Introduction: The Making of Raven

First stage "Let's make some lumber"

 REMEMBER "SAFETY FIRST" know and respect your tools, and use safety equipment such as safety glasses, dust masks and gloves.

 Materials/Tools

Dozen Wood Screws
Dust Mask
Length Of Dry Choke Cherry
Pencil
Push Stick
Ruler/Tape
Safety Glasses
Squared Board

Table Saw
Thickness Planner
Three L Brackets

I wanted to use local wood to make the handle on this knife, but the only local wood I can purchase is white birch, white pine, black or white spruce, and balsam fir.  A friend had some choke cherry kicking around for about three years, so I decided to try it (plus it gives me a chance to recycle).

 Everything I read advised to mill round stock on a band saw, but growing up around a table saw I decided to use it, rather than my band saw. First I gathered up a squared board longer and wider than my "log", plus three L brackets and a few screws.

Step 1: Squaring One Edge

Step 1

I screwed the log to the board using one bracket on one end and two on the other end to keep my log from moving (ensuring enough of the log was hanging over the cutting edge to give me a flat straight side.)  I then moved the fence of my table saw so the board would just touch the blade, and ran the log though for my first cut.

Step 2: Squaring the Second Edge

Step 2

I disconnected the smoke alarm, and un-screwed the log from the board, placed the cut edge down on the board (positioning the log again over the cutting edge) and screwed the L brackets in place, and ran the log through for my second cut.  I now have a flat edge to slide on the table, and a second straight edge to run along the saw fence.

Step 3: Making Some Lumber

Step 3

 I continued to cut "boards" off the log about 3/8" thick, leaving the last board big enough to make a hidden tang knife.

Step 4: Planning the Boards

Step 4

I still have all my fingers, so now to the next step, planning the boards.  Using my thickness planner.  I planned the boards to get rid of the saw marks on both sides. That wasn't to bad, and I now have useable wood for knife scales.

Step 5: Second Stage "Let's Make a Knife"

Step 1 Design the knife

Materials/Tools
Carbon Paper
Compasses
Eraser
French curves
Graph Paper
Mate Board
Pencil
Rule
Tape
Utility Knife

The design of your knife is the single most important element of its construction. When people see a knife, the first thing they see is the blade. Therefore, it should set the theme for the knife, and make the knife look great. I am trying to lean more to the "traditional" style knives and wean myself from the "fantasy" style knife, but I think the fantasy style won out in this case. First, plot out the blade and handle shape on graph paper. Draw it to actual-size.

Then transfer it to mate board, cut it out using a utility knife and hold it in your hand to see if it feels right; if not back to the drawing board. This may take a few tries until you are satisfied.

Step 6: Marking Your Steel

Step 2

Materials/Tools
Knife Template

Painters Tape
Pencil
Steel

Now you are ready to make your knife.  Cover your metal in painters tape to accommodate the size of your template.  I am using a 1/4" by 17" hardened steel saw mill blade for this knife. Lay the template over the tape and trace around it using a pencil.

Step 7: Rough Cutting the Blade

Step 3

Materials/Tools
Good Dust Mask
Leather Gloves
Reinforced Cutting Disks
Rotary Tool
Safety Glasses
Spreader Clamp

Start cutting our your knife. I cut out the pattern with a "Dremel" type rotary tool, using the cutting disKs. I use the reinforce discs they last a lot longer than the cheap ones, and still use about 12 to cut out the knife blank.  Some people use a hacksaw, angle grinder or even a bench grinder.

 I use a rotary tool rather than an angle or bench grinder, as you can get allot closer to your pattern, it do not tend to over-heat the material, and saves time cleaning up your knife.

 Clamp your material to your work surface, and start cutting. Take your time, start at a slow speed until you have a grove cut, and then you can increase the speed.

Step 8: Clean Up Your Knife Blank

Step 4

Materials/Tools
1X30 Belt/Disk Sander
Drill Press
Drum Sanding Kit
Good Dust Mask
Leather Gloves
Safety Glasses
Various Files

To clean up the shape of the knife I use a 1X30 belt sander and disk sander, plus a drum sanding kit on my drill press, and files. I run my fingers along the edge of the blank to feel for any imperfections, as I find you can feel what your eyes cannot see.

Step 9: Preparing the Tang

Step 5

Materials/Tools
Drill Press

Good Dust Mask
Leather Gloves
Reinforce Cutting Disks
Rotary Tool
Safety Glasses
Various High Speed Bits

I normally locate where I want the rivets in the tang, use a center punch to mark them and drill the holes on the drill press using a high speed bit  and then drill divots in the tang which will help your epoxy stick when installing the scales, with a high speed bit.

