Clamp for knives making

I will cut striate to the chase. Today post (long overdue) is about clamp / vise for holding tight the handle components against the knife guard after applying the glue.

Until recently I was using a clam that I wasn’t satisfied with. It was very difficult to make sure that the knife is absolutely seat striate in the clam. Often the deferent components of the handle are didn’t stay parallel to each other and some gaps appear between them. Gaps that been filled with the glue, and that effect is les then ideal.

Clamp for knives making

A while back I was showing to one of my One (and a half) day of knives making course’s student, how to use that old clamp. I also show him how I use a two pieces of tough leather for holding a blade in a vise  in order not to scratch the finis blade.

So then I realised that one can combine the two together i.e. to build a clamp that have a leather chicks that can hold the blade up striate and firm. It is a lot easier to use than my old clamp and I can also use it for when I need to clamp the blade for guard fitting.

Clamp for knives making  Clamp for knives making



Anyway, here it is been taking apart.

Clamp for knives making






That is all.


Haaa, apparently one can put the knife in the clamp, the other way around like that.

knives making clamp / vice


But, I some time use a tree branch cutting and the top of it (the top of the handle is) is rather not flat, so it will be difficult to lay it flat on the clam. Yes, yes I know I can cut flat the tree branch flat but , it’s not always possible.

In any case I needed to clamp a round top handle and there is some part of the blade itself protruding above the top of the handle. so I needed the knife to clamp blade part down.

Knives making clamp / vice
Not so good. Not parallel to the clamp face.
Knives making clamp / vice
That better.
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Two new handmade knives by RB

I finally got my light box, so I can take good (relatively) photos of my knives. Obviously one need to know his camera but I will get there in the end.

However here are my two newest knives.

Both support walnuts wood handles with plastic spacers and brass guards. The small blade is from 5160 steel with deferential heat treatment to the blade.

Handmade utility knife Handmade utility knife

Handmade knife


The long knife made of O1 steel and it deep in acid to expose the ‘Hamon’. In hindsight, O1 is not particular good steel for Hamon, but still it’s a sort of deferential heat treatment. It measure: overall length 265mm. blade 140mm and blade thickness 5mm.

Handmade knife Handmade knife

The small knife dimensions are (roughly) : overall length 185mm, blade 75mm and blade thickness 4mm.

Both blade have a flat grind bevels.

One can buy the knives for £220 for the long and £145 for the short.



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Clamp jig for knives making

Okay, one of the biggest problem I face when I construct a hidden tang knife, is the close fitting of the guard to the blade. The dead accurate fitting between the guard and the ricasso shoulders is very difficult to achieve by using hand tools only. However even if I managed to closed fit it properly. I found that during the process of soldering the guard to the blade, sometime the guard is slightly move and a hairline gap appear between the ricasso and the guard, immensely frustrating.

I saw a nice solution on the internet. It was a sort of clamp to hold tight the guard against the ricasso wile the soldering taking place. It worked well for me so, I want to share it with you (my devoted followers).

I am not sure but because of SEO business, I need to writ the title again. so I given you the..

 Clamp jig for knives making.

Here is what you need. a small metal saw, a small 15x10x50mm peace of aluminium bar, a 4mm thread rod, a 4mm tap and a drill with 4mm drill bit.

Clamp jig for knives making

First you drill the holes for the tang slot and the holes for the securing nuts on the side.

Clamp jig for knives making

Using a file to file the tang slot to fit the knife tang. The slot can be wider than the knife tang so you can use it for different  tang thickness.

Clamp jig for knives making

Use the tap to thread the side holes.

Clamp jig for knives making

Now, slide the bar on to the tang and mark the location of the two vertical screws. Try and locate them as far as possible from the tang, as you don’t want them to accidently solder to the guard.

Clamp jig for knives making

Thread those holes.

Now, cut four length of threads, two 12mm short and two 50mm long. Use the saw to cut a notch on top of all four threads to allow the usage of screwdriver , for tightening the newly form screws on to the tang and the guard..

Clamp jig for knives making   Clamp jig for knives making

And that it.

Clamp jig for knives making


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My one day knives making course

This is the knife that my student expect to make in the one day ‘Making a Working knife’ course.

It is started as 120mm peace of car suspension coil spring (metal is presumably 5160).

We forge the blade in a gas kiln, then final shaped the profile of the blade using angle grinder. During the annealing stage we talked about knives making in general, forging and heat treatment process, handle constructing , material and finishing the knife. After one hour we made the knife bevel , using hand tools and sand paper

hand made knife             Handmade knife

We heat treat the blade. While we add lunch we put it in my kitchen oven for tempering.

After lunch we finish the blade using finer and finer grades of sand paper.

One day knives making course

We drill the wood that we used as handle and, cut the plastic spacers. We glue everything, using fast setting epoxy.

We shape the handle and sharpen the knife. Then we finish the handle by cover it with linseed oil.

At this stage we add to step and let the oil cure for few days. Then we buff the lot, blade and handle.

As this stage of finishing the handle, taking too long. I think of making the handle out of combination of stacked thick leather and wood, so to allows the student to go home with fully finish knife.

Scandi knife

And if you really in to it, I also offer a short course on how to do the sheath for the knife. It is probably three hours.Leather knife sheath


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