Introduction: Knife Making - Making Push Daggers
Hi! I'm The Redsmith, I'm a maker.
When I was 16, I bought my first blade, and it was a Push Dagger. Ever since, I loved the design of these blades. So I tried to make my own. But, why to make only one when you can make a pair ?
I think they turned out pretty well. So, let me explain how I made them.
I made a full tutorial video that you can watch here :
Let's get started!
Step 1: Measure Twice, Cut Once
For this build, you will need :
- A pattern for the blade
- High carbon steel : I used XC75 High carbon steel because that's what I can easily find in my country and it's pretty cheap too.
XC 75 contains 0.75% Carbon, 0.55% Manganese and 0.30% SIlicon. It is mainly used to make blades, chisels and cutting tools. It needs to be quenched in oil between 790 and 810ºC / 1454-1490ºF (the color of the steel would be between red and bright red) and tempered for one hour between 200 and 300ºC / 392-572ºF (the color would be from faint strow to blue).
Be sure to use the right material and refer to the factory specifications of the steel you use.
- An angle grinder with a cutting wheel or hand metal saw
- Metal files and/or a 2x72" belt grinder - a belt sander and/or a rotary tool
- A drill or a drill press
- Two 4 mm diameter brass pin
- Two part epoxy
- Hard wood for the scales (I used Paddauk)
- Some clamps
- #400, #600 and #1000 grid sand paper
- Boiled linseed oil
- A ruler, calipers, a permanent maker and a black sharpie pen
The first step is to measure the steel and cut it.
The steel I already had wasn't wide enough for the blade I wanted to make. So I had to modifiy my steel a little bit before starting the build. But, if you have a piece of steel wide enough for your pattern, you can skip the next steps and go directly to step 4.
Step 2: Prep the Steel
1. My XC75 steel was 4mm thick, 6mm wide. I cut a 12cm piece with my angle grinder.
2. I cleaned the surface with my 2x72" with a #120 grid belt (you can use a palm sander or just sand paper).
3. I created a 45° bevel on the edges of the steel plate for the welding.
Step 3: Do Some Welding
1. I cut two more little pieces of steel to roughly create the shape I needed for the push dagger.
2. I used my MIG welder to weld the three pieces together.
Step 4: Clean and Ready to Go
1. Once again, I used my belt grinder to clean the welds and the surface of the steel.
2. At this point, I had enough steel to make the blade, so I glue the pattern with regular paper glue.
3. I sprayed a little bit of black paint to print the design of the blade on the steel and removed the pattern (but you can trace the shape of the blade around your pattern with a black sharpie pen).
Step 5: Drill, Drill, Drill
1. I punched the hole on the side of the blade and some more on the parts I needed to remove.
2. I drilled two 4mm holes on the side of the blade, then used a 10mm drill bit to remove as much material as possible. This enabled me to easily reach spots hard to grind with an angle grinder and saved me a lot of time. Be sure to punch all the holes and use some oil to drill them. Set your drill at the lowest speed, specially with the big drill bit. It will probably smoke a little, but don't worry, it's just the oil burning. Pay attention to the material and if you hear a very clean sound, stop drilling the drill before it breaks. If you use a different type of high carbon steel or already hardened steel, you can normalize the steel before drilling it, it will make the steel softer and this step easier.
Step 6: Grind Roughly
1. I used my angle grinder to roughly create the shape of the Push Dagger.
2. I refined the shape with my 2x72" belt grinder (but you can also use a rotary tool or just files to do it).
Step 7: To the Final Shape
1. I used a rotary tool with a carbide bit to get the shape as close to my pattern as possible.
2. Then, I used a stone to clean all the edges.
If you want to make a pair, clamping the two blades together enbales you to save a lot of time. You will only have to grind once to get two of them. Be sure to use clamps with soft or flat jaws to not dent your blades and you can also use doule sided tape.
Step 8: Prep for the Scales
1. After careful measurements, I punch two holes for the scale pins.
2. As I used 4mm diameter brass pin, I drill two 4.2mm holes. You need to be sure to have a little bit of room for the epoxy between the brass and the wood.
Step 9: Prep the Bevels
1. I draw the bevels on both sides of the blade with a sharpie.
2. Then, I marked the bevels with a caliper. I marked 5mm bevels on the right and left of the blades on each sides.
3. To be sure the bevels will be symmetrical on both sides of the blade, I blackened the edge with a permanent marker.
4. Then I carefully measured the thinckness of the blade and marked the middle of it with my calipers.
Step 10: File Work
1. I used a file to create the four bevels of the blade.
2. Then I use a finer file to smooth them all. I made sure to not make the edges to thin. Otherwise, I could domage them during the heat treating process. So, be sure to let around 1mm of metal on the edges, you will be able to refine it later during the sharpening process.
3. I also used a round file to clean the holes I drilled earlier.
4. Finally, I checked the edges, the general shape of the blade and if it fitted my hand properly. As I was happy with it, I moved to the next step.
