Making a knifemaking file guide for for two dollars

For my current dagger project, I am worried about getting the plunge lines straight and equal; that and the edges of the ricasso where they meet the guard. I have known about file guides for a while but have a hard time spending fifty dollars to get one. Or even $150 to get the really nice carbide faced one from Uncle Al’s.

Here is one I made last night in the shop.

Knife filing jig made from 0-1 steel

The most expensive parts on this jig were the bolts. Two of them for $0.98. The rest is scrap from around the shop. I spent a couple hours getting it together.

The jaws are O-1. The guide rods were scrap 3/8″ rod stock. I drilled four holes and tapped two opposing holes in each piece.  I checked that everything was ground flat, square, and parallel as I could get by hand. I don’t have a mill. I hardened with straight soybean oil from the grocery store.  I just barely tempered the O-1 (350 for an hour). I wanted to leave the face hard so files will not wear thorough them.

These are not as pretty as store bought but I think they will work just fine.

O-1 hardened knife filing jjg


10 Responses to “Making a knifemaking file guide for for two dollars”

  1. and you got to make the tool too… that makes it even better!

  2. Yeah Steve – do your ever get stuck in that thing where you spend more time in a day making tools or jigs than making stuff?

  3. I have been thinking about this for some time. I have one of Fred Rowe’s bubble jigs and this would work nicely in conjunction with it while grinding/sanding knives as well as file work. Great idea…thanks !!!

  4. thank,s these is most helpfull for hubby guy,s keep em comeing

  5. hello please could you give me the measurements of your files
    pier giovanni

  6. hello,
    please could you give me the measurements of your file guide?
    pier giovanni

    • My jig is 3 1/2″ by 1 1/8″ and the sides are 1/4″ thick. It is only that size because that is the steel scrap that I had. I have plans to make one out of 3/8″ thick stock to get more of a flat platform to work off of.

  7. How did you make it flat and square?

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