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Thread: Sticky Threads - All The Good Info You Want In One Place

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Sticky Threads - All The Good Info You Want In One Place

    The stickies have all been condensed into this new super-sticky. This will free up the top of the forum, but make all the good info just a click or two away.

    Each will have its own segment, and all the info is still there.

    Any additional info that you folks think should be added to the stickies can still be added by a moderator. Just send Mark or me a PM with the thread or info that you would like stickied.
    Last edited by Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith; 03-27-2013 at 05:40 PM.
    Stacy E.Apelt
    It is better to die fighting evil than to live under it.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Look here for basic info and things that most new makers want to find out.***

    Membership Rules on selling and related conduct:


    Knifemaker's Suppliers List - Parts, Supplies, Kits, etc.
    Last edited by Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith; 03-22-2014 at 07:08 AM.
    Stacy E.Apelt
    It is better to die fighting evil than to live under it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    The Count's Standard Reply - Newbies Reading and Study List:

    The Count's Standard Reply to New Knifemakers V32

    The answer to a 13 year old student is different than a 60 year old machinist
    We have members worldwide, you may have a local supplier, hammer-in or helpful neighbour.
    Please join our community and fill out your profile with location (Country, State, City), age, education, employment and hobbies so we get a sense of where and who you are.

    Look at the threads stuck to the top of the page.

    The basics in the simplest terms
    Absolute Cheapskate Way to Start Making Knives-Printable PDF-Right Click and Save

    Web Tutorials
    Detailed instructions by Stacy E. Apelt

    The Things I Advise New Knife Makers Against-Printable PDF

    Handle Tutorial - Nick Wheeler-PDF

    Bob Egnath how to

    A list of books and videos

    BladeForums - E-books or Google books

    Books I like:
    David Boye-Step by Step Knifemaking
    Tim McCreight-Custom Knifemaking: 10 Projects from a Master Craftsman
    Clear, well organized, widely available and inexpensive.

    Knife Design:
    Think thin. Forget swords, saw-tooth spines, guthooks, crazy grinds and folders for your first knife.

    Look at hundreds of photos

    Start with a drawing and show us, we love to comment on photos.
    French curves, graph paper and an eraser are vital tools.

    Then make a cardboard cutout template & draw in handles, pins and such.
    Use playdough to shape a comfortable handle, good handles are not flat.

    How to post a photo

    Google books thread for Lloyd Harding drawings, Loveless book & Bob Engnath Patterns.

    Bob Engnath Patterns in a PDF

    Forging Books:
    Lorelei Sims-The Backyard Blacksmith - A modern book with colour photos - forging - no knifemaking.

    Jim Hrisoulas- Check for the cheaper paperback editions.
    The Complete Bladesmith: Forging Your Way to Perfection
    The Pattern-Welded Blade: Artistry in Iron
    The Master Bladesmith: Advanced Studies in Steel

    Machine Shop Basics -Books:
    Elementary Machine Shop Practice-Printable PDF Http://

    The Complete Practical Machinist-Printable -1885-PDF
    Right Click and save link as.
    It’s being reprinted now if you prefer paper books

    The $50 knife Shop-not recommended
    This book has a great title, but is NOT gospel. It confused me for a long time.
    Forging is NOT necessary; you can file and grind to create a knife (stock removal)

    Forget the Goop Quench BS, Even back when they used whale oil, it was still liquid oil.
    Use a commercial quench oil & match oil speed to the steel type;
    Grocery store canola oil works for some steels like 1084.

    Junkyard steel requires skill and experience to identify and heat treat it properly.
    Forget Lawnmower blades and railroad spike, start with a new known steel.
    Good heat treating needs accurate temperature control and full quench.
    You can buy proper steel like 1084FG from Aldo very cheaply, and quench in Canola.

    Cable damascus is an advanced project has no place in a beginner’s book.

    The grinders are the best thing about this book, but 2x72” belt grinders free plans are now on the web.


    Don't be this guy

    Heat Treating Basics Video-downloadable
    Right click and save this. Watch it once a day for 10 days.

