Alright! So I have seen these miniature blades around a lot to I thought it was time to make one, so why not take you all along for the ride! I entered this into the Big/ Small contest so please vote for me! Here is a list of tools you might need for this project. Now this project is pretty tool intensive but like most projects you can sub out most of these tools for a cheaper, simpler, more readily available tools.
Here are some things you may need:
Knife materials (knife steel, pin stock, handle material)
Step 1: Rough Shaping and Drilling
After drawing out a mini design that I was happy with I glued the template to a piece of 1080 steel. I used a hacksaw to cut out the blade and shave down to the line with a metal file. After this I smoothed out the profile on the belt sander with 120-400 grit belts. But you could always continue with the file and sandpaper. After the final shape is done, using a center punch i mark the center spots on the handle where I want the pins to be located. These marks will allow a starting point for the drill bit so it wont skate on the surface of the steel. After clamping and drilling 2 holes it was ready for the bevel.
Step 2: Beveling
This is the part of the process that is arguably the most time consuming. I found the center of the blade and held the blade against the sanding belt at an angle removing material and thinning it out so it can be sharpened later. Now doing this freehand on a normal knife is hard enough but on such a knife this small it is essentially impossible. So I took off the bulk of the material with a sander, moved over and cleaned it up with a file then moved back to the sander and smoothed out the blade. If you don't have a belt sander you could do this whole process with only a file. I have done it many times, it takes a lot of work and a lot of time but it allows you to have more control over the material.
Step 3: Heat Treating
Now I'm not going to go into depth of what heat treating is but essentially its a way to harden the steel to make it hold an edge. Using a torch (or any fire) I heated up the blade of 1080 steel until it is hot enough here the blade won't stick to a magnet. I dunked the blade into vegetable oil, drastically cooling it and making it extremely hard and brittle. In order to make a usable knife we have to soften the steel slightly by putting it in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours for 2 cycles.
Step 4: Final Blade Clean Up
After heat treatment ill take the blade back to the sander and hit it with a 400 grit belt all the way around. (or sandpaper by hand) Then I finished it with a hand rubbed satin blade finish and it was ready for a handle.
Step 5: Handle Material Drilling and Gluing
For the handle I used vintage micarta but you can use whatever you want. I stacked 2 slabs on top of each other with the blank on top and drilled right though the whole stack. I drilled the first hole then using a pin as a place holder so the scales won't move, i drilled the other hole. I finish sanded the front of the scales and got ready for gluing. I prepped the blade with mineral spirits and roughed up both surfaces. I mixed equal parts of epoxy and glued the stack together. Using spring clamps I was able to keep the stack together. After 24 hours it would be ready for shaping.
Step 6: Handle Shaping and Finishing
After the epoxy has cured I take it to the sander and grind the material flush with the metal spine. after this I sand the corners off and begin to round over the material. because there isn't a lot of material to work with I rely a lot on hand sanding. From 220-2000 by hand then buffing to give the handle a nice shine.
Step 7: Sharpening and Having Fun!
Lastly Ill sharpen the knife of the belt sander and give it a quick strop and its done!
Thank you all for tagging along! make sure to check out my YouTube channel Bitter Blade Co. and my instagram @bitterbladeco
Have a nice day!
Runner Up in the
Big and Small Contest