Step 11: Quench the Blade
1. It was time to quench the blade. I heated the blade with a oxy acetylene torch. XC75 needs to be quenched in oil between 790-810ºC / 1454-1490ºF (the color of the blade should be between red and bright red). So I heated it with a torch untill I saw it turn red-bright red. If you do so, try to avoid the tip of your blade as much as possible. Let the heat travel to the tip and mainly heat the handle. As you have less material at the tip of your blade, it will heat faster than the handle and you may damage the steel, which means you will to grind it afterwards or totaly remake it.
2. Once I got the nice red color, I quickly quenched the tip of the blade in oil (you can use quench oil but motor oil works just fine. Just be sure to wear safety gears and a respirator, the smell and fumes are pretty nasty).
3. To check it the hardening was a succes, I used a file on the edges of the blade. If you can hear a clear sound and if the file doesn't scratch it, your hardening is a success and you can move on. If the file scratches the blade, it means the quench wasn't succeful. You can simply reheat the blade and quench it again.
Step 12: Clean, Temper and Clean Again
1. I cleaned the burnt oil from the blade with fine grid sandpaper (I used #600 grid). This will enable you to see the color of the blade after tempering and to know if it was successful.
2. Then, I tempered the blade, otherwise it will be to hard and may break. I put it in my kitchen owen at 220ºC / 446ºF for one hour. The color of the blade should be now between light straw (light yellow) and blue.
I let it cool overnight but you can work it as soon as it is cold enough to be touched.
3. I had a very nice blue color blade I wanted to keep, but I finaly decided to clean the blade, once again using my 2x72" belt grinder, but you can use sand paper. just be sure to use finer grid than you use before (at least #600).
Step 13: Make It Sharp
1. The blade is almost done. Now, it's time to finish the edges. You can use sharpening stones, or sand paper glued to a straight board.
2. I used to my belt grinder, so I sharpened the blades with it and a #400 grid belt. It worked perfectly.
3. Once the blade is done, I wrapped the blade with masking tape. It prevents any scratchings or getting glue on the blade while you work on the handle.
Step 14: Making the Scales
1. I hesitated a bit about the wood for the scales. You can use any hard wood you like, or even micarta, horn or bone. I chose to use padauk because I love this wood and I thought it would be nice with brass pins.
2. I cut a 7mm thick piece of padauk on my table saw, but you can find pre-made scales for knives. The thickness depends a lot on your tastes and hand size.
3. I draw the shape of the handle with a sharpie on the wood and cut the two scales.
4. Then, I carefully drilled the pin holes with a 4.2mm drill bit (once again to give a little room to the glue).
Step 15: Glue It Up
1. I cut two pins out of a 4mm solid round brass rod.
2. I used two parts epoxy to glue all the parts together.
3. Before gluing, I recommand to assemble all the part just to check if everything fits perfectly (the most important thing is that the pins go through the scales and the blade).
4. Apply glue on both side of the blade and to the pins. Carrefully put all the parts together. There is no need to use a hammer to put the pins into place. If you do, you can damage the scales. Then, clean the excess glue with a clean rag.
Step 16: Shaping the Handle
1. I used three clamps to hold the apply a constant pressure on the scales.
2. One the epoxy was fully cured, I unclamped the blade.
3. Then, I roughly shaped the handle with my belt grinder.
Step 17: Some More Sanding
1. To shape the hard to reach spots, I used a rotary tool with a small sanding bit.
2. I tried to round the handle as much as possible to get a good fit and a perfet grip.
3. I finished the sanding by hand with #140, #240, #400 sand paper.
Step 18: Oil and Final Sharpening
1. I unwrapped the balde and removed any glue left by the masking tape.
2. I applied three coats of boiled linseed oil on the handle (one coat every hour, but you can also apply varnish. If you do so, I recommand to apply it before unwrapping the blade).
3. Finally, I used my 2x72" blet grinder to do the final sharpening of the edge.
Step 19: Test ?
Now, time to test the blade. Or not. Your call.
❋ Disclamer ❋
I decline any responsability in case of injury. If you decide to test your blade, you engage your own responsability. Be sure to test the blade in a safe environment.
Don't hurt yourself or anybody during your cutting test.
Wear appreopriate gears and check you surrounding.
I also strongly recommand you to check the laws of your country about blades and knives.
Owning a Push Dagger can be illegal.
I tested my blades against a bag of sand. And they worked very well.
They fit my hands perfectly, are light and sharp. I'm really happy with how they turned out.
Step 20: And You're Done ! :)
Congratulations! You're done.
Off course, you can customize it the way you want : choose different shapes, modify the length and width, use different type of wood and pins.
Here is the full tutorial video :
I tried to make this Instructable as clear and easy as possible.
If you have any questions or requests for clarification, don't hesitate to comment.
I hope you liked it and if so please vote and like, share and watch the videos.
See you soon for my next Instructable!