameter match the correct curvature of the handle (see cover photo).Hand made bush crafts knifeHandmade bush crafts knife





At the same time I grind the brass bolt at the top, making it flush with the wood. Don’t grind the bolt all in one go. Do it in slow belt revolution in few time, making sure it is not become too hot.

If the brass allow to be hot, it will co premise the integrity of the glue. Handmade bush crafts knife

I cover the leather part of the handle and the blade with electric tape, then paint the wood part with clear Linseed oil. Let it dry for few days and repaint it. the longer you let it dry the better. hand made budh crafts knife

I now cover the wood parts with electric tape and using bees wax I buff the leather bit. I do it long enough for it to shine. At the same time I also lightly buff the blade.

I now hatch my name / logo onto the knives blades. I clean the blades with acetone and paint the blade part where I want the logo to be with thin layer of nail varnish and let it dry. I surround the splodge of varnish with electric tape on four sides. Bush crafts knife

I asked my wife Tamsin to scribed my name on the varnish. I mix whatever amount of salt that I managed to hold between my two finger with four tablespoon of water. Drop some of the solution  on the scribed logo (using syringe). I attached the positive end of 9v battery to the blade.   Bush crafts knife 

Then I deep a  cotton  swab into the salt solution, attached it to the positive end of the battery and lightly touch the blade just above the logo. I left it there for one and half minutes and stop the process. If you let it for more than that, the solution may become too hot, the varnish will melt and the logo will ruined.  Clean the blade with acetone.

The last thing to do is to sharpen the knives.

I know it is better (probably) to do it by hand on the belt sander, either free hand or using jig. I don’t have (yet) the experience to do it free hand and I didn’t have the time to built a holding jig, so I used Lansky sharpener . It is not the best tool in the world but it did the trick (in a way). It is probably design for small blade rather for large ones. Bush crafts knife

If all worked well (and for me it was) you end up with eleven very nice knives. Bush crafts knife

Now for the sheath:

Hhh, that is for next post.

Let me just say that the next post will be in few week time, as I am away to the desert to take part in the Mid Burn event in Israel.







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How to build a bush craft knife, part 2.

Better then Ray Mears’s bush crafts knife.

I end last post with soldering the 4mm threaded rod to the knife tang. Today I will continue with making all the components for the handle,  how to fix it to the blade and how to finish the knife.

 I asked my acquaintance Mr Clive Freeman to drill 3.2mm hole through the middle of the brass rod, than I cut it into 10mm length segments.  I use 4mm tap to thread it into a nut, than I cut a narrow slot at the top of it, that will help to screw it to the tang. Bushcrafts knifeShaping  the wooden guards and the butt cap.

The guard have a compound shape, so to built it was partly like sculpturing. I use elliptical shape router bit on  my drill press,  to cut the wood for the guards in one direction. Home made knifeThen I traced the overall shape of the guards on to the wood, cut it on band saw  and by used a disc sander to form it into oval shape.  Bush crafts knife

The top side  and the bottom side of the guard are not the same size. I marked the bottom side, and again shaped it on the disc sander.

I clump it on the vice using (yet another) jig, and finish shape the top part of the guard.  I drill 4mm hole through the middle of the guard  and shape it to precisely fit the knife tang. Bush crafts knifeNext is the shaping of the wooden part of the opposite side of the handle, the butt cap . That was altogether easier, the part is symmetrical all around and I shaped it using my drill press as improvised lathe. Making knife handleI cut  leather sheet into 30x35mm rectangular pieces. I also cut the coloured plastic spacers into about the same size as the leather.

Now that I have all the various component of the knives handles, it’s time to glue it. Bush crafts knifeClean all the knife parts, blade and handle with acetone.  Clump the blade in a vice, point side down.

Prepare the glue. Apply some glue on the tang near the blade shoulders, and start to slide the handle materials on to the tang, one after the other, apply the glue as you progress.  Make sure that everything is strait and bolt it tight  with the brass nut that you prepared earlier.

The nut should protrude enough above the handle, to allow you to grind it flush with top of the handle,  without seeing the pre cut notch at the top of the brass nut.

After repeat the above  eleven times   I end up with these.

Bush crafts knives

Well that post become too long and I need to go and cook diner for my family, so I will do another post in few days time.

I am sorry if that post is to some degree massy. it was written in a rush.

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How to build a bush crafts knife

Last month I attend a bush crafts event that take place near Grampound Road in Cornwall.