    Right click and save this. Watch it once a day for 10 days.

    Many knifemaking videos are available, some better than others.

    The best beginner videos I have seen:
    “Steve Johnson-Making a Sub-Hilt Fighter”

    "Ed Caffrey - Basic Bladesmithing-Full DVD-ISO"

    “Custom Knife Sheaths -Chuck Burrows - Wild Rose”
    -(Paul Long has 2 videos, his sheath work & videos are fantastic, but more advanced-with inlays, machine stitching)

    Green Pete's Free Video
    Making a Mora bushcraft knife, stock removal, hand tools, neo tribal / unplugged heat treat.
    Use a piece of known steel, not a file. This as an example of doing it by hand with few tools.
    "Green Pete" posted it free using torrent files.
    Be sure to look at the other titles I mentioned too - spend some time searching.

    Greenpete Knifemaking Basics-on TPB

    How to download that video

    See a list of videos for rent and read the reviews, Some are good, some bad, expect to wait weeks or months

    Draw Filing Demonstration
    YouTube video -Draw Filing-for a flat finish

    Nick Wheeler- Hand sanding 101

    The “welding steel” at Home Depot / Lowes… is useless for knives.
    Forget about lawnmower blades ,files and other unknown junkyard steels.
    For all the work involved, it is very cheap to buy and use a known good steel.

    If you send out for heat treating, you can use
    Oil quenched O1, 1095, 1084
    Or air quenched A2, CM154, ATS34, CPM154, 440C, plus many others.

    For heat treating yourself with minimal equipment, find some Eutectoid steel and quench in Canola oil.
    1084FG sold by Aldo Bruno is formulated for Knifemaking, Cheapest & made for DIY heat-treat.
    Phone # 862-203-8160

    Suppliers List

    Heat Treating

    You can send blades out for heat treating at $10 or $15 per blade for perfect results, and avoid buying the equipment.

    Air Hardening Stainless Steel Only
    Buck Pau Bos -Be sure to check the Shipping and Price tabs.

    Oil Hardening Carbon Steels and Air Hardening Stainless Steel (Canadian)


    1095 is a good carbon steel, but a bad choice for a beginner with limited equipment.
    1095 is "Hypereutectioid" and needs very precise temperature control and proper fast quench oil Like Parks 50 or Houghton K
    Kevin Cashen - 1095 - hypereutectoid steel

    If you are sending one or 2 knives out for heat treatment, use 154-CM or CPM-154 or CPM-s35vn and ship it out to TKS -Texas Knifemaker Supply
    It's the cheapest way to do 1 or 2 because of HT minimum charges.

    Quenchants for Oil hardening steel
    Forget the Goop Quench and Motor oil.

    Use commercial quench oil & match oil speed to the steel type;
    The best explanation and classification oil speeds I've seen

    Grocery store canola oil works well enough for your first knife-if you use the right steel like 1084

    Brine and water are cheap, and technically correct for "water hardening" steels W1 and 1095 but a fast oil like Parks 50 or Houghton Houghto Quench K are less likely to give you broken blades
    If you use water or brine, expect to hear a "tink" and have a cracked or broken blade

    Glue – Epoxy
    Use a new package of slow setting 30 min to 1 hour, high strength epoxy to attach blades to handles and seal out moisture.
    Slow epoxy is stronger and gives you time to work with it.
    Surface Prep is vital, drill tang holes/ grind a hollow, roughen the surfaces with abrasive or blasting is best.
    Ensure the surface is clean and no oil including fingerprints.
    Use Acetone & Alcohol, or Blasting.
    Don't over clamp it. Avoid a “glue starved joint” when all the adhesive is squeezed out.
    Brownell's Acraglas
    West Systems G Flex
    JB Weld

    Grinder / Tools

    Hand Tools
    You can do it all by hand with files and abrasive cloth like the Green Pete video.
    Just use 1084 instead of a file.

    Stacy - 10 Tools

    Photo of a nice bevel filing jig

    A professional three or four wheel 2x72 is worth it
    In my opinion, variable speed and a small wheel attachment are essential on a good grinder.
    You can almost always improve tracking with more belt tension. It needs to be way tighter than you first think.

