Introduction: 5 Times the Trash to a Single Treasure Knife (54TASTK)

Picture of 5 Times the Trash to a Single Treasure Knife (54TASTK)

The Backstory…

This knife’s origins are not just from a single piece of trash. It actually comes from five different pieces of trash that come together for this treasured knife. The five different types of trash will be pointed out in the steps as they become united into a single, completely unique knife that doesn’t follow convention. If you enjoy people taking the ‘less traveled’ road to get someplace, despite the fact that the end product might not be perfect, then please feel free to vote for this Instructable in the “Trash to Treasures” contest. I'm also entering it in the 'making a tool' contest as a long shot. So vote there as well.

Step 1: And Now Some Nice Caveats With a Little Side of Blood…

Picture of And Now Some Nice Caveats With a Little Side of Blood…

And Now some nice caveats with a little side of blood…

1-I have just started making my own knives. I have a great friend that has been doing for as long as I can remember and his awesome work inspired me to give it a try. (Shouts out to NegoCrux!) So my work is neither perfect, nor top quality. I make knives to learn, not to sell. Like the master carpet makers of Afghanistan, who purposely sew a blemish into every design, perfection is the domain of the Almighty! Mere mortals have flaws.

2-When I take the photos; I normally have the machine or tool off. I don’t try to take action shots due to the dangers. Mixing hot, sharp metal, with fast spinning powerful motors is never advisable, but it’s downright death defying to do it with one hand while focusing on framing a camera shot. So please don’t think I’m trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. I really did make this; I just don’t have anyone else to take the photos while I’m working.

3-I know there are many opinions about wearing gloves with grinders, sanders, and buffers. This ‘ible isn’t meant to be a definitive study on which is the best way. I choose to wear gloves sometimes and sometimes I don’t depending on my assessment. I have nearly lost my thumb in the past, so I really have thought about this a lot!

(BTW, if you have a STRONG stomach, here is a link to my webpage with some photos of what a knife and 3/4hp buffer can do. Again, NOT for the faint of heart. bloody cut handThese photos should be worth a vote alone!)

On to the trash!

Step 2: A Warped Beginning

Picture of A Warped Beginning

This knife starts its life as a warped disk rotor of a 1990 Harley FLHTC Ultra. So right from the beginning, we have a piece of metal that would have been disposed of (or scraped at least, hopefully.) But now that rotor will transform into a knife. Ironically, it’s Nerocrux's former bike that the disk came off of. Life can be so tidy at times!

I simply outline a knife design as a starting place. As I make my knife design, I know that the process is going to further refine the design. I’ve traced this pattern onto five different knives and I don’t think you can tell they all started from the same design. I love letting the piece speak to me and tell me how it wants to be shaped. I just wish I was better at listening.

After that, out comes the plasma torch and it is short work to get to the knife blank. As an aside, if you don’t have a plasma torch, get one. They are so cool! But maybe it’s just me that loves to burn/cut things.

Step 3: Flatter Things Go Faster.

Picture of Flatter Things Go Faster.

A few minutes on the belt sander gets the blank flat and shiny. A LOT of minutes more on the 42" belt sander and the knife took a 'knife-like' shape. Unfortunately, I didn’t take photos of that. Here is one I took later as I was touching it up after the handle was attached.

Note the hole right at the most critical place on the knife handle. Due to the disk brakes having vents drilled into it, there was no way of making a knife without at least one hole in it. That hole does now relegate this knife to ‘light duty’ only. That’s fine with me, because I’d rather keep it as a testament to recycling instead.

I filled the hole with solder to seal it up. I am not under any delusions that it fixes this weak point. But it does hide the fact well.

Again, I can’t hold the torch, the solder, and the camera, so you’ll just have to use your imagination on how it was done. Isn’t using your imagination fun! We should do it more often. Now, let us all image a sunny day and a box of sweet treats. Imagination is AWESOME!

Step 4: Deer, Can You Handle This?

Picture of Deer, Can You Handle This?

Now comes the handle material and the second AND third pieces of trash that go into this treasure. The handle is made from 100% deer antler sheds. Deer drop their antlers each year. These are great for making things as they are free and 100% organic. Not to mention the deer don’t mind at all, they are done with them. The third piece of trash is the fact that these particular antlers were originally going to be used on another knife I was making. But a loose fence on the band saw divided them in a manner not fitting for a proper knife handle. That is, until this contest unleashed a muse that obligated me to figuring out how to salvage them and make them stand out. As a result of that antler being from another project, I wasn’t taking photos before the cut so I can’t post them here. But you can see how the cut went awry in the photo of just the antlers.

