Step 5: Filework and finishing
It is done with a variety of files, here I'm showing a vine filework which needs:
-Small round file eg. chainsaw file
-Rats tail round file
-Half round file or a flat file with a smooth edge
1. Mark out lines on either side in half inch increments, offset on either side by 1/4". I marked out with a paint pen and thin black permanent marker.
2. Using the triangular file, make small grooves on each of the marks, at 45 degrees. These act as pilot grooves
3. Use the small round file, make round grooves at 45 degrees, using the triangle marks as guides to start the filing
4. Repeat this process, using the rats tail file to enlarge the round grooves
5. Using the half round or flat file, round and transition the edges of the grooves, making wider grooves
6. With the fine marker, mark the centre/high point of each round groove on the opposite side of the edge
7. With the triangular file, VERY lightly make small grooves on these marks to act as starting grooves.
8. Angle the file down so one side is almost touching the workpiece, then working in a semicircular pattern make a groove in the shape of a thorn
Note: Filework is tricky to get the hang of. Use the instructions in conjunction with the pictures to get the pattern right (this produces a vine with thorns). If you're unsure, googling "knife filework" will show more patterns and instructions. Try this on a scrap piece of steel first, it will take a few tries to get nice- work slowly and evenly
Apologies: I didn't get any pictures of making the triangle grooves, the last picture has a thorn on it- this is the result you're looking for. Check the other photos for filework close ups
Note: Filework should be done while annealed, or done on a blade that has a softer spine (as my instructions, if followed, will make). Diamond files can be used for filework on a hard blade. Doing filework pre heat treating will result in some scale forming on the filework- when I'm going for a forged look I like this finish, so I just polish the raised parts with wet & dry and leave the rest black, as they came out the forge. It can be removed with filing or an acid etch (not recommended).
To finish your knife, ensure it is clean and sanded and polished (where you want it to be). If you want you may use a buffing wheel and compound to put a mirror shine on- I feel this is a cheats way in a traditional knife, and 2000 grit wet and dry makes a good finish. To sharpen the knife, grind the flat side flat, sitting on a bench stone, with a small secondary bevel on the bevelled edge. Finish by stropping or with a steel. For a woodworking and general purpose knife I make my knives razor sharp- literally sharp enough to shave with. There's no point in going sharper for me personally- if you need a sharper knife for delicate work use a scalpel