    Entry Level Grinders
    Sears Craftsman 2x42 belt grinder

    Low Speed Modification Craftsman 2x42 belt grinder

    Commercial Production 2 x 72” Belt Grinder Reviews

    DIY 2 x 72” Belt Grinders

    KMG Clone Free Plans

    NWG No Weld Grinder

    EERF Grinder (EERF =“Free” backwards)

    Buy the kit

    What Belts to buy?

    VFD Variable Speed made simple

    Step pulleys are not as cheap as you may think
    Maska cast steel pulleys are good and well balanced $75 EACH here plus shaft, bearings, belt

    It all adds up to about 1/2 the price of a KBAC-27D

    I like direct drive with no belts using a VFD and 3 phase motor for about $200 over the price of the step pulleys with much finer control.

    Yes you can get cheaper NEMA 1 VFD’s and build your own enclosure
    You may find them cheaper at other retailers and on Ebay direct from china.

    Wayne Coe


    3 phase 220v 1.5 HP motor, TEFC, frame 56 or 56C,
    RPM is up to you many are happy with a 1700 RPM running at double speed.
    Make sure it has a footed base for the KMG and NWG, or a C flange face mount for Bader, Bee, Wilton and GIB styles.
    I get them on ebay, even with paying $80 for shipping to Canada I save $$$ on a used motor.

    The 1.5 HP combination is the most common, as reported by Rob Frink
    It allows you to plug into any 110vac, 15 amp outlet.
    A 2 HP motor requires a 220vac input.

    There are cheaper VFD units like the TECO, but the only VFD I have found that will run a 1.5 HP motor on a 110v 15 amp input is the KBAC27D

    It is NEMA4, sealed from metal dust that can burnout the unit.
    It has good community and company support, manuals, hook-up diagrams, photos and settings on Rob Frink’s website.

    I like the fact that I can buy it from a local distributor in Canada.

    Travis W reports running a 2 HP on a 110v circuit, but I haven’t tried it.

    Hookup is dead simple

    Safety Equipment
    Protect your -Eyes, Ears, Fingers, and Lungs – remove jewellery and use safety gear.

    Chronic lung disease and cancer really suck the joy out of life.
    Goggle "Ed Caffrey lung cancer"
    Wearing a mask on the top of your head doesn't count.

    The minimum I would consider are silicone half masks with a P100 Filter
    3M 7500

    and North 7700

    Use a VOC & P100 combo cartridge for protection against acetone and solvents.
    Prefilters can snap over the main filter for longer life.
    There are 3 sizes, buy one in person at a safety supplier and get it fitted.

    For beards, pick one of these
    3M PAPR
    3m Breathe Easy
    Trend Airshield Pro
    Air Cap II


    This Google page searches BF and works well.

    Can I get rich making knives ?

    V32 Jan 27, 2014 Nick Wheeler hand sanding 101 added

    Darrin Sander is no longer HT'ing blades.
    Last edited by Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith; 03-14-2014 at 10:21 AM.
    Stacy E.Apelt
    It is better to die fighting evil than to live under it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Stacy E.Apelt
    It is better to die fighting evil than to live under it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Basic starter info and instructions for making a knife by hand.
    Last edited by Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith; 03-28-2013 at 12:29 PM.
    Stacy E.Apelt
    It is better to die fighting evil than to live under it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Metallurgy and more - Lots of HT info here
    This is where you can start to understand what is happening inside your blade when doing HT and working hot steel
    Stacy E.Apelt
    It is better to die fighting evil than to live under it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    PID CONTROL; FORGES; SALT POTS;........and more
    The title says it all!
    Stacy E.Apelt
    It is better to die fighting evil than to live under it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Virtual-BBQ and Hammer-In ; Multiple WIPs and Tutorials
    Last edited by Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith; 02-27-2014 at 03:04 PM.
    Stacy E.Apelt
    It is better to die fighting evil than to live under it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Here is a short treatise on sharpness from this kitchen knife thread - :

    OK, Let's talk a bit about what makes a good kitchen knife into a superb kitchen knife.