When you see the finished knife from above, the handle is actually at an angle to the blade. I have never seen another knife to this. Frankly, I like its boldness. This little scrapper of a knife just screams, “I did it my way so bring it on!

Also, as a result of this, half of the knife’s pommel is exposed. I thought long and hard on how to address this. Polishing it up and making it shiny wasn’t special enough. So I added the lanyard on one side only. Again, this was another feature I never saw in another knife. The lanyard is only visible from one side. Take that symmetry! (BTW, wouldn’t it be cool if the word “symmetry” was a palindrome? Or for that matter, shouldn’t “palindrome” be a palindrome? Things like this concern me. I know they concern you too. So I’m just letting you know that “I’m with ya!

Step 5: I’ll Take One Deer Antler and Disk Brake Sandwich, With Extra Epoxy, Please.

Picture of I’ll Take One Deer Antler and Disk Brake Sandwich, With Extra Epoxy, Please.

Now comes the part that should only happen once on any knife. The 'marriage' of the handle and the knife. Unfortunately for me, due to wear epoxy, and a slipped handle side, my knife got 'divorced' and 'remarried' to its handles. Ain't love grand?

When I finally got it right, the epoxy ‘smouches’ out the sides. This requires some clean up after the knife is dry. So with some more sanding, we have something that looks like a knife. But we still have two more pieces of ‘trash’ to add!

Step 6: My Boy Scout Leader Would Be Proud!

Picture of My Boy Scout Leader Would Be Proud!

At this point, I took a ‘cut off’ piece of paracord that was left over from another project (trash piece number four). It was too short for much of anything, but perfect for the recycled knife. I drilled a hole in the tang of the knife and another one at the butt of the pommel so they met in the handle. Some careful fishing with a dental pick and I was able to cajole the paracord into coming out the other end.

The lanyard braid is a simple, foldover/wrap/pull design. The internet is crazy with directions on how to do it. But, as you see in the photos, just fold the line over itself, wrap the cord around the three pieces, and pass the end through the loop and pull.

As a provocative reminder of the five pieces of trash that make up this knife, I wrapped the lanyard five times! Hidden messages are cool.

Step 7: In the Buff (but Not Really)

Picture of In the Buff (but Not Really)

The next step is the buffing. Using the ‘pink stuff’, (I still have no idea what this magical stick is, but it works) put it on the buffing wheel and go to town. Note, I tape the blade to prevent cuts when I’m doing the handle and remove it when I’m doing the blade. At this point, I haven’t really tried to sharpen the blade, but it will cut, so be careful!

FWIW, I would NEVER endorse buffing ‘in the buff’ so please don’t try that at home.

Step 8: Wicked Sharp Is Really Wicked!

Picture of Wicked Sharp Is Really Wicked!

Note, I’m not trying to endorse any product, nor do I have any financial interest in the company, but the “Wicked Sharp” system is a great way to make any knife into something that needs to be put down and avoided. I have yet to use this system and NOT almost cut off a major limb. This thing gets knives SHAAAAAARRRRRPPPP! Did I mention it gets knives dangerously sharp? If not, let me say, IT DOES! Just follow the directions and have a bowl of ice ready for any piece of you that might get lopped off with the resulting sharpened knife.

The final step is to ensure it will cut paper. This knife more than delivers on that front.

Step 9: There You Have It (but What Was the 5th Piece of Trash!?!?!?!)

Picture of There You Have It (but What Was the 5th Piece of Trash!?!?!?!)

So the knife is done, looks good and doesn’t make any excuses. If you enjoyed this ‘ible, let me know and you can even vote for it. And you can VOTE FOR IT TWICE!!! (Once in each contest!)

Since you got this far, I’ll let you know what the last piece of trash is. The last piece of trash is…


Since I’m a biker, many people think I’m trash. So I’ll own it!



inchman (author)2017-02-28

WOW! I can't believe I won 2nd place. There were so many great entries in this contest I didn't think I had a shot! Thanks to everyone that voted for me! I'll try to keep coming up with 'ibles worthy of this site.

