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

About: "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's not enough that things work. He or she must know how things work. And…

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…

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

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.

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?

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.

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!

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)

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!

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!?!?!?!)

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!


Build a Tool Contest 2017

Runner Up in the
Build a Tool Contest 2017

Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

Second Prize in the
Trash to Treasure Contest 2017