But in this case using hardened steel I could not even dent the steel with the drill press.  I tried "soften" the steel using my propane torch, but could not get it hot enough, and did not have any MAP to use.  So back to the rotary tool.  I cut an X though the tang where I wanted to rivets, and then used high speed bits to make the hole big enough to accept the rivets. The scored the rest of the tang with the rotary tool, to help the epoxy to stick when installing the scales.

Step 10: Beveling the Blade

Step 6

Materials/Tools
1X3 Belt/Disk Sander
Good Dust Mask
Homemade Jig
Leather Gloves
Safety Glasses
Work Sharp Tool Sharpener

Beveling the blade I use my judgment and put about a 22 degree angle on both sides of the cutting edge and on one side of the back of the blade. I use a simple jig constructed out of a couple of straight brackets and a few bolts to ensure the bevel on both sides of my blade stop/start in the same place. I use my 1X30 belt/disk sander. When beveling the cutting edge I make a few passes on one side and then alternate to the other side, this helps me judge half the thickness. The bevels can be done with files, but takes a bit longer. 

 Then I sharpen to cutting edge of the blade using my Work Sharp Tool Sharpener

Step 11: Polishing the Blade

Step 7 

Materials/Tools
1/4 Sheet Sander
Black Polishing Compound
Blue Polishing Compound
Drill Press
Flat Board
Good Dust Mask
Leather Gloves
Loose Buffing Wheel
Rags
Safety Glasses
Sanding Block
Sisal Buffing Wheel
Spiral Sewn Buffing Wheel
Various Grits of Sand Paper
Water
White Polishing Compound
Wood Screws (2)

This is the most time consuming step, do not take any short cuts it will show up in the finial product. I sand the steel with Aluminum Oxide sandpaper.  I start with 40 grit then 80, 120,240, 320, 400  and finally 600 grit (Only sanded the tang section with the 80 grit to remove the rust/dirt, leaving a rough surface again to help the epoxy stick).

 Finally I polish the blade section using buffing wheels on the drill press. First the black polishing compound going against a sisal wheel using a heavy to medium pressure; next white compound against a spiral sewn wheel using a heavy to medium pressure; and lastly blue compound with the turn of a loose wheel using a medium to light pressure. If you do not have polishing compounds you can continue to sand the blade up to a 2000 grit or higher.

When sanding your knife, do not continue to sand in the same direction, as it will only make scratches deeper, but change the direction you sand by about 15 degrees each time.  If you cannot get rid of the marks from the previous grit you will have to go back to that grit to get rid of the marks. Take your time to get all the marks of the previous grits or it will show up in the finial product.

When I finish with the 80 grit sand paper, I use a flat board and screw the knife to it using the holes in the tang.  This helps a lot and is an easy way to hold the knife.

 

 

Step 12: Starting the Handle

Step 8

Materials/Tools
Two Pieces Of Hardwood

Two Sided Tape

The handle is next, I use "attractive" hardwood at least 1/4" thick up to 3/8". In this case I am using the choke cherry I milled in the first section.

 You need two identical thicknesses for each handle scale and have the rivet holes line-up. I use an old carpenters trick, using two sided tape and tape the two scales together before starting.

 Make sure the sides of the scales that are going to be glued to the tang is perfectly flat.

Step 13: Drill for the Rivets

Step 9

Materials/Tools
Drill Press

Painters Tape
Safety Glasses
Wood Bits

Tape the tang to the scales(this gives you the third hand) ensuring holes for your pins are exposed.

Using the drill press and the 1/8" drill bit drill the holes through the scales for your rivets. Take a second 1/8" bit pop it in the first hole you drilled to help hold the knife in place while you drill the second hole.

 Make sure you have a piece of wood under your scales when drilling this will stop the bottom of the holes from tearing out.

 If your rivets are a different size you will need a different size bit.

Step 14: Marking the Scales

Step 10

Materials/Tools
Pencil

Wood Bits
 
Use two 1/8" bits to hold the knife in place and trace around the tang to get the outline of the handle.

 

Step 15: Rough Cut the Scales

Step 11

Materials/Tools
Dust Mask
Safety Glasses
Sand Paper
Scroll Saw

Rough cut the handle using (I use a scroll saw), leave about 1/16" outside the line. Finish shaping and sanding the front of the handle, as once they are glued to the tang you will not be able to.