One request, if people could post what they liked/didn't like about this 'ible so I can improve my entries, I would be most apreciative!

Thanks again!

saritamarianyc (author)2017-02-06

This is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

ThomasL127 (author)2017-02-04

I love making knives when I can, and by far, none of mine are perfect, but I really enjoy doing it. I can say without a doubt I have enjoyed this just the same!

inchman (author)ThomasL1272017-02-04

Thank you for that very nice compliment. I spent most of today making some more and thinking about building a forge.

Have a great one and thanks again!

BillJ32 (author)2017-02-04

I'll try it, and get back with you! I voted for you in both places! Thanks for instructions!

OculumForamen (author)2017-02-01

I wish I had seen this instructible over the summer, I replaced the front rotos on My wife's car and they weren't cross-drilled! I could have made at least three from each rotor! I could just go to a mechanic shop and ask for an old brake rotor, they'll show you to the scrap metal bin, where you can find a glut of brake rotors of various sizes and shapes. I think I need to talk to a friend who owns a Lazer cutting business, He could cut the knife blanks out in a jiffy, and you could maybe create a few designs and get to work with building some "prototypes" of knives that no one else will have!

OculumForamen (author)2017-02-01

Nice set of stitches dude!!! I've sliced my hands open so many times, I could have taught myself the complete anatomy of the Human hand without any help from a professor! Consider it a beauty mark from living the Life of a Man who loves tools! Great work on the knife BTW! The most important part of the knife is it's edge, keep your knife sharp and it will never let you down when you really need it!

monkeywork (author)2017-01-31

Great job! I've been thinking of making another knife, and I think you've inspired me to get going on that. Us scooter trash have to support one another!

inchman (author)monkeywork2017-02-01

Amen on bikers supporting bikers!

I'd love to see how your knife comes out. I still have more disk brakes, so I expect to make some more knives.

kandkbill (author)2017-01-30

Great knife! The only thing I would do , is to drill some holes in the handle area of the blade blank . This will allow the epoxy to hold the antler better by acting as a rivet between the two. Bill Stroman.

inchman (author)kandkbill2017-01-31

This is a great idea! I normally have rivets in the handles, but I never liked the look (and they are a total pain.)

Your solution it very elegant! I like it.

Thanks for teaching this old dog a new trick.

oureboxr (author)2017-01-30

Well done mate. Voted for both entries. It is a beautiful piece. Thank you for the "i'ble"

throbscottle (author)2017-01-30

Voted in both :)

I'm surprised you didn't weld the hole up since it really is in the worst possible place! Looking at the picture to see how you might have avoided it, I think it might have been a nice decorative effect to position 2 or 3 holes in the body of the blade.

Anyway, lovely piece of work. Really like the slanted handle :)

Looked at your hand photos. Oooya! Eeessshhhhh :(((

ArthurJ5 (author)2017-01-29

Nice looking knife, bad looking cut. Yikes! Ref. the offset handle, I usually make my skinners with an asymmetric handle, a larger scale on the right side. Made this way they fit better in my hand and I loose far fewer in the gut pile. I wanted to add a picture but iPhone isn't playing well? Anyway, voting because of the injury and the best use of a Harley. =D

inchman (author)ArthurJ52017-01-30

I am concerned also. I did try to heat treat it and it seemed to take. I used the file test and it past.

Also, it's a decorative knife also. So I'm not what worried about it.

I'd love to see the handles on your skinners. I never thought about an asymmetrical handle prior to this.

Thanks again for the comments.

fbono (author)2017-01-29

You have my vote, great job!

crazypj (author)2017-01-29

Is it even possible to heat treat a brake disc? (other than softening it) I know they are tough but usually not the best grade of stainless steel and I don't think they are hardenable? (sp?) All stainless steels work harden do varying degrees, brakes rarely crack from being too hard after heating the only times I've seen cracks are on 'thin' (worn out) discs and that was after thermal shock (usually distorted real bad as well)

Drake88 (author)2017-01-29

Great looking knife! Ya got my votes!