    1)Geometry. Primarily in a kitchen knife this means THIN. Distal taper and a full flat grind usually accompany that.
    2) Edge - Low angle edges and a thin blade behind the edge make the knife cut well. Choppers will be slightly steeper and thicker, of course.
    3) Hardness - The blade on a kitchen knife is usually a bit harder than a general use knife. This will allow the edge to last longer by being more resistant to wearing away by abrasion.
    4) Toughness - Not to be confused with hardness, the steel needs the ability to resist the edge breaking down.
    5) Matching the steel to the task.
    ............A Sashimi blade like a 180mm long yanagi-ba can be very hard and have a very low edge angle. All it ever should do is cut in a straight slicing line against clean and soft tissue. The finest grain and highest practical working hardness are key steel choice considerations.
    ............A 100mm veggie cutter will have a slightly less acute edge, and be not as hard. It will be used to push cut ( chop) firmer and dirtier cellulose based objects.Moderate toughness and medium hardness are the steel parameters here.
    ............A 60mm paring blade will be even less hard, less acutely edged, and made from a steel that takes more lateral force ( tougher). These knives are turned in use, and cut a variety of objects.

    All the above except geometry are a product of steel choice and HT.

    The place where most people go wrong is thinking hardness equals sharpness.
    Sharpness is just a function of how finely angled we can make the edge bevel. If you draw a huge sketch of the blade edge, you will see the apex as a single point. This is the theoretical edge. In reality, the edge is back a bit from there. The size of the steel grains and the carbides will make the theoretical edge impossible to attain. Tougher steels usually have larger grains, and large super hard carbides. Harder steels have a composition that allows for hard martensite to form, but too much hardness will allow the thin edge to chip away, leaving a microscopically ragged edge. Grain size will also limit how fine the edge can be. The perfect kitchen knife steel would be hard and tough. Choosing the alloy to meet the task is part of this, and HT is the other half.

    Lets make some imaginary blades.
    A) - This blade is made from bricks. Each brick is tightly mortared to the next. When we sharpen the blade, we needed to use a lot of effort to knock off bricks until we have a stair step to the edge where it is only one brick wide. This blade will cut a bit rough because of the stair step sides, and no mater what we do, the edge can only be one brick wide. This blade will be very tough, but not all that sharp.
    B) - This blade is made from concrete. The mix is small rocks and fine cement. The rocks are held in place by the surrounding cement. Sharpening will wear away the rocks at the edge pretty fast, and with some work and stopping we can get the cement worn down to an edge much thinner than the brick blade. However, the small rocks at the edge will pull out in use fairly easily, leaving the edge irregular. It will be sharper, but not as tough as the brick blade. The edge is still limited to the size of the rocks.
    C) - This blade is made out of cement. It is a mix of fine sand and Portland cement. Each grain of sand is bonded to the next by the Portland in a strong bond. This blade will be harder to abrade, but will also sharpen down to an edge that is as fine as a single grain of sand. Because all the sand grains are about the same size, they wear away slowly and evenly. This will be a hard and tough blade.

    All will get sharp, and cut your imaginary fingers easily. So how do you decide what steel to use?

    Blade A is like one made from a very hard and tough steel. A blade made in a steel that has large carbides, and/or large grain structure is like this. D-2, and other super wear resistant steels are often picked for this reason....They make great knives.....but it will not make the best kitchen blade.
    Blade B is like most regular knife steel having a bit of alloy. The carbides are moderately sized, and the grain can be made fairly fine. CPM steels also help keep the grain size reasonably small and distribute the alloy evenly.. These knives will be good performers, and make up the bulk of good kitchen knives. They can be hardened a bit harder.
    52100, CPM-S35VN, 440C, etc.
    Blade C is made from a steel that has no extra alloying to make larger carbides, The grain structure is very fine. These knives can be hardened very hard and the edge will still hold up with the right edge geometry and proper use. AEBL, 1095, W2, and some of the very pure Hitachi steels are in this class. With some real careful HT and testing, 52100 can be brought here, too. These steels have the toughness to hang on to the martensite grains and carbides while still being hard and resisting abrasion. The main reason one maker gets superb results from these steels and another doesn't is almost always in the HT.
    Stacy E.Apelt
    It is better to die fighting evil than to live under it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Warpage !
    There are many ways to straighten warpage. The best way is to prevent it from happening.

