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Knife Making Supplies And Tools: An Overview

 

Creating a knife from scratch not only takes patience and time, but also the right supplies and tools in place to ensure that your finished project is up to the quality that you desire. When resourcing a knife making kit, one should consider not only the practical aspects but also whether the supplies and tools that you purchase are fit for purpose. Sometimes it is worth spending a little more of your budget on higher quality knife making equipment, rather than settling for a lesser finish and therefore not creating the best finished product.

 

What knife making tools do you need?

Each individual project may vary in terms of your exact toolset, however most knife making projects require the following:

  • A workbench
  • Angle Grinder
  • Angle grinder discs
  • A set of files
  • Hacksaw
  • Sandpaper (of varying grits)
  • A small drill press
  • A vice or bench vice
  • A forge or heat treating oven
  • Tongs
  • Wood if adding a wooden handle

The above is a perfect beginner’s knife building kit. As your skill-set increases and your knowledge of what works and what doesn’t, you can also consider additional knife making supplies and tools such as variable speed grinders.

 

 

A more detailed look at the tools needed for knife making

 

Files

Files are one of the staple tools in knife making, and are fairly inexpensive. You can pick them up from most hardware stores. You will need to consider different files for different parts of the process, as they come in different shapes, with different levels of grit depending on what stage of the knife making process you are using them for. You can get automated files, but sometimes it is easier to use a manual file for the intricate parts of a knife.

 

Vice

There are many options when selecting your vice, but it is advisable to get a vice that rotates by 360 degrees on its base in order to work on the knife from different angles. A good quality vice can be quite expensive but it’s worth shopping around to find one that is suitable to your needs. You’ll also need to consider some soft jaw caps or inserts in order to protect the knife.

 

Hacksaw

A hacksaw is one of the key tools in knife making. It is the tool that helps you to cut and shape your steel into the desired shape. You can get automated cutting machines but the intricacies of knife making means that a hand held hacksaw is important and a high quality blade even more so.

 

Drill

The most convenient option when creating a knife is to use a drill press, which helps you to be more accurate with your drilling. A 4 inch drill press will be perfectly acceptable for your knife making requirements.

 

Angle Grinder

A hand held grinder is perfect for knife making beginners. For more advanced knife makers, you might consider a belt grinder or even an industrial grinder specifically made for knives. This of course all depends on your budget and needs. You’ll also need to consider different grinder discs with different levels of grit for both the early shape forming stage and the finishing stage.

 

Heat treating oven

In order to ensure the hardness of a finished knife, the steel needs to be heat treated. If you are serious about knife making, then you’ll need a purpose built machine. Some beginners use a torch to heat treat their steel, but it is a very inconsistent method and can not maintain the constant temperature required of around 1,000 degrees. Inconsistency can lead to different levels of hardness which in turn creates a failed blade. 

When looking to purchase a heat treating oven, you should look for a model which has a method of heat control (either digitally or manually). You should also ensure that the oven is sufficiently sized and can achieve the necessary temperatures for your steel. More information can be found here regarding heat treating ovens.

Alternatively, please take a look through our extensive range of heat treating ovens from Soul Ceramics.

 

What other knife making supplies might I need?

One of the most important considerations for knife making is the steel used to create the knife. There are a number of different types of steel that can be used, each with unique properties dependent on the required end use of the knife. More information on the types of steel used for a knife can be found here.

You will also need to have some form of protective equipment in order to handle the steel once it is removed from the heat treating oven. Temperatures are extremely hot, so it’s advisable to get some protective gloves, eye masks (which also help to prevent small pieces of steel getting into your eyes) and good quality tongs to remove the steel from the oven.

It’s also useful to have ceramic racks and industrial stainless-steel foil. A rack will help to position blades in the oven, and the heat treat foil will protect blades and prevent the knife from scaling and discoloration.

The knife making equipment and the knife making materials that you use will have a direct impact on the finished knife. It is best to set a budget for your needs and to research carefully the best equipment. If you need any help in your equipment decisions, please feel free to contact us.

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