M.J.J (author)2017-01-29

Excellent knife! Maybe you could say it's a "leftie" knife for the asymmetrical handle.. I wonder if there's a way to work the holes from the brake disc into an attachment, probably asymmetrical, through the antler. possibly make identical holes through the antler, then run a wooden peg, or another plug of antler thru all three layers? Since the peg (and epoxy) would be perpendicular to the tang and antler, it might keep it all together better than parallel layers with epoxy? I've found in my work, that something like a "flaw" is better if it is used than concealed.. you've got my vote(s). Show us more!

seamster (author)2017-01-27

Very enjoyable instructable, nicely done! That's a fine looking knife you should be proud to own :)

inchman (author)seamster2017-01-29

Acutally, I was planning on giving it to NegoCrux, as it was from his bike and he was the inspiration behind it. Unfortuantely, he is on this site, so I can't surprise him with it. But I was hoping to have it win an award, then I was going to give it to him as an "award winning" knife.

seamster (author)inchman2017-01-29

Hey, that's a good plan!

Best of luck; I hope it wins a prize! :)

Monty124 (author)2017-01-29

Nice knife bro, I would like to do something similar but will have to wait for retirement. Thanks for taking the time to post.


JLangley98 (author)2017-01-26

Awesome, nice design; voted.

inchman (author)JLangley982017-01-29

Thanks for the vote! I can use each and everyone I get.

Henri.Lacoste (author)2017-01-29

Beautiful knife, who knew you could turn an old brake disc into such a nice object

inchman (author)Henri.Lacoste2017-01-29

This one kind of surprised me as well. I didn't know what to expect when I started, but I was please with the results, even if they aren't perfect. Japanese culture has a saying of "Sabi" which is the idea that a worn or imperfect item has beauty. If it's true, I could win a beauty pagent! 8>)

Cjuk01 (author)2017-01-29

Great tutorial, thank you for taking the time. I hope my votes count!

inchman (author)Cjuk012017-01-29

As in all things, EVERY vote counts!

Thanks again.

qorlis (author)2017-01-29

As far as photos are concerned, have you thought of taking some with the power tools off and disconnected, but holding the tool or piece as though you were performing the cut or sanding/polishing with the tool on? Just a safer way of showing the operation without risking life or limb. After all, they're photos, not videos. Who would see much difference and call you a cheater? Better a cheater with all your original parts than being called "Honest Lefty". ?

qorlis (author)qorlis2017-01-29

I guess you mentioned this in the 'ible, but I just think it's well worth repeating for people who are new to making things using sharp objects and power tools while trying to document the process solo.

inchman (author)qorlis2017-01-29

Thanks for reinforcing the idea that safety is more important than 'authentic' photos. In the past, I've had people that could take the photos while I was working. This time I didn't, hence the static shots. But I am a little particural to the nickname "Honest Lefty!" Thanks again for checking out the 'ible.

Sebafleb (author)2017-01-27

"The five different types of trash will be pointed out in the steps as they become united..." "Since I’m a biker, many people think I’m trash. So I’ll own it!"

Does this mean there is some blood, sweat, tears and/or skin in the knife?

Nice job by the way.

inchman (author)Sebafleb2017-01-27

Yes, there is all of those things in this knife. 8>)
I'm glad you enjoyed it.

kimpressive (author)2017-01-26

Very clever! And, I'm relieved to still see fingers visible in the reflection of the blade...given the past photos and precaution to keep "a bowl of ice ready." ;)

inchman (author)kimpressive2017-01-26

Yes, the small little nicks in my hands aren't visible in the image. 8>)

KendallA1 (author)2017-01-26

Very entertaining read, but I did not go beyond, to your "finger snuff" page. I have a weak constitution when viewing others pain. Less so for myself.

I am curious about the metal choice. Did you find any details on its composition? Also, I find myself wondering if the blade was heat treated.

Glad to see you still have all your fingers...

inchman (author)KendallA12017-01-26

The heat treating would have been done before the handle was added. Since this is a decorative piece, I didn't bother with it. If I was making a working knife, I would have. I'll do a proper 'ible on knife making for the beginner once I more confident with it. It would be to help other newbies with all the tips I found.

Ingvar GeorgioL (author)2017-01-26

Спасибо! Интересный нож!

inchman (author)Ingvar GeorgioL2017-01-26

Спасибо. Я рад, что вам понравилось.

About This Instructable




Bio: "Black socks and Birkenstocks do not maketh the geek. I would argue that the essence of geekitude comes from within. To the true geek, it ... More »
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