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Recommendation? I have a couple questions I'd like to ask knifemakers...

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Mononym, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. Mononym

    Mononym

    2
    Aug 2, 2019
    As a novice knifemaker, I'm (naturally) afraid to fail. I don't have a sizable budget, which only serves to heighten the "stakes." However, I do have a good work ethic, and I simply refuse to give up on what I'm setting out to do.

    With that being said, I have a couple questions for the more experienced knifemakers on here:

    1. How many times did you all falter during the manufacturing process before making a serviceable design?

    2. Any steels you all recommend that combine affordability, performance and machinability?

    3. Any tips? (These can be either broad or specific; I'm thankful for any advice)
     
  2. weo

    weo KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 21, 2014
    Hi Mononym and welcome to the addiction. Have you read the stickies at the top of this forum?
    (the posts in grey)
    You'll find plenty of info there and we won't have to keep typing the same answers to the same questions.
    If you still have questions, feel free to ask, but I'd say start there first.
     
  3. Mononym

    Mononym

    2
    Aug 2, 2019
    It's even more apparent now that I'm stumbling my way through the forums. Heh.

    I did read them after you replied, and they were helpful. Thank you, sir.
     
  4. weo

    weo KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 21, 2014
    No problem. And if you were thinking about getting into forging your blades, I'd suggest joining whatever local blacksmith organization/guild and attend as many of their events as you can. Great resources for both learning and tools.

    one last tip: Have fun!
     
  5. Hengelo_77

    Hengelo_77 Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    Read read read and don't be afraight to make mistakes.
     
    Branson1369 and hawkhead like this.
  6. weo

    weo KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 21, 2014
    many...and still faltering at times
     
    kmf600 and Ken H> like this.
  7. kc custom

    kc custom KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Apr 20, 2005
    If there's enough excitement at the beginning its not going to matter if you fail cause you will keep at it.
    For myself when I started I could afford like 3 ft. of steel---- that's 4 blades. I also sold my first knife that
    year. 1977.
    Ken.
     
  8. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    I highly recommend 1084 if you are going to do your own HT. If sending it out, I recomens AEB-L or 15N20.

    The path to success is filled with both successes and failures. I still have blades that break, shaped that don't come out right, and screw-ups when grinding. My first knife was terrible by my current standards, but I thought it was as good as Jim Bowie's knife when I made it nearly 60 years ago..

    The best way to avoid errors is to make a complete plan for the knife before starting. Plan everything from the steel type to how you will profile it to sanding/grinding, HT, handle, sheath, etc.

    Draw every knife out on paper in full size.

    Look at lots of photos of knives from well known makers. The "gallery has lots of great photos.These can show you what works and what doesn't.

    Avoid the temptation of a new maker to invent a new shape/style. Trust me, if it was good, it would already be in use.
     
    WValtakis, J. Keeton and hawkhead like this.
  9. E.Carlson

    E.Carlson KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    688
    Mar 28, 2016
    Success comes from experience. Experience comes from failure. Have fun!
     
    Rhinoknives1 and Natlek like this.
  10. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    I disagree - Success comes from experience. Experience comes from practice. You don't have to fail to learn.
     
    Ken H> likes this.
  11. scott kozub

    scott kozub Gold Member Gold Member

    322
    Jan 1, 2018
    Every knife you make will probably be serviceable and you'll love your first. As you get experience, your skills and knowledge will improve. For me, the more I learned, the longer my knives took o make because I became more knowledgeable of the details and I'm still a very new maker.

    Don't worry about the budget. When you buy tools you aren't buy quality but efficiency. Best piece of advice I ever hear hear was to take pride in every step. It's easy to rush a step to get to the next but look back and make sure its the best you can do at each step.
     
  12. hawkhead

    hawkhead

    Aug 13, 2008
    Post #8, Advice from Stacy is some of the best advice you will ever receive. The professional knifemakers here and other forums are great teachers; their work speaks volumes. Take your time, pay attention to detail and enjoy what you do.
     
  13. Natlek

    Natlek

    Jun 9, 2015
    1.There was are knifemakers here who after several years still can t make good knife ..... I mean for sale standard .Other one knifemakers after one year can make excellent knife .....so all depends on your skill not on mine.
    2.Steel recommendation ? What market demands...and customer .
    3.If on bladeforums.com you can not find tips for knifemaking.............. :)It will take years to read all that WIP and thread ...pure gold for you ......and for me..... gratitude from me to all who spend their time to share knowledge/tips/tricks with us :thumbsup:
     
    razor-edge-knives likes this.
  14. Alex Topfer

    Alex Topfer

    148
    May 1, 2019
    Learn how to do good low grit finishes, don't go straight for really high polished finishes. Early on it's time you would be better spent learning other skills. When you think you're making decent blades then start investing the time to do high grit finishes
    Also start with small knives, and work up to bigger ones
     
    john april and razor-edge-knives like this.
  15. Natlek

    Natlek

    Jun 9, 2015
    Stacy ,I ask just from curiosity ...Why you recommended AEB-L if he sending it out ? Why not steel like CPM 154 , SV30VN , 440C ,CPM3V ,Damasteel ,Elmax , M390 ... .etc ?
     
  16. AVigil

    AVigil Adam Vigil knifemaker working the grind Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Platinum Member

    Feb 17, 2009
    Probably due to it be a great stainless for a knife and far less expensive then those others you listed.
     
  17. Scott Hanson

    Scott Hanson KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 6, 2014
    When I started out knife making some 30 years ago I used anything and everything from old worn out files to power hack saw blades in the beginning as a cheep source of blade stock. Were they serviceable blades, yes, but were they good blades, no, not compared to what I'm doing now. But they made nice Christmas presents and birthday gifts for my family and friends. I had soon bought a 2 x72 belt grinder and switched over to the commercially available steals with a professional heat treat like 440c, ats34, 154cm, s30v, s35vn, cpm154 and so on, and the quality of my immediately increased right then and there. The advice given here by everyone is good advise and I second AEB-L with a professional heat treat as good a first option, it's a great steal it's cheap and it's easy to work. Start with a plan draw out a template of a smaller knife, a plain simple design and go from there.
     
  18. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    " Stacy ,I ask just from curiosity ...Why you recommended AEB-L if he sending it out ? Why not steel like CPM 154 , SV30VN , 440C ,CPM3V ,Damasteel ,Elmax , M390 ... .etc ?

    Adam had the answer - AEB-L makes a great knife, is very affordable, HT's well, … and JT can cut your blank and HT is with high quality. Same for 15N20 and JT.

    The OP stated he is under a tight budget. All the steels listed are great, but some cost over 10 times what AEB-L costs. None really make a better knife ( in general). Many are difficult to work on and require both skill and more professional equipment.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
    J. Keeton likes this.
  19. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley

    Oct 17, 2007
    My advice: No need to reinvent the wheel. Start with a simple, proven design. Nothing too big OR too small. A lot of guys start with a chisel grind (filing/grinding a primary bevel on only one side, as it removes a little bit of complexity but still yields a serviceable blade.

    I practiced my first few grinds on some scrap mild steel I got for pennies from a local fab shop. A lot of makers suggest grinding on usable knife steel from the start. However you choose to start, just take your time and have fun. Nobody’s first knife is a masterpiece, but you have to start with 1 before you make 2.
     
  20. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Great advice here. one thing I'd caution against is picking too large a knife for your first one. Something in the 6 to 7" oal range would be ideal. Get that down before you move on to the bowies. AEB-L is a great steel and professionally ht ed will give you a knife that you will be very proud of and it'll work.
     
    J. Keeton and Alex Topfer like this.

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