First off the questions for The Make to Learn contest.
What did you make? I made a western or “French” style kitchen knife, It’s an all around design that does everything from chop veggies to slice beef (or in my house, venison). The blade is made of 52100 ball bearing steel, the handle Mexican Cocobolo, and the bolster are salvaged copper stock. To make it I use a homemade 2X72” grinder, a homemade propane forge, and a milling machine that my dad and I bought as scrap and rewired.
How did you make it? I did a speech on knife making in one of my classes, the teacher used to be a chef and after hearing the speech and seeing one of my past knives wanted to buy a chef knife. I’d learned to make knives through books (Murray Carter and Wayne Goddard have some great books out if your interested in getting into knife making), watching demos from Master Smiths like Ray Rybar and Jerry Fisk, and the school of hard knocks.
Where did you make it? I made this knife in my dad's shop. I’ve been making knives there since I was eleven. Knife making ties into my life fairly well because I use them so much, I love to hunt, fish, camp and cook, eat, etc. Where some people see a weapon, I just see a tool that’s necessary for daily life.
What did you learn? The knife turned out almost just as planned, despite the blade warping a bit during the heat treat. Next time I’m going to leave the edge thicker before the quench and that should solve the problem. Also I think if I dome the pins before putting the handle on, it might not chip around the pin holes. As far as what I’m the most proud of, I think the copper bolster with brass pins look awesome.
To start making this knife I drew out the rough shape of the chef"s knife to the dimensions I wanted, a 9” blade, 2 ½” at the widest, and the handle to be about 5” long. When I design knives, I keep 3 things in mind from most important to least. Function first, shape second, and looks last. When I have the blade shaped out, I start shaping the handle to fit my hand.