Step 16: Fancy Work

Step 12

Materials/Tools
Buffing Wheels
Engraving Bit
Good Dust Mask
Leather Gloves
Mate Board
Painters Tape
Pencil
Polishing Compounds
Rotary Tool
Safety Glasses
Utility Knife

On this knife I wanted to decorate a portion of the blade with some "scroll work".  I first made a template out of mate board to cover both sides of the blade I did not want to mark and taped them in place. Then used tape to mark the tang where I wanted to stop.

I used my rotary tool and an engraving bit to "scroll" the blade using the edge of the mate board as a guide.

 Then I removed template and re-polished the blade using my three polishing compounds

Step 17: Gluing the Scales

Step 13

Materials/Tools
Knife Scales
Painters Tape
Rivets
Rubbing Alcohol
Spring Clamps
Two Part Epoxy

Now let's get back to the handle. Tape the blade of the knife right up to where the scales are going to be glued. I always make sure the blade is covered tight to where the handle is going to start  as it saves a lot of time of cleaning up glue that can get on the blade. The tape also stops you from cutting yourself.

 Next clean off the tang using rubbing alcohol to  remove any dirt and oils.

 Using two part epoxy coat one side of the knife tang, coat the end of your rivets with epoxy and put them in place, and slide the corresponding side of the handle in place, and clamp until the glue is set.

 Then glue and clamp the second side.  I use spring clamp, they give you enough pressure, as too much pressure when gluing will squeeze out to much glue, and cause the joint to fail.

 I use 1/8" brazing rod for my rivets, it is a lot cheaper than buying brass rod, and is basically the same. Once cut I roll the rivets on 100 grit sandpaper to roughen them up. Make sure your rivets are lat least 1/8" longer than the thickness of the two scales and the tang.

 People have used everything from common nails to copper wire for rivets in their handles.  

Step 18: Shape the Handle

Step 14

Materials/Tools
1X30 Belt/Disk Sander

Bench Vise
Drill Press
Drum Sanding Kit
Dust Mask
Palm Sander
Safety Glasses
Sand Papers

Both scales are now glued to the tang, its time to finish the handle . I used my wood rasp,1X32 belt sander and disk sander, drum sanding kit on my drill press, and palm sander to shape the handle. I sand to 800 grit.

 I find a broken belt from my belt sander, with the knife in bench vise, helps make quick work of the finial shaping.

You have to be careful not to overheat the rivets in this step as it can burn the wood and cause the glue to fail.

 Some peen the rivets, but with the roughened rivets and epoxy, they have yet to fail me.

 Sanding a shaping the handle takes a bit of time until it looks and feels right in your hand.

Step 19: Finished

Step 15

Materials/Tools
Paste
Rubbing Alcohol
Work Sharp Tool Sharpener

Remove the tape, clean up the blade and handle. I seal the handle with a paste I made up of 4:1 mineral oil and bees wax. Re-polish and sharpen the knife and now you are finished.

Comments

author
bigwes made it!(author)2014-04-09

Can you add in the length and weight for future knives

author
WazIt made it!(author)2014-04-10

Sure I can, although I have never weighed my knives. This one has an overall length of 12", and the blade is 7.5" at it's longest measurement.

author
bloodhound101 made it!(author)2014-01-28

so to cut out all ur metal blades u use just a rotary tool and the re enforced dish?

author
WazIt made it!(author)2014-01-29

Whoops you caught a type-o, should read disc.

author
EmcySquare made it!(author)2013-10-15

I guess the "fantasy" reason is also the reason why you did not Heat Threat it... right?
Very cool design !!

author
WazIt made it!(author)2013-10-15

I did not heat treat it, as it is made from a harden steel blade from a saw mill and it did not need to be heat treated.
Thank you I thought the design turned out pretty good.

author
The+Metal+One made it!(author)2013-10-14

what would you use THAT for? and how in the hell are you making a working sheath for it?

author
WazIt made it!(author)2013-10-14

It is not meant to be a "practical" knife but more of a fantasy knife. If I were to make a working sheath for it it would be wooden (I have made wooden sheaths for things like THAT before).

author
rimar2000 made it!(author)2013-10-10

WOW, beautiful!

author
WazIt made it!(author)2013-10-11

thanks

author
Gregbot made it!(author)2013-10-10

very nice design!

author
WazIt made it!(author)2013-10-11

thank you

author
Teachable made it!(author)2013-10-11

beautiful design and work.

author
WazIt made it!(author)2013-10-11

thank you

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