I've been making or modifying knives for the last thirty years. When I am making knives I primarily use a process called stock removal.The knives are first designed on paper, mocked up out of wood and if it feels good, transferred to a piece of steel. Shaping may take place with a vertical mill, bench grinder, or angle grinder before going to the belt grinders.
The blades made from new materials are stamped with my name and steel type (sometimes in code) as well as having handle pin holes drilled and countersunk before heat treating. I harden the blades by heating them to 1500-1600F and quenching in oil. The O-1 steel is then ready for immediate tempering, but the ATS-34 and 154CM may be further quenched in an acetone bath cooled with dry ice. Depending on what hardness the final blade needs to be it is either hand tempered with a MAPP gas torch or placed in an oven for an hour at the appropriate temperature. The O-1 blades that are treated this way and tempered at 400 Fahrenheit end up with a hardness about Rc 58-60. I aim for that hardness because it is a good middle point between edge holding and ease of sharpening. Most of the custom knives are a bit harder, Rc 60-64 depending on the steel.
After heat treating
they are ready for the finish, either polishing the blade, or simply removing
the scale from treating. Next comes the handle, a
hardwood usually. The handle material is chosen, cut to rough size and flattened
on the blade side with the belt grinder. After drilling holes for pins the
handles are pinned together and the blade end finished. Everything is then
ready to be cleaned and put together. Instead of using an epoxy like JB-Weld I
use E-6000B, a black colored rubbery contact adhesive available from auto parts
I make several
standard designs. The basic woods knife is a 7 inch drop point. It is available
in 1/16 or 3/32 steel, with a variety of handle materials. I have also made an 8 inch version of the knife from 3/16 steel. Handles on
the knives shown are Maple, Mahogany, Manzanita
in the first picture, Ironwood and Lignum Vitae in the second.
The knife that I
started out making years ago is a very simple design. I am still creating it
from 1/16, 3/32 and 1/8 inch steel. Here you see the 8 inch version, Osage Orange,
Elk (antler), Ironwood and Maple handles.
If you would like to order a knife contact me about pricing. If you are interested in having a custom knife made, send me a full size sketch with blade thickness noted and handle material first and second choices listed. I will send you a quote ASAP.
Last Updated February 17, 2017.
Joe Beardsley | P.O. Box 474 | Big Bear City, CA 92314
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