Archive for the metalwork Category

Integral Knife forged from 52100

Posted in Blacksmithing, Forging, knifemaking, metalwork, Tool Making with tags , , , , on November 4, 2013 by Jim

I recently got a beautiful integral fixed blade knife from Master Smith Ray Kirk. I like it so much that I had to try and make one for myself. I bought a couple 3/8″ round bars of the 52100 from Ray and here is what I came up with:

Hand Forged Knife

Thanks to my friend Dave from Circle H forge for the beautiful piece of stag.

Lots of folks have been helping me with all this. Ray spent an hour walking me through how to make a blade like this.

Also, Master Smith Lin Rhea is always there with an answer to anything I need help with.

I have come to find that the folks in the American Bladesmith Society are just some of the best people out there.

-Happy Making,


Making a fixed blade pocket knife in O1 and micarta for every day carry

Posted in EDC, knifemaking, Leather working, metalwork with tags , , , , , on September 8, 2011 by Jim

I got to spend a great day with my dad making knives. I have been interested lately in having a fixed blade pocket knife so, I put together this pattern and we each made the same knife.

Here is how mine turned out:

It is sized like a neck knife, but I specifically designed it to be carried as an EDC (every day carry) pocket knife.

And here it is in its sheath. I made the sheath with the Loveless style cam so it makes a great ‘snap’ when you put it away.

It is comfortable in my front pocket or the leg pocket in my work pants.

Happy Making,

Two Bob Loveless Style Hunters in 01

Posted in knifemaking, metalwork with tags , , on August 27, 2011 by Jim

I plan to make this a set of three knives. I have two roughed out and plan to cut the third in a similar style to the Loveless chute knife.

Here is how far I got tonight.

These are in 01 steel.

Happy making,


Making a drop point hunting knife

Posted in Blacksmithing, knifemaking, metalwork with tags , , , , on August 25, 2011 by Jim

I am starting work on a set of three hunting knives all based on Bob Dozier Patterns which are based on Bob Loveless patterns.

Here is your treat for tonight, the first patten:

Bob Loveless Bob Dozier Style knife pattern

If you make knives or are interested in making knives, go get a copy of ‘Knifemaking with Bob Loveless‘ right now and read it. This book is a good one.

Happy making,


The Finished Dagger

Posted in Blacksmithing, hammer texture, knifemaking, metalwork with tags , , , , on August 21, 2011 by Jim

1095 steel dagger with wenge handle and bronze fittings

I finished the dagger today!

1095 Steel Dagger with wenge handle and bronze fittings complete

Making a two edged knife was a bit of a stretch for me but I am really pleased with how it turned out. It has a 5.5″ blade length and 10″ OAL. It is made out of 1095 steel. The fittings are hammered bronze.

Bronze Pommel and Wenge dagger handle

The pommel is heavy and almost 3/4″ at its thickest. Having the weight there offsets the weight of the blade and makes the knife feel agile in your hand.

Because this was a gift, my friend gave me a silver coin so the knife would not cut our friendship. I expected a nickel but instead I got this beautiful solid silver handmade Baron Guglielmo Bardicci coin!

Baron Gugliemo Bardicci solid silver coinBaron Gugliemo Bardicci solid silver coin Obversea

This was a great project.  Next up,  hunting knives.

Happy Making,


Making a knifemaking file guide for for two dollars

Posted in Gear Making, knifemaking, metalwork, Tool Making with tags , , on July 29, 2011 by Jim

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

Oh Happy Dagger…

Posted in Blacksmithing, Forging, knifemaking, metalwork with tags , on July 26, 2011 by Jim

Making a dagger from a file.

Dagger blank FromOld file

A friend had this blank for years. It was started by his pal. He told me that he wanted to make or have it made into a finished dagger so he can return it to its original creator as a surprise. Maybe there is a little romance in the fact that he has carried it around all this time. I get sentimentally attached to objects myself, so this project interested me.

I’m all in when I think there is a little history or romance in a project. I spent a little quiet time with it last night and here is where we got:

viking dagger blank

The blank was still hard as diamonds when I got it, so it went in the forge and got annealed. After, I ground the sides flat just enough to put the purple layout dye on it, scribe a center line, and begin to layout the tang.

More to come soon as I can get back into the shop.

Happy Making,


Reworking a Swiss Army Knife – EDC folder rework

Posted in Blathering, knifemaking, metalwork, Tool Making with tags , , , on June 6, 2011 by Jim

I love the blade on the Victorinox florist knife. It has a great shape for what I need in my EDC. I do wish though, that it was a little more sturdily constructed.

This weekend, I set out to remedy this issue.

Here is my trusty apple slicer:

Victorinox florist Knife

You can see that it is well loved! Well, I loved it so much that I felt the need to grind the pins out and take it apart 😛

This knife is really well thought out and well made but I wanted it to be a bit heavier. Also, I am really surprised that they do not put a half stop in the blade. A half stop makes the blade pause at 90 degrees when you are closing it. A nice thing if your fingers might be in the way!