    1) Grind evenly.
    Forge evenly.
    Avoid sudden shifts from thick to thin. Have even tapers and bevels

    2) Stress relieve the steel before Heat Treatment. (Actually, stress relief is part of heat treatment).
    There are several methods of cycling steel to get a fine grain and evenly distributed carbides, but simple methods will also relieve stress.
    Sub-critical annealing is the simplest. Heat the steel to 1200°F and hold for two hours. Cool at 100° per hour to 800°F and then quench (or let air cool) to room temp.
    For any steel, stainless, hypo, or hyper will remove any stresses in the steel.

    Here is metes method recommendations for stainless steels:

    When you get the steel do a subcritical anneal ,1200 F for two hours. Straighten if necessary.
    Grind etc then another subcritical anneal for 2 hours
    Quench , if in oil agitate spine to edge. Air hardening steel can be quenched in plates using 3/4 to 1" aluminum.

    If you attempt to straighten a hardened knife heat to at least 400 F !
    Stacy E.Apelt
    It is better to die fighting evil than to live under it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Japanese Blade info:

    These are some basic terms ( there are probably 100 more words, but these will cover most all major areas):

    ha - the hardened edge of the blade
    ji - the surface between the hamon and the shinogi
    habuchi - the line between the hamon and the ji ( AKA nioi-guchi)
    hamon - the line indicating the border of the hardened edge. This is a group of crystals ( nie and nioi) that form in the hardening process.
    ashi - lines of nioi extending from the hamon toward the edge
    nie - small visible martensite crystals. Often seen as bright specks and little "islands" just above the hamon.
    nioi - minute/microscopic martensite crystals visible in a groug as a milky/wispy cloud.
    shinogi - the ridge line of the blade
    shinogi ji - the surface between the shinogi and the mune
    mune - the spine of the blade

    Blade parts ( very simplified):
    Top/spine - mune
    edge - ha
    tip - kissaki
    tang - nakago
    handle - tsuka
    guard - tsuba
    Blade collar that guard rests on - habaki
    shoulders habaki and tsuba rests on - machi
    where the tip and edge meet - yokote
    where the bevels meet - shinogi
    curvature of blade - sori
    fuller on blade - bohi
    blade length - nagasa
    sheath - saya

    Here are some sites that will give a lot of info. The first link will give you dozens of great sources for reference and research. It can take a year to absorb that site alone. (this site has links to most any question about japanese swords and such)

    This is great for figuring out Japanese kitchen knife terms and names;
    Stacy E.Apelt
    It is better to die fighting evil than to live under it.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Japanese Blade info and terms:

    Here is a list of fifty basic terms.

    Basic blade parts:
    ha or ba = edge
    mune =spine
    kissaki ( saki) = tip
    nakago = tang
    mekugi = pin or peg to hold handle on
    shinogi = grind/ridge line
    habaki = blade collar
    tuska = handle
    tsuba = guard
    seppa = spacer or washer
    saya = sheath
    machi = shoulder
    fuchi = bolster/collar
    kashira = butt cap
    ana = hole
    Jiri = end ( as the end of the tang or sheath)
    hamon = temper line ( there are hundreds of special words and descriptions referring to the hamon)
    ji = blade surface or bevel ( usually refers to the area between the ha and the shinogi)

    Blade items:
    omote = outward/face/show/use side. Maker name is normally signed on this side
    ura = inward facing or body side, personal side, hidden side. Date and other info is normally placed on this side
    sugata = blade shape
    sori = curvature
    nagasa = length from tip to handle
    haba - width
    kasane - thickness
    saki = width
    bo-hi ( or just hi) = fuller or groove
    tsukuri ( zukuri) = grind type or structure/shape of blade ( hira-tsukuri, shinogi-tsukuri, kiri-ha tsukuri,etc.)