I volunteer to do some demonstration on how to forge and build a knife in the field, using basic / primitive tools. I thought to myself : maybe I can sale some of my knives. So I made eleven knives. The knives design base on my One and half Days Knife Making Course.

Bush craft knife

In this post and probably in the next few I will talk trough the process of making those knives, and how I made the sheath for the knives.

Therefore the proper name for that post need to be:

How to build a bush crafts knife, and how to make the sheath for it.

As my writing ability is not so good(say the least) I will write the post as if it is a food recipe. It will be more coherent.


For the knives.

Car suspension spring leaf, roughly measure 14×65 (length unknown) mm.

10mm diameter brass rod.

4mm threaded rod.

8-9 oz. leather hide which is around 3.2mm. I used two deferent colour hide.

Propriety plastic spacers, 1mm and 2mm thick with various colours.

Hard wood, poplar and lemon wood.

Linseed oil.


55% Silver 1mm silver brazing rods.

Nail varnish.


2 Ton long curing time two component clear epoxy.

For the sheath:

5-6 oz. natural tanned leather hide which is around 2.4 mm.

Contact cement adhesive.

18/6 Waxed linen sewing thread.

Nickel plated open D ring.

Nickel plated 9mm cap size two piece tubular – single cap.

Alcohol base leather dye.

Brown and colourless shoe polish.


To begin with I draw the knife, dimension it and make sure that I have all the tools that I need to shape the blade and the handle. all the sanding drums need to fit to the curves of the handle and same goes to the router bit to roughly shape the guard part of the handle. Bush crafts knife

I started by cutting the steel . I use car suspension spring leaf.  It is I believe a spring steel (5160?). Bush crafts knife

I have a lot of experience working with that type of steel. I can bring it to around 55-58 RC. The blade is hard enough to hold its edge, the blade can’t be broken, it will bend but not brake. It is not as hard as all the new exotic steel but, it is lot cheaper to get and it is a lot easy to sharpen. Especially in the field, one can sharpen it using any old granite stone, red clay brick, roof till or any object made of concrete.

I cut the steel to 120x 23mm pieces, using angle grinder. To each peace I weld a 600mm long piece of re-bar to serve as  handle. One can use tongs, but I found that it is more comfortable using the rebar handle.

I forged the blades in my gas NC forge. I work against a knife template to ensure blades shape consistency.  Bush crafts knife

Next I shaped the blades profile, again, sing the template as a guide.

Bush crafts knife

Now it’s the turn of the belt sander. Establishing the knives bevels, progressing from 60 grit belt to 80 to 120 grit. I left part of the blades unpolished, mainly the blade spine and the ricasso.

Bush crafts knivesBush crafts knife





During the process of  forging the blades, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the tang section of the blades. As consequence, some of the tangs happen to be offset from the template profile. that will affect the shape of the handle. So I built a jig to help me marking the exact centre line of the tangs, exactly as it supposed to be.Bush crafts knife

In preparation for brazing the threaded rod, I cut slots at the end of the tangs.

Bush crafts knife

As you can see the position of the slots are not the same on all the blades. That is to compensate for the sloppy tangs forging.

Now it’s time to give the blades the heat treatment. That will transform the metal from relative soft metal to hard, one that can hold its cutting edge sharp for a long time (time is relative).

I bring it up to critical temp’ and try to keep it at that temp; for few minutes. Then I quench it in pre heated transmission oil. Let it cool completely and check for the RC harden rate. If all is well I then tempered it in my kitchen oven at around 176 C for one and a half hours for three times . If after the quenching it’s not hard to my satisfaction I re quench it and check again, then tempered it.

I finish polishing the blades on my belt sander (this time without the jig), using belts from 120, 240, 400, 600 grits, make sure not to grind / polish the unpolished blades spine and ricasso.

I silver brazing the threaded rod to the tangs. I lay it on heat proof brick and weld. I can’t say I am fully satisfy with the end result but, it was strong. Next time I will use thicker silver rods (2mm) and keep the tang and the threaded rod away from the brick. Maybe in vertical position and not horizontal against the brick. Bush crafts knife

when you solder the threaded rod to the tang, you must make sure that you are not hover heat the blade.  you can deep the blade in water leave the tang portion that you weld outside.

That it.

Next post I will talk about the threaded brass bolt, that lock all the handle materials together, on to the knife blade. I will continue to construct the rest of the knives i.e. the handle and how I finish / polish the knives.



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