Here are the new brass liners (to replace the light aluminum ones that came on the knife), red liner material, and micarta scale blanks I planned to put on this lovely knife. I also ground a flat on the end of a blade to make that half stop I was wishing Victorinox would have done for me.


A little time passes (internet magic and epoxy…) and here is the spine:

Spine of Swiss army knife rescaled with Green Micarta and red liners

And here it is, sitting so safely at that hoped for half stop:

Green micarta Swiss army knife rescale

My knife now has the heft and safety features I was hoping for. My lunch apples are very nervous!

Happy Making,


Making a chain mail shirt for a child

Posted in Chain Mail, Gear Making, jewelry making, metalwork, Tool Making on October 30, 2010 by Jim

I casually said to someone that I would make their child a chain mail shirt. I even said that I thought it would be fun. It was fun but turned out to be a bit more work than I expected. Approximately thirty hours of work later, many sore fingers, and about two dozen #1 jewelers saw blades , I had a finished chain mail shirt. This shirt is 18″ tall and 13″ wide. It will fit on a three year old.

I learned some helpful tricks about making chain mail.

A simple jig makes uniform rings easy:

For this jig, I drilled a small hole through a 3/8″ mild steel rod from the hardware store. You can see the aluminum electric fence wire I used going through the small hole. To make the rings, I chucked an electric drill to the rod and turned it slowly in the wooden form you see it sitting in . I found quickly that a leather glove helped my fingers survive.

A jump ring cutting jig

The rings used in making chain mail can be called jump rings. I saw a jig like this at a jewelers bench. They were using it to cut ring bands. Clamped in a vise, it works great for cutting the rings apart like this:

If I were going to make another shirt, I would probably cut the rings apart with snips instead of sawing them. I thought of changing mid-stream on this shirt but the rings looked different from the ones I had already woven together.

When I was working on this, I found a great trick online but cannot find the tutorial again. It makes everything go twice as fast. Briefly, you make chains of rings, two into one, as long as you want the finished section to be. Make many of these, then join them. I see that most tutorials show people adding one ring at a time into a mesh of fabric and that was horrible for me. Making the long chains and joining them made me twice as fast and far less frustrated.

If that doesn’t make sense, email me – jim (at) and I will try and explain or post an example.

Happy making,


A Twelve Dollar Knife Makers Vise

Posted in Blacksmithing, Gear Making, knifemaking, Leather working, metalwork, Tool Making on October 12, 2010 by Jim

It may not be pretty, but it works!

Knife Makers Vise

Two weekends ago, I was lucky enough to attend the American Bladesmith Society’s Heartland Bladesmithing Symposium at Steve Culver’s shop. It was incredible. I learned more than I thought you could learn in two days.

Looking around at all the tools he had, I saw a really cool knife makers vise. It let you clamp a knife in it and rotate the blade to work on all sides while still holding it securely.

I checked online and a store bought vise is around $100.00. I am saving for a propane forge and can’t afford a finished vise so I made this one.

You can put one of these together in a couple of hours if you have access to a small welder. Here are the parts I used:

Parts for the twelve dollar knife vise

The main body (gray pipe) is the top tube of an old swing-set I found in my garage and is 2″ in diameter. The gray pipe in this picture does not become part of my finished vise. It is just to show what the yellow pipe looked like before I started.

I cut a piece of this pipe  6″ long and drilled a 3/8 hole in the side.  For the hole, I came in about 1 1/2″ from the end. Next, I welded a nut over the hole. You can see this on the yellow painted pipe.

For a tightening handle on the inner vise (yellow pipe), I cut a ‘U’ bolt in half. That gives me the L shaped threaded rod that has a little yellow paint on it. That is what you use to tighten the inner wooden jaws that hold your knife.That might be cheating but it made a really comfortable handle for less than a dollar!

Next, I made the outer vise jaws. These allow you to spin the inner vise and clamp it tight where you need it. I made this from a heavy 2″ fence gate clamp that I got at a farm and feed store. At seven dollars, that was the most expensive piece of the entire vise.

To make the outer vise open and close easily, I bought an extension nut and welded a scrap of 3/8″ mild steel rod on it for a handle:

I also added a spring from the hardware store to make that outer clamp jaw want to open easily. I couldn’t find a spring that was exactly the width that I needed, so I cut a longer one down a bit for this.

Lastly, I made some wooden jaws to go inside directly against the knife itself.

Jaws for twelve dollar knife makers vise

Any 1″ x 2″ hardwood scraps should do for the jaws. I used Barge Cement and put leather pads on this set. I believe that I will make several sets of jaws for different work. I will make one pair with a long lower jaw to support the blades while I am filing them.

That’s It.

There really isn’t much too it. You clamp the bottom bit of the silver chain link fence gate hinge into your regular vise and you can hold a knife in any orientation.

While this isn’t nearly as elegant as the one I saw in Steve’s shop, it holds a blade tight while I am working hard on it.

Happy Making,