    Basic terms:
    Nihonto = Japanese sword ( Nihon- Japan, To - sword
    hada = the grain pattern on the blade surface.
    mokume = "wood grain". It can refer to the pattern in the steel, or to mokume-gane (wood grained metal) which is a decorative metal mixture.
    Mei = signature
    Diasho = a set of swords. Dia is long, and sho is companion or small.
    tanto = knife/dagger ( blade less than 1 foot)
    wakizashi = short sword ( blade between 1 and 2 feet)
    katana = long sword ( blade over 2 feet)
    to = sword
    ken = sword
    tsukiri/zukuri = sword
    Mu = none or no
    Shoto = short
    Ko or Sho= small
    Chu = medium
    O = large or long
    suguha = straight
    hira = flat
    kiri = double beveled
    kata - single beveled ( chisel grind)
    maru = round
    ichi = 1
    ni = 2
    san = 3
    mai = layer
    gane = metal ( steel)
    togi - polishing/finishing
    Last edited by Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith; 10-26-2014 at 08:56 PM.
    Stacy E.Apelt
    It is better to die fighting evil than to live under it.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Difference between a hamon and a temper line:

    When the steel is quenched fast enough to pass the pearlite nose, the structure remains austenite ( too slow and it becomes pearlite at 900F). As it cools on down and reaches around 400F, it suddenly starts converting to martensite ( the Ms). When the temp has dropped to about 100-200F this conversion is finished on carbon steels (Mf). The structure is now an untempered martensite called "brittle martensite". Anyone who has tried to straighten a blade at room temp right after the quench knows why it is called that

    The first temper tempers this into "tempered martensite", which has a structure a tad like pearlite...and thus is much tougher. When the first temper was done, there was also a small amount of retained austenite that never converted in the initial quench. During the rise to 400F and cooling in the first temper, it converts to martensite. The cooling from temper should be rapid and done in room temp or cooler water. This assures the retained austenite converts (slow cooling from 400 between tempers may help stabilize the RA). This new martensite is still brittle, and the second temper converts and toughens it. A blade with only one temper won't snap in half, but the edge may be chippier. Tempers should be at 400F or higher, and there needs to be two. One hour each is sufficient for carbon steels.

    During temper, the steel needs to rise back to the Ms to make the changes it needs. Tempering below that will relieve most of the stress, but the blade isn't fully tempered....and thus still has some brittleness. Some people think they are getting a harder blade by staying below the Ms, and tempering at 325-350, even 375F. The thing they don't know is that the hardness isn't appreciably dropped until the Ms is reached. A temper at 350 and one at 425 may only be one or two Rc points apart.

    A hamon is the junction of structures mixing pearlite and martensite. There will be wisps or one or the other going both ways, and pockets or dots of hard martensite crystals in the pearlite matrix. The old name for this mix was troosite. A hamon forms when the entire blade is heated to the austenitization point, and the the entire blade is cooled in quench. What forms the hamon is the cooling is varied in some areas due to clay and/or blade thickness.

    A temper line is more properly called a quench line, and is a line of demarcation where the heating and cooling has separated the hardened area from the unhardened area. They are normally formed in an edge quenched blade. Quench/Temper lines will be pretty much straight, as they form along the radiated heat border between two temperature ranges. A quench/temper line forms when the pearlitic blade is heated to austenitization only along the edge. It gets its "temper" name from the older method of tempering where the "temper line" was walked down the blade from the spine by gently heating the spine with a torch or hot piece of steel. This line was stopped when it got about 1/3 away from the edge. The resulting temper colors on the blade had a similar look as the line formed in edge quenching. However, a quench line is deeper into the steel, and the temper colors are only on the surface.

    A hamon will vary a lot depending on how fast the martensite forms and how much rapid cooling happens above the hamon. A temper line varies almost none....just a darker line.
    Stacy E.Apelt
    It is better to die fighting evil than